The Black Cats can avoid relegation with a win, Arsenal can confirm an automatic Champions League place. Who wins out?
Contrary to most of the Premier League, Arsenal and Sunderland still have a lot to play for. Both teams get to play their game in hand tonight, and a win for either would ensure that the champagne will be flowing come the final Sunday of the season. The Emirates Stadium hosts proceedings, as Sunderland look to earn their first brace of consecutive away wins since May of last year. The Black Cats are available at 11/1, although Arsenal may well have one eye on Wembley vs. Aston Villa at the end of the month, so the above price might well tempt some.
Top League Goalscorers:
Alexis Sánchez – 16 goals (33 games)
Olivier Giroud – 14 goals (25 games)
Santi Cazorla – 7 goals (35 games)
Connor Wickham – 5 goals (34 games)
Adam Johnson, Jordi Gomez, Stephen Fletcher, Jermaine Defoe – 4 goals each
- Arsenal have won seven of and are unbeaten in their last ten League games against Sunderland.
- The Gunners have failed to score in their last two League games at the Emirates. The last time they went three without a goal at home was in February of 2009.
- Dick Advocaat’s men have lost just one of their last six games, winning three of them.
- Sunderland have the second lowest goals tally in the League – just 30 scored in 36 games.
- On the other hand, Arsene Wenger’s side have outscored them by 37 goals, and have conceded 15 less (conceding only 13 League goals at home all season).
- The London side have failed to score in only four league games; Sunderland in 16 games.
- Arsenal have won the last four games head-to-head, on an overall 10-2 scoreline.
Arsenal forwards Danny Welbeck (knee injury) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (groin problem) are out, while defender Laurent Koscielny is doubtful due to illness. Jordi Gomez, Jack Rodwell, Ricardo Alvarez and Wes Brown are sidelined for the Black Cats.
Aside from the blip against Swansea last week, Arsenal’s home record has been fantastic. Prior to that loss, they won nine straight home League games and drew with Champions Chelsea – a run stretching back as far as November. Sunderland haven’t gotten any returns from this fixture since 2012, and it’s difficult to see that changing any time soon.
Selection: Arsenal to win @ 1/3
The Gunner’s top goalscorer has had a great first season at the Emirates, plundering 16 League goals. Scoring five goals in his last seven games, Sanchez will most likely lead the line. With Sunderland’s poor scoring return, the Chilean is the man to back.
Selection: Alexis Sanchez to score first @ 4/1
Some amusing yet plausible scenarios are available as match specials from Sky Bet and Paddy Power. O’Shea has scored own goals against the likes of Bradford, Spurs (twice) and Liverpool, and is worth a look here. His teammate Lee Cattermole is available at 20/1 to be sent off. This is also worth considering as the midfielder has been sent off seven times in his career.
Selection: John O’Shea to score an own goal in 90mins play @ 33/1 (PaddyPower)