We need a confidence booster and who better to play today than a poor Sunderland side who come into the game missing a number of first teamers ? The Black Cats arrive at the Emirates looking for a double over us this season and not having been beaten by Arsenal for 3 games. Reasons for optimism? Well, Sunderland are in the midst of a dreadful run, not having won in their last 12 games, they have taken 3 points from a possible 36 on the road and have a Gooner as their top scorer. Darren Bent and his family are massive Arsenal fans, and I am sure Darren will not want to disappoint his Mum by scoring against her beloved Arsenal!
Steve Bruce: Another in the long list of ex-Manc managers. All trained by SAF, all promote efficient as opposed to imaginative football, and all are fighters. Bruce is a man one would want in the trenches, a natural leader of men. Were it not for Martin O’Neill I would expect him to be SAF’s successor. He seems to be a decent chap and despite an incredibly successful career at MU never won an England cap. Expect to see him as manager of Newcastle within 2 seasons !! Bruce is not known for playing expansive football so it is highly likely that Sunderland will “park the bus” at the Emirates.
Of course Roy Keane was manager prior to Bruce, and it is a testament to his management skills that he signed Anthony Stokes from us for €2m. Thank you Roy, you paid for a 8 months of Theo’s wages.
I am looking forward to watching Lorik Cana. He has said recently that he would have been a Gunner, having been invited to trials when he was 16; Visa problems prevented his arrival. There was much talk on the Blogs of Arsenal signing him last season, but the fact that he signed for Sunderland must indicate that it wasn’t just Arsenal who doubted his ability to cut it at a top club. That said, he has looked a beast in the middle of Sunderland’s midfield and will give Fab a good challenge (hopefully nothing too violent). It is reported that Lee Cattermole has been Sunderland’s best player this season, but he is suspended for the game. I am sure our delicate players will miss him!
We go into the game missing Diaby, Gallas and Arshavin. Song returns in place of Diaby, and I expect to see Walcott replace Nasri or Rosicky.
Eboue Sol TV Clichy
Song Cesc Nasri Rosicky
Alternatively it could be:
Sagna Song TV Clichy
Denilson Cesc Rosicky
Theo Nik Vela
Much will depend upon whether Wenger wants to play an attacking team and 4-3-3. Playing Song at CB against a team that will almost certainly play on the counter-attack could be a good ploy; Sol’s lack of pace plus two games in 4 days could count against him.
Last season I had the privilege to attend the Emirates in the company of Peaches to watch a seemingly interminable 0-0 draw. My only memory of the game is that it was very cold!! Sunderland games are like that – forgettable, though I do recall a stunning RvP free kick a couple of years back
The Black Cats have a decent defence but if we really are to challenge this season, we have to beat teams like Sunderland at home and win handsomely. There will be no excuse for losing any points.
Sunderland became a City as recently as 1992 as part of the celebrations for the 40th anniversary of The Queen’s accession to the throne.
And as everyone knows. Our Queen is a renowned Gooner ……