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Sunderland vs. Arsenal

Stadium of Light



Sunderland v. Arsenal

A difficult away test awaits Arsenal this weekend as they make the long trek up to Wearside to take on Sunderland AFC. In two short years, Roy Keane has transformed Sunderland from bottom of the Championship, to a side that attracts international superstars like Djibril Cisse. Coming off an impressive 4-0 victory midweek against FC Porto, it is imperative that Arsenal keep the intensity level extremely high as any mistake may very well be punished by this new look Sunderland attack.

Vital Quotes:

Arsene spoke about the positive attitude in the club. The pain was big but the response was good," said Wenger. "It was important to show that Saturday was an accident.

"Looking at the League table I do not think [the Hull defeat] has too much of an impact, but it is damaging. You do not want to lose at home against anybody.

"But I believe we have a healthy attitude in the squad and that has been shown against Porto. We want to show we have learned from the defeat against Hull.

"We gave the first half of the response on Tuesday night and we want to give the other half on Saturday at Sunderland.

"When you go there, you want your team to be completely at its best and focused. I believe what happened last week will help us to do that."

Keane had good things to say about his former rival. 'Arsenal, as much as they have spent, have not spent anywhere near as some of the other big clubs.

'That's something we have to look at as a football club. We are not capable of continuing to spend 20m, 25m or 30m every transfer window.

'That's where your scouting network pays off, and that is something we are looking to improve. But to try to compare our system at the moment to Arsenal's is crazy. We are a long way away yet.'

Clichy spoke about the result against Hull and the trip up to Sunderland. 'We know we made big mistakes and the first one was to think the game was going to be easy after we scored the first goal,' he told Sky Sports News.

'We were not focused until the final minute.

'That was the big mistake and I think we learned from that, but it is a real shame as we could have been top today but we are not.

'It is just the start of the season and nothing to be worried about as we know we have got the quality to do well this year and we are going to show people and our fans that this game was just an incident and we will be putting in a good performance against Sunderland.'

Kolo talked about the game as well. 'Roy Keane is a good coach and he has a good group of players at Sunderland.Sunderland are doing well this season. They have brought in El Hadji-Diouf and Djibril Cisse and they will be a tough team to play against, especially as they are playing at home.'

He added: 'It's going to be tight but we will work hard.

'I think it's going to be a really exciting game. Sunderland have some good players but it's a game we have to win.'

Sunderland Team News:

Sunderland have a long injury list for this match. Striker Kenwyne Jones and defender Nyron Nosworthy are both still out with long term injuries. Teemu Tainio's shoulder again keeps him out of Roy Keane's squad, while Phil Bardsley (ankle) and Grant Leadbitter (concussion) will be out as well. Liam Miller face a very late fitness test. He is suffering from a groin injury.

Possible Staring XI: Gordon, McCartney, Collins, Ferdinand, Chimbonda, Richardson, Miller, Whitehead, Malbranque, Cisse, Diouf

Player to watch: Djibril Cisse

The former Liverpool striker is on a season long loan from Olympique de Marseille. His time at Liverpool didnt work out, but he is still very dangerous. For I'OM he scored 24 goals in 58 appearances, and he has already notched two goals in 5 for Sunderland.

Arsenal Team News:

Arsenal again have no new injuries to report. Alex Song's return to fitness is a boost. Arsene gave an injury update on three long term absentees for the Gunners this week. No news on Amaury Bischoff though.

'Diaby is very close now. He is two weeks or one week away. I think after the international break Diaby is ready to play

'I monitor Rosicky's progress very closely but at the moment it is very difficult to put a date on his comeback. We are not pessimistic about the future of his career but we still need more patience. If he comes back before Christmas we have done very well but I think we can achieve that, that in December he can play again.'

'Eduardo is doing very well but is not close to play,' said Wenger. Eduardo will be OK before Christmas, of course.'

Possible Starting XI: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Walcott, Song, Fabregas, Nasri, Van Persie, Adebayor

Player to watch: William Gallas

Billy has come under heavy criticism again by the Arsenal supporters this year. He will need to produce a strong preformance to keep Cisse and Diouf in check.

Match Facts & Stats

Arsenal have not lost successive Premier League games in 52 matches.

