Arsenal will be keen to return to winning ways in the Premier League when they host Sunderland at home on this afternoon. The Gunners will step into the match at the Emirates Stadium following a 1-1 away draw with Norwich City at Carrow Road. Arsene Wenger’s men are currently fourth in the League table with 27 points from 14 games. Injuries will have a say in this match as Sanchez and Cazorla are set for a long lay-off but the return of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin will surely boost them
The North London side are only two points behind league topper Manchester City and are very much in the run for the title this term. However, they have lost the momentum in recent weeks due to injury crisis and despite the doom and gloom surrounding the injury crisis; the Gunners are desperate to return to winning ways. Arsenal didn’t even win a single Premier League fixture last month. Although Sunderland, the visitors are in great danger of getting relegated to the Championship at the end of this season, they have recently started to show some signs of resurgence. Sam Allardyce’s men managed to win their last two Premier League matches and right now are outside the bottom three.
Arsenal’s goalkeeping position will be in the safe hands of Petr Cech as usual as the veteran shotstopper continues to prove his worth giving Arsene Wenger much relief despite the injury crisis.
Defensively the Gunners will be at their best as Koscielny returning a bit earlier than expected which will see the partnership of Mertesacker, Bellerin and Monreal get together yet again to give the defence the much needed confidence. Bellerin following his return from injury seems to be hesitating when going forward at the start which he has to overcome as soon as possible.
Everyone’s attention will be on the midfield combinations as Wenger really facing his biggest challenge in recent years. The Frenchman could choose Aaron Ramsey in his most natural central midfield position alongside Mathieu Flamini, who against Norwich tried to hold on to the midfield but failed to influence proceedings on the ball. Ramsey might become effective in his preferred role because in recent matches when Wenger used him down the flunk he struggled to feature consistently in the attacking moves.
In the attacking slots Arsene Wenger should go for Alex Chamberlin and Joel Champbell for the wide areas while Ozil roaming around as a no.10. The German maestro continues his fine run of form providing excellent service in attack. Campbell has to be more effective down the flank to keep up with the pace of the opponents. For Chamberlin it will be a huge challenge as he is returning for a long lay-off.
With Olivier Giroud upfront as a lone striker, his combination with Mesut Ozil will be the key for Arsenal to get a win against Sunderland. Giroud is doing well as the target man in the centre, while holding the ball quite nicely. In the absence of Sanchez all eyes will be upon him.