Arsenal away is always going to be an intimidating fixture for a team outside of the top 4. However this year, it could be classed as less intimidating than it normally is due to the slow start made by Arsene Wenger’s men. The men from London (Well, the team from London anyway) sit just one place above us in the table with one more point on the board than we currently have. From that description you might be forgiven to think that we have had a very respectful start to the season but the truth is it is more down to mediocre performances being churned out by the Gunners. Arsenal currently have one more win than us but on the flip side of that, have lost one more game than us and maybe slightly more encouragingly, have a goal difference of -6 and opposed to our +1. We can thank Manchester United for that. So, reason for optimism on away game for once? We’ll see.
The low point for the Gunners is undoubtedly the 8-2 drubbing they received at the hands of Manchester United. Despite the excellence in front of goal shown by the current champions, the generosity shown by the Arsenal defence in presenting them with so many chances is extremely uncharacteristic for a team in the ‘big 4’ although with the emergence of Manchester City as Champions League contenders, it could be the case that Arsenal get shoved to the depths of the Europa League. Tragic! The fact that Arsene Wenger’s position is being questioned by certain sections of Arsenal’s support is evidence that all is not well in the North London camp right now. If ever Arsenal were there for the taking on their own patch, this surely must be that time. Despite this, at home, they are still managing to grind out wins against the ‘lesser’ teams in the division as they scraped past newly promoted Swansea City, winning by the single Andrei Arshavin goal in the first half.
Away day woe followed by being on the back end of a topsy turvy 4-3 defeat to struggling Blackburn, who recorded their first win of the season against the Gunners. Two goals from Yakubu helping to send Rovers fans home happy. And no doubt Gunners fans home very miserable. Following this, it was much more comfortable for Arsenal, sweeping rock bottom Bolton Wanderers aside, running out 3-0 winners. Most recently, Arsenal’s pride took a battering when they lost to local rivals Spurs at White Hart Lane but I will comment no further on derby day defeats and look forward to watching their next game, against us, live on Sky Sports 1 at 1.30 on Sunday afternoon. Call me an armchair fan if you wish…
Watch Out For: Robin van Persie
If he is fully fit, there is no doubting the attacking quality of the Dutch international striker. Combining lethal finishing and a decent dose of pace, Van Persie is a handful to any defence. Being only the 4th Dutchman to reach 50 Premier League goals is a testament to his ability, being joined in this honour by Dennis Bergkamp, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Robin van Persie finished last season for Arsenal scoring 22 goals in all competitions and remains a goal threat for both club and country after recently scoring 4 goals for the Netherlands against minnows San Marino.
I would happily settle for a point by the end of Sunday and I think that realistically, with the way Arsenal are performing at the moment, this shouldn’t be to out of the question but hey, we are Sunderland fans and we always live in hope so perhaps we should just try and sit and enjoy the game. Right-o…
Keep the faith,