Trailing fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur by just four points in the English Premier League table, Saturday's match against Sunderland (7-8-10) is an important one for Arsenal (11-8-6).
The Gunners enter this one having won two of their last three matches, but they'll be dealing with a slew of injuries on the road on Saturday.
The Black Cats, on the other hand, have been largely inconsistent, earning wins in just three of their last 11 games.
With the first match between these two clubs ending in a scoreless draw earlier this season, fans will be looking for more offense and a clear victor.
When: Saturday, Feb. 9 at 10 a.m. ET
Where: Stadium of Light in Sunderland, England
Watch: Fox Soccer Plus
Live Stream: Fox Soccer 2Go
Arsenal may be the better team, but it'll be without a handful of its key players against the Black Cats on Saturday.
Sam Wells of Goal.com is reporting that the Gunners will be without Thomas Vermaelen, Kieran Gibbs, Francis Coquelin and possibly Laurent Koscielny.
The Gunners saw their leading scorer, Theo Walcott, involved in a big collision in the England vs. Brazil match, but Wells reports that Walcott should be just fine against Sunderland.
Sporting a minus-five goal difference to the Gunners' plus-20, Sunderland will be in hot water without Carlos Cuellar (h/t Goal.com).
Arsenal's attack is too strong for the Black Cats to defend against without one of their best defenders, and it gets worse for Sunderland, as Sky Sports reports another key player may miss the Arsenal match:
Winger James McClean is a major doubt for Sunderland's Premier League match with Arsenal after injuring his ankle... dlvr.it/2wDNRr— SKY EPL (@SKYEPL) February 8, 2013
McClean is one of the few Black Cats who has found the back of the net more than once this season, also adding two assists.
Despite all the injuries to the Gunners, I like Arsenal to overtake the Black Cats.
Arsenal has the better attack and deeper roster—now it just needs to put it to work on Saturday.
Prediction: Arsenal 1, Sunderland 0
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