Arsenal travel to the Stadium of Light on Sunday hoping to overcome Sunderland in their bid to move back up to third spot in the Premier League table.
The Gunners ended a two-game streak without a win in midweek with their 2-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion, and will hope to continue to build on their momentum.
With the all-important third spot on offer as they continue to battle Manchester City, Arsene Wenger will know the importance of securing all three points this weekend following on from City’s 4-0 win over Stoke City.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men have looked in ominous form in recent weeks, and so Arsenal will have to keep up the pace or risk having to go through the preliminary stages of the Champions League with a fourth-placed finish.
Petr Cech will likely continue in between the posts after starting the last two games, while Per Mertesacker was restored to the starting line-up in midweek and could get the nod ahead of Gabriel to play alongside Laurent Koscielny, Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal.
Moving further up the field, Aaron Ramsey impressed against the Baggies and will be expected to line up alongside Francis Coquelin in the two deeper midfield positions.
The likes of Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla are edging closer to a return with the former in line to be named on the substitute’s bench, while Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alex Iwobi will act as the attacking trident behind the lone striker.
That role goes to Danny Welbeck after Olivier Giroud failed to take his opportunity on Thursday night, and so Wenger will hope that the England international will lead the line well and get back amongst the goals.
Predicted Arsenal XI vs Sunderland: