Sunderland will be hoping that the Arsenal of last weekend come to the Stadium of Light on Sunday, as the Gunners look to bounce back from last weekend’s humiliating loss at home to Hull. Roy Keane has no fresh injury problems, but that isn’t saying much as we have seven players on the treatment table. Kenwyne Jones and Martyn Waghorn are close to returning from knee injuries, but Nyron Nosworthy (hamstring), Teemu Tainio (shoulder) and Darren Ward (neck, back) are all ruled out.
That means Danny Collins and Anton Ferdinand should continue their centre back partnership, while Djibril Cisse and El Hadji Diouf will also continue up front. Phil Bardsley (ankle) and Grant Leadbitter (concussion) are touch and go for Saturday’s game, so Keano could well stick with the same starting XI and hopefully retain some of the kids as well, after handing Jordan Henderson a spot on the subs bench for last weekend’s 2-1 loss at Aston Villa.
Sunderland (possible XI): Gordon, Chimbonda, Collins, Ferdinand, McCartney, Malbranque, Whitehead, Richardson, Reid, Cisse, Diouf.
After convincingly thumping FC Porto 4-0 in the Champions League on Tuesday night, Arsenal are looking to repeat that in the Premier League and get over last weekend’s Hell against Hull. Arsene Wenger does have Alex Song (thigh), Amaury Bischoff (groin), Abou Diaby (thigh) and Tomas Rosicky (hamstring) out, in addition to long-term broken-leg victim Eduardo. Robin Van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor will be the two dangermen for the Gunners, who are currently fourth in the Premier League, after having only suffered defeats to lowly Hull and Fulham in the league so far this term.
Arsenal (from): Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Walcott, Fabregas, Denilson, Nasri, van Persie, Adebayor, Fabianski, Vela, Ramsey, Silvestre, Djourou, Bendtner, Eboue.
League Position: 15
Top Scorer: Michael Chopra, Djibril Cisse, Anthony Stokes (2)
League Position: 4
Top Scorer: Emmanuel Adebayor (6)
LAST TIME AT THE STADIUM OF LIGHT
Having secured Premier League survival, Sunderland ended their season with something of an exhibition as Theo Walcott’s goal was the difference between these two sides in May. Roy Keane rested a lot of players, handing Marton Fulop his first (and to date, only) Premier League appearance, while Jonny Evans and Ross Wallace made their last appearances (so far) for the Lads. Carlos Edwards could have taken the lead for us in the first 15 seconds, but the Trinidad and Tobago international fired wide after taking down the ball from T&T compatriot Kenwyne Jones.Jones himself went off injured at half time after unwisely blocking a shot with his wrist, but by that point we were already sunk as Theo Walcott raced onto a through ball from Gilberto to beat Fulop. Arsenal missed a glorious chance to double their lead, with Gilberto firing wide after they’d won an indirect free kick in the box following a back-pass to Fulop, while substitute Mark Randall saw a goal ruled out for offside at the death.
Hopefully Saturday’s game will be a little more competitive!
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