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By ESPN Staff

Ferdinand and Bruce united in praise for Wenger

Sunderland defender Anton Ferdinand has expressed his admiration for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger ahead of Saturday's Premier League encounter between the sides at the Stadium of Light.

Bruce respects Wenger

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Wenger has found himself a target for Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce, Bolton counterpart Owen Coyle and Stoke chief executive Tony Scholes after voicing his fears over the way some of his players are treated by opponents.

However, Ferdinand, whose side will attempt to keep the free-scoring Gunners at bay this evening, is a fan.

"No-one can question him," Ferdinand said. "What he has achieved at Arsenal is unbelievable. I speak to quite a few of the boys at Arsenal, who I know from my time in London, and they have nothing but good words to say about him, about the way he is as a person, the way he is as a coach, as a manager - everything. They haven't got a bad word to say about him.

"For me, you cannot question Mr Wenger's credentials and the players he buys, the way he does his business. You can't beat that, and it shows in the way they play football. They play football the way football should be played.

"You speak to any fan around England and ask who do they most look forward to playing, and I will guarantee most of them are going to say Arsenal because of the way they play football, and that's a credit to Arsene Wenger."

Ferdinand's view are shared by manager Steve Bruce as he attempts to plot Wenger's downfall on Wearside for a second successive season.

He said: "You have to admire them. You have to say Arsene Wenger is bordering on genius, the way he does it.

"He doesn't have the funds that the others have, yet he has transformed the club from Highbury to the Emirates - this wonderful young team which is always terrific to watch.

"The big thing is that they haven't won anything for four or five years - that's how difficult this Premier League is, when you have got the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United to beat."

Darren Bent's lone strike at the Stadium of Light last season was enough to claim a famous scalp, and Ferdinand and his team-mates are hoping for a repeat this time around.

The defender said: "Arsenal do have a hard time when they come to the Stadium of Light and we have got to make sure that hard time continues.

"Last year, we had a great result against them, but this is another year with another team. We have both got new signings, new players in the team, so it is going to be a different game."

Sunderland will be without suspended skipper Lee Cattermole and injured defender Michael Turner, while John Mensah is a major doubt.

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