Oct 25, 2014 at 3pm UK at ​Stadium of Light
Sunderland
0-2
Arsenal

Larsson (38'), Cattermole (63'), Wickham (68')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Sanchez (30', 90')
Gibbs (24'), Welbeck (50'), Arteta (55')

Preview: Sunderland vs. Arsenal

Despair for goalkeeper Vito Mannone and the Sunderland defence as Sadio Mane of Southampton scores the eight goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Sunderland at St Mary's Stadium on October 18, 2014
© Getty Images
Sports Mole previews Sunderland's Premier League clash with Arsenal as the Black Cats seek a response to their humiliating 8-0 thrashing at the hands of Southampton.

Saturday October 18, 2014 will go down as a dark day in Sunderland's history books

From the moment that Santiago Vergini's bizarre own goal flew past Vito Mannone 12 minutes into their trip to Southampton, Gus Poyet had his head in his hands.

It barely resurfaced as seven more goals followed in Sunderland's heaviest ever Premier League defeat.

Yet Poyet has refused to take responsibility for the humiliating result, and instead apportions the blame with those above him at the Stadium of Light for failing to land his desired transfer targets this summer.

With shots having been fired at the boardroom, the Uruguayan now faces a pivotal period of fixtures, in which he faces four of last season's top five in consecutive home matches, which could make or break his Sunderland career.

Arsenal are the first of the Premier League's elite to visit Wearside and will be buoyed by a last-ditch comeback against Anderlecht in midweek which put their Champions League destiny in their own hands.

Kieran Gibbs and Lukas Podolski scored in the final five minutes as an injury-ravaged Gunners side escaped a damaging defeat, but Arsene Wenger's resources are stretched again this weekend.

Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud, Mathieu Debuchy, Theo Walcott, Yaya Sanogo and David Ospina remain sidelined and, while Calum Chambers returns from suspension, Jack Wilshere is now banned.

Chambers should return in place of youngster Hector Bellerin at right-back, while Wojciech Szczesny is available to keep goal after Damian Martinez deputised during his European suspension in Brussels. Podolski's winning goal may not be enough to earn him a rare domestic start.

There could be a recall in midfield for Aaron Ramsey, who has worked his way back to full fitness with two substitute appearances in five days, including in the 2-2 draw with Hull City at the Emirates Stadium.

Again a late show was needed, as Danny Welbeck poked home his fifth Gunners goal in eight appearances in stoppage time, but the result meant that the seventh-placed Londoners have only won two of their opening eight games this season and are already 11 points adrift of title favourites Chelsea.

For all their woes of last weekend, Sunderland are only three points behind Arsenal, but Poyet may still feel that substantial changes are needed to his side following their demolition at St Mary's Stadium.

Mannone and Vergini are first in line to be replaced, with Costel Pantilimon poised for his Premier League debut for the Black Cats in goal, and experienced Frenchman Anthony Reveillere in line to go straight into the defence after joining on a free transfer on Thursday.

There could also be recalls for Jack Rodwell and Adam Johnson, at the expense of Will Buckley and Jordi Gomez. Injury rules out Ricky Alvarez, Sebastian Coates, Billy Jones and Emanuele Giaccherini.

Arsenal have lost only once to Sunderland in their last 10 meetings in all competitions.

Recent form

Sunderland: LWDLDD

Arsenal: WDLWDL

Possible starting lineups

Sunderland: Pantilimon; Reveillere, Brown, O'Shea, Van Aanholt; Cattermole, Larsson, Rodwell; Johnson, Wickham, Fletcher

Arsenal: Szczesny; Chambers, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs; Flamini; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Cazorla, Sanchez; Welbeck

Sports Mole says: 0-2

Who will win Saturday's match between Sunderland at Arsenal at the Stadium of Light?

Sunderland
Arsenal
Draw
Sunderland
13.9%
Arsenal
77.1%
Draw
9.0%
Mesut Ozil of Arsenal in action against Danny Rose of Spurs during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur at Emirates Stadium on September 27, 2014
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