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Sunderland V Arsenal at Stadium of Light : Match Preview

13 Sep 2013 15:31:12

Sunderland V Arsenal at Stadium of Light : Match Preview

Sunderland V Arsenal - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.


Wenger backs Ozil to match Bergkamp

Manager Arsene Wenger feels club-record signing Mesut Ozil could have as big an impact as Dennis Bergkamp did when he joined Arsenal.


The German playmaker's departure from Real Madrid in a B#43million deal on transfer deadline day was something of a coup for the Gunners boss, who had been under fire for not spending big on star names to help bolster the squad's ambitions for a long-overdue Barclays Premier League title challenge.


The arrival of Holland forward Bergkamp from Inter Milan in 1995 heralded Arsenal's rise to becoming the dominant force in the English game, and Wenger accepts there are similarities between the two deals and what they mean for the club.


"It is comparable because they are similar players in the same department and they are big names who come from big teams," Wenger told Arsenal Player.


"You must say as well that Ozil was not perceived as being a failure at Real Madrid, he was perceived by the whole world as being a huge success at Real Madrid so of course the noise made by a signature like that is big."


Madrid's decision to let Ozil go was greeted by disbelief from his former team-mates at the Bernabeu, with the midfielder no longer central to the plans of manager Carlo Ancelotti following the world-record signing of Gareth Bale from Tottenham.


Wenger is in no doubt the Germany international can take his game to another level with Arsenal.


He told a press conference: "Ozil is already a great player. There is room now between 25 and 30 for him to become a dominant player and to make a step up from that.


"There are many players who are very, very good that make the step to being great. You have to find the right club at the right moment, having the mental dedication that is the major difference now."


With Czech playmaker Tomas Rosicky sidelined by a hamstring injury suffered on international duty, Ozil could well go straight into the side at Sunderland on Saturday.


Captain Thomas Vermaelen may be included in the squad after resuming training following his back problem, but may well be kept in reserve for next week's Champions League opener away to Marseille.


England duo Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere are expected to feature along with Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey. Midfielder Mikel Arteta (thigh) continues his rehabilitation while forward Lukas Podolski (hamstring) is a longer-term absentee as are midfielders Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Abou Diaby (both knee).


Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner, meanwhile, continues his rehabilitation with Arsenal, after Wenger blocked a transfer away.


Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio has launched a staunch defence of his start at the Stadium of Light and vowed he will lead the Black Cats to a comfortable mid-table position by Christmas.


His side head into Saturday's clash with Arsenal having picked up just one point from their first three games - and also have fixtures against Liverpool and Manchester United soon to come.


But Di Canio is adamant he has seen enough encouraging signs to shrug off suggestions that he could start feeling the pressure if his side slump to another defeat against the Gunners.


Di Canio said: "I never feel pressure. Even in 20 games' time if we still had one point I would feel responsible but not under pressure - it is different.


"After three games I am not worried. I know by December we will be nearly in the middle of the table. I'm sure about that. In December, January, February we will win many games and take off.


"I'm sure about my strategy and philosophy and methodology. But it is difficult because in football there is panic, the players sometimes don't believe in things. You have to believe that in 20 games' time you will be in a different position."


Di Canio could be tempted to start with a brand new strike force against Arsene Wenger's men, with Borini set for his debut and Steven Fletcher pushing for his first start of the season.


The Italian is set to keep faith in Jack Colback at left-back after singing the Academy product's praises this week. John O'Shea is suspended after his sending-off against Palace.






PA

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