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MatchTalk: Sunderland (H) 18.08.12

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on Jack Wilshere (ankle), Tomas Rosicky (tendon) and Bacary Sagna (leg)...

They are all doing well but of course they are not available tomorrow. It is good news for them all though. Jack is moving very well and quickly forward now. Rosicky is running, Sagna is running too. They should all be available soon. It is more or less a month for all of them to start training properly.

on Mikel Arteta…

He is fit and available.

on Emmanuel Frimpong (knee)…

He is three weeks until he is training so that is a bit ahead of schedule. It is very good. We think he will be back competitively in October.

on other team news…

We have a few tests today because some players came back today [from internationals] and played 90 minutes, like Cazorla in Puerto Rico. Some players like Song have little knocks. We will see about them today.

on Walcott (thigh)…

We have to assess Walcott, who had to pull out of the national team. But he should be OK to play.

on Koscielny and Oxlade-Chamberlain...

We miss Koscielny and Oxlade-Chamberlain for the injuries they got in the last game against Cologne. They had to pull out of their respective national teams as well so those two will miss the game tomorrow. Oxlade-Chamberlain has an ankle problem, Koscielny a calf. Both have a chance to be fit for Stoke.


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My thoughts (Best said while fresh)

Overall we looked strong throughout the 90 minutes with the defence holding up well despite really being tested so that hurdles still yet to be jumped but we were too enthusiastic in the early stages which probably paid in the legs, at the end of the day we've dropped 2 point's but I wouldn't beat yourselves up about it because we can only get better from this point the longer the squad plays together and unlike last year I felt more in control of our destiny with threats from all angles including some improved players across the back line - we're some way of winning a trophy but come December we'll be fighting on all fronts given an addition or two.

There was clear signs through the middle that the squad was made overnight with Cazorla & Podolski most notably failing to work in tandum whereby they crossed paths in the same areas too much and Arteta alongside Diaby were both unsure how to play with them.

Carl Jenkinson started off like Andy Carroll but gradually grew in stature throughout the game whereby he took some, I use the term lightly, responsibility down the right flank when needed.

For me the left flank in Keiren Gibbs & Gervinho were our strongest asset both in the forward and attacking department, firstly looking at Gibbs he seems more composed when defending letting the opposing player think about the decision he's about to make delaying their reactions playing into his hands given he's speed and anticipation but never did he hesitate on the pitch today throwing his body on the line even to prevent throw ins.

Really pleased with Gervinho who looks to have the beating of most defenders on that performance and I'd argue that he might just start to pay back some of the faith we've had in him last season and in reality he should top his assists + goal tally from last season which helps.

Personally I wouldn't give Giroud a hard time over his miss because I don't think he was given the best of pre-season from Wenger which is bad management on his behalf, no way should someone who played in the Euro's be this far behind in terms of fitness and we could of done with his aerial presence sooner.

The last note goes to Santi Cazorla because his performance will last longer in the memory after a fluid display of attacking brilliance in the final third at times it was majestic with eye of the needle passes, instant control and intelligent movement but there was still a bit of freshness in his game from La Liga which will have to be tailored in the coming months and it's safe to say we have a gem on our hands.

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