Sunderland Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups
The last time both teams met in the League, Alexis Sanchez was in a mean streak of goalscoring form and the Gunners bagged all three points. A lot has happened since then with the Gunner securing Champions League football for the umpteenth time while Sunderland continue to fight for their Premier League lives. Arsenal have won seven and lost none of their last 10 Premier League matches against Sunderland. Sunderland have won just one of their last 22 Premier League games against Arsenal, and are winless in the last 10 (D3, L7).
Three of the last six meetings at the Emirates between these sides have ended in goalless draws. Arsenal have failed to register a first-half shot on target in their last two games.
Sunderland’s gaffer, Dick Advocaat, has remained positive about avoiding the drop, especially with two daunting fixtures against Arsenal and Chelsea (both away).
“Normally, if you have 37 points, you’re safe. But we will go on until the end and we have to do what we have to do to get that point. The other teams have to do what they have to do too, and win their games. We have to make it as hard as possible defensively and be sharp. Maybe we can do something sneaky like we did at Everton. We will stay up, I have no doubts about that.”
If Sunderland had secured maximum points against Leicester, this would have been a dead-rubber fixture. Arsenal need a point to secure third place to avoid the drama of going through playoffs yet again. Let Manchester United worry about that. However, if Hull defeats the Red Devils and Sunderland lose to Arsenal and Chelsea, they’d be relegated. No doubt.
Lee Cattermole received his 14th booking of the season on Saturday, the joint-most in a PL season, level with Mark Hughes, Robbie Savage and Cheick Tioté. All 14 have been for fouls. Lee Cattermole will become the first player to receive 15 Premier League yellow cards in a single season. He would also earn a three-game ban. My money is on the young thug to get another booking.
No side has drawn as many games as Sunderland (8) at home, while Burnley are the only side to score fewer goals in front of their own fans.
34% of the goals Arsenal have conceded this season have been from headers, the highest proportion in the top flight. Batefembi Gomis was the last person to add to this stat with Andre Herrera’s goal coming with his foot. This means that the Gunners would have to be wary about the threat Sunderland could pose from set pieces.
Arsene Wenger expects them to take the ‘Swansea approach’ because they need a point to secure their status in the League. Let’s just hope that the Gunners wouldn’t be as profligate as they were in their last home game. Speaking of profligate, Olivier Giroud has failed to score in his last six league and cup games but he has a decent record against the Black Cats with three goals scored in his last four games against the outfit. He’d be hoping to end his drought tonight.
Arsenal: Matt Debuchy (hamstring), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (hamstring), Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby (lacking match fitness), Danny Welbeck (knee), Laurent Koscielny (illness)
Sunderland: Wes Brown, Jordi Gomez and Ricky Alvarez (knee), Liam Bridcutt (knock), Jack Rodwell (hamstring), Billy Jones (muscle)
- Last Five Games: W D W L D
- Last Result: Manchester United 1 Arsenal 1
- Leading Goalscorer: Alexis Sanchez (24)
- Last Five Games: L D W W D
- Last Result: Sunderland 0 Leicester 0
- Leading Goalscorer: Connor Wickham and Jordi Gomez (6)
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Ospina; Bellerin, Gabriel, Mertesacker, Monreal; Coquelin, Ramsey; Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud
Swansea (4-3-3): Pantilimon; Reveillere, O’Shea, Coates, Van Aanholt; Bridcutt, Cattermole, Larsson; Defoe, Fletcher, Wickham
Gooner Daily says 3 – 0 to the Arsenal
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