By Alex Demarco

Second-placed Arsenal travel to the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon looking to pile more misery on Sunderland, who are rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table.

The Gunners will be hoping to get back to winning ways after dropping two points in last weekend’s goalless draw at home to newly-promoted Middlesbrough.


David Moyes has endured a dismal start to his tenure in the North East since replacing Sam Allardyce back in July.

The Scot has managed to oversee just two victories, both of those coming in the previous rounds of the EFL Cup, against lower-league opposition.

Sunderland were knocked out of that competition on Wednesday night in a 1-0 defeat to Southampton, in a match that also saw Moyes sent to the stands.


The Black Cats’ luck is unlikely to change soon either as they go into this lunchtime fixture as underdogs, with the North London side undefeated in all competitions since August.

Manager Arsene Wenger confirmed that both Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud are available for selection having overcome their respective injuries.

However, there are concerns over Theo Walcott, Nacho Monreal and Santi Cazorla and the trio will undergo late fitness tests prior to kick-off.

Earlier this week, £17 million summer signing Lucas Perez was ruled out for up to eight weeks with ligament damage – an injury sustained during the North London side’s mid-week victory over Reading in the EFL Cup.

Wenger warned his side of the threat posed by Sunderland forward Jermain Defoe, who has scored four goals in six Premier League appearances in 2016-17.

“Their main danger is Defoe, and they are good on set-pieces with Wahbi Khazri,” he said.

“They are dangerous on set-pieces. Overall, they are a team who is in a bad position but it’s very tight at the top and very tight at the bottom.”


Adnan Januzaj could play a part having trained for the past couple of days, but centre-back Jason Denayer is unlikely to feature.

Potential Sunderland starting XI (4-5-1): Pickford; Manquillo, Kone, O’Shea, Van Aanholt; N’Dong, Rodwell, Pienaar, Watmore, Khazri; Defoe

Potential Arsenal starting XI: (4-2-3-1): Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Gibbs; Elneny, Coquelin; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Iwobi; Sanchez

 

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