You endured a frustrating afternoon last time out against Middlesbrough but it's been a great start to the season so far for Arsenal. Dare I say it and dare you even think it, but based on the early displays could the title be heading to the Emirates this season?
Whisper it! Who knows really? We have started well but Chelsea aside we haven't had the toughest run lately. The team has come together really nicely lately but the issue is like the one three seasons ago - just one injury could take its toll as the side is finely balanced. Having said that, Ramsey is yet to play and Xhaka hasn't featured heavily yet - keep everyone fit while integrating them into a regular position and we have an outside chance.
Would just a serious title challenge be enough to please the fans this season? What are the aims for the season as a whole?
It would certainly please me. You look at the money spent by the Manchester clubs and look at the managers the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool (dare I add Spurs?) all have and there are a few clubs hoping to win it. Ultimately only one can. The aim for me would be to convince, not just flatter to deceive. Let's stay close and put pressure on Manchester City, let's win our Champions League group and mix it in the quarter-finals, show Alexis and Özil they should stay because we are close to winning big things.
Arsene Wenger certainly splashed the cash this summer spending big money on Granit Xhaka, Lucas Perez & Shkodran Mustafi. On Xhaka specifically first though, do you finally have the quality central midfielder you've been crying out for the past couple of seasons?
I really believe we might, yes. A quick word for Aaron Ramsey, who's top quality but has lacked a partner in the middle who really suits him like Arteta did before his legs stopped working. Xhaka can be the partner he has needed to recapture the form he showed a few years ago. Xhaka is a great passer, a big upgrade on Coquelin, and very intelligent on the ball. He just needs to calm down a bit but I'd expect a regular run to do that for him.
Mustafi looks solid and assured too. Does the team have a good all round balance now?
Another excellent signing, he's been very impressive. We definitely do but there is that worry we are too finely balanced, just one absentee throws the whole thing off, as we saw last weekend when Cazorla was missing. We are solid at the back as long as we keep our heads and we have everything to blow teams away at the other end, now it's about figuring out stubborn defences more often than not.
Jack Wilshere at Bournemouth. I've still not quite adjusted to that one in my mind. How do most Arsenal fans feel about him being loaned out? Is this what he needs to give him a bit of a kick up the arse?
There's a real mix of emotions; some thinks he has to play regularly, others hated to see him go. I think the minutes are important but he hasn't looked great so far and you start to wonder if so many injuries have taken their toll. Fingers crossed he finds form and returns next summer but I wouldn't be too surprised to see his Arsenal career end before next season.
The usual suspects in the Arsenal team seem to be in good form but who's the main danger man, heading into this match?
It has to be Alexis Sánchez right now. He's come to life as he's adjusted to the role up front, he absolutely loves the responsibility and - finally - when he plays well it gets more out of those around him.
On that note, anyone at all worry you in the Sunderland team?
Defoe still has that ability to find space and take a half-chance, no matter who he's up against. Other than that there doesn't seem to be too much to worry about (sorry!) unless Khazri turns it on. Jordan Pickford has looked good so far from what I've seen so I hope he has something shy of a perfect game.
How do think Wenger will approach the game and how will the team line up?
In recent years he's become a more cautious manager but, having drawn at home last weekend, three points are a must for Arsenal on Saturday. Cazorla might not make it and Walcott looks to be out, which is a big blow, but Oxlade-Chamberlain has been finding some form at last. Expect Ramsey and Giroud to come off the bench late on.
Cech; Bellerín, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Cazorla; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Özil, Iwobi; Alexis.
Finally, let's have a prediction.
I think this is going to be a really scrappy one, like we often have at the Stadium of Light. Sunderland 0-1 Arsenal (Alexis).