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Arsenal look for perfect 10 against Sunderland

Written off before the start of the season after the exit of Thierry Henry, the Gunners can clock up a 10th consecutive victory in all competitions.

sports Updated: Oct 04, 2007 15:36 IST

The Russian takeover rumours rumble on at Arsenal but there is no sign of them shaking the poise of Arsene Wenger's table-topping side.

Written off before the start of the season after the exit of Thierry Henry, the Gunners can clock up a 10th consecutive victory in all competitions when they welcome Roy Keane's Sunderland to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Keane's old club Manchester United may have displaced Arsenal by the time they kick off if they beat Wigan Athletic on Saturday but there is an irresistible quality to their football at the moment which is leaving their rivals in the shade.

One of them, Liverpool, stuttered badly in midweek when they lost at home to Marseilles in the Champions League and will be anxious to put things right against surprise bottom three dwellers Tottenham Hotspur in another of the eight Sunday kickoffs in the Premier League.

Chelsea's new coach Avram Grant went some way to winning over the sceptics on Wednesday when his side won 2-1 in Valencia but he has still to taste a Premier League win and three points are a must at struggling Bolton Wanderers.

Arsenal's early form has cast Henry into the history books and some are even drawing parallels with Wenger's team who went through the 2003-04 season undefeated.

Striker Robin van Persie, scorer of the winner against Steaua Bucharest on Tuesday, is not surprised at how well Arsenal have started the campaign.

"I began very early this season," he said on Arsenal's Web site. "I first started just with Theo Walcott (in June) and then the other lads joined. What I saw was a great togetherness, a great belief and a great, great quality. I saw it every day. If we can stay together then we can do some amazing stuff."

Traumatic Start

Chelsea, languishing in eighth place after a traumatic start to their season, had Didier Drogba to thank for victory in Valencia but the Ivorian will be missing at Bolton after getting sent off on his return from injury against Fulham last week.

However, with defender Ricardo Carvalho making his return from injury against Valencia and Frank Lampard close to a return, a win at Bolton would lift the blues that have enveloped Stamford Bridge since the exit of Jose Mourinho.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has had his rotation policy scrutinised in recent weeks, but no coach has been under the media microscope more than Tottenham's affable Dutchman Martin Jol.

He looked doomed when his side trailed 4-1 at home to Aston Villa on Monday before his side rallied for a remarkable 4-4 draw. Tottenham have never beaten one of the big four away from home under Jol's stewardship and he needs that dismal record to improve quickly if his reign at Spurs is not to be cut short.

In other matches on Sunday, goal-happy Portsmouth go to Fulham, high-flying Manchester City take on Middlesbrough looking to cement their place in the top four.

Bottom club Derby County may sense a chance of three valuable points at a Reading side struggling in their second season in the top flight.