Arsenal will be looking for an immediate response to their midweek Champions League disappointment against Bayern Munich as they take on Sunderland, searching for three points that will keep them firmly in the Premier League title race.
The Gunners will remain without Aaron Ramsey and Thomas Vermaelen, with both expected to return to first team action next month. Loan signing Kim Kallstrom is still side-lined, Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby are long term absentees and Kieran Gibbs is doubtful after limping out of the action on Wednesday evening.
Arsene Wenger’s men could be as much as four points behind leaders Chelsea, who host Everton earlier in the day though they will have the opportunity to reclaim top spot in Jose Mourinho’s men drop points.
However, such is the tightness of the top four that either Manchester City or Liverpool, or in fact both can leapfrog should they win and the Gunners slip up.
Olivier Giroud’s opener and a brace from Aaron Ramsey secured all three points for the North London side when they travelled to the Stadium of Light back in September, while last season’s corresponding fixture ended goalless.