Arsenal v Sunderland: Team News & Likely Line-Ups


Arsenal will return to Emirates action this Wednesday with no fresh injury concerns, although Arsene Wenger may be forced to make a few changes due to fatigue.

Team News

The Gunners played late on Sunday evening in the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, and Wenger now has the depth to rotate some players ahead of the penultimate Premier League game.

Laurent Koscielny is a doubt after picking up the flu, so we may see a partnership of Mertesacker and Gabriel at the back.

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Wenger isn’t taking any risks with Oxlade-Chamberlain or Danny Welbeck, who are both still short of making their returns from injury, but may feature at West Brom on Sunday.

Matthieu Debuchy has not yet returned to full training after suffering his hamstring injury, but the boss confirmed he is progressing to make the FA Cup final.

Likely Line Ups

David Ospina will remain in goal, and continue to give Wenger the headache of who he starts in the final, but there may be a slight reshuffle at the back. Gabriel will come in if Koscielny is not fit to start, which will give us another taste of that partnership with Mertesacker. Bellerin will remain at right-back with Debuchy still injured. Gibbs may come in for Nacho Monreal if Wenger feels the Spaniard needs a rest, but ultimately Monreal will continue his steady form at left-back.

The positive substitute appearances from Jack Wilshere is leaving heavy competition as to who should partner Francis Coquelin in that defensive pairing. Wenger may bring Wilshere in for Ramsey or Cazorla to give the regulars a rest before the final day of the season.

However, it will look much the same in the front three of midfield, with Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla lining up once again to ensure third place is secured before Sunday. Theo Walcott has looked shaky on the right-wing when coming off the bench, so Wenger may be convinced to start the Englishman if he feels he could do with a confidence boost.

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In normal circumstances like this, you would expect Wenger to give Giroud a rest in a mid-week game and bring in Danny Welbeck. However, the back-up striker remains injured, so Giroud will get the nod whilst looking for his 15th Premier League goal of the season.

Arsenal XI: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Monreal, Coquelin, Wilshere, Cazorla, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud

Sunderland will need to put out their best possible XI if they are to secure Premier League safety before the end of the season.

Dick Advocaat will name one change from the side that drew 0-0 at Leicester City on Saturday afternoon. Adam Johnson will most likely come in for Liam Bridcutt after the boss confirmed his admiration for the way Johnson changed the game into an attacking state.

Jermaine Defoe and Connor Wickham will continue their impressive partnership up top, as the Black Cats continue their defensive formation.

Sunderland XI: Pantillimon, Jones, Coates, O’shea, van Aanholt, Johnson, Cattermole, Larsson, Defoe, Graham, Wickham




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