Premier League: We will fight at Stadium of Light, says top Gunner

PUBLISHED: 20:12 17 September 2010

ARSENAL travel to the Stadium of Light tomorrow (Saturday) to tackle Sunderland in the Premier League.

ALEX Song believes Arsenal have learned how to fight this season, and wants that new-found toughness to continue on Saturday when they head north to Sunderland.

The Gunners were beaten 1-0 by Darren Bent’s late goal at the Stadium of Light last season, one of seven away defeats that cost them a chance of winning the title.

But Arsene Wenger’s side have emerged victorious from bruising encounters with Blackburn and Bolton in recent weeks, and midfielder Song believes they have learned their lessons on how to get results against physical opposition.

“We can fight when we need to fight and we can play good football when we get the chance to play good football,” said Song.

“At Blackburn away, we know what happened there last season. When we go to places like that we know how tough it will be, we know we have to fight and we showed good character.

“At home, we know we have to play to our strengths, move the ball, pass it and then no one can do anything about it when we play at our best.

“For Arsenal, with the style we have to keep the ball and play. Now we know that we can also go away from home and be ready for every team and be ready for the fight.”

Song scored a rare goal in the 4-1 win over Bolton on Saturday, and it also happened to be the 1,000th Premier League goal in 528 games since Arsene Wenger arrived in 1996.

“It’s my first goal at the Emirates so it was special for me,” said Song. “But that [the 1,000 goals] wasn’t important for me, what was important was winning the game and that goal helped us do that.

“We had two new players at centre-back [Sebastien Squillaci and Laurent Koscielny] and it’s not easy to do that but it’s very good to have players who can come in and play like normal.

“Now we need to improve, we need to be more focused,” added Song, who knows the Gunners will head north with a depleted squad following the news that Abou Diaby’s ankle injury suffered against Bolton on Saturday will keep him on the sidelines.

Diaby had only been on the pitch for 13 minutes as a substitute when he was caught by an over-the-ball challenge by Paul Robinson.

And Wenger admitted: “He is out with an ankle problem after the tackle from Robinson. Diaby is very fair player, but he was very, very angry after that challenge.

“At the moment we don’t know how long he will be out but he will not be ready for the weekend.”

Diaby joins strike trio Theo Walcott, Robin van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner on the injured list, but there could be better news concerning Thomas Vermaelen.

The Belgian defender returned from international duty with an Achilles problem and missed the two home games with Bolton and Braga, but is aiming to return at the Stadium of Light.

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