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2012 Premier League Picks: Arsenal vs. Sunderland Match Preview 8/18/12

Arsenal vs. Sunderland Match Prediction: Black Cats To Steal Point At Emirates: The time is here for the 2012 English Premier League season, as the first match day of the season kicks off on Saturday afternoon with a great slate of fixtures. ESPN and ESPN3.com are going to start their broadcasts of the Premier League on TV this week with a great clash at the Emirates Stadium, as Arsenal dukes it out with Sunderland.

It could be a relatively frustrating season for both the Gunners and the Black Cats. Arsenal was able to finish third last year on the Premiership table, but it was nowhere near as good as the two teams from Manchester. With seemingly no hope of catching either Man U or Man City in the long run, Arsenal knows that it has to build towards another run at the Champions League in 2012. Sunderland knows that it doesn’t have all that much in the way of a future in European competition without a remarkable run, and for a team that has been mired in the middle of the table, that just isn’t likely to happen. This is a crucial match at the outset of the year for both teams, as it is one that Arsenal should be comfortably winning, while it is one that Sunderland would be thrilled to get a point out of to get its campaign off on the right foot.

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Arsenal vs. Sunderland Schedule and Match Information
Arsenal vs. Sunderland Match Date/Time: Saturday, August 18th, 10:00 a.m. (ET)
Arsenal vs. Sunderland Stadium: Emirates Stadium
Arsenal vs. Sunderland on TV: ESPN, ESPN3.com
Earn Up To $900 In Free Bets For The Arsenal vs. Sunderland Premiership Match!
Arsenal vs. Sunderland Match Odds: Arsenal -1 (-145)
Arsenal vs. Sunderland Betting Line Total: 2.5 (Over -132)

Of course, all eyes are going to be up front for Arsenal, where fans of the Gunners are no longer going to be seeing the great Robin van Persie. Van Persie spent part of last season out injured, and during that time, he assessed that the club wasn’t going in a direction that he was all that proud of. Now, he’s with Arsenal’s rivals in Manchester United, and there is a massive hole to be filled as a result. Lukas Podolski is going to be the man that has to take the lead and become one of the team’s best strikers, but the question is still there as to whether or not this is going to be a team that has the ability to compete at the top of the Premier League table this year. Longtime Manager Arsene Wenger knows that he has talent, but a lot of that talent is raw, and he has done as much as admit that this is going to be a season about building towards the future of the soccer program in London. Laurent Koscielny and Alex Oxalde-Chamberlain are both out of the fold for the Gunners as well.

In spite of the fact that Sunderland only scored 19 goals for the whole season on the road, there is still some confidence that this could be another year of survival. The Black Cats might be on the path to relegation this year if they don’t get some great contributions from newcomer Louis Saha up front. Sunderland had plenty of scoring potential last season, but in the end, just 45 goals didn’t cut it, especially when compared to the 46 or the relegated Bolton Wanderers and the 38 of the relegated Blackburn Rovers. Phil Bardsley will miss his first of what could be a number of Premier League matches, but James McClean is going to be out there in hopes of getting a great second season in for the Black Cats.

Arsenal vs. Sunderland Match Preview & Analysis: We really don’t have a heck of a lot of confidence in Sunderland’s ability to compete in this match, but the problem that we have with the Gunners is that we don’t think all that much of them either. We’ll take the goal on our side for now and hope that somehow, the Black Cats can find the back of the net. If they do, they should be golden, as we don’t really know if Arsenal has the ability to get more than one in the back of the net against a team that allowed just a shade over a goal per game last season, especially with van Persie now donning Manchester United colors.

Arsenal vs. Sunderland Punting Tip: Sunderland +1 (+120) @ BetOnline Sportsbook

Arsenal vs. Sunderland Score Prediction: Arsenal 1 – Sunderland 1

Posted in English Premier League, Featured


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