Asamoah Gyan lifts Sunderland’s physical style
Sunderland vs Arsenal at the Stadium of Light, 12:30 PM EST on FSC.
The Black Cats are a tough team to beat at home.
Asamoah Gyan, the physically gifted striker has shown he can be Drogba like in punishing defenders. Case in point, shrugging off Jay DeMerit and Carlos Bocanegra to put Ghana ahead in the second half of the match in the round of 16 at the World Cup. He scored on debut against Wigan in another display of power. Which means that Laurent Koscielny cannot afford to let up against the Ghanian. And Manuel Almunia has to keep being mistake free.
Sunderland also have Darren Bent, probably playing in the hole, and a prolific goalscorer. The Black Cats also boast Paraguayan midfielder Christian Riveros who caught the eye with his playmaking capabilities in the World Cup. He also scored the second goal against Slovakia in their group match. The indefatigable Steed Malbranque will provide the wide game down the left.
Jack Wilshere will be delegated with the task of nullifying England prospect Jordan Henderson who has cemented his place at Sunderland with his attacking midfield play.
Sunderland have given up late goals. They have had problems holding onto leads giving up two goals to Birmingham and allowing West Brom to pull off a late winner. All point to a defense prone to lapses in concentration – which Arsenal can take advantage off. Marouane Chamakh has scored 10 of his last 11 goals through headers and he will get plenty of opportunities to add to that total.
For Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole is out through suspension and Arsenal have to do without the services of Abou Diaby and Thomas Vermaelen.