Saturday, 25 October 2014

Sunderland vs Arsenal: Match Preview

"Seriously boss, I don't look like Lewis Hamilton, do I?"

| Pre-match conference | Team news

The last time we visited the Stadium of Light, a side largely buoyed by Ozil's purchase and Ramsey's form comfortably beat them 1-3. However, despite Sunderland coming into this match with shattered mindsets in the wake of an 8-0 Southampton hammering, I still expect this game to be close.

Sunderland - before a Tadic and Pelle inspired Saints side breezed them off the park - had one of the meanest defences in the league. Even though I tipped them for relegation at the start of the season, Gus Poyet had managed to tighten things up at the back, with ex-Gunner Vito Mannone and new boy Vergini standing out.

Our forward approach play this season has been dysfunctional, to say the least (Ironically enough, I've said this the most!). Despite having an array of attacking talent, as a unit we've simply failed to click and have had to be bailed out by Sanchez on a number of occasions. If the Black Cats stay compact and maintain their shape in their own den, there is every reason for us to create minimal chances today. Again.

Gus Poyet is a smart man. He must be wise of Arsenal's mishmash defence and one-dimensional attack. If he plays his tactics right and hits them on the break, he could cause a huge upset on Saturday.

In contrast, Wenger needs to inject some diversity into Arsenal's attack. The current system just isn't working. Perhaps he could revert to 4-2-3-1 instead of 4-1-4-1, and shift Santi Cazorla in the middle. He could throw Joel Campbell, Lukas Podolski or Tomas Rosicky into the mix. Heck, he could also hurry Theo Walcott from injury (it seems like that's what he's doing, since Theo has been included in the Matchday squad). Options is something the Frenchman does not lack. It's all about using the right one.

Even though we're looking lackluster in attack and Poyet's side could very well hold us at bay for large periods, I suspect (or rather, I hope) our sheer majority of big names will prove decisive in the end. In addition, I hope that doesn't contribute in more papering over the cracks.

Shit, is Koscielny knackered till the international break?

-Santi [Follow me on Twitter @ArsenalBlogz ]