Sunderland v Arsenal kicks off at the Stadium of Light at 3pm, we preview the match and also have the starting teams.
Sunderland: Westwood, Celustka, Colback, Roberge, Diakite, Vaughan, Mavrias, Ki, Johnson (c), Fletcher, Altidore.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Sagna, Koscielny, Gibbs, Flamini, Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud
Sunderland welcome Arsenal to the Stadium of Light in a game that the Black Cats really need to win. With 14 new players, 3 games played, none won and a single point to their name Sunderland need to put 3 points up to get their season started.
It was recently reported that Sunderland lost a practice match during the international break 3-1 to their under 21 team which drew a furious reaction from Di Canio. The volatile Italian speaks a great deal about hard work, passion and pride which makes him the most British sounding European manager ever.
Arsenal welcome record signing Mesut Ózil to their team which is sure to get Gooners excited but perhaps they should be concerned by the injury doubts Walcott, Wilshere,Ramsey and Rosicky in what is essentially a thin squad. Expect goals at the Stadium of Light with Arsenal to prevail.
- Sunderland’s only win in their last 19 league meetings with Arsenal came at the Stadium of Light in November 2009, when Darren Bent scored the decisive goal.
- The Black Cats have only scored two first-half goals in the 24 Premier League meetings between the clubs and have never been ahead at the interval.
- However, they did beat Arsenal 2-0 in the fifth round of the FA Cup in February 2012.
- Sunderland’s two Premier League goals this term have both been headers, meaning they have already matched their tally of headed goals in the 2012-13 season.
- The Black Cats won two of their first three games under Paolo Di Canio, but since then have claimed three points from seven league matches (D3, L4).
- They have won only two Premier League games at the Stadium of Light in 2013 (against West Ham in January and Everton in April).
- After taking on Arsenal, Sunderland have home games against Liverpool, Manchester United, Newcastle, Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham. Last season the Black Cats collected five points from those corresponding seven fixtures.
- The Gunners have won six successive Premier League away games for only the second time. It is their best form since winning their final eight away matches in the 2001-02 season.
- Olivier Giroud has yet score a Premier League goal outside of London, with 12 of his 14 strikes netted at the Emirates Stadium.
- Only Fulham (21) have allowed their opponents more shots on target in the Premier League this season than Arsenal (17).
- The Gunners have conceded two goals in the final 15 minutes of Premier League games this season – as many as they let in during the entire 2012-13 season.