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Arsenal visit Stadium of Light tonight as they play Steve Bruce’s Sunderland. We’ve had mixed results here over the last 3 seasons. A win, a draw and a lost in that particular sequence. So, this has become a fixture that Arsenal have struggled in recent seasons and just like the last 2 games before this, this match is another test of whether we have improved with another year’s experience.

A draw would not be that bad a result and that is something I can accept, considering mega-rich Manchester City were the last visitors to Sunderland went home with no points as well as Carlos Tevez hiding his head between his legs. On the other side, comparing player to player, Arsenal do have much better quality and should walk away with 3 points.

To do that, we still have do it without the services of Thomas Vermaelen and Abou Diaby. The Belgian has taken slightly longer than the couple of days that was touted initially following his Achilles injury. Diaby is still suffering from that horror tackle from a coward Bolton side. Both should be back for next weekend’s game at home against West Brom. Arsene Wenger do have a clean bill of health from those who played on Wednesday against Braga and this is how I imagine they will line-up tonight.





With Samir Nasri only having recovered from injury himself, to play 2 games in the space of 3 days will be asking too much of him. Hence, Tomas Rosicky should come in place of the Frenchman and elsewhere should be as it is from the Champions League night. If the statistics are to be believed in, as long as we can keep out Darren Bent, we would earn at least a draw in this game. This is because it has been one year ago since Sunderland have ever won any game without Bent scoring.

Cesc Fabregas will be looking to continue his fine form into this game and it has been made slightly easier by Lee Cattermole’s suspension. The Sunderland captain obtained his second sending off of the season last week and will sit this game out. In his absence, Sunderland do not have another midfielder with his experience of even a defensive one. That will give us more space to exploit in midfield and Fabregas is just the type of player to cherish those space.

Meanwhile, Gael Clichy will have to be wary of the player he is suppose to be covering. In this instance, that would be either Bent, Asamoah Gyan of Frazier Campbell. Clichy is not in the best of form and on occasions have lost track of the opposition and have to depend on his natural pace to recover the situation.

Not much else to go on here. With Chelsea expected to plunder in another glut of goals against Blackpool at home, we need to win this game to keep pace with the leaders and ensure that the gap is not too big till our matchup with Carlo Ancelotti’s side in October. Enjoy the match wherever you’re watching.

Till tomorrow.