Arsenal will kick off their 2012/13 season in the English Premier League against Sunderland at home at the Emirates Stadium on Sat. Aug. 18th. They’ll be attempting to move up the ladder from last season’s third-place finish. It’ll definitely be a new-look side this year as star striker Robin Van Persie was sold to Manchester United, one of the Gunners’ top competitors.
However, manager Arsene Wenger still has a very strong squad and also added to it over the summer. He lost on-loan forward Carlos Vela, but brought in international forwards Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski as well as winger Santi Cazorla. Giroud is a French international while Podolksi plays for Germany and Cazorla is a Spanish international.
BetVictor offers, as always, loads of odds on this match and some really good ones. The latest odds are 1/3 for an Arsenal win, 4/1 for a draw and 8/1 for a Sunderland victory.
Van Persie led the Premier League in goals last year with 30 in 38 games while Giroud led the French Ligue 1 with 21 goals. He played for Montpellier and helped them to win the French league. Podolski managed to score 18 goals in 29 games for German Bundesliga side Koln. Cazorla also managed nine goals from his wing position last year. Defender Laurent Koscielny signed a new contract, but defender Bacary Sagna is injured as is midfielder Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky. Wingers Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott will be game-time decisions.
Sunderland didn’t do too much in the off season, but they did manage to sign Spanish defender Carlos Cuellar. He played for manager Martin O’Neill previously while they were both at Aston Villa. Forward Asamoah Gyan has left the team though and that will be a big blow. In addition, Danish international striker Nicklas Bendtner, who was with Sunderland on loan from Arsenal last season, has gone back to his London club for the time being.
Bendtner had eight goals for Sunderland last year. But even if he was still with the team, he wouldn’t be playing against his parent club Arsenal. This means Sunderland is going to struggle to score goals this season unless they can bring in a good striker from somewhere before the transfer window closes at the end of august. Stephane Sessegnon and Sebastian Larsson each score seven times last season and they’ll need to equal that output at least or improve upon it. Sunderland had a brutal pre-season with two losses and a draw against lower-division sides.
Sunderland had three draws and three losses in their last six road games last season while Arsenal had three wins, two draws and a loss in their last half dozen at the Emirates. Arsenal has four wins and two draws in their last six league games against Sunderland. They’ll be looking to entertain the home crowd in the season opener and prove that they weren’t a one-man team with Van Persie being their only threat.
Look for Arsenal to come flying out of the gate and they should be able to earn all three points here against Sunderland and score a few goals along the way. We might see them take this game 3-1.