Arsenal take on Sunderland at the Stadium of Light today in which will only be Arsenal’s fourth Premier League game of the season despite the fact it feels like ages since that disastrous afternoon against Aston Villa at the Emirates back in August.
I think the main talking paint of this match will be the fact it should be the expected debut of club record signing Mesut Ozil, however bad news for the Gunners is that he is a doubt for the game because he has come down with an illness. Per Mertesacker too has picked up the illness so it can be suggested it is something to do with their time away on international duty with Germany, however the defender’s condition is much worse than that of Ozil’s, who has managed to travel with the club to the North of England.
So with the news that Ozil may not be able to feature in the game vs. Sunderland, Arsenal fans may have to wait until midweek to see our new man in action against Marseille and although it’s understandably frustrating for everyone, I am still confident we can win this game.
Other injury news includes Mertesacker as already discussed, Rosicky, who also picked up an injury on international duty, whilst there are some small fitness doubts over England pair Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere. Good news is that Arteta and Vermaelen could be in for a return with Arsenal, although it’s unlikely to be this weekend, but both could feature on the bench. Podolski and the Ox remain injured, whilst both Gibbs and Koscielny have now fully recovered from their eye issues.
In terms of the line-up for Arsenal, we must consider international duty and I expect Wenger to rest some key players. I think we will line up as follows:
Jenkinson Sagna Koscielny Gibbs
Walcott Giroud Cazorla
With Mertesacker out, Sagna will replace him at centre back meaning Jenkinson will once again play right back. Gibbs will probably play over Monreal, whilst I expect Flamini to start in place of Wilshere, who needs a rest. I think Ozil will make it onto the pitch at some point although I’m not too sure if it shall be from the start, whilst the front three is unlikely to change from the win against Spurs.
It certainly won’t be an easy game and I think if it wasn’t for the boost given off by Ozil, then we would all be feeling much more nervous however it seems as if those concerns have been blown straight out of the window with our new German international at the helm. Hopefully he can feature and ultimately for Arsenal to deliver all three points!