There are only three things that are inevitable in life. They are tax, death and Arsenal having an injury crisis. Every single season. It was a November to forget for the Gunners as they picked up just two points from three games. This, coupled with this latest but expected injury crisis has threatened to derail Arsenal’s season. However, they will be encouraged by the fact that they are not too far away from the leading pack and could even finish the weekend on top if all results go their way.
They face a Sunderland side who are buoyed by two consecutive wins over Crystal Palace and Stoke. The Black cats have never won at Arsenal since the start of the Premier League but they have gotten three creditable draws in their last five visit. Last season’s stalemate guaranteed that Sunderland survived the drop. They will be looking to take advantage of Arsenal’s injury worries and inflict more misery on the Gunners.
Sam Allardyce’s record at Arsenal has been abysmal. The Sunderland boss has lost his last seven games against Arsenal and last claimed a victory over Arsenal five years ago while manager of Blackburn Rovers. Arsenal have also won seven of their last 11 matches against Sunderland, with the other four ending in draws. Wenger will hope his team can continue this fantastic run and also end a poor run of form in the process.
The North London side will be without star men Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla. Both are the latest casualty following the costly draw at Norwich. Jack Wilshere, Francis Coquelin, Tomas Rosicky, Danny Welbeck, Kieran Gibbs and MIkel Arteta are all sidelined. Laurent Koscielny has recovered in time for the game while Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are available for selection again.
Jermaine Defoe and Sebastian Larsson both miss out due to hamstring and knee problems but Billy Jones who was suspended last weekend is available again.