The Gunners, who scraped into a third place finish last season, will need to show a considerable improvement in performances and results this season, particularly since they have spent a considerable amount of money, by Arsene Wenger's standards, on new players to offset the sale of striker Robin van Persie, the imminent departure of midfielder Alex Song and the perennial cloud of injuries that hovers over the Emirates. New signings Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla should go a long way towards making the Gunners a more potent attacking force.

Arsene Wenger

Sunderland, too, had a difficult season last year, finishing only nine points above the drop zone, in 13th place. The club lacks a proven goal scorer, following the return of Nicklas Bendtner to Arsenal. The Dane was their highest scorer last season, with eight strikes. Martin O'Neill will have to call on all his experience to steer the Black Cats to safety this time around and will hope that new signing Louis Saha can pick up where Bendtner left off. O'Neill will also hope that Stephane Sessegnon can continue his good form from last season and that youngster James McClean continues to impress.

Pre-Season Form

The Gunners' form on their pre-season tour of Asia was poor. They won only once in three games, and were dismissed 0-2 in a friendly against a Manchester City team missing most of its stars. A training camp in Germany seemed to improve matters though and a rejuvenated Arsenal side beat German club FC Koln 4-0; the game included a brace from new signing and former Koln player Podolski.

Sunderland, meanwhile, have lost three of their last six matches, scoring only four goals in the process. Their only pre-season win came against FC Groningen in South Korea. O'Neill will be hoping for a fresh start against Arsenal.

Team News

Arsenal could be without French centre back Laurent Koscielny; German international Per Mertesacker is likely to step into defence to partner Belgian Thomas Vermaelen in defence, with Johan Djourou and Kieran Gibbs on the flanks. Cameroon midfielder Alex Song coud start, despite being courted by Barcelona. The second central midfield slot is likely to be occupied by one of either Aaron Ramsey or Mikel Arteta. New signings Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud could all be handed league debuts, following the sale of van Persie and the inconsistency displayed by Ivorian international Gervinho last season. English winger Theo Walcott should retain his place on the right flank.

Sunderland are expected to start with a centre back pairing of Titus Bramble and Carlos Cuellar with Simon Mignolet in goal. Sessegnon is expected to reprise his second striker role with Sebastian Larsson and McClean on the wings. The midfield pairing of Lee Cattermole and Craig Gardner will be tasked with breaking up Arsenal's passing game, while new signing Saha is set to make his debut for the club.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Djourou, Vermaelen, Mertesacker, Gibbs; Song, Arteta; Cazorla, Podolski, Walcott; Giroud

Sunderland (4-4-1-1): Mignolet; O'Shea, Cueller, Bramble, Richarson; Cattermole, Gardner, McClean, Larsson; Sessegnon; Saha

Where to Watch:

You can catch the highlights of the game, along with all of the day's action on BBC One and BBC One HD at 10.20 pm BST. Arsenal members and Arsenal Player day pass holders can listen to full live commentary on club's official website, starting from 2.30 pm BST.