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Gunners cautious

- City rely on Balotelli vs Sunderland
Mario Balotelli

London: Alex Ferguson has had nine months to come up with a plan to combat the threat of Demba Ba and how Manchester United cope with the red-hot Newcastle United striker on Sunday could define their Premier League season.

A tasty London derby is in store at Upton Park on Saturday when Arsenal aim to check West Ham’s United’s bright start. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was less than enamoured with his side’s defending in their first defeat of the season last weekend at home to Chelsea and could decide to bring back Per Mertesacker to combat the threat of West Ham’s big frontman Andy Carroll.

Wenger deployed Laurent Koscielny instead of the previously impressive Mertesacker against Chelsea, a move that was less than successful, and the Frenchman also started the 3-1 Champions League win over Olympiakos Piraeus on Wednesday.

Chelsea welcome struggling Norwich City to Stamford Bridge on Saturday and champions Manchester City, level on points with United and four behind the leaders, host Sunderland following their last-gasp 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.

Italian striker Mario Balotelli rescued City by scoring the equaliser to give them a valuable point and Roberto Mancini’s side will rely on him again.