Arsenal have won 2 away games this year while Sunderland has already lost 2 home games

Arsenal have won 6 straight games against Sunderland in all competitions

Last year Arsenal won both the home and away matches against the Black Cats, 3-2 and 1-0 respectively.

Ref Watch:

Lee Mason will be the head official for this match. He has only refereed one Barclay's Premier League game this season, Hull City v Everton, and he only handed out one yellow card in that affair.

Match Prediction:

This will be a very tough match for Arsenal because Keane will certainly have his talented troops fired up for this one. If Arsenal can play with the high intensity level that we saw for most of the Porto game then I think we can come out 2-1 or 3-1 victors from the Stadium of Light.

Next Fixtures:

After this, European Football goes on another international break. Really how many of these can they squeeze into the first 2 months of the season?

18/10-- Everton(H)-- Premier League

21/10-- Fenerbahce(A)-- Champions League

26/10-- West Ham(A)-- Premier League

The Journalist

Writer: Brice Coffer Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday October 3 2008

Time: 11:52PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
We need to play well or we will be punished. Sunderland have a good team and must not be taken lightly.
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04/10/2008 00:03:00

i am scared of saying wat i tink wil happen for fear of havin d opposite occur
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04/10/2008 00:31:00

I would like that to be our starting midfield
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04/10/2008 07:10:00

Hello everybody. First post of the season for me. This could turn out to be a very good weekend for us, with Chelsea (injury-hit) vs an on-form Villa, Liverpool away at City and Blackburn hosting Man U. On paper we have the "easiest" game, but the Hull game proved that anything can happen... That being said, I think we'll get the 3 points (2-1 or 1-0), and then hopefully Villa, City and Blackburn can take a few points off the other 3! Enjoy the game everyone. VICTORIA CONCORDIA CRESCIT
Patresc Vieiragas
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04/10/2008 10:48:00

I to think this is going to be a hard game for us, but I think we can win the game, if our midfield stays strong and our defence actually defends.
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04/10/2008 11:39:00

Amunia; Sagna Toure Gallas Clichy; Walcott Fabregas Song Denilson; van Persie Adebayor; Fabianski, Djourou, Silvestre, Eboue, Nasri, Vela and Bendtner. I wonder if it is a 433?
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04/10/2008 14:38:00

considering the fact that Theo can't defend and RvP rarely does - looks like it Tom
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04/10/2008 14:53:00

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04/10/2008 14:55:00

Nah, it will be a 442 with Song on the left.
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04/10/2008 14:55:00

It looks like to me we are playing a 4-5-1. RVP has defended pretty well on the left wing too. Not much goal scoring threat from us though
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04/10/2008 15:50:00

Its not working at all. I never understand it when he plays RvP on the left. Put Vela on!
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04/10/2008 15:55:00

Yep ... we have been punished ... I no its going to extremes but we should go to extremes ... looking like another loss ... lets bring in some more of the youngsters ... start carlos vela ... give the big guns a rest ... make them think about what has been happening ... might wake them up abit!!!
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04/10/2008 16:45:00

I only started watching at half time, don't understand the formation at all.. what happened?
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04/10/2008 16:46:00

This is quite bad. I'm afraid we've took major steps backwards from last year.
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04/10/2008 16:50:00

CESC! At least we have got a point from this match.
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04/10/2008 16:51:00

Got a point but still very disappointing! we need to be going to teams like sunderland away and claiming all 3 ... ok we was robbed of a goal off RVP but still besides the point ... we seem to be lacking that cutting edge when it comes down to the weaker teams that we face up against ... really need some one like carlos vela to be playing ... he will take a chance and take the risks RVP and Ade dont ...
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04/10/2008 16:54:00

united and chavs will not get results like this, nor will play like we did. I am very disappointed, why do we always expect to turn up and win against the smaller teams ?
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04/10/2008 16:58:00

Its all about surviving until January, the balance of this team is all wrong. We NEED to break the bank in January and sign a top class central midfielder who compliments our best player (Cesc). I truly do not understand why this situation was not sorted in the summer. We havent even played a decent team in the premiership and weve given up 7 points ffs.
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04/10/2008 17:01:00

