Play Fantasy Arsene Wenger - Black Cats are no pussies

By Avenell Dave

Finally finally finally the irrelevant and inconvenient international breaks are over until Spring and we can get down to the serious business of chasing the Ch*vs for the title.

Predictably, one of our key men got injured, but, given the choice, I'd rather RvP was the victim than Alex Song, Thomas Vermaelen or, most importantly, Cesc Fabregas, none of whom have viable replacements able to step in at the top top level.

The fact is that Eduardo has had a stuttering return since his injury at Birmingham 20 months ago and has yet to establish himself as a first choice player.

All that rubbish about Rafa Benitez being tempted to sign him was as ridiculous as it comes but I can imagine that a combination of niggling injuries, infrequent starts and THAT penalty against Celtic have knocked the Crozilian a bit.

But let us not forget that he had a hand in two of our goals against Wolves a fortnight ago and having scored two for Croatia this week, will hopefully be buzzing.

While Arsene Wenger lobbies for France to replay their play-off with Ireland, he should actually request that we have a home game after every international break.

Away games, especially to the swirling winds of the north east, are not best suited to Arsenal and we have to step up against a side who have recorded the most fouls so far this season.

Sunderland, remember, were within seconds of recording a win against M*nure earlier this season and then went on to beat Liverpool, although that notably was their last win.

Losing Lee Cattermole has been a big blow to them and without Craig Gordon and Kenwyne Jones, we should fancy our chances.

Lorik Cana - he the enforcer we were so long tipped to sign - will have a fascinating battle with Cesc and I expect Tomas Rosicky to come in as a forward to pull the strings. His experience and talent will be invaluable.

Aaron Ramsey was outstanding against Minnows Scotland (sorry Graham Mac!) last weekend but while I'd love to see him given more playing time, I fear Wenger will go for Manu Eboue either in midfield or, heaven forbid, further forward.

Armand Traore will question Wenger's youth policy when he finds himself on the bench at the expense of Mikael Silvestre, who will get a rare start at left back in place of Kieran Gibbs, I expect, but other than that, it will be 'as you were'.

If I'm honest, regardless that this is a game we SHOULD win, I suspect it will be a draw, but if Dudu and Little Mozart play to the best of their ability and Andrey Arshavin takes out his World Cup disappointment in the most positive way, the Wearsiders are there for the taking.

Addict XI


Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Silvestre

            Ramsey Song Cesc

        Rosicky Eduardo Arshavin

Who would you choose to face Sunderland on Saturday? Let us know in the comments below.