Before every Arsenal fixture, we’ll bring you a Scouting Report on the Gunners’ next opponents.

Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson will give his pre-match view and you can get his post-match verdict in our Talking Tactics feature on Arsenal Player.

Arsène Wenger and his side face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday so, to find out more, we also asked local journalist Chris Young for his thoughts and analysis.

Stewart Robson

"Sunderland have been rejuvenated under Martin O`Neill and are playing consistently well. Key to their attacking play has been the form of Stephane Sessegnon, who plays behind a main striker. He can dribble, shoot and cross with great quality. In front of him has been Frazier Campbell, who despite only just returning from injury, has performed with pace and energy. He will constantly look to run behind Arsenal's flat back four.

"In wide areas, Sebastien Larsson and James McClean are delivering some superb crosses. McClean will also make powerful diagonal runs to go beyond Campbell at the right time. Larsson is devastating from set-plays, as Arsenal fans will remember from his goal at the Emirates earlier this season.

"In midfield, Jack Colback and Craig Gardner are combative and creative in equal measures, and Arsenal must win this key battle if they are to come away with three points. If Sunderland have a weakness at present it is the centre back combination. John O`Shea will make poor decisions, while Michael Turner lacks the pace to cope with Arsenal's pacy attack."

Scouting Report - Tactics

"There have been a few factors behind Sunderland's resurgence. Confidence is the big one and Martin O'Neill has injected real self belief into the team. They were not that bad under Steve Bruce, hardly a hapless side, but they didn't take their chances and conceded some silly goals.

"O'Neill has also brought James McClean in from the Reserves and he has been excellent and given the team a natural balance. Once they started on this run of form, I think they were worried about slipping back to where they were at the start of the season and they have been absolutely desperate to win each match.

"Stephane Sessegnon is really flying at the moment, too. He got a minor knock against Middlesbrough but he should be fine for the Arsenal match. He was moved around the team a lot under Steve Bruce, but since O'Neill has come in he has been played as a support striker and all the play goes through him. He is revelling in that role at the moment.

"You would think that going to extra time against Middlesbrough on Wednesday would have some impact, but you should not underestimate this team. They put in a mammoth effort to beat Manchester City on New Year's Day, then two days later beat Wigan 4-1, so they are capable of finding extra energy when they need it. But by Saturday they will have played five games in 13 days and it is asking a lot to keep performing at the highest level.

"Against Arsenal I would expect them to take a similar approach to how they performed against Swansea. They are likely to sit back, get men behind the ball and try to hit them on the break. I think it'll be a close match, so I am going for a 1-1 draw."

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    9 Feb 2012