Arsenal's annual early season crisis has been put to bed with a couple of consecutive league victories and the landmark signing of Mesut Özil from Real Madrid. Arsène Wenger's team are now sitting comfortably near the top of the table, and have a great chance to make it three-in-a-row against struggling Sunderland on Saturday.
Paolo Di Canio's team underwent a considerable reshuffle in the summer, though have picked up just one point from their opening three league games. Another defeat at home against the Gunners would undoubtedly pile the pressure on the Italian manager, who has recently defended his public criticism of under-performing players.
He blasted defender John O'Shea after he was red-carded against Crystal Palace, and thus was rendered unavailable for this game. He joins Phil Bardsley and Lee Cattermole on the sidelines, while Wes Brown and Connor Wickham are in doubt.
That injury list has nothing on Arsenal's, who have a string of first-team players unavailable. Tomáš Rosický picked up a problem on international duty and is unavailable, alongside Abou Diaby, Mikel Arteta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski and summer signing Yaya Sanogo. Thomas Vermaelen is doubtful, though Özil could make his debut.
Sunderland Injuries and suspensions
Out: Phil Bardsley (ankle), Lee Cattermole (knee), John O'Shea (suspension). In doubt: Wes Brown (knee), Connor Wickham (knock).
Arsenal injuries and suspensions
Out: Tomáš Rosický (thigh), Abou Diaby (knee), Mikel Arteta (thigh), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), Lukas Podolski (hamstring), Yaya Sanogo (back). In doubt: Thomas Vermaelen (back)
Match Date/Time: Saturday, 3 p.m. local, 10 a.m. ET
Venue: Stadium of Light, Sunderland, England
TV: NBC Sports Network (U.S.), RDS, TSN (Canada)
Online: NBC Sports Live Extra (U.S.)