English Premiership

Arsenal look for Sunderland boost

2014-10-24 11:42
Per Mertesacker (Supplied)

London - Arsenal will seek to cement their fragile confidence when they travel to Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday.

Arsene Wenger's side clinched only their fifth victory in 14 games when two goals in the final two minutes secured a 2-1 Champions League win at Anderlecht on Wednesday.

The Gunners will attempt to build on that when they go in search of their first Premier League win in four games at the Stadium of Light.

North London club Arsenal travel to Tyneside seventh in the table, 11 points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea with less than a quarter of the season gone.

The stuttering start, combined with a lengthy injury list, has once again thrown focus on Arsenal manager Wenger's failure to bring in a central defender and a holding midfielder during the last transfer window.

But Gunners centre-back Per Mertesacker believes the cure to the side's difficulties can be found within the current squad and conceded the team had under-achieved so far this season.

"Everyone knows that it was a difficult start for us and our confidence is not that much how we wanted it," Mertesacker said.

"The character is good, the mentality is good but football-wise, we lack a few things. Our passing game is not as efficient as last year (season).

"We are not at our best. We have to admit that, be honest with ourselves and train harder."


Mertesacker added he had found it hard to lift himself again after experiencing the exhilaration of winning the World Cup with Germany in July.

"For me, it is difficult at the moment because that was really a long season last year and to come back from that World Cup and get the motivation back," he said.

"I am nearly back but you can feel there is something missing."

Theo Walcott could be included in Arsenal's squad for the first time in 10 months after recovering from a knee ligament injury but Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud, Mathieu Debuchy and Laurent Koscielny are still out of action.

Gus Poyet will give the majority of the Sunderland side to suffer humiliation in the 8-0 defeat at Southampton a chance to make amends against Arsenal.

The head coach has revealed he won't make wholesale changes, and confirmed goalkeeper Vito Mannone is set to retain his place despite being at fault for three of the goals at St Mary's Stadium in the club's heaviest Premier League defeat.

"Normally I don't change the keeper when they have a bad game," Poyet said. "If it's two bad games then he starts to have a problem, so at the moment there's no decision to make."

He added none of the players on duty last weekend could have any complaints if they found themselves out of the side against Arsenal.

Sunderland's squad paid out more than £60 000 to refund the 2 550 travelling fans who witnessed the Black Cats' capitulation at south coast side Southampton and Uruguayan boss Poyet said: "For the first time in many months whatever I want to do I can, I have a freedom.

"I can forget about everything I've done before and pick the team I want. I don't think there's anyone who can disagree.

"But because of the squad it's not like I can change 10 players. I think 75 percent of the side is going to have a chance to play again. I want us to prove we're the team I thought we were before 3:00pm last Saturday."


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

23 October 2016
Manchester City v Southampton, Etihad Stadium 14:30
Chelsea v Manchester United, Stamford Bridge 17:00
29 October 2016
Sunderland v Arsenal, Stadium of Light 13:30
Manchester United v Burnley, Old Trafford 16:00
Middlesbrough v Bournemouth, Riverside Stadium 16:00
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City, The Hawthorns 16:00
Watford v Hull City, Vicarage Road 16:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Leicester City, White Hart Lane 16:00
Crystal Palace v Liverpool, Selhurst Park 18:30
30 October 2016
Everton v West Ham United, Goodison Park 15:30
Southampton v Chelsea, St. Mary's Stadium 18:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Will Jose Mourinho lead Manchester United to the English Premiership title in 2016/17?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.