We were very lucky, so many balls given away,passes going astray. We have the players we have the class but it just seems to go wrong. Why did they not start with Nasri instead of Denilson. We looked so balanced against Porto. Song played well and seemed to give us a better pattern at the back but sloppy passes from Theo Sanga in vital areas are really not on. At least I can go to sleep tonight but we are a worry.
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04/10/2008 17:07:00

we'll just have to beat the better teams then.
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04/10/2008 17:15:00

Walcott was given 66 mins before he was taken off? he had a very, very poor first half. up till the introduction of Bendtner, we had no chance of winning at all. no urgency, no fluency. and what must Ade do to be substituted? we totally deserved to lose to make Wenger realise that some players in the squad are not good enough to win anything. disappointed.
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04/10/2008 17:31:00

We never deserved to lose. In fact, we should have been in the lead after 56 minutes but for the ineptitude of the lino. We dominated possession, dictated play, had more shots, created more chances, while Sunderland continuously defended with 9 and 10 men behind the ball hoping to hit us on the break. They created absolutely nothing - the chances they had and the goal were after our own mistakes. Another screamer was the order of the day and give the lad the ball another 100 times, he'll miss the ball 50 and hit it near to the corner flag the other 50. We just were not good enough in the final third.
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04/10/2008 17:42:00

We werent good enough in the final 3rd because Fabregas has forever got Denilson stepping all over his toes.
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04/10/2008 17:47:00

fcd, after watching that match how can you say that Adebayor deserves to be dropped? he was one of the few players who did something in the match. Denilson should be dropped because he just leaves us with less room to attack and van persie should only play if he is up front. vela or Nasri can do the left wing role a damn site better than him. It seems simple enough to me, surely Wenger can see it? Its not like I am reacting in hindsight, we all knew before it started (after reading the teamsheet and seeing the formation) that we would play badly.
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04/10/2008 18:04:00

And Iceman, Alex Song can be that defensive midfielder we crave, he never gets the oppertunity to shine. Name me a player who will come in and do a better defensive job than him? Xabi Alsonso would not.
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04/10/2008 18:05:00

Again Tom, pure speculation on both counts. You don't know that Song will be that player, and you don't know that Alonso wouldn't.
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04/10/2008 18:43:00

A poor performance today. Lacked creativity, width and incisiveness. Wenge got it wrong with the formation, more than anything else. When the team saw that Sunderland had congested the mid field, the long ball route to Ade was not tried at all. We were lucky to come away with a point and Sunderland did very well, they were well-organised and had a few good chances by hitting us on the break.
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04/10/2008 18:44:00

I sit here watching the man u V blackburn game. It really pains me to say this but we have really regressed in comparison to the other so called big 4 teams. What makes it even more grating is the fact that simply ( and not necessarily too-expensive changes) would ve made a hell of a difference. A decent striker, a DM and a defender. As far as im concerned, this team maybe good but they re not great. Wenger's experiment is looking like a very bad joke.
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04/10/2008 19:03:00

Rocky, I said "can". But I do know that Alonso would not have been the answer because he is not that type of player at all. He does not defend. he plays alongside the best defensive midfielder in World Football (mascherano) and sprays passes around. Song could be our defensive midfielder and is likely to be our number one partner for Cesc this season. Im not saying it will work because the rest of the team looks fragile at the moment.
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04/10/2008 19:27:00

You guys must really ***** off the bookies. First team with bipolar disorder.
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04/10/2008 19:40:00

You really have to stop losing points to such teams (Fulham, Hull, now Sunderland) if you want to be taken seriously. I think Eboue should've started - he's quick, good balance on the ball and could've definitely helped going forward.
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04/10/2008 19:56:00

It seems to me, he's ALWAYS the scapegoat when things don't go well for your team
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04/10/2008 19:58:00

That's nonsense , Michael "Eboue" Phelps is loved by the arsenal supporters.
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04/10/2008 20:03:00

i dun think we can really fault the lads or Arsene for today's performance. the way Sunderland played with everybody behind the ball, you don't always win in such a situation. look at chelsea vs spurs at the bridge. when a team parks the bus in front of the goal, these kinda results do happen. i remember an instance when Cesc had the ball right at the centre circle, and all their players were a good 15 yards in their own half..
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04/10/2008 20:56:00

and the luck isn't also really shining that much upon us now. they barely created anything the entire game, and one pot shot and it's in. but credit to the team for going on right till the end & salvaging a draw. this i feel is a point gained rather than two points dropped. don't think about winning the league now folks, get it out of your head. lets just focus on the next game, thats all im asking you all for..
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04/10/2008 20:58:00

