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Cats attempt to stop Arsenal
19 Nov 2009 - 13:56:47
Sunderland face a daunting fixture against Arsenal at Stadium Of Light on Saturday as the visitors look to continue their almost unnoticed rise up the table.
Visiting manager Steve Bruce will be more aware of the threat the Gunners will pose as they have climbed to second in the table on the back of many superb performances.
The north Londoners have played with freedom in recent months as manager Arsene Wenger has found a fantastic balance across the park.
Defensively, William Gallas and Thomas Vermaelen are proving tough nuts to crack, while Cesc Fabregas, Andrey Arshavin and Alex Song boss the midfield and Robin van Persie leads the line exemplary.
However, van Persie picked up an injury during the international break and is expected to be missing for a while.
Fellow striker Nicklas Bendtner (hernia) will also be missing alongside Gael Clichy and Denilson (both back) and Johan Djourou (knee).
Theo Walcott (knee) and Jack Wilshere (ankle) are both nearing fitness and they could be pushing for a place in the squad at the weekend.
Bruce has to do without goalkeeper Craig Gordon for the coming months as he has suffered a broken arm and he will join Lee Cattermole (knee ligament) on the sidelines.
Defender John Mensah (calf) and new recruit Bolo Zenden (hip) could return to fitness in time for the Black Cats.
Centre-half Michael Turner will miss the game through suspension, as will Kenwyne Jones who begins a three match ban after his sending off against West Ham United on October 31.
In the last seven Premier League, Arsenal have smashed home 23 goals and, with 36 goals in their 11 games to date, they are by far the leading scorers in the league.
The are also 12 games into an unbeaten run in all competitions and with Sunderland without a win in three, they will have their work cut out to grab anything from the game.