The match starts at 10 am. This is definitely a match The Gunners should win, but it will be interesting to see if they come out in the same 4-3-3 formation they've been using all season to great effect (36 goals in 11 Premier League matches). They might be forced to switch to a more common 4-4-2 because both van Persie and Bendtner are out with injuries. The loss of van Persie for at least a month is particularly regrettable as he has scored 8 goals and 8 assists this season. His assists, more than his goals, verify the effectiveness of the 4-3-3 formation. Eduardo is a very capable replacement as Striker, but he does not have the size and strength to play with his back to goal, take down long balls, and distribute. It will be interesting to see how Wenger organizes his team in the absence of van Persie.
UPDATE: It's 0-0 at halftime. If it stays that way through 70 minutes, I wonder whether Wenger might insert Abu Diaby upfront to take down and hold long balls. He's normally a holding midfielder, but he can play up front and score.
UPDATE: Full time: Sunderland 1 - Arsenal 0. It would be an understatement to say The Gunners missed van Persie. In any case, they did not play well enough to win. Fabregas was off his best. Ramsay looked slow and indecisive when he was on the ball. They didn't create nearly enough chances. Credit, though, to Sunderland, who have all the makings of a top-ten side.