SUNDERLAND fans will have to wait to see how a Louis Saha-Stephane Sessegnon partnership will work, with Martin O’Neill set to play a lone striker at Arsenal tomorrow afternoon.
Former Manchester United, Everton and Spurs star Saha yesterday tied up a one-year deal with the Black Cats and was immediately included in the squad due to face the Gunners at the Emirates on the opening day of the new Premier League season.
But supporters will have to wait for next week’s home game against Reading for realistic prospects of the duo being paired up front.
O’Neill told the Echo last season that teams take a terrible risk if they play four across the middle against pass-masters Arsenal.
And with Arsene Wenger’s men at home and hoping to repeat or improve on their third-place Premier League finish last season, O’Neill will pack his midfield and play a lone striker.
That means should Saha and injury-doubt Sessegnon both feature in the game, one will be the replacement of the other.
Saha will not mind what role he is asked to play at Arsenal tomorrow, confident that he has the fitness levels to perform despite a summer without a club.
The 34-year-old has been a free agent since his departure from Spurs at the end of last season but said: “I have been working really hard so I am not far from full fitness.
“I will be available this weekend – if the manager picks me – and it will be nice to be back in the Premier League.”
The much-travelled Saha credited sacked Spurs boss Harry Redknapp for sparking an upturn in his form last season and will hope man-motivator Martin O’Neill can have a similar influence in the season ahead.
“The manager has great experience and has been successful wherever he has been,” said the French forward.
“This is a great chance to play under him.
“I played against Sunderland for a good few years and you can’t help but notice what a hard place the Stadium of Light is to come to because the fans have unbelievable passion.”