Tomorrow Arsenal host 8th placed Sunderland in a must win game. With Utd having dropped points to Chelsea on Monday, we have the chance to reduce the gap to a single point. We responded well to the heartbreak at Wembley with a 5-0 drubbing of Leyton Orient on Wednesday, but this is a much bigger challenge and will test our ‘mental strength’. Furthermore, most of the players who played on Wednesday did not actually feature last Sunday. Tomorrow, we are likely to see the return of Koscielny and Szczesny who are most probably still hurting from their blunder. We will hopefully see that they are mature enough to put this behind them and rediscover their fine form prior to the final.
Arsenal – WWWDWW
Sunderland – DWLLLL
Arsenal currently sit top of the premier league form table. After a flying start to the season (by their standards) Sunderland are currently rock bottom. This is the biggest gap between two teams. This is perhaps the best time to face an out of form team given our current morale and injury problems. In my opinion, the premier league presents the best opportunity for silverware this season. This year has been different to all others because the gap between the top teams and the chasing pack has been reduced significantly due to lower extreme spending by the big guns. Even the ‘big four’ phenomenon, which monopolised the premier league, has all but vanished. Admittedly, Chelsea have broken the bank (despite their lucrative funds) with their capture of Torres.
- Sunderland have no won away to the Gunners since 1983.
- Arsenal have the highest number of different goal scorers in the league (15) whereas Sunderland currently have the fewest providers (7).
- There were more passes in Arsenal’s game against Leyton Orient (1254) than in the Barcelona match (1114).
- Fabregas has a pass completion rate of 81%. This is surprisingly low for our sensational captain. Even Yaya Toure has a superior passing rate (86%). It is a shame that Kolo is unable to pass tests in the way that his brother passes the ball.
- Sunderland are unbeaten in London this season. They managed a magnificent 3-0 win against the champions, who were in rich vain of form at the time. They have also taken a point from Craven Cottage and White Heart Lane.
No Darren Bent
Many will remember Bent’s last-gasp goal which gave Sunderland a point at the Stadium of Light earlier in the season. Unfortunately for Steve Bruce‘s side, Aston Villa nicked their top goalscorer, who had scored 11 goals for the club before he left in January. Without the English striker, Sunderland’s goals have dried up, although Gyan is still a major threat.
–Sagna–Squillaci–Djourou — Clichy–
Ramsey to return?
After months of waiting, there is a possibility that Arsenal fans will get to see Ramsey take to the field on Saturday. His long rehabilitation process, including two loan spells, has led Wenger to believe that he will not suffer the same mental setbacks as Eduardo. We are looking forward to his return!
Manager of the Month
Wenger has been crowned February Manager of the Month. Arsenal won 5 out of 8 games, drawing two and losing one. The stand-out performance was obviously the 2-1 win over Barcelona. The unlikely loss came in the final, and Arsenal continued to play great football throughout the month, even in the 4-4 draw to Newcastle, when the Gunners were exquisite in the first half.
3-1 victory to Arsenal