Arsenal v Sunderland preview

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Updated: October 15, 2011

Arsenal play hosts to Sunderland at the Emirates on Sunday, with both teams hoping for a fresh start following the international break.

Arsene Wenger and Steve Bruce have watched their teams start the season poorly amid considerable criticism, with Sunderland sat in 16th place, and Arsenal in unfamiliar territory of lying in 15th place of the English Premier League.

Arsenal will be without Bacary Sagna’s following the broken leg he sustained in the derby loss to Tottenham which rules him out until the New Year. Sagna now joins Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby and Thomas Vermaelen on the Arsenal injury list. Carl Jenkinson is likely to step in to replace Sagna at right-back.

Tomas Rosicky should be available for selection after suffering a groin problem on international duty with the Czech Republic. Goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has also recovered from a slight groin injury.

Steve Bruce’s side meanwhile have failed to win in North London in 28 years, and the under fire Sunderland manager will be hoping his side can take advantage of Arsenal’s weak defence and improve on their worst start to a season since 2005 which ended in relegation.

Sunderland will be without on-loan Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner. The Denmark international is ineligible under the terms of his loan agreement. Fellow strikers Fraizer Campbell and Conor Wickham will also be missing, along with goalkeeper Craig Gordon.

Full-back Phil Bardsley completes his four-match ban and Titus Bramble is suspended pending police and club investigations.

Arsenal (from): Szczesny, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Song, Frimpong, Jenkinson, Ramsey, Arteta, Gervinho, Van Persie, Walcott, Fabianski, Park, Santos, Benayoun, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Djourou, Rosicky, Arshavin, Chamakh, Miquel, Squillaci.

Sunderland (from): Mignolet, Westwood, O’Shea, Brown, Richardson, Turner, Laing, Cattermole, Gardner, Vaughan, Larsson, Colback, Elmohamady, Meyler, Sessegnon, Wickham, Ji, McClean, Cook.

Prediction: Neither of these clubs have a defence which convinces. This is likely to be a game with plenty of goals. 3-2 Arsenal.

Match Odds: Arsenal 2/5, Draw 10/3, Sunderland 7/1 (Stan James)

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