cuz there is no point in dwelling over whom we should have signed in the summer. it's of no use now, we have to live with the team that we have. and the boys are getting better everytime. Song looks to have come on leaps and bounds & looks like a perfect foil for Cesc. lets get as many points as we can till the new year, get Rosicky & Eduardo back & then see where we stand. i firmly believe we're gonna win one major title this season, whether it will be the league or the champions league, i dun know, but i know we will. thats why just relax & think about the next game. we're done with 3 tough fixtures up north where we dun really like to play & got 7 points out of it, so thats not too bad. a result like Hull happens once in a blue moon & i'm dead sure it wont be repeated again. so take this result in a positive way, the league ain't won in October, still a long long way to go. 5 games later the table can look a lot more different. so chillax & lets enjoy super sunday with Villa & City coming to the party tomm..
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04/10/2008 21:04:00

mmm i think after today, we will return to winning ways, we showed that hunger on the last 4 minutes....and i think fabregas would be more confident with that goal. and he will found his form
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04/10/2008 22:27:00

The sooner Adebayor is dropped for Bendtner the better - Adebayor is NOT Henry who is never subbed. Denilson needs to go back to the reserves as well. He is stepping on Fab's toes. What amazes me is he and Walcott continually give the ball to the other team, yet nobody says **** ! Song was good vs sunderland - MOTM for me. Clichy was at fault for the Leadbitter goal, he stood aside and let him have a crack - watch the replays. The mids must be Nasri, Song, Fab and Eboue/Walcott. Even Vela must get more game time - Wenger threw him on with 2 mins to go - did anyone notice the look on his face like "WTF can I do in 2 mins?" If Arsene thinks he is good enough when we are 0-1 down with 2 mins to go then give the lad a good chunk of the game !
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04/10/2008 22:58:00

I missed the 1st half and didn't understand the line-up at all. The boss said one of the reasons why he played Ade-Bendtner up front against Bolton was that he wanted more physical presence going oop north. Then he knew Sunderland were a similar thing, and set up a 4-5-1 with RvP in LW and no Nasri?! If presence was what the boss thought was needed, why not Bendtner? I also missed the first 15 mins of MotD, did you guys get to see the RvP goal? It's a legitimate goal wasn't it? (Not that I'm blaming it on the ref cos we should have done better, but it's still 2 massive points dropped there.)
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04/10/2008 23:36:00

absolutely legitimate Lou.
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04/10/2008 23:53:00

Skwishy soft schedule for first 11 games this season. Not unlike last year. Should have perfect record, but far, far from it. These dropped points will hurt big time when schedule gets tougher.
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05/10/2008 01:47:00

I wonder if we're just paying the price of losing Flamini and Hleb. Not necessarily because what they gave us individually but more because it means we're having to transition again and adapt to a new way of playing compared to last season. We look like a side that's going to be fighting for 4th place this season because it looks like it will be between Liverpool, Chelsea and Man Utd for the title. How disappointing that we seemed to have regressed from one of the top 2 from a few seasons ago to this. Is this perhaps the weakest team we've ever had under Wenger?
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05/10/2008 09:32:00

while Grant Leadbitter (concussion) will be out as well. Oh Brice, how I wish you were accurate in that part of your report! LOL
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06/10/2008 12:44:00

Bendtner was played against Bolton as a defensive option, because he has height in defending set pieces. Sunderland don't have the same threat there.
Little Dutch
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06/10/2008 13:15:00

LD, it was probably a good job, with our current record at set pieces that Kenwyne Jones was no where near the pitch!
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06/10/2008 14:33:00

Arsenal are in no way out of the tile race! You've amassed 13 points, four behind the leaders with 31 games to go!
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07/10/2008 03:32:00

ForeverUnited. At this stage I don;t think you can count any of the top four from last season, especially as everyone will drop points. The scousers cannot go on stinking up the pitch and getting results, Chelsea over rated squad strength will be exposed at some stage and maybe, just maybe a referee will allow a proper goal scored by us in a tight match that may help us get an improved result. Man Utd as ever look like they are marching on after a poor start, performance wise anyway!
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07/10/2008 10:05:00


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