Sunderland have endured a tough start to yet another season, albeit under a new manager in David Moyes. The Black Cats are yet to win their first game in the league and their task is only expected to get harder when they host the high-flying Arsenal on Match day 10 of the Premier League on Saturday. The side comes into the game having won just a solitary point in their last 5 outings and currently sit in last spot in the table.
Arsenal, on the other hand, come into the game on the back of a disappointing draw at home against Middlesbrough. However, they had been in great form until the game against Boro and will be hoping to get back to their winning ways against the struggling Sunderland side.
The side could be termed unlucky for losing out on a point against the Hammers after Winston Reid found the back of the net in the dying minutes of the game. David Moyes is not expected to make a number of changes for the game against Arsenal with only former Chelsea player Papy Djilobodji expected to come into the team in place for O’Shea. We expect the Sunderland side to line-up in a 4-5-1 formation for the game.
Pickford, Van Aanholt, Djilobodji, Kone, Manquillo, Rodwell, Khazri, Ndong, Piennar, Watmore, Defoe
The North-London side remains without the services of Mertesacker and Welbeck while the likes of Lucas Perez and Ramsey look unlikely to feature in the game against Sunderland. The side will also be without Granit Xhaka who serves his suspension.
With the side flying high, Arsene Wenger is not expected to ring in wholesome changes for the game and we expect only Cazorla to come into the side in place of Elneny to add to the side’s attacking firepower.
Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Walcott, Ozil, Iwobi, Sanchez.
The Senegalese central-defender has been amongst the few shining lights in Sunderland’s dark season so far. The former Nantes and Chelsea defender, who moved to the Stadium of Light at the start of the current season, is a tough defender to get past especially with his imposing presence in the box and would prove to be a valuable asset against a side that has often found it tough to break down physical units in the past.
Djilobodji is excellent in the air, makes regular interceptions and has shown a penchant for being in the right spot at the right time in and around the box and will be keen to shut down the likes of Ozil and Sanchez. Another quality that could help his side immensely is his ability with the ball at his feet. He is tidy in possession and also possesses the ability to bring the ball out of defence and launch his side’s offences.
With Arsenal themselves not entirely sound defensively, his presence as a ball playing defender could prove invaluable come the end of the 90 minutes.
After a rather ordinary ending by his standards last season, the Chilean superstar as been in mesmerising form this season. He has proved to be a difficult customer to handle for the opposition and has already scored 4 goals while also providing 3 assists in the process, thus playing a direct role in over 35% of the goals his side have scored in the league so far. However, it has been link-up play with the likes of Ozil, Iwobi and Walcott that has truly caught the imagination of millions of fans worldwide.
He leads the chance creation charts at the Emirates at the moment and with his teammates finally looking in sync with his abilities and creativity, Arsenal have truly turned devastating this season and should Sunderland offer him time and space on the ball in and around the box, he could prove to be the difference between the two sides on the evening.
Sanchez will be keen to add to the already impressive numbers and Sunderland could prove to be the ideal opposition to continue with his good form.
- The two sides have met on 144 occasions in the past, with Arsenal winning on 58 occasions compared to Sunderland’s 46 victories.
- The last Sunderland victory over Arsenal came in the 2011-12 season, when they beat them 2-0 in an FA Cup tie. Their last league victory against the Gunners came in the 2009-10 season.
While Arsenal come into the game on the back of a disappointing draw, the gulf in terms of quality is immense and we expect the Gunners to steamroll through Sunderland all evening long. We predict a comfortable win for Arsenal.