Arsenal travel to Sunderland on Saturday as they look to put in a solid performance after a smash and grab takeaway against Anderlecht in midweek.
Where to Watch
Kick-off is set for 3pm BST. Highlights of the game will be available on BBC Match of the Day on 10:30pm BST.
Arsenal are yet to kickstart their season, currently languishing in seventh spot and have been a pale outline of their usual self in recent weeks. Their 2-2 draw against Hull City last weekend at the Emirates was a harsh reminder of their inability to break down teams who defend deep, something which is being used time and again by teams across the continent to expose Arsene Wenger's men.
Their defence is in complete shambles following the injury to Laurent Koscielny with Nacho Monreal failing to cope in an unfamiliar role. Calum Chambers is used at right-back but the 19-year-old's lack of experience shows as he goes into challenges hurriedly and commits unnecessary fouls across the pitch. The former Southampton man has already been suspended once for an accumulation of cards, which is a clear depection of his inexperience on the pitch.
Arsenal's 2-1 win over Anderlecht in midweek was as undeserving at it gets, as the Gunners failed to prise the Belgians open till the 87th minute, having gone a goal behind, when Chambers' cross was slid in beautifully by Kieran Gibbs. Lukas Podolski completed the comeback with a smart finish as Wenger was given a sweet reprieve on his 65th birthday. The Frenchman will be hoping that his team shall put on a better performance against rhe Black Cats, failing which will put an end to their dreams of putting in a title challenge.
Meanwhile, Sunderland have problems of their own, having been beaten 8-0 by Southampton in their last game, a day to forget for the players on the pitch. the board responded to criticism by reimbursing the away fans for the tickets, a gesture which the players need to replicate by principle on the pitch. It will not be an easy task by any means, especially against an Arsenal side who will have their tails up after securing an unlikely victory in the Champions League.
Sunderland are currently a point adrift of the drop zone in 17th, a point above relegation battling Burnley.
What Managers Say
Gus Poyet: "In another country, maybe an 8-0 defeat means that you lose your job. In England, that is not the case – at the moment. I've seen it in the past. I have seen other teams lose 8-0 and nothing happens, and the manager is still managing and the players are still playing. Everybody moves on, which is fine. But I can tell you, that it is only here."
Arsene Wenger: "He[Walcott] has to get used to physical contact again," said Wenger. "He has been out for nine months. It was a big injury. It takes time to settle and to get used to being kicked again. I am not sure to involve him tomorrow. He needs a game to feel completely confident but he is not far. Fitness-wise he is there to take part in a game, but on the contact front he needs a bit more time."
Betting Odds(by 888Sport.com)
- Arsenal Win: 9/13
- Draw: 29/10
- Sunerland Win: 54/13
- Last Five(most recent first): L W D L D
- Last Result: Southampton 8-0 Sunderland
- Last Five(most recent first): W D L W D
- Last Result: Anderlecht 1-2 Arsenal
- Injured: Álvarez (knee), Coates (thigh), Giaccherini (ankle), Jones (hamstring)
- Suspended: N/A
Possible XI: Mannone; Vergini, Brown, O'Shea, Van Aanholt; Cattermole; Buckley, Larsson, Gómez, Wickham; Fletcher
- Injured: Debuchy (ankle), Diaby (calf), Giroud (foot), Gnabry (knee), Koscielny (Achilles), Ospina (thigh), Özil (knee), Sanogo (hamstring), Walcott (knee)
- Doubtful: N/A
- Suspended: Wilshere
Possible XI: Szczesny; Bellerin, Chambers, Mertesacker, Gibbs; Arteta, Ramsey; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sánchez, Cazorla; Welbeck.