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Preview: Sunderland v. Arsenal (a)

I'm a little embarrassed as I've had almost two weeks to get this preview ready, but here I am writing it a little over five hours from kickoff. Oh well.

By now you've probably heard all the injury news, but I'll go over it again. Robin van Persie is out hitting up the maternity ward in Serbia, and it seems he'll be over there for the next 4 to 6 weeks. Gibbs, Sagna, Gallas, and Arshavin need a rest, but Traore, Vela, Theo, Denilson, and Wilshere are all back. So all in all, not too bad of a international interlull.

This leaves us a bit light at the back, and I think Arsene will forced into making six changes to the team that mauled Wolves. I expect a back four of Eboue-Senderos-Vermaelen-Traore. In the midfield, Alex Song will need to be careful not to pick up a booking because he'll miss the Chelsea match if he does. Aaron Ramsey could very well keep his spot alongside Cesc after making Darren Fletcher look like a little school girl. The fluidity between him and Fabregas in the Wolves match was quite good for an untried partnership. Up front, Walcott could be forced right back onto the right wing with van Persie, Arshavin, and Bendtner all not available to start. Though Rosicky or Nasri might be preferred instead. Eduardo will surely occupy van Persie's position.

So if I was Arsene Wenger, this is what my teamsheet would like in a few hours.

Defence: Almunia, Eboue, Senderos, Vermaelen, Traore

Midfield: Song, Ramsey, Fabregas

Forwards: Rosicky, Eduardo, Nasri

Silvestre might get the nod, and while I would normally be worried, somebody on the forum pointed out this week that Malbranque isn't likely to stay out wide and trouble the geezer like Milner did last season.

I don't need to tell you the importance of this game. It will be a struggle but I think we can pull it out. The prospect of Nasri, Eduardo, Rosicky, Fabregas, and Ramsey all starting is mouthwatering. 2-1 to the Arsenal. Eduardo and Rosicky getting the goals.

Have a good weekend Gooners.




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The Journalist

Writer: Brice Coffer Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday November 21 2009

