September 17th 2010
Sunderland missed the chance to record second successive win as they were held by Wigan and they now have to try and get something from this match as well. The scintillating performance against Bolton saw Arsenal return to the second place in the standings but the Gunners need to continue the good run in order to remain in the title race.
Having failed to impress anyone with their performances against Birmingham and West Brom, Sunderland players showed some improvement in the next two games as they defeated City and came close to winning at Wigan, only to be denied the three points by late goal from Alcaraz. The Black Cats have yet to hit the ground running and that should worry their fans before the match with high-flying Arsenal, even if Asamoah Gyan proved his credentials by scoring on his debut. The absence of suspended midfielder Lee Cattermole is going to be a big blow as Steve Bruce doesn’t have too many players capable of stopping Arsenal midfield from bossing the game. Taking also into account that Gordon, Turner, Campbell and Mayler are out with injuries, things do not look too good for the Black Cats.
Nobody can stay cold to Arsenal’s magnificent start of the season and there is absolutely no doubt they are playing the best football in Europe at the moment. Never mind the fact Arsene Wenger is missing quite a few first team regulars (this is hardly new for Arsenal), as when Cesc Fabregas is on top of his game, as he is at the moment, so is Arsenal. The 4:1 win over Bolton and the 6:0 trashing of Braga in the Champions League are enough to strike fear into the hearts of Sunderland players, and I really cannot see how the Gunners will fail to win this game. Arsene Wenger’s men should be able to impose the game onto their opponents from the very start and looking at the scoring form they are in, Sunderland could be in for a real beating here. The absence of Bendtner, Walcott, Diaby, Van Persie, Ramsey and Vermaelen is unlikely to damage Arsenal’s chances of winning the game.
Sunderland seem to have rediscovered their form lately but that will be of little help if Arsenal continue playing the way they are at the moment. The Gunners have scored 19 goals in first 5 games of the season and few more should be enough for the fifth successive win.
Verdict: Away win Arsenal (2)
Best Odds: 4/6
Bookmaker: William Hill
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