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Arsenal vs. Sunderland: Match Preview

It's back to league action as Arsenal head north.

I feel like midmatch is a bad time to audition for the Royal Shakespeare Company
I feel like midmatch is a bad time to audition for the Royal Shakespeare Company
Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Arsenal vs. Sunderland
English Premier League
Stadium Of Light, Sunderland
Saturday, October 25, 2014 7AM PT/10AM ET/3PM BT
Form: ARS indifferent-to-poor | SUND they lost 8-0 last week, so
US TV: NBCSN | Worldwide TV Listings:

After a performance that could charitably be called "unconvincing" in Tuesday's Champions League game, Arsenal make the five hour bus trip up the A1 (note: they probably fly) to face a Sunderland side that's in not a little disarray after their own (actual) disastrous game last weekend, an 8-0 pasting at the hands of Southampton.

The common fear is that this will make Sunderland harder to beat, for one of two reasons: either they'll come out flying, to prove the point that they're not as bad as they looked last weekend, or they'll retreat, turtle-like, into a shell of defense that the struggling Arsenal attack will not be able to break down, resulting in either a dire scoreless draw or a Sunderland smash-and-grab victory.

Arsenal?  Well, they have a pretty big point to prove. That point being "WE'RE BETTER THAN THIS GODDAMMIT". We all know about Arsenal's not-good start to the season, but this little stat nugget really brought it home for me:

Yep. That's not good.  And for the eighth time this season (giving them a pass for the first game), Arsenal have a chance to kickstart their season, to turn up the heat on what has been up to this point an extremely slow boil of a campaign.

Jack Wilshere's out thanks to yellow card accumulation, and Theo may or may not play a part (Wenger says he needs to get used to being kicked again), but there are, and I feel like I'm being crazy when I say this, no other injuries from the midweek game to worry about.

Time to get to work, gents.