Arsenal v Sunderland
Venue: Emirates Stadium Date: Saturday, 21 February Kick-off: 1500 GMT
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Andrey Arshavin will make his debut for Arsenal, who have Emmanuel Eboue back from suspension and defender Johan Djourou available following illness.
But Eduardo (hamstring) is out, joining Abou Diaby, Mikael Silvestre, Emmanuel Adebayor, Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott and Tomas Rosicky on the sidelines.
Sunderland defender Phil Bardsley is suspended so either Calum Davenport or Tal Ben Haim is set for a debut.
Teemu Tainio (knee) can return and Paul McShane (hamstring) could also feature.
Arsenal (from): Almunia, Sagna, Gallas, Toure, Clichy, Nasri, Denilson, Arshavin, Eboue, Bendtner, Van Persie, Fabianski, Djourou, Gibbs, Wilshere, Vela, Song, Ramsey.
Sunderland (from): Fulop, Gordon, McCartney, Ferdinand, Collins, McShane, Davenport, Ben Haim, Whitehead, Malbranque, Leadbitter, Tainio, Richardson, Edwards, Yorke, Reid, Cisse, Jones, Murphy, Healy.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:
"Andrey Arshavin can integrate our combination game, and he is very mobile.
"He is a clever passer of the ball and that is something you need in every big team to open teams up.
"The handicap he has is that he's not completely fit physically but we'll not put him under pressure - if he needs a bit longer, he takes a bit longer."
Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia:
"Arsenal are a very good footballing team and we have to be careful that we don't get drawn into playing open football.
"We have to play to our strengths - we have got to stop them playing and have a plan of our own.
"We might be brave and go two up front because we feel it is possible to get something from the game."
Arsenal have a five point deficit to make up on the top four; Sunderland, a comfortable seven point cushion above the danger line.
Both these clubs have scored the highest proportion of their league goals in the last 10 minutes; Arsenal have netted 12 of 38, Sunderland eight of 27.
The Londoners have kept clean sheets in nine of their 25 league matches; the Wearsiders have failed to score in nine of their 25.
Sunderland have never beaten Arsenal in the Premier League in north London.
Distance between the clubs: 275 miles (443 kilometres)
Sunderland are making the longest journey of any Premier League this weekend.
5th 44 points
Highest achievable after Saturday's matches: 5th
Lowest could fall: 5th
1. Drawn their last three in the Premier League, against Everton 1-1 (a), West Ham 0-0 (h), and Tottenham 0-0 (a).
2. Not drawn four top flight matches in a row for 11 months, since between 23 February and 15 March last year.
3. Unbeaten in 11 league matches; won five and drawn six since losing 3-0, away to Manchester City on 22 November.
4. Lost one of the last nine home top-flight matches, and need to score twice to total 100 league goals at the Emirates Stadium.
5. Down by 16 points on this same stage last season, when they were top of the table.
6. Not lost to a North-East club in six Premier League matches, since a 2-1 loss away to Middlesbrough on 9 December 2007.
7. Not lost a home Premier League match against a North-East club, since Newcastle's 1-3 victory on 18 December 2001.
8. Won nine and lost just one of the 13 league matches in which they've opened the scoring.
9. This match precedes Tuesday's home leg of the Champions League knock out tie with AS Roma.
11th 30 points
Highest achievable after Saturday's matches: 8th
Lowest could mathematically fall: 13th
1. Picked up seven points from a last possible nine.
2. The current tally of 30 points after 25 games is their best return in a Premier League campaign for eight seasons.
3. Drawn their last two away Premier League games, and not won in three on the road since a 1-4 victory over Hull at the KC Stadium on 20 December.
4. This is their fourth Premier League game in London this season; already registered one win from a 1-2 victory over Tottenham on 23 August.
5. Gained one point out of 39 against 'Big Four' clubs, and not won against any of the quartet of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United since a 2-1 triumph home to Liverpool on 15 December 2002 in a relegation campaign in which only 19 points were picked up.
6. Only won once in 12 matches against the clubs currently in the top-half; 1-0, home to Fulham on 27 January.
7. This is the first of back-to-back Premier League fixtures against 'Big Four' clubs; a visit to Liverpool follows on 3 March.
Robin VAN PERSIE is the club's top Premier League scorer with nine goals.
Manuel ALMUNIA has started in goal for every one of Arsenal's Premier League games this season.
If on the field from the outset:-
Gael CLICHY will be making his 150th start in Arsenal colours.
Djibril CISSE is the club's top Premier League scorer with nine goals.
Kenwyne JONES is a double shy of 50 career goals.
JONES will be making his 50th Premier League appearance for Sunderland.
Nick COLGAN will be keeping goal in his 250th English and Scottish league game (Chelsea, Brentford, Reading, Hibernian, Stockport, Barnsley, Dundee United and Wigan).
If on the field from the outset:-
Tal BEN-HAIM will be making his 100th career Premier League start (Bolton, Chelsea, Manchester City and Sunderland).
Dwight YORKE will be making his 50th Premier League start for the Black Cats.
Phil BARDSLEY (one match)
Arsenal are chasing a fifth successive home Premier League victory over Sunderland.
The Wearsiders have not recorded a top-flight victory on Gunners turf for over 25 years since a 1-2 triumph on Guy Fawkes Day 1983 when Colin West and Ian Atkins got their goals.
All the action in this season's reverse fixture came in the last few minutes as Arsenal snatched an injury-time equaliser from Cesc Fabregas to match Sunderland's 86th-minute opener from Grant Leadbitter.
Arsenal need to score twice to total 200 league goals against Sunderland.
Sunderland need to score twice to total 200 goals in all competitions against Arsenal.
Home and away
League (inc PL): Arsenal 46 wins, Sunderland 43, Draws 34
Prem: Arsenal 9 wins, Sunderland 2, Draws 4
at Arsenal only
League (inc PL): Arsenal 33 wins, Sunderland 15, Draws 13
Prem: Arsenal 6 wins, Sunderland 0, Draws 1
Arsenal 3-2 Sunderland
7 October 2007 - Ref: Rob Styles
Arsenal scorers: Van Persie 7, Senderos 14, Van Persie 80
Sunderland scorers: Wallace 25, Jones 48
Sent Off: McShane (Sunderland) 90
Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal
4 October 2008 - Ref: Lee Mason
Sunderland scorer: Leadbitter 86
Arsenal scorer: Fabregas 90