Arsenal - Sunderland Preview: Black Cats looking to make it three wins from three
Photo: Jonny Walsh/VAVEL

After two wins and two clean sheets on the spin, Sam Allardyce and his Sunderland team will be full of confidence heading into a clash with a weakened Arsenal team. 

After already climbing out of the relegation zone, a win could potentially take the Black Cats up to the dizzy heights of 14th and level on points with champions Chelsea, depending on other results.

Injuries for both

It is no secret that Arsenal accumulate their fair share of injuries over a season and once again they find themselves missing a number of first team stars.

Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott, Mikel Arteta and Francis Coquelin are just a few of the players who are facing spells on the sidelines. 

Centre back Laurent Koscielny, on the other hand, is set to take a late fitness test to prove he is ready for a start on the day.

Sunderland themselves are not without their concerns, however, as both Jermain Defoe and Sebastian Larsson will be absent for the fixture, meaning that two changes at the very least will have to be made to a winning team.

Still, Billy Jones will return from suspension to boost the visitors.

Sunderland's revival

When Sunderland travelled to Selhurst Park and stole a late 1-0 victory against Crystal Palace, many could be forgiven for thinking it might have been a one off. But credit to the Black Cats, who coupled their Monday night win in London with a 2-0 win at home to Stoke City last Saturday.

There were major claims that the red card given to Ryan Shawcross should never have been given, but nevertheless, Big Sam's men ground out a positive performance and kept another clean sheet. 

The fact they leapfrogged local rivals, Newcastle United, in the process will make the triumph even more special.

Tomorrow, they are looking to make it three successive wins against an Arsenal side who haven't won in three, but the North-East's last win in the Gunners' back yard came 22 years ago.

The stats

Despite Sunderland's upturn in fortune, the statistics don't make good reading for their fans. Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 11 league games against Sunderland (W7 D4) and have only lost once in the last 23 times that these sides have met.

Mesut Özil, who shone on his Arsenal debut against none other than Sunderland themselves, has contributed to 13 goals in his last 12 appearances, scoring twice and assisting 11 times. Allardyce himself hasn't beaten Arsenal in his previous ten attempts either and his last taste of victory over Arsene Wenger was back in 2010 with Blackburn Rovers

On the plus side, Sunderland have now won as many games under Allardyce (3) as they did under Dick Advocaat. It took the latter 17 games to reach that mark, where as it has only taken Allardyce six.

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