While it is good to see the future of Van Persie resolved before the start of the season, the last thing Arsenal needed was more transfer speculation around another star player, now being Alex Song. The Cameroon international has been heavily linked with a move to the Camp Nou with things looking increasingly grim after Wenger recently admitted the move could happen, while also saying Real Madrid midfielder Sahin could be brought in as his replacement in a loan move.
Enough of the negative however as Arsenal fans have something to be excited about with our new signings set to take the field and make their Premier League debuts. While each player has only made one pre-season appearance for Arsenal against FC Koln, there is no doubt they are looking sharp and raring to go.
In that game Podolski opened his scoring account for Arsenal after a well-taken brace with a perfectly finished second goal, while Cazorla looked sharp in midfield. Although Giroud was unable to get on the score-sheet, he showed good movement and was unlucky to miss a few chances. No doubt he will start buldging the back of the net soon.
Onto injuries now and obviously Arsenal will be missing a couple of key personnel in Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna. Wenger has also confirmed that Koscielny and Oxlade-Chamberlain will both miss the match after picking up injuries in Arsenal’s pre-season match last week. While there is adequate cover for Chamberlain, I am still not sold on Mertesacker, but hopefully he has a good game alongside Vermaelen at the back.
Going into the match Arsenal are obviously favourites with the Gunners only losing once in their opening fixture in the last 16 years under Arsene Wenger, while only suffering defeat to Sunderland only once in their last 17 league games. Despite the departure of Van Persie, it is still expected that Arsenal will have a comfortable win.
on Jack Wilshere (ankle), Tomas Rosicky(tendon) and Bacary Sagna (leg)…
They are all doing well but of course they are not available tomorrow. It is good news for them all though. Jack is moving very well and quickly forward now. Rosicky is running, Sagna is running too. They should all be available soon. It is more or less a month for all of them to start training properly.
on Mikel Arteta…
He is fit and available.
on Emmanuel Frimpong (knee)…
He is three weeks until he is training so that is a bit ahead of schedule. It is very good. We think he will be back competitively in October.
on other team news…
We have a few tests today because some players came back today [from internationals] and played 90 minutes, like Cazorla in Puerto Rico. Some players like Song have little knocks. We will see about them today.
on Walcott (thigh)…
We have to assess Walcott, who had to pull out of the national team. But he should be OK to play.
on Koscielny and Oxlade-Chamberlain…
We miss Koscielny and Oxlade-Chamberlain for the injuries they got in the last game against Cologne. They had to pull out of their respective national teams as well so those two will miss the game tomorrow. Oxlade-Chamberlain has an ankle problem, Koscielny a calf. Both have a chance to be fit for Stoke.
Jenkinson Mertesacker Vermaelen (c) Gibbs
Walcott Cazorla Podolski
Arsenal – Lukas Podolski – The German international looked sharp in last weeks pre-season game against FC Koln and will no doubt look to extend his scoring account after getting a well-taken brace in that match.
Sunderland - Louis Saha – The Frenchman has had a wealth of Premier League experience and is no stranger to playing Arsenal having already played for Manchester United, Everton and North London rivals Tottenham.
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Arsenal to win:
Bet365 are offering even odds of 2/5 for the Gunners to win at home
William Hill & Skybet are offering the best odds of 4/1
Sunderland to win:
William Hill are offering the best odds of 8/1 for the Black Cats to win away.
allArsenal’s Special Fiver Bet:
allArsenal’s Special Bet365 pick: Halftime/Fulltime: Arsenal/Arsenal= 1/1
**We will be recording our betting for the allarsenal special bet as we place our money where our mouth is each matchday – stats to be revealed in a few weeks**
Wenger has kicked off the new season with a defeat just once during his 16 years at the club.
Arsenal have lost just one of their last 17 league games against Sunderland.
Sunderland have won none of their last seven Premier League away matches (D3 L4).
The Gunners are in hot form despite the departure of their captain He Who Should Not Be Named, notching a tidy 4 goals against Cologne in their final pre-season and new signings Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla fitting in well to the Arsenal way.
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