Saturday Premier League team news

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    Saturday, 5 March 2011

    Barclays Premier League

    Home Team Score Away Team Time
    Arsenal v Sunderland 15:00


    ARSENAL

    SUNDERLAND

    Possession

    • Arsenal 50%
    • Sunderland 50%


    Barclays Premier League
    Venue: Emirates Stadium Date: Saturday, 5 March Kick-off: 1500 GMT
    Coverage: Watch highlights on Match of the Day; listen on BBC Radio 5 live and local radio; text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobiles

    TEAM NEWS

    Midfielder Aaron Ramsey could make his first Arsenal appearance since breaking his leg just over a year ago.

    Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song miss out and remain “touch and go” for Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Barcelona.

    Injury-hit Sunderland will be without Bolo Zenden, who tweaked his calf in the warm-up against Everton last week.

    But there is some good news – strikers Danny Welbeck and Frazier Campbell are back in training and should play in a reserves friendly next Tuesday.


    Arsenal

    Doubtful: Koscielny (hamstring)

    Injured: Fabianski (shoulder), Fabregas (hamstring), Frimpong, Song & Van Persie (all knee), Vermaelen (Achilles), Walcott (ankle)

    Sunderland

    Doubtful: Onouha (calf)

    Injured: Campbell, Gordon, Meyler & Turner (all knee), Cattermole (back), Welbeck (hamstring), Zenden (calf)

    MATCH PREVIEW

    Arsenal may have suffered a crushing defeat in last Sunday’s Carling Cup final but it’s been a better week on two of their other trophy-hunting fronts.

    The league is a vital race – for us, the most important

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

    The Gunners moved smoothly into the FA Cup quarter-finals on the day after title rivals Manchester United slipped up in the league. United’s defeat has given Arsenal renewed hope that they can do something only the Red Devils have previously achieved, namely finishing runners-up in the League Cup and winning the Premier League in the same season.

    The maths is simple for Arsenal: win all their remaining games and they will be crowned champions.

    Steve Bruce has also not had to stretch his mental arithmetic skills recently: four straight league defeats means Sunderland’s points tally has not altered since January.

    The Black Cats’ recent poor form has seen their European hopes fade and with matches against Liverpool and Manchester City following the Arsenal fixture, Sunderland are in danger of racking up their worst losing run since their disastrous relegation season of 2005/06.

    MATCH FACTS

    Head-to-head

    • Arsenal have won just one of their last five league meetings with Sunderland (W1, D3, L1).

    • Sunderland have not won a league match at Arsenal since a 2-1 win at Highbury in November 1983.

    Arsenal

    • Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 10 league matches (W7, D3).

    • The Gunners have won 15 of the 18 league games in which they opened the scoring this term, losing only once (against Tottenham in November).

    • Arsenal were top of the February form table in the Premier League with three wins and a draw; Sunderland were bottom.

    Sunderland

    • Sunderland have lost their last four league matches.

    • Just seven different players have scored a league goal for Sunderland this season, the fewest in the Premier League. Arsenal’s league goals have come from 15 different players, the joint-highest total in the top flight.

    • Sunderland have not lost a league match in London this season, winning at Chelsea and drawing at Tottenham and Fulham.

    LEADING GOALSCORERS

    Arsenal

    Van Persie: 14 goals (10 league); Nasri: 14 goals (9 league)

    Sunderland

    Gyan: 10 goals (9 league); Welbeck: 6 goals (6 league)

    NB. Bent scored 11 goals (8 league) for Sunderland before moving to Aston Villa.

    MATCH OFFICIALS

    Referee: Anthony Taylor

    Assistant referees: Dave Bryan & Andy Garratt

    Fourth official: Peter Walton

    LAST LEAGUE MATCH LINE-UPS

    Arsenal (W1-0 v Stoke, h): Szczesny, Sagna, Squillaci, Djourou, Clichy, Fabregas (Arshavin 14), Nasri, Walcott (Denilson 71), Song, Wilshere, Bendtner (Chamakh 80). Subs not used: Almunia, Eboue, Gibbs, Rosicky.

    Sunderland (L2-0 v Everton, a): Mignolet; Ferdinand (Noble 67), Mensah, Bramble, Bardsley, Elmohamady, Henderson, Muntari (Malbranque 77), Sessegnon, Richardson, Gyan. Subs not used: Gordon, Zenden, Riveros, Colback, Knott.

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    Saturday Premier League team news