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Arsenal vs Sunderland: Match Preview

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Arsenal have been well off the pace in recent games, which has meant they have dropped seven points in their last three games. As well as this, their usual injury crisis has struck at the worst time possible with the busy Christmas period ahead of them. Will they be able to bounce back against a high flying Sunderland side?

The Gunners will be without two of their most important players in Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez. Sanchez who is suffering from a hamstring injury is expected to be out for three to four weeks, whilst Cazorla is expected to be side lined for at least three months. Laurent Koscienly on the other hand could be included in the starting 11 despite limping of against Norwich.

With Arsenal’s poor form and injuries, you would expect Sunderland to go into this game with high hopes of coming away with at least a point. Sam Allardyce’s side have won their last two games, and they will be looking to continue their winning run in a bid to avoid relegation. However, Sunderland will be without Seb Larsson, Jack Rodwell and Jermain Defoe who have all been ruled out due to injuries. Defoe is Sunderland’s top goal scorer with four Premier League goals. How will they cope without him?

Although Arsenal are struggling with injuries to key players, it gives others a massive opportunity to have a run in the first team, and an opportunity to experiment. Aaron Ramsey who has just returned from injury will get the opportunity to start in his favoured central role, where he scored 16 goals in the 2013-2014 season. Cazorla’s injury gives the Welshman a fantastic opportunity to get a run of games in the middle, and all Arsenal fans will be hoping he can rediscover his goal scoring form.

Arsenal are currently two points behind league leaders Manchester City who play Stoke away in the early kick off on Saturday. The Gunners cannot afford any slip ups if they want to remain in the title race. Of course they can blame injuries for this poor run of form. However Wenger put his faith in the current squad he has got, and needs to prove to his critics why he has done so.

Predicted starting line ups:


Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Monreal, Flamini, Ramsey, Campbell, Ozil, Oxlade – Chamberlain, Giroud


Pantilimon, Coates, O’Shea, Kaboul, Yedlin, Lens, M’Vila, Cattermole, Van Aanholt, Fletcher, Watmore


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