A miracle at the Emirates?

Sunderland travel to North London on Wednesday to face Arsenal in their penultimate game of the season in a match that’s got a somewhat strange aura to it. It’s an interesting fixture because both teams need just a point to achieve their targets as far as the league is concerned. If it plays out as a draw, Arsenal will have a guaranteed third spot finish while the Black Cats can rest assured of a run in the league next season before they entertain champions Chelsea on the last day of the season.

It goes without saying that the Gunners are firm favorites to emerge victorious, but nothing is ever guaranteed in the Premier League, especially when you’re facing a relegation threatened side who can almost taste safety. Sunderland know what it takes to survive, and will have to put on a performance of their lives if they are to leave the Emirates with anything. While a loss would not mean immediate relegation confirmation, Sunderland would love to erase that possibility as soon as possible.

The Numbers

  • Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 10 matches against Sunderland.
  • Olivier Giroud has scored 3 goals in 4 matches against the Black Cats
  • Sunderland have fired in fewer shots on target than any other team in the Premier League (118)
  • 34% of the goals Arsenal have conceded this season have been from headers, the highest proportion in the top flight
  • The Gunners have failed to score in their last two Premier League games at the Emirates. Last time they went three without a goal on home soil was in February 2009

Form Guide

Sunderland: W D W L D                                                   Arsenal: L D W W D

The Treatment Table

Arsene Wenger may opt to rotate his squad tonight due to the fact that they have to play 3 games in the span of seven days, including the FA Cup final. Danny Welbeck and Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain are injured and not expected to feature. There is also concern about Laurent Koscielny, as he is reportedly unwell and may be forced to sit out the match.

Sunderland are still without Jordi Gomez, Wes Brown, Ricky Alvarez and Jack Rodwell. Billy Jones is also expected to join them on the sidelines after getting injured during the week.

Predicted XI

Arsenal: David Ospina; Hector Bellerin, Per Mertesacker(c), Gabriel Paulista, Kieran Gibbs; Francis Coquelin, Aaron Ramsey; Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez; Olivier Giroud

Sunderland: Costel Pantilimon; Anthony Reveillere, Sebastian Coates, John O’Shea, Patrick van Aanholt; Liam Bridcutt, Lee Cattermole(c), Sebastian Larsson; Jermain Defoe, Danny Graham, Connor Wickham

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