Sunderland face a tough trio of fixtures in the Premier League with Arsenal at home first on the list.
Steve Bruce likes to upset the big teams when they visit the fortress of the Stadium of Light and will be hoping his ‘in your face’ style will work against Arsene Wengers side.
Arsenal, who looked brilliant in midweek, will look to keep their good form going to push for the top spot but will all know this is not an easy fixture.
Sunderland must play to their strengths and take any chances that fall their way. Bruce has been dealt a big blow by losing both Cattermole and Mensah through injury.
Vital Quotes: Steve Bruce
Steve Bruce said: ‘Arsenal are fantastic to watch, and all of us in the game love to watch them play.
“Whether they are brittle I don`t know, but if you have to upset them and stop them playing, you do that.
“You have to stop them from playing a bit. If you are going to take them on in a football match, you might be on to a hiding. They play for Arsenal because they are all good players – arguably they`re better players than we`ve got – so you have to do something as a team to counter that.”
Sunderland Team News:
Lee Cattermole will start his new two game suspension.
John Mensah has been rated as doubtful after picking up another injury in training.
Both Richardson and Elmohammady should play despite being subbed against Wigan last weekend.
Player to watch: Henderson
A moment of sheer brilliance from the England U21 midfielder set up our opening goal against Wigan, how we hope for more moments of genius this weekend.
Arsenal Team News:
Arsenal have a few key players missing for this clash with Vermaelen, Van Persie, Walcott, Bendtner and Diaby all facing injury problems.
Wenger can include Gibbs and Rosicky.
Player to watch: Fabregas
When Sunderland won last season through Darren Bent, the reason we did was through our midfield getting the better of Cesc in the middle.
We will need another massive performance from both Henderson and Riveros if we have any chance of stopping the Spanish magician this weekend.
Match Facts & Stats
Sunderland have lost only one of their last 12 home matches in the Premier League.
The Gunners have not kept a clean sheet in their last nine Premier League away matches, since a goalless draw at Aston Villa in January.
Referee: Phil Dowd
Assistant referees: Simon Long & Dean Mohareb
Fourth official: Martin Atkinson
Sunderland 1 – 2 Arsenal
After watching Arsenal destroy Braga midweek it is hard to see anything other than a defeat for us on Saturday evening. We have a great home record and always excel ourselves against the top teams but this is maybe too big of a task to defeat Wenger.
Next Fixtures: Liverpool (A)
Sunderland face another tricky tie away to Liverpool next Saturday