Sunderland proved to be a formidable opponent for Arsenal last season. The two teams opened the year last year against one another at the Emirates Stadium, finishing in a scoreless draw. Arsenal would get the win in their second meeting, but it was a tight contest, with the Gunners winning 1-0.
Arsenal will be hoping to take three points at the Stadium of Light a bit more comfortably this season.
With a few key players earning a clean bill of health and a premier summer addition likely to make his debut, there is a lot of excitement surrounding this game for Arsenal. For Sunderland, earning a point would probably make their supporters plenty happy.
When: Saturday, September 14 at 10 a.m. ET (3 p.m. BST)
Where: Stadium of Light, Sunderland, England
Watch: NBC Sports Network; NBC Sports Live Extra; BBC One (U.K.)
Odds: Arsenal (48.5 percent), Sunderland (25.5 percent) and draw (26 percent), according to Bloomberg Sports
Mesut Ozil appears likely to make his Arsenal debut on Saturday, as Tomas Rosicky picked up a knock on international duty, according to Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail. That fact alone is worth the price of admission, as the former Real Madrid man was the biggest Premier League signing of the summer.
According to Mokbel, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere are expected to play despite picking up knocks of their own. That's huge news for a Gunners team that has been hit hard by an early-season injury bug.
While Arsenal have already taken six of a possible nine points this year, Sunderland have struggled, with only a single point after three contests. Paolo Di Canio's men will be hoping to at least double their point total at home, even against a tough opponent like the Gunners.
That will be easier said than done.
Arsenal are simply the better team. The debut of Ozil, a fit Walcott and Wilshere, in-form striker Olivier Giroud and the always dangerous Santi Cazorla will be more than Sunderland can handle.
There are reasons for optimism at Sunderland, of course. New loan addition Fabio Borini should help in the attack. At some point soon, forward Jozy Altidore will open his Sunderland attack. Emanuele Giaccherini has started strong for the Black Cats.
But Arsenal are the superior side, and the addition of Ozil should bring instant returns. Sunderland will give the Gunners a game, but ultimately Arsenal's talent will win the day.
The Gunners win, 2-0.