Time: 10:00AM

Your Comments

Must Win Game?
collow
I'll pitch for Silvestre to start ahead of Traore; more stability and maturity, given the absence of Gallas & Sagna. I did expect Song to smartly, pick up a Yellow in one of the easier games so as to miss this and be ready for Chelsea, but then, what do I know. It will be a difficult game in which Sunderland may well control and have their moments. Arsenal's class will see us through this one, late on. A 2 goal margin is my expectation with Edu, Nasri/Vermaleen/Senderos scoring.
Naijagunner
i think silvestre will get the nod ahead of traore, good to see how senderos performs with vermaelen if he gets picked. this is a tricky tie, and arsenal have a record of winning only 58% of matches directly after internationals. so i hope we are ready and fired up for this one cos we will to be.
supersof
I expect a few nervy moments. But our firepower should be enough to see us through hopefully. I'd also like to see Silvestre in LB because of the experience he brings with a young midfield. I'm just glad Song, Eduardo, Ramsey and Senderos didn't have to play in the Nov 18 round of fixtures and Rosicky and Nasri should be entirely fresh.
GoonerLou
Almunia Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Traore Ramsey Song Fabregas Rosicky Eduardo Nasri Subs: Mannone, Vela, Walcott, Denilson, Silvestre, Arshavin and Eboue
Tom14
Why is Sagna starting!? I can understand Gallas, but Bac was running all over the place vs Ireland, and Eboue's more than capable to replace him, especially after scoring vs Germany. I know Bacary is a warrior, but surely he deserves a rest. I'm personally glad to see Traore start. It would be very harsh to leave him out. If we're really letting him fight it out with Kieran we couldn't make him miss this opportunity could we? It's not 2006, we're not going to need 8 left-backs this year, and this could be one of his last chances to make an impression.
ArsenalRob
Eboue also played a game, you know.
Tom14
Guess the Manager is looking at the importance of this game, versus the CL game, mid week (where he can afford to string the changes). Should have guessed when he spoke about the importance of not making too many changes in a winning team.
Naijagunner
hopefully Cana won't hurt anyone
TPowell
Yes Tom but 'only' 90 minutes, and, although I didn't watch Eboue's game, I saw Bacy's and he was doing a hell of a lot of running. I suppose you're right Naijagunner, and it's why I would've kept Gallas in, but I personally think Eboue fits in very well with our winning formula. But I'll happily go along with Arsene's decision of course (not that I have much choice).
ArsenalRob
unsurprisingly, gallas is being booed. the small mindedness of the heard is shocking.
TPowell
Gutted they show the nothing Chelsea-Wolves game on TV here and my Internet chooses to be down tonight. (Posting from my iPhone isn't fun either.) Please guys keep posting with updates. Really appreciated by a desperate Gooner..!
GoonerLou
no problem lou, the update so far is that we look really solid in defense, but have produced little in attack, though we're strong in possession.
TPowell
Ill post all the goals Lou, but nothing more. OK!? ;-)
Tom14
Thanks guys! I'm on BBC live updates but their text isn't lively to read. Haha Tom course we'd see a bunch of posts here about goals when they go in anyway. Even with something like "Duuuuuduuuuuu!!!" I'd know what's just happened. :D
GoonerLou
well lou, nothing really to report. 0-0 at halftime
TPowell
Ours is the only game in the League which is still 0-0. Looks like we will be on MOTD last again. Although there is nothing unusual about that.
itsup4grabsnow
Duuuuuduuuuuu!!!
ArsenalRob
The stream I'm watching is a bit ahead of most others.
ArsenalRob
Roooooooobbbb!!! :D
GoonerLou
What I will say though is Alex Song has been our best player so far, breaking up the play and creating the chance for Eduardo. We just have to step it up a couple of gears in the second half and get Rosicky and Nasri into the game more.
itsup4grabsnow
Between Tommy Gun and Samir who's on the left and who right?
GoonerLou
and chelsky is murdering wolves
Armory
sam on the right, neither is doing much... well they're defending well, i'll give them that
TPowell
AA on for Ramsey, good move, he's been the weak link i feel
TPowell
AA for AR. Good move. They're too compact to pass through. We need someone to dribble through. Bring Sam or Tommy back.
ArsenalRob
lol TPowell. I hadn't even seen you're comment yet.
ArsenalRob
Is Tommy back in midfield after AA comes on?
GoonerLou
I suppose a draw is not going to be the end of the world.
Armory
a lot of misplace passes from Rosicky and Nasri... not looking good
TPowell
no lou, sam is in midfield, rosicky out on the left
TPowell
Looks like Sami is Lou. AA on left Tommy on right.
ArsenalRob
or right i mean, lol, theo about to come on
TPowell
No GL its Nasri whos gone back to midfield, Rosicky right and AA left
itsup4grabsnow
yep, they score from a corner
TPowell
this is terrible
ajwb
awwwww
Tom14
horrible luck, ball rolls off cambell right to bent, vela and walcott on for nasri and rosicky i believe
TPowell
Oh FFS ***** off Bent
itsup4grabsnow
Oh dear. Bent scores from a corner. We're not looking comfortable. We aren't looking comfortable at all. On come CV and TW for Rommy and Dudu, who couldn't get into the game at all.
ArsenalRob
Vela and Walcott on for Eduardo and Rosicky
itsup4grabsnow
set peace again
Armory
well there goes the title.....
Dan_83
anyone missing r.v.p yet???
pachna_spurs
we cant even keep the ball
ajwb
:(
GoonerLou
I would'nt say that dan as we are still in Nov and have an easy run in compared to last year. Also Nasri and Rosicky will become better and better as the season wears on.
Armory
no, this had nothing to do with missing rvp, eduardo had no service. you have to question rosicky, nasri, and fabregas. Of course to the media, they'll claim that rvp was the reason, but it wasn't. Also, all of the sunderland players are magically injured now.
TPowell
How long b4 spud fans arrive
paul_ownz
lol what did u exspect tpowell? that they would get up straight away after breaking a nail?
Armory
Oh sorry pachna i missed your predictable arrival. Earlier than i expected
paul_ownz
song and sagna played well, no one else
TPowell
How come Tomas and Samir the well rested guys didn't produce enough? Was Cesc looking tired or just lacking ideas?
GoonerLou
quite a low point of the team.mid Nov,too many injuries and after an international break but I still expected alot more and even to creature 3 or 4 good chances.Nothing went upto Eduardo
ajwb
Well back to CL next suppose we see the spuds there............... no wait you have to be in it don't you?
Armory
d.bent of all ppl, hehe, might shut up the slaters, must be sicker
123spurs
Was it just bad luck for their goal? Sounds like we didn't create enough chances to deserve a win either...
