Date: 9th February 2013 at 11:50am
Written by:

Olivier GiroudHere are 10 things you should know about Sunderland v ahead of today’s game at the Stadium of Light:

1. A Craig Gardner penalty was not enough for Sunderland as they fell to a 2-1 defeat away to Reading last weekend.

2. John O’Shea continues to display his composure in defence that made him a stalwart at for many years. He leads the Sunderland squad for interceptions with 146 and clearances with 49.

3. Steven Fletcher continues to look like one of the bargains of the season for Martin O’Neill’s side. The Scottish has been displaying excellent accuracy in front of goal, racking up a 74.3% rate from 39 shots and bagging himself 10 goals along the way.

4. Look for and Stephane Sessegnon to once again pair up to provide Sunderland’s greatest creative threat from the flanks. Between the two, they have so far provided 89 crosses and 10 assists.

5. Despite only playing 639 minutes this season, when he’s on the field, it’s clear that has lost none of his competitive bite. He’s picked up 13 fouls and attempted 31 challenges.

6. Lukas Podolski’s deflected second-half free-kick earned all three points against a typically dogged at The Emirates last Saturday.

7. All signs point towards Olivier Giroud finding the back of the net with greater consistency and if he improves his accuracy in front of goal. He’s bagged a solid nine goals so far in his first season at Arsenal, yet only has a 50.8% accuracy rate from 63 attempts on goal.

8. Bacary Sagna has been struggling a little at times since his return from injury, yet he’s still displaying his trademark class in the tackle for The Gunners. He has the best tackle success rate in the squad this season with 71.7% from 46 challenges.

9. After an outstanding performance against Brazil in midweek, Jack Wilshere’s form shows no sign of waning anytime soon. The gifted midfielder has successfully completed a pass in the opponent’s half once every 2.6 minutes he has been on the field this season.

10. With Theo signing a new long-term contract, the future looks bright for this home-grown side. The forward has been clinical in front of goal this season, bagging a goal once every 3.3 attempts.

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