Match Preview: Sunderland v Arsenal (Premier League)

Sunderland host Arsenal at the Stadium of Light in today’s 3:00 kick-off looking to follow the example set by Hull City last weekend.

The newly-promoted Tigers ripped up the formbook and made a mockery of the bookmakers who made them distant outsiders to take anything away from the Emirates Stadium as they left north London with a 2-1 victory.

That result has given the rest of the top-flight’s lesser lights belief that they too can compete on any given day with the top four and it’s fair to assume that Black Cats boss Roy Keane will have conveyed that to his players this week.

Injury concerns continue to hamper Keane’s plans though as he will once again be without Kenwyne Jones (knee), Teemu Tainio (shoulder), Nyron Nosworthy (hamstring) and possibly Phil Bardsley (ankle).

Arsene Wenger admitted he felt sickened by Arsenal’s ‘careless’ defeat at the hands of Hull, which also saw them relinquish their position at the top of the Premier League table to Chelsea.

However, the Frenchman was heartened by his side’s 4-0 Champions League thrashing of FC Porto on Tuesday night with Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie both bagging braces.

Domestically, Arsenal have now been beaten twice – which is just one less than the total number of losses they suffered during the entire 38 games of last year’s campaign – so Wenger knows any further slip-ups could be costly.

The Gunners remain unable to call on the services of Abou Diaby (thigh), Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) and Eduardo da Silva (broken ankle).

Predicted Starting XI

Sagna – Toure – Gallas – Clichy
Walcott – Fabregas – Denilson – Nasri
Adebayor – van Persie

Match Prediction: Sunderland 1-3 Arsenal

Catch all the post-match reaction and player ratings here on Gooner Talk seconds after the final whistle.

Leave your views and predictions of this afternoon’s game in the comments section below.


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