No handbrakes! Arsenal have to forget Barca

By Avenell Dave

If you were to sum up this Arsenal side's main traits, it is their inconsistency which comes to mind along with determination and resilience.

Arsene Wenger rightly points to the fact that we have gone 10 Premier League games without defeat - the longest current unbeaten run in the league.

But along the way we have dropped points against teams we should have beaten, namely Wigan and Newcastle away. Those points would have made all the difference.

Some have suggested that Arsenal only really get going agianst the biggest teams, and that may be so if the Barcelona result is anything to go by.

But by the same token, we've lost to M*nure and Ch*vski away and T*tt*nh*m at home in circumstances that left much to be desired.

I don't want to hear Wenger saying on Saturday evening that we maybe were still suffering from the hangover and disappointment of the Carling Cup defeat or were playing with the handbrake against Sunderland because some of them were thinking about Barcelona.

The Premier League is the bread and butter, it is there for the taking, and nothing less than three points will do against Steve Bruce's men.

With Theo Walcott, Cesc Fabregas and Alex Song all out, Samir Nasri is going to have to put in the sort of performance that he did against Fulham before Christmas and provide the attacking wit to break down what will be a resilient Sunderland defence (even with Titus Bramble in it!)

Abou Diaby I am sure will start, which says all you need to know about Denilson's defensive midfield abilities and he must be disciplined and support the defence. Memories of his lazy half-hearted swagger at Blackburn which led to their opening goal still haunt me.

Wenger is right that Nick Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh will have benefited from scoring against Orient, but they now have the responsibility to do it against top teams and the chances, the time and the space will be far more limited.

Of course, we can do without injuries - but a win here will set us up nicely before the international break and time to rest some of the weary players ahead of the run-in.

How they approach the game from the start, how they maintain their concentration will show whether winning the title really means as much to them as it does to us.

Addict XI


Sagna Koscielny Djourou Clichy

Nasri Wilshere Diaby

Bendtner Chamakh Arshavin

What do you think? Who should face Sunderland on Saturday?