Sunderland vs Arsenal: Predicted line-ups

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Laurent Koscielny could return to Arsenal's starting XI for their trip to Sunderland, having been out of their last two fixtures with an Achilles problem.

The French defender has been in training this week, and looks set to start the game at centre-back, with Nacho Monreal's run at centre-back seemingly over, after having been targeted by Anderlecht in the 2-1 Champions League win on Wednesday.

Also returning to the squad are Theo Walcott and Yaya Sanogo. Walcott has been sidelined since January, having injured his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), but played last Friday in an Under-21 Premier League game with Blackburn, and will be fit enough to take a seat on the bench.

Sanogo is unlikely to play a part, but his return from injury does at least give Arsene Wenger another option up front if he decides to rest Danny Welbeck. He could, of course, give Lukas Podolski a go in the striker's position after his goal scoring heroics in midweek, but the German will probably play in the left-wing role on Saturday.

Sunderland have no new injury concerns, but do have a new defensive option. After the 8-0 humiliation at Southampton last week, there is a strong chance that manager Gus Poyet will be looking the shuffle his pack, and, after the midweek signing of versatile French defender Anthony Reveillere, he does have some new options.

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Poyet also acknowledged that there will be a strong media spotlight looking out for how his side can respond.

"I'm calm now, but it was a difficult weekend,” Poyet told reporters. “Then Monday and Tuesday we were still reflecting, but since then we've been concentrating on Arsenal. I know people will be looking for the kind of reaction we have."

“We didn't train on Sunday, I didn't want to see them. We met on Tuesday. It was a unique and expected meeting. I'm not a great fan of looking at so many negatives, but it was clear we had to do it.

“I felt so embarrassed, and I was on the side of the pitch, so I can imagine how they felt. I never experienced that as a player." - Poyet.

Predicted XIs

Sunderland: Mannone; O'Shea, Reveillere, Brown, van Aanholt; Rodwell, Cattermole, Buckley, Gomez; Wickham, Fletcher

Arsenal: Szczesny; Chambers, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs; Ramsey, Wilshere; Chamberlain, Sanchez, Podolski; Welbeck.

Premier League
Theo Walcott
Danny Welbeck

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