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Sunderland vs. Arsenal: Preview

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Sunderland and Arsenal will meet at the Stadium of Light on this afternoon, as two teams currently bent out of shape look to unearth a strain of winning form.In the 18 combined Premier League games played by the clubs this season, the Gunners and the Black Cats have amassed just three wins between them, a sore representation of the misery both have endured of late.

However, one side’s disappointment this Saturday will prove the joy of their opponent, and either side can hope to give their 2014-15 campaign a much-needed kick-start with the right result.

Much to Sunderland‘s disdain, Southampton were permitted to mount their largest-ever Premier League victory against Gus Poyet‘s side last Saturday, mauling the Black Cats 8-0 at St. Mary’s.

As confirmed by the official Premier League Twitter account, it was a record-breaking display from the Saints, who continue to achieve wonders under Ronald Koeman’s command:

However, Sunderland felt horrified enough by the result to see to it that any travelling fans were reimbursed for their troubles, per BBC Sport. Captain John O’Shea said: “We wanted to acknowledge and thank the supporters who travelled such a long way to give us their backing.”

Considering the northeast outfit had lost just one of their previous seven Premier League games this season, it proved to be a rapid decline for Sunderland, despite five of their eight points coming from draws this term.

In the aftermath of such a demoralising fixture, Chris Young of the Sunderland Echo detailed just how poor Sunderland‘s players truly were:

Arsenal will face one of two very different hosts at the Stadium of Light. Following such disgrace against the Saints, Sunderland will either look equally susceptible as morale hits the rails, or bounce back in antithetical manner.

Arsene Wenger’s men saw out their own disappointment in Week 8. Although a 2-2 draw at home to Hull City admittedly isn’t nearly as damning as the Black Cats’ result, OptaJoe detailed this season as a rarely out-of-sorts campaign so far:

Arsenal’s record remains stuck at two league wins this term. The signings of stars such as Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck created a summer buzz, but their defensive shortcomings are proving the dampener many supposed they might.

Belief in Wenger’s reign will fall should a result fail to be clinched in the northeast, regardless of which Sunderland team turns up. Many will see this is as a case of “anything Southampton can do, we should be able to do better.”

The English top flight is a more complex mistress than that, of course, but the north Londoners need to find footing domestically. There’s no illusions that a top-four spot is being cast in further and further doubt, with the title already looking far out of reach.


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