clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Match Preview: Will Sunderland Finally Turn A Corner Against Form-Side Arsenal?

With David Moyes still searching for his first league win as Sunderland manager, what is the likelihood that it comes this weekend against a side in Arsenal who have lost just once this season?

Southampton v Sunderland - EFL Cup Fourth Round Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

Whilst many Sunderland supporters may feel that we have no chance against Arsenal this weekend it would be typical of us if we went and got something from the game.

If you were an Arsenal supporter you'd likely be expecting nothing less than three points, especially considering their form in correlation to our own.

Whilst we have yet to win a league game this season, Arsenal haven't lost in any competition since being beaten by Liverpool in their campaign opener back in August.

In fact, we couldn't be less alike. Whilst the Gunners have become the bastion of stability, defensive soundness and attacking prowess, Sunderland have an injury list longer than Arsene Wenger's coat, have yet to keep a Premier League clean sheet and have only scored on three occasions in our last six league games.

It does however mean that there's significantly less pressure on us than normal to win the game (as strange as that sounds having not won once yet in this campaign), and you would hope that will play in to our favour. Any signs of defensive and offensive improvement tomorrow will be viewed as a good outcome and that is exactly what David Moyes needs right now.

If we simply allow Arsenal to come here and pick us apart, however, the Stadium could become poisonous. Making ourselves tough to beat tomorrow has to be our main priority, otherwise we could be in for a very uncomfortable afternoon.

Arsenal faltered somewhat last weekend against fellow strugglers Middlesbrough and whilst they could have a number of players returning to their side from injury for tomorrow's game, it should give us some hope at least that if we set up in the right way, we can get a positive result.

Some Interesting Stats

In our last six games against Arsenal at the Stadium of Light, our opponents have won four of them and we've drawn just two, winning none.

In those six games we have only scored on three occasions, whilst Arsenal have notched nine.

Despite that, this is typically a low-scoring fixture - in the last 15 meetings between the two on Wearside, only four of those games have seen the total goals in the game exceed 2.5.

My money is on this being a fairly drab and low scoring affair, despite the form of both teams coming into it.

Team News

Adnan Januzaj is back in training and may well be a part of the squad. Jason Denayer is also back out on the training ground but this game might come too soon for him, so David Moyes has pretty much the same squad that he's had to select from for the last number of weeks.

Victor Anichebe played the full ninety minutes at Southampton on Wednesday evening and gave a good account of himself, but he's expected to start the game on the bench with Jermain Defoe returning to the starting eleven.

Predicted XI: Pickford, Van Aanholt, O'Shea, Kone, Manquillo, Rodwell, McNair, Ndong, Watmore, Khazri, Defoe.

Manager's Crack

Gav's Prediction

As I've alluded to further up the page, I'm not really expecting this to be a particularly thrilling game.

With Sunderland positioned as the clear underdogs it lifts the pressure somewhat and our game plan going in will almost certainly be to keep tight and break forward at pace, something that may well frustrate an Arsenal side that typical dominate possession around the edge of their opponents eighteen-yard box with their slick two-touch passing and ball retention.

I'm feeling that this will be a 0-0 draw, with Sunderland keeping their first clean sheet of the season under rather unexpected circumstances.

As brilliant as Arsenal are, we have to turn a corner at some point and proving that we can defend well against one of the best attacking sides in the league may give us something to build upon with much more winnable fixtures on the horizon in the coming weeks.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Roker Report Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Sunderland news from Roker Report