Sunderland vs. Arsenal
Arsenal's Per Mertesacker (L) challenges Sunderland's Stephane sessegnon during their English Premier League soccer match at the Emirates Stadium in London October 16, 2011. Reuters

A potential classic in the making.

Sunderland are in probably the form of their lives. They've won 4 of their last 5 league games and they're into the Fifth Round of the FA Cup... where, surprise, they'll play Arsenal.

Arsenal's 7-1 mauling of Blackburn must be a huge morale boost ahead of an always difficult trip to the Stadium of Light. Wenger will be aware of the superb recent form of his hosts and the fact that unless Arsenal win again, the game against Blackburn will mean absolutely nothing. The Gunners come into the game with only one win in five games and the knowledge that talismanic striker Thierry Henry will not be extending his loan deal.

Sunderland, will be missing a fair number of players through injuries but considering that hasn't slowed them in previous games, it is unlikely they will feel very different now. Perhaps the best reflection of their performance to date (and therefore by way of a comment on the game) is the fact that they've only lost one game more than their illustrious visitors, all season long. There is a good chance those columns will be equal by the end of the game.




Games Played2424
Goal difference912
Last Five MatchesW L W W W L L L D W
Premier League Position86
Top scorersS. Sessegnon - 6R. van Persie - 22
Last Encounter between the two sides.1 (Sebastian Larsson)2 (R. van Persie x2)
Players unavailable for this matchGordon, Brown, Cattermole, Kilgallon, Vaughan, Bramble, Bendtner, Angeleri (all injured)Diaby, Andre Santos, Wilshere, Jenkinson (all injured); Gibbs (doubtful)