Arsenal have generally been merciless on the road against lower table teams this season, with a 3-1 win at Watford and a 4-1 win at Hull City. They have managed to garner just one point at home till now and are yet to get a single point after the first home game against Stoke. Their current deals in North London are up relatively soon, so it will be a necessity that the club pin their futures down as soon as possible.
The Black Cats are still without a victory in the English top flight this term and will be desperate to pick up three points at home to Arsene Wenger's side but the odds are stacked against them.
The news that Arsenal forward Lucas Pérez have been ruled out until Christmas at the earliest is arguably more a blow for the player than his club.
Wenger, however, has called on his side to be aware of the threat posed by Defoe, who has scored four times in nine Premier League appearances for Sunderland this season.
Wenger has set his side up better than ever this season, with the defence looking more resolute since the arrival of Shkodran Mustafi, and alongside Laurent Koscielny, a defender displaying credentials as one of the best centre-backs in the league, they have the best platform they've had since the club's unbeaten triumph.
"We have a few uncertainties over Walcott, Monreal, Santi Cazorla, but they will all have tests today". Only they can solve it, but that's going to require a lot of work.
Still, the form book suggests that was a blip: Arsenal have won 10 of their last 12 in all competitions.
"Sometimes you need that luck when you're down there but you've got to earn that luck by doing the right things, being positive and working hard".
Henry believes Walcott has the skill and prowess to improve Wenger's squad in their bid for trophies this season and thinks Walcott can prove to be a vital asset in the remaining part of the season provided he stays fit.
A midweek meeting with Reading provided Arsene Wenger with the ideal opportunity to test some of his lesser-seen squad members, and the Frenchman grasped it with both hands, making nine changes to his starting XI. When up against teams like Middlesbrough last weekend though, when a team is incessant on building a defensive wall Donald Trump would be proud of, then players with pace and the inability to get in behind are severely hindered. No, we had to do the job.
He will offer that plan B that's been talked about, and he will offer a different presence up front. It will be interesting to see if Chelsea can genuinely challenge for the league after such a disgusting last season.
Sanchez has proved himself in that central striker role this season, and we know what Giroud can do.
Preparations continued at the Academy of Light on Friday, with Adnan Januzaj and Jason Denayer both back training after ankle ligament and adductor injuries, respectively.