Welcome to a new feature on Arsenal.com - Talking Heads.

Before and after every first-team fixture our MatchDay Show team - and an Arsenal blogger - will have their say on the match.

Arsenal take on Sunderland in the Premier League on Sunday and our Talking Heads for this game were Dan Roebuck, Kenny Sansom and Paul Savill from Up The Arsenal.

Read on for their post-match thoughts and recap what they said before the game.

Dan Roebuck - Arsenal Live

That was quite simply a massive win for Arsenal. They could not have asked for a better start but you could see how fragile confidence is at the moment because the doubts seemed to creep in after they failed to take any of the chances that followed. Larsson's equaliser saw the 'handbrake' applied  and to be honest Arsenal could have trailed at half time. They regrouped well and I thought Arshavin might be the matchwinner before Van Persie stepped up. We've waited rather a long time for him to score a free-kick but what a perfect time to get it. I thought Koscielny and Mertesacker looked more comfortable together against Sunderland so that bodes well, while the rest of the team closed down well. Song's passing radar was off but he was tenacious throughout and Szczesny pulled off another world-class save at a vital time.

It feels like a very long time since the North London derby and maybe Arsenal needed the international break to freshen their minds as well as their bodies - if they weren't on duty of course. For all their struggles away from home Arsène Wenger's side have been fine at Emirates Stadium and a Sunderland side shorn of the on-loan Bendtner could struggle to create chances. The return of Koscielny and Djourou gives Wenger defensive reinforcements and I wouldn't be surprised to see Djourou get the nod at right back in Sagna's absence. Further forward it's time for Gervinho and Walcott to hit top gear in support of Van Persie. I think they will and I think Arsenal will take all three points.

Kenny Sansom

I thought the team put in an absolutely fantastic performance on Sunday. I thought Robin van Persie was marvellous and he certainly made the difference. You couldn't stop the goal from Seb Larsson so you can't have a go at the defence about that, but at times we did look a bit ragged defensively in a positional sense. But at the end of the day it's a 2-1 victory and it's three points. I thought Gervinho was very good in the first half - he will get better and better. Some players weren't at their best but they will look at themselves and will put that right I hope. But it's three points, and that's all that matters.

I think it's going to be quite interesting because neither club have had the best of starts. Their managers are supposedly under pressure but in my opinion it's about the players - they have to go out on the pitch and do a job for their manager and the fans. I haven't seen that much of Sunderland but they seem to play well enough without getting the right results and that could play on their mind at the Emirates. I think Arsenal will win, they will be too strong, and I expect the likes of Gervinho to put in a performance. He has so much energy but he didn't look completely fit at Tottenham - he should be fresher on Sunday. I still think losing Wilshere is a massive, massive blow, losing him is like losing a young captain. But his team-mates should have enough to get three points this weekend.


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While the first 30 minutes of the game saw us play arguably our best football of the season so far it was tempered by our all-too-familiar ability to give the opposition every chance of taking something from the game. After an electric start - a goal inside 30 seconds - Arsenal looked ready to pick apart a struggling Sunderland side apart with their quick passing game. That Robin van Persie was unable to double his afternoon's tally and our lead in the 11th minute was a double blow - the eloquence of the skipper's turn and chip was deserving of a goal and at that stage of the game it might have opened the floodgates. Former Gunner Seb Larsson hauled Sunderland level and subsequently the visitors grew in confidence. Arsenal continued to dominate possession in the second half but a draw looked likely until the captain capped a fantastic performance with that superb free-kick. Another home win sets us up nicely for this week's Champions League fixture.

With the international break thankfully over and the memories of our last fixture placed firmly in the part of our collective psyche known only as 'The Dark Place' we look forward to facing a side who like us are having a bit of a time of it results-wise. Steve Bruce's team have only tasted victory on one occasion this season, putting four past Stoke, but a quick and uncomfortable glimpse of the league table would suggest there is little between us right now. The early team news is that we'll see the return of Laurent Koscielny and Johan Djourou. Whoever plays in the Arsenal back line will be spared the job of marking Nicklas Bendtner - due to Premier League rules the Danish striker is ineligible to face his parent club. This leaves the Mackems looking light up top which may well be a blessing for our defence as it is once again all-change at the back. In our favour is our home form and I think we'll see off the Wearsiders and return to winning ways.

* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd.

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17 Oct 2011