The Emirates, London
15:00 GMT, 5th December 2015
Ever since facing their local rivals Tottenham in the Premier League, Arsenal FC have suffered poor results in their last two games. Now facing Sunderland at home, can they turn the tides?
With 27 points on the board, Arsenal FC missed the opportunity to catch up to Leicester and Manchester City as they drew against a weak Norwich City last week. The loss however was not the only reason for disappointment for fans as in the eleventh minute of the game saw Laurent Koscielny added to the long list of injuries for Arsene Wenger’s side.
To add to their woes, Cazorla as well as Sanchez too will miss this fixture, suffering injuries in the mid-week. Arsenal FC nevertheless are just two points behind and are yet title contenders and could bounce back against a lowly Sunderland in the weekend.
Sunderland started their season similar to how they ended it in the previous one, with more losses than draws and wins. Sitting just atop the drop zone, with just twelve points, Sam Allerdyce and his men have an uphill task, if they wish their season doesna t go from bad to worse.
The last two games on the other hand have been different story, beating a sturdy stoke as well as an in form Crystal Palace, Sunderland seem to be getting back on to their horse, even if temporarily. Beating a top team such as Arsenal FC just might give the players the much needed confidence and keep the fans from leaving the stadium early on.
Line-ups and Tactics
Arsene Wengera s men will have to tactically change things around a bit this game and will also have to look to cover up the defensive gap left by the injured Frenchman (Koscielny). With Cech on goal, Arsene Wenger will look to play a back four of Monreal on the left, Bellerin on the right while Mertesacker and Paulista will be the chosen central defenders. With similar attributes, both Paulista as well as Mertesacker will struggle against pacey players and will have to ensure they maintain a deeper line in defense.
In midfield Arsenal FC will have the defensive Flamini alongside Aaron Ramsey, who just returned in the previous game. While Ozil retians his number 10 spot behind the lone striker, Wenger will have to dig deep into his squad to place, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joel Campbel on the right and left side of the wings respectively. Olivier Giourd will be the lone striker.
Predicted Line-ups (4-2-3-1): Cech; Monreal, Paulista, Mertesacker, Bellerin; Ramsey, Flamini; Chamberlain, Ozil, Campbell; Giroud.
Sam Allerdyce has found a winning squad and is faced with a great opportunity to steal all three points, in what would otherwise be an extremely tough game. Facing an injury struck-Arsenal, Sunderland will look to capitalise on the situation and jump a few places by winning the match.
Manchester City Product, Pantilimon would be the chosen shot-stopper whilst, he will post a back three of Sabastian Coates, John Oa shea as well as Younes Kaboul. The three center backs have all been previously rejected by top teams but two among them possess vast experience to handle a side as good as Arsenal FC. The three back will also be supported by Van-Aanholt on the left and Yedlin on the right, who both possess immense pace to counter attack.
The Sunderland midfield too has a few missing starts as the ex-Arsenal FC player Sebastian Larsson has been ruled out. However, in his pace will be Jermain Lens who has also scored two goals for the visitors. Cattermole and Ma Vila will both look to sit in the middle of the park and break any fluid passes at the half line and ensure, the rivals do not get in their grove.
The two strikers up ahead will be Steven Fletcher as well Duncan Watmore. The youngster Watmore has scored in the previous game and has two goals to his name in this season. Against an Arsenal FC side that is struggling to get back to their winning ways, the duo might take advantage to get onto the score sheet as soon as possible. So that team can employ a more defensive formation to protect their lead.
Predicted Line-ups (3-5-2): Pantilimon; Coates, Oa Shea, Kaboul; Van Aanholt, Cattermole, Ma Vila, Larsson, Yedlin; Fletcher, Watmore.
Player to watch out for
Ramsey has always had an impact on the field w hen his stronger team mates have gone missing. When fully fit he is known to put in double the efforts of his other team mates. Hence Aaron Ramsey will be the sterling performer of the game even though his team will struggle against a slowly improving Sunderland Football Club.
- Arsenal FC are unbeaten in their last 11 games against Sunderland
- The Gunners have never lost to Sunderland at home in the Premier League
- Pantillimon has made a league high of 59 saves this season
- Allerdyce took just 6 games to get as many wins as Dick Advocaat did in 17. (3 wins)
Arsenal FC 1 a 2 Sunderland
With Sam Allerdyce at the helm, Sunderland have turned around their dismal start to the season. With two back to back victories, a bottom dwelling side such as Sunderland isna t expected to make it three in a row. However coupled with Arsenal FCa s mixed results, the visitors might throw a bit too much enthusiasm at the Gunners and might steal all three points, away from home.