The Gunners threw away a golden opportunity to create a major upset by beating Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday, with a red card to Wojciech Szczesny turning the match in the European champions' favour, which they duly took full advantage of by winning 2-0.
Arsene Wenger will have to rally his troops from that where-do-we-go-from-here loss, with Sunderland, desperate for points to avoid the drop, set to give the home side a real run for their money at the Emirates.
"It's back to the Premier League for us," said Wenger, whose side are one point behind Chelsea, but could see that lead increased to four if the Blues beat Everton. "There is a mental adjustment we have to make because we have played in three different competitions in one week.
"But we have to get the negative vibes out after the last game and get into the Premier League again. The challenges that we have ahead are massive, but extremely exciting as well, so it's important that we are not down because of the result against Bayern Munich."
Mesut Ozil, rightly or wrongly, has copped much criticism since that Bayern defeat, with the playmaker missing a crucial penalty, which he incidentally won, and then failing to get over from the disappointment for the rest of the game.
Wenger revealed Ozil is still feeling the effects of the missed spot-kick, but backed the German international to bounce back quickly, citing the example of a former Arsenal legend, who did the same after missing a crucial penalty in 1999.
"At the moment you have to let him [Ozil] recover from that," Wenger said. "I had examples before with people like Dennis Bergkamp, who missed an important penalty in 1999 [against Manchester United] and refused afterwards to take any.
"Incidentally, he gets a statue on Saturday so it doesn't take a statue away from you. Some other people don't mind [when they miss] and do it again. It depends on how you feel and how much you want it.
"Ozil apologised after the game but I don't think people are shocked by the fact that he missed a penalty because Bayern missed one as well. He takes his penalties in an unusual way so people are maybe a little bit less [understanding] but everybody can miss penalties.
"Ozil is a classy player and on a longer period class always tells."
Arsenal's class will be put to the test by Sunderland, with Poyet, who seems to have the Midas touch in cup competitions, looking to bring that consistency into the league as well.
"It's a great game for us -- a great opportunity to do something important in the league," Poyet said. "We will go there with no fear, to play our game, try to make things difficult for Arsenal and hopefully be the surprise of the day."
Team news: Arsenal: Mikel Arteta returns to the lineup after missing the Bayern match through suspension, but Kieran Gibbs misses out after picking up an injury which forced him out during the first half of the Champions League game. Aaron Ramsey remains sidelined along with Theo Walcott, Kim Kallstrom, Thomas Vermaelen and Abou Diaby.
Wenger is set to rotate his squad, with Ozil likely to be rested, and the manager admitted he would discipline Wojciech Szczesny, after the goalkeeper made a rude gesture following his dismissal against Bayern.
Sunderland: Goalkeeper Kieren Westwood is ruled out with a shoulder injury, while defender Carlos Cuellar is yet to recover from a hip problem. Striker Steven Fletcher, however, could return to action from an Achilles injury, with Wes Brown serving the second of his two-match suspension.
Key men: Arsenal: Jack Wilshere needs to step up for the home side, with the playmaker's dynamism and fight essential ingredients for a victory. Also Tomas Rosicky, if he gets an opportunity from the start, will look to give Arsenal the energy, that has sometimes been missing from Wenger's men, and undoubted quality, essential against a team like Sunderland, who are fighting for their Premier League lives.
Sunderland: Jozy Altidore outmuscled the Arsenal defenders the last time the two teams met, and the US international will want to use his physical attributes to his advantage yet again. Also goalkeeper Vito Mannone, who was an Arsenal player until last season, will be determined to keep a clean sheet against his former side.
Expected lineups: Arsenal: Fabianski; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Arteta, Wilshere; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky, Cazorla; Giroud.
Sunderland: Mannone; Bardsley, O'Shea, Vergini, Alonso; Bridcutt; Johnson, Ki, Colback, Borini; Altidore.
Prediction: 2-0 to Arsenal
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