Arsenal v Sunderland – Preview & Prediction

The sun has been shining. The grass has been cut. Are you ready?

Today sees the start of the 21st Premier League campaign and I am still as excited as ever. There are seven fixtures kicking off today at 3pm and I shall be making my way to the Emirates this afternoon to see the Gunners start life without Robin Van Persie.

Many believe that Arsenal will struggle for goals this season.I disagree.

Firstly, I do not think that Van Persie would have matched his tally from last season. Secondly, I think that Lukas Podolski is set to shine in the Premier League. He has flopped before playing for a bigger club. He had a less than impressive time at Bayern before returning back to his home town club, FC Koln. At 27, I think his time has come to perform on the bigger stage. He is also not a typical Arsenal player which is a good thing in my opinion. Podolski likes to shoot from distance, something Arsenal fail to do, often frustrating fans.

Another exciting prospect is Olivier Giroud. He had a late start to his career, much like Laurent Koscielny, but set the French Ligue 1 alight last season. He was also part of France’s squad for the European Championships. He may have a steady start to life at Arsenal, but I am confident he’ll prove any doubters wrong.

The most exciting signing for me is Santi Cazorla. Many pundits believe that he may well be the signing of the season so far. Cazorla is versatile, mainly operating on the left, and will excite the Arsenal fans this season. He is a World Cup and European Championship winner and the only reason he has not played more often for Spain is because of the Spanish squad sheer depth in midfield. After he left Villareal, the club got relegated. Many believe there was a direct link between the two. He then helped Malaga reach the Champions League last season. It will be interesting to see where they finish this season.

So on to today’s game. Arsenal will not be at full strength today but I believe they will get off to a solid start to their campaign. Szczesny is Arsenal’s number one and now has the shirt to go with it. Not lacking in confidence, he will have to make sure he is fully focused today. The back four is likely to be Gibbs, Vermaelen, Mertesacker and probably Jenkinson. Once Koscielny and Sagna are back, we have a very strong back line.

Today’s midfield I believe will be Coquelin, Arteta and Ramsey. This will be a big season for Coquelin. With the likely departure of Alex Song, he will have to set up and show his true ability. His versatility is key. Ramsey is fresh from performing well at the Olympics and will be looking to build on this. Arsenal fans will no doubt be looking forward to Jack Wilshere’s return in October.

I believe that the front three will be Cazorla, Podolski and Gervinho. Though he can operate on the left, Podolski was used as a central striker for FC Koln. Gervinho may not be everyone’s cup of tea but he has does have ability. This season will also be important for him, especially with the rise of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

I am about to set off for the Emirates and cannot keep smiling. I am feeling good and cannot wait for kick-off.

Today’s prediction: 3-0

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