TITUS Bramble admits Sunderland will have their hands full when Arsenal bring their free-flowing football to the Stadium of Light tomorrow, writes Chris Young.
But he says these are the challenges that the Black Cats want week-in, week-out in the most exciting league in the world.
The 31-year-old is in the last year of his contract at the Stadium of Light and has yet to be offered another one.
But he is also currently in his longest run of first-team action for two years, having played in Sunderland’s last half-dozen games and is relishing every second of it.
He said: “All professional footballers want to play at the highest level they can and you don’t get higher than the Premier League in my opinion.
“So, yeah, Arsenal are going to be really tough opposition, but I love playing in games like these when you get to play against the best.
“You want to show that you can compete against these guys and come out on top.
“And I think we’ve done quite well in the last few months to get ourselves away from the relegation zone and pushing towards the top half of the table.
“The Arsenal game is another opportunity for us to build on our aim to break into the top 10.”
Bramble is a big admirer of Arsenal’s fast flowing play, but admits it is easier on the eye than it is on the legs.
“They’ve got great pace and can attack you from all angles and defending against them can be a nightmare at times – a player like Theo Walcott is just exceptional and on the quiet he’s got a really impressive goal-scoring record this season.”
Bramble joked: “If I get the nod to play, I hope I’m marking Lucas Podolski rather than Walcott – I think Podolski’s more my style!”
But he added: “Regardless of what they’re capable of, we have to remember that we are at home in front of our fans and want to give a good account of ourselves.
“We’ve got players capable of scoring goals too and Danny Graham’s looked really sharp since joining us, so it’s a game I’m looking forward to.
“Hopefully it will be a good match for and we’ll be able to get back to winning ways.”