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Preview: Positive Response Required

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Let's not dwell on last week too much - it was just one (embarrassing) defeat. The perfect tonic would be to witness those players who get the nod to face Arsenal giving everything they've got in order to consign the memory of last Saturday's thrashing to the dustbin of history!

Former Arsenal 'keeper Vito Mannone will hope to put last weekend behind him
Former Arsenal 'keeper Vito Mannone will hope to put last weekend behind him
Stu Forster

Sunderland Team News

New signing Anthony Reveillere could be in line to make his debut for the club at right-back should his international clearance arrive in time, which would come in handy with Billy Jones crocked.

Argentine Ricky Alvarez is edging closer to fitness but this Saturday will come too soon, while Sebastian Coates and Emanuele Giaccherini are still out.

Arsenal Team News

Jack Wilshere is suspended due to five yellow cards, so Mikel Arteta is likely to step in. There was talk earlier in the week of a return to action for long-term injury victim Theo Walcott, but the latest news suggests that he'll probably be made to wait until the next fixture comes around.

Meanwhile, Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil, David Ospina, Abou Diaby and Olivier Giroud are continuing their rehabilitation from injuries and won't feature.

Predicted Line-Ups

Sunderland vs Arsenal - Football tactics and formations

SAFC (4-1-4-1): Mannone; Reveillere, O'Shea, Brown, van Aanholt; Cattermole; Johnson, Larsson, Rodwell, Wickham; Fletcher.

AFC (4-1-4-1): Szczesny; Chambers, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs; Flamini; Alexis, Ramsey, Arteta, Cazorla; Welbeck.

Key Match-Up: Wes Brown v Danny Welbeck

Welbeck has started well for his new club Arsenal after a £16million move from Old Trafford in the summer and he will be relishing the opportunity to return to a ground where he made a major career breakthrough during a season-long loan at Sunderland in 2010-11.

Steve Bruce gave Welbeck his big chance and he grabbed it with both hands by producing a string of excellent performances and forcing his way into the reckoning for England as a result.

It'll potentially be his former Manchester United team-mate Wes Brown who'll be tasked with the job of keeping the livewire forward at bay and his intimate knowledge of his younger opponent from their days together in the north-west could prove vital.

23-year-old Welbeck's pace is a concern and it'll require all of Brown's experience and positional awareness to keep him quiet.

Sunderland Recent League Form: DWL

Draw: Swansea City (H) 0-0

Win: Stoke City (H) 3-1

Loss: Southampton (A) 0-8

Arsenal Recent League Form: DLD  

Draw: Tottenham Hotspur (H) 1-1

Loss: Chelsea (A) 0-2

Draw: Hull City (H) 2-2

Last Time Around: Sunderland 1-3 Arsenal (14/09/2013)

Arsenal gave a debut to German international Mesut Ozil following his mega-money move from Real Madrid and his class shone through with the Gunners running out eventual winners having been made to withstand significant pressure from the home side for long spells of the match.

Ozil skilfully set up Giroud for the opener on 11 minutes, but they failed to capatilise on their advantage and substitute Craig Gardner made them pay with an equaliser from the penalty spot early into the second half.

Sunderland had chances to take the lead prior to a body blow delivered by Aaron Ramsay just after the hour, but the Black Cats just kept on coming. Jozy Altidore wrestled with Bacary Sagna and managed to trickle the ball over the line only for play to be pulled back for a supposed foul against the US international.

A lovely one-two between Ramsey and Giroud led to the Welshman's second of the game with 14 minutes remaining and the Wearsiders' valiant challenge was effectively over at that stage.

The Ref: Kevin Friend

Leicester-based referee Kevin Friend takes charge of Saturday's encounter having given out one red card throughout the whole of last season and that was shown in the direction of Wes Brown at Stoke City in November 2013.

Friend has been officiating in the top-flight since 2009-10 and oversees a Sunderland game for the first time of this campaign so far tomorrow.

What The Managers Said

Gus Poyet:

"I want to go back to basics. I want to see the team performing and defending in a certain way, being on their game, being difficult to beat and taking advantage of the opposition’s weaknesses.

"This week the idea was to analyse the last game and focus on Arsenal because it is a difficult game and it has been a few years since we beat them at home in the league.

"Arsenal still have a certain style and they will move the ball well.

"The idea is to play the game under certain concentration levels and be very good on the ball, making sure we make it very difficult for them and not as easy as last weekend."

Arsene Wenger:

"I consider every Premier League game winnable, but every game can also be a danger.

"You win the games by producing the best performance you can and that’s what we have to do.

"I believe that last year we were very consistent against teams (like Sunderland) so let’s be inspired by that."

 

Roker Report Predicts 

Sunderland's home form hasn't been too bad after posting three draws and a win so far in the league and they've proved hard to beat, so that must provide some optimism at least.

Arsenal, meanwhile, drew with Hull City away from home last time out thanks to a last-gasp equalising goal from Danny Welbeck and they've surprisingly only won one more Premier League game than the Black Cats this term despite sitting in seventh place.

However, there's a massive question mark hanging over the type of response Gus Poyet's men will conjure after the demoralising defeat at the hands of Southampton last weekend.

At the very least, fans will expect a display full of fighting spirit and a willingness to run all day from each and every one of the players who are selected.

Alas, I fear even the hosts' best efforts will be in vain with the Gunners claiming all three points by a narrow margin.