Sunderland v Arsenal: Match Preview

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Sunderland v Arsenal

Premier League; Stadium of Light; Saturday, 11th Feb; 15:00 KO.

Team News

Sunderland are waiting on the fitness of FA Cup hero Stephane Sessgnon, who picked up a knock in the 2-1 win over Middlesbrough in midweek.

Lee Cattermole, David Vaughan, Wes Brown, Titus Bramble and Matt Kilgallon are all unavailable to Martin O'Neill, whilst Nicklas Bendtner will miss out against the Gunners.

Arsene Wenger could welcome Kieran Gibbs and Bacary Sagna back into the side, thus solving the defensive injury problems that have bestowed the Emirates outfit so far this season.

Marouane Chamakh returns from the African Cup of Nations and is available, but Carl Jenkinson and Jack Wilshere remains sidelined.

Wenger demands focus on Wearside

Arsene Wenger has issued a warning to his Arsenal players ahead of the tricky trip to Sunderland on Saturday.

The Gunners face a side resurgent under manager Martin O'Neill, and can't afford to drop points as the race for the fourth and final Champions League spot heats up.

Chelsea, Newcastle United and Liverpool are also in the mix, and Wenger knows that whilst others are likely to drop points this weekend, his side simply can't afford to do the same.

"Points are going to be dropped this weekend among the contenders for fourth place. Just as long as it is not us," Wenger told the press on Friday morning.

"We know what is going to be expected and we know that we are in a position now where we just want to win our games. That is the case until the end of the season.

"We have to be absolutely, completely up for it and to be focused to win."

Looking specifically at the Gunners' rivals, Chelsea face a trickly looking trip to Everton, whilst Liverpool and Newcastle both start as underdogs for their matches at Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur respectively.

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