Over-thinking. It’s something we all do, but on the long journey up to Sunderland this weekend it will be the only thing hanging at the back of Arsene Wenger’s head.
These two sides have managed just three wins in 16 games when you put their stats together, which doesn’t make for easy reading, whoever you support. But for Arsenal fans, it will only reiterate the same feeling they’ve felt since we kicked off.
A long-term injury list and packed schedule hasn’t helped Wenger with this selection headache, which will have eased a little this weekend after confirming Theo Walcott and About Diaby are both in good shape.
A win at the Stadium of Light will see Arsenal move into the top 4 if other results go their way. Whilst Sunderland will be wanting nothing more than 3 points, as they struggle at the bottom of the table.
Arsenal go into the game on the back of an unconvincing mid-week victory over Anderlecht, scraping two 90th minutes goals to snatch 3 points.
But Wenger will be keen to take positives out of the game, and will be happy to have just got the three points that helped put the icing on a 65th birthday cake. Lukas Podolski showed us he can be a menace again, and the Gunners showed us they have the qualities to grind out a scrappy win.
Scrappy three points are precious, but this squad will want to put the quality back in this weekend, and a game against a below average Sunderland team is the best way to start.
Just two wins for the Gunners have left fans annoyed, following a tough schedule in which games could’ve been won. Leicester, Man City, Everton and Tottenham have all managed to get a point out of us, so something has to change.
PL Results: W – 2 D – 5 L – 1
The Black Cats have racked up just 8 goals in as many games, which has left them sitting just above the relegation zone at 17th place.
Gus Poyet knows what he is doing though, as he proved last year in a miracle escape from the relegation scrap-heap. His sides have shown that when they need a result, they can get one. And who needs a result at the moment more than them?
Last week saw Southampton put eight goals past Sunderland, which left away fans suffering a dreadfully long trip back up North. The Sunderland board have stated all fans will be refunded for their day out, and apologised for their performance.
And with a home crowd behind them, Poyet will have urged this side to give something back to the fans, and three points against a quality Arsenal side would do just lovely.
PL Results: W – 1 D – 4 L – 3
Gus Poyet was quick to respond to their 8-0 thrashing this week, saying his side will go “back to basics” when he comes up against Arsenal.
Arsenal will be latched on to top strikers Steven Fletcher and Connor Wickham, who have both made bright starts to the season. They’ll also be aware of free-kick specialist, Seb Larsson, the former Gunner is dangerous with his right foot and set pieces will be Sunderland’s way into the game, knowing our vulnerability.
Anthony Reveillere could be handed his Premier League debut, after the former French international signed in the week as a free agent.
Although, Sunderland will be without Billy Jones, Emanuele Giaccherini, Ricky Alvarez and Sebastian Coates who will all sit out due to injury.
Goalkeeper, Wojech Szczesny will return to first team action after serving a suspension in the Champions League.
Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey will also be in contention to start after returning from injury and putting a shift in against Hull City and Anderlecht. Joel Campbell will also be looking for a place after performing well in mid-week.
Arsenal will be without Jack Wilshere who is serving a 1-match suspension for racking up 5 yellow cards. Wenger confirmed Theo Walcott is not ready just yet, but will be in contention next week.
Our injury list will see Mesut Ozil, Yaya Sanogo and Laurent Koscielny miss out. Whilst long-term injuries to Olivier Giroud, Matthieu Debuchy and David Ospina force Wenger into a selection struggle.
Check out all the latest team news in detail and a predicted line-up here!
22 February 2014 – Arsenal 4-1 Sunderland
14th September 2013 – Sunderland 1-3 Arsenal
9 February 2013 – Sunderland 0-1 Arsenal
18 August 2012 – Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland
18 February 2012 – Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal (FA CUP)
11 February 2012 – Sunderland 1-2 Arsenal
W – 57 D – 39 L- 50
All the action kicks off on Saturday afternoon at 3pm.