LONDON (Sporting Alert) — Summer signings Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla have been handed starting places to make their Arsenal debuts in the Barclays Premier League opener at Emirates Stadium this afternoon.
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With the departure of former captain and leading striker Robin van Persie, Podolski has been given the chance to take over as the main striker as manager Arsene Wenger looks for a quick start to the season.
Midfield playmaker Cazorla, who only just arrived from international duty with Spain is OK to start and he will play in the middle with Abou Diaby and Mikel Arteta.
Another new signing, Olivier Giroud, will start on the bench.
For Sunderland, Louis Saha starts on the bench, with Fraizer Campbell and Stephane Sessegnon in the attack.
Arsenal v Sunderland
Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Diaby, Arteta, Cazorla, Walcott, Gervinho, Podolski
Subs: Mannone, Andre Santos, Giroud, Ramsey, Djourou, Coquelin, Arshavin
Sunderland: Mignolet, Gardner, Cuellar, O’Shea, Richardson, Larsson, Colback, Cattermole, McClean, Sessegnon, Campbell
Subs: Westwood, Wickham, Kilgallon, Meyler, Bramble, Saha, Elmohamady
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)