Writer: Gary Johnson
Date:Friday March 4 2011
Arsenal will still be fuming at their defeat to Birmingham in the Carling Cup final and know they need to win to close the gap on United.
They returned to winning ways in the FA Cup during the week and will be hoping for another home win against Sunderland on Saturday.
Steve Bruce will be looking for any glimmer of hope to turn around a run of four straight defeats in the league.
With Welbeck and Campbell closing in on full fitness and Cattermole also close to return it is a shame we have not got these key players for this fixture.
"I expect no easing up from Arsenal," said the Black Cats` boss. "Absolutely none.
"In my opinion, they are one of only two teams who are genuinely capable of winning the Premier League this season and they know that they need to keep the pressure up on Manchester United.
"United losing to Chelsea on Tuesday leaves Arsenal just four points behind with the same number of games played.
"And if they beat us at the weekend they`ll be just one point behind, ahead of United`s game against Liverpool on Sunday.
"Arsenal know that they have to keep the pressure on because they know they are still in with a fighting chance of winning the league this season - they`ll see the game against us as one of vital importance."
Aaron Ramsey could be in line for a start after recovering from a broken leg last year.
Wenger will probably not risk Fabregas and Walcott but could feature on the bench.
After scoring a hat-trick against Leyton Orient, Bendtner will be looking to cement his place up front for Arsenal.
He has labelled himself as their best striker and now he has the chance to prove his worth.
Sunderland still have massive injury problems and now Bolo Zenden is the latest casualty with a calf injury.
Welbeck and Campbell have been rumoured to be in the squad but should be definately back for the next game in 2 weeks time.
Asamoah has been a little of form lately and we really need a good game from our Ghanaian striker this weekend.
If he is given the correct service he will always score goals, so we need him to fire in a few in order for any chance of points.
Sunderland have not lost a league match in London this season, winning at Chelsea and drawing at Tottenham and Fulham.
Sunderland have not won a league match at Arsenal since a 2-1 win at Highbury in November 1983.
Referee: Anthony Taylor Assistant referees: Dave Bryan & Andy Garratt Fourth official: Peter Walton
Arsenal 3 - 0 Sunderland Arsenal have won their last eight home games and The Emirates is becoming a real fortress for Arsene Wenger. Sunderland will not be able to match Arsenal and I predict another heavy loss sadly.
Liverpool come to Sunderland on Sunday 20th March.
Date:Friday March 4 2011
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