This is a guest post by sports writer Thomas Rooney
The Emirates played host to a night that belonged to Eduardo on Monday night. This weekend, it is the turn of new signing Andrei Arshavin to adhere himself to the Arsenal faithful as he makes his debut against Sunderland tomorrow.
Arsene Wenger has confirmed that the Russian will make his debut at the Emirates, but has admitted that he has ‘not decided what to do with him yet’ in terms of whether Arshavin will start the game.
Arshavin hasn’t played a competitive game since the end of the Russian domestic season in November and Wenger admits that he is ‘still working on his preparation’.
The Arsenal boss went on to say that because Arshavin isn’t qualified for the Champions League game against Roma next week, this gives the player another week of working hard in training. This should then ensure that he is 100% ready.
With this in mind, it is probably more likely that Arshavin will be on the bench to begin with. Wenger obviously feels that he isn’t quite ready to play 90 minutes as yet, so the best option could be to use him as an impact substitute against the Black Cats.
It will be a very significant moment when he is introduced for the first time as the Arsenal fans are expecting plenty from their new £15m man. Hopefully, his ability will shine through and he can help the team secure an important victory.
As for the game itself, well it is one that has to be considered as a must-win. Arsenal are still five points off Chelsea in fourth place and they can’t afford to drop many more points. Sunderland are a decent team on their day though, so they shouldn’t be taken lightly.
In terms of team news, Eduardo is out of contention after picking up a hamstring injury. However, Emmanuel Eboue is back from suspension and Johan Djourou is back in contention after recovering from a sickness bug.
The most significant news though is that Arshavin could well make his first appearance in an Arsenal shirt. Hopefully it will be marked with an encouraging individual performance as well as a victory for the team.