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Wilshere: In fine form

Wilshere: In fine form

Sunderland welcome Arsenal to the Stadium of Light looking to bounce back from their disappointing loss to Reading last time out.

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A late winner from Jimmy Kebe at the Madejski saw the Royals snatch all three points away from Martin O'Neill's men at the weekend, leaving his side in 12th place on 29 points.

The Black Cats have won just twice in their last eight games in all competitions and O'Neill will be desperate for a win against the Gunners to get the team moving up the table again.

However, he will have to do it with captain Lee Cattermole, who is still nursing a knee injury and is only expected back in three weeks.

Carlos Cuellar is expected to return to the side in time for the visit of the Gunners, but will probably find himself on the bench.

Wes Brown's ligament injury is likely to keep him out beyond the end of the season.

Deadline day signing Danny Graham made his debut against Reading and may start up front for the Wearsiders depending on whether O'Neill decides to play him ahead of Steven Fletcher.

Meanwhile, Arsenal made hard work of their win over Stoke last Saturday after they dominated in all areas of the game, a deflected Lukas Podolski's effort eventually sealing a 1-0 victory.

Arsene Wenger will expect his side to be more clinical in front of goal this weekend as they look to keep pace with other top four hopefuls Everton, Tottenham and Chelsea.

Wenger is dealing with a number of injuries and is suffering somewhat of a crisis in central defence, with Thomas Vermaelen out and Laurent Koscielny facing a late fitness test ahead of the trip to the North East.

However, Francis Coquelin and Aaron Ramsey are expected to return in time for the clash, while Theo Walcott will look to shake off the knock he picked up with England against Brazil in midweek.

Jack Wilshere, fresh from his Man-of-the-match performance for the Three Lions in the 2-1 win over A Selecao, is no doubt the key man for the Gunners and will look to run the show in midfield.

In-form striker Olivier Giroud is expected to start up front as the lone striker with either Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Lukas Podolski providing width on the flanks.

Posted: 08/02/13 15:10

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