GoonerLou
Oh, Damn! We lose ground to Chelski, seems it was a soft goal. But it didn't seem like we had enough chances, I can't believe that we could break down Sunderland and even score a goal. It just a totally disappointment!
hackneyval
sure ye are there just to make up the numbers, and please dont blame injuries ajwb,
123spurs
123 you little troll. Let me guess, you are here because some arsenal fan was on your board and like the little kid you are, you came here to get revenge?
paul_ownz
lol, troll what goes around comes around mate sorry, im here to see bmf an besymour, there usaully on our site
123spurs
it wa a bit of tongue an cheek, but been ex spurs etc, calm down mate chill ye still fin at least 4th
123spurs
The little kidde spud who can only count upto 3.low IQ
ajwb
why don't you know the language 123, do you not live in England?
TPowell
I'm dissapointed, but it's not the worst defeat. You could tell there'd just been an international break. We didn't have the same cohesion that we did before the group split up, and looked mentally very lethargic. Sunderland had two weeks preparation for this game and you could tell. They were very well organized, but they didn't look all that threatening, they just had that bit of luck that we lacked. We'll grow from this, and at now that there are no more international breaks, I think we can pick up the momentum again after some more training and a nice home game to ease ourselves back into rhythm. To be honest, as long as we're challenging Chelsea until the end, I'm happy; finishing ahead of them would just be the big bonus. Let's face it, most of us would've taken 4th. It's a shame, but I'm not distraught by this defeat. If I'm honest, I'm just glad to know that we can get our players into training tommorow knowing that they won't have to be shipped out again to play for their countries.
ArsenalRob
Its not good enough to perform like that against a Sunderland side with so many injuries and suspensions. All the pundits that say we havent got a good enough squad and all the pundits that said we dont like it on a cold winter up north will be loving this.
iceman10
We played pretty rubbish overall. We had possession and some fluidity without any real creativity. We were very unlucky with the goal and perhaps a draw would of been fair, but we def did no where near enough to win.
paul_ownz
Oh and we definately did miss RvP today, I'm sorry to say. It's not the reason for our defeat, but Dudu isn't the type of player to close the gap between our midfielders and the front 3, and with two fullbacks and a DM to stop our men on the flanks, we couldn't create. Dudu's brilliance is that he eludes the attentions of the opposition. In a game like this, we needed someone grab their attention and drag them out of position.
ArsenalRob
Sigh.. some lessons are never learnt are they? Post international break Arsenal are such a sad sight.
Sajit
ive said it many a time, its from my mobile an its called SMS ever hear of that, Short message service, ajwb, thanks ur mommy will be very proud of you for comments like that.
123spurs
Haven't had a chance to check the prem scores yet today...how'd you guys get on without RVP?......
MJBSpur
Not great MJBSpur, but don't try to use that as petty redemption. As great an asset as RvP is to us, and would be to any team, not even a deluded spud could honestly look at our team-sheet today and claim that that was the problem, because we had an abundance of quality players out there today. The problem was that they weren't mentally prepared for it, and Sunderland were. When we played you, as I'm sure you're making reference to that occaision, your team wasn't good enough, which completely betrayed Robbie Keane's earlier suggestion.
ArsenalRob
we played stoke an shud of won easily but lost, we played sunderland an prob shud of lost but we won, funny old game
123spurs
We played Spurs and should have won 5-0, but won 3-0. I see your point, 123.
Naijagunner
Really, I am still in a daze about how things turned out. In my view, it wasn't about missing RvP or anyone, for that matter. It was just that most of the lads (Fab, for one) were not at their best. The team lacked creativity, but then, it wasn't as if S'land created much either; I think that was probably their best goal opportunity all evening and they took it. As ARob said, it is gladening that we have the team back together from tomorrow, in training, instead of going for Internationals. It is important to win the CL game and be in the right frame of mind for the weekend.
Naijagunner
this is just too familiar over the past few seasons. whats the point of all that good football when yu can't beat these so called small teams. before this game, since the 2005/06 season, after the international break, chelsea have won 85% of their games, united 81% and we've just won 58%. they just don't have the mentality. weak individuals, even weaker team mentality..
luckys_10
they did the same thing to us last season in this fixture but we were fortunate to get a draw. now we'll beat chelsea next week, get back in the title race, and then Chelsea n United will keep beating the lesser teams while we'll keep drawing n losing to them and like Fergie said, eventually it will be a two horse race. this sucks..
luckys_10
Darren Bent finally doing the biz for Spurs.
TeddyLyon
Luckys, I rather think the luck has been with The Arsenal, against the 'lesser' teams this season. Check out the teams the top 4 sides have lost to this season and you'll see the point. This game was just a Blip we shall get over. Keep the faith, mate.
Naijagunner
Bent finally wins over the Spurs faithful. He missed a penalty against us last week. Would you believe it
HuddersfieldYiddo
it was unfortunate that sunderland managed to beat the great arsenal after all arsenal was dominating
leeimp95
hahahahha rofl one player out and your clueless so frggn funny!!
Uskok
Darren Bent a Spurs hero, never thought I'd say that.
TeddyLyon
Hey, what's up with you fellas? That was some bad defending, I say! But hope you lot are as bad in your next game, though. All said with good intentions. :-)
JT_daniel
We want your position and well have it, youll win nothing this year and the frog will start looking at his options your heard it here first on the le arse evening post.
Uskok
Its pathetic when all you have to look forward to, is that your neighbour who'd done you for the last 10 years get beat, and you maintain your mediocre existence, perenially lived in the neighbour's shadows. Sad low life bas-tard! I'm looking at you Uskok.
deledudu
Hah I detect a bit of aggression there deledudu feeling cranky? get the ***** over it were going to have you.
Uskok
This uskok is a new breed of scum. The lowest of the lowest vermin.
JT_daniel
 

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