Sunderland vs. Arsenal: Preview and TV schedule

Julian Finney

Arsenal face a test away at the Stadium of Light against Sunderland, which could be difficult due to a possible injury problem at centre-back for the Gunners.

Arsenal face the possibility of having to play a makeshift back four as they travel to Wearside to face Sunderland.

The Gunners will be without Thomas Vermaelen, and Laurent Koscielny is also a doubt for the game, leaving them with the prospect of fielding Bacary Sagna or another player in central defence.

The news will be a hindrance to the visitors, who face stiff competition with Everton, Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool for just two Champions League qualification spots. It will be a boost for Sunderland, however, who desperately need a good run of results to pull clear of the relegation battle, with the Black Cats looking in danger of getting pulled in.

Arsenal generally have a good record against Sunderland, and were victorious in this fixture last season, although they did lose Per Mertesacker to injury in that game - they can certainly not afford the same to happen again.

Sunderland injuries and suspensions

In doubt: James McClean (ankle), Carlos Cuellar (hamstring), Lee Cattermole (knee)

Arsenal injuries and suspensions

Out: Kieran Gibbs (knee), Thomas Vermaelen (ankle). In doubt: Laurent Koscienly (calf).

James McClean is a near-certainty to miss out for Sunderland after picking up an ankle injury on Republic of Ireland duty, although there is a chance for Carlos Cuellar and Lee Cattermole to return to bolster the Sunderland lineup.

Arsenal could have a big problem in central defence with Thomas Vermaelen out and Laurent Koscielny subject to a late fitness test, with no other first-team centre-backs available. Kieran Gibbs is also unavailable for the Gunners.

Match Date\Time: Saturday, 3 p.m. local, 10 a.m. ET

Venue: The Stadium of Light, Sunderland, England

TV: Fox Soccer Plus (U.S.), Sportsnet Regional (Canada)

Online: Fox Soccer 2Go

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