54danny graham

Sunderland welcome Arsenal to the Stadium Of Light this afternoon in a game that both teams need to win: Arsenal need to keep in touch with fellow Champions League qualification competitors Everton and Spurs, while Sunderland need points to stop looking over their shoulders, especially after last week’s loss to Reading.

Of the two, it’s arguably Sunderland who look the most desperate for points, so with that in mind, here are five steps to containing and beating Arsenal…

5. Play 2 Up Top

Arsenal have been hit by a mini injury crisis ahead of their game at The Stadium of Light, with Thomas Vermaelen ruled out already and Laurent Koscielny a major doubt having picked up a calf injury on international duty.

That will mean an under strength central defensive partnership for Arsenal no matter who starts for the Gunners, which Martin O’Neill should be looking to exploit. And though Sunderland have looked toothless in games this season, in the signing of Danny Graham they have the opportunity to try and play some more attacking football.

If this isn’t the best opportunity to test out playing both Graham and Fletcher together, I don’t know what is.

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This article was first posted on February 9, 2013