Gunners out to tame Black Cats

Arsenal host Sunderland in the Premier League at the Emirates Stadium this evening (7.45pm kick-off UK time).

The Gunners chances of securing a top four Premier League finish is now out their own hands following the weekend’s results.

The Gunners beat Stoke City 4-1 in the Premier League at the Bet365 stadium on Saturday.

The result kept the Gunners in fifth position in the Premier League table, with 69 points and two games remaining.

Arsenal complete their league campaign with a home match against Everton on Sunday.

Liverpool’s 4-0 win against West Ham United at the London Stadium on Sunday kept them in third place, on 73 points, with one game remaining – at home to relegated Middlesbrough on Sunday.

Manchester City remain in fourth place on 72 points after their win over Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, with two games left to play.

They are at home to West Bromwich Albion tonight and finish their league campaign with a trip to Vicarage Road to play Watford on Sunday.

Whether it is enough to secure a top four spot or not, Arsenal will want to win their last two home matches ahead of the FA Cup final with Chelsea on Saturday 27th May.

The Gunners have lost only one of their last 16 Premier League matches at the Emirates Stadium (W12 D3 L1).

Arsenal’s only defeat in their last 16 Premier League home games came against Watford on 31 January (W12, D3).

The Gunners have won three successive league matches at the Emirates Stadium, keeping clean sheets in all of them.

They have gone 318 minutes without conceding at home since Sergio Aguero’s strike for Manchester City in a 2-2 draw on 2 April.

Sunderland are bottom of the Premier League table, with 24 points from 36 matches.

Their relegation to the Championship was confirmed with their defeat by Bournemouth two weeks ago.

It ends their 10-season stay in the Premier League.

The Black Cats were beaten 2-0 at the Stadium of Light by Swansea City on Saturday.

They did though win their last away match 2-0 against Hull City at the KCOM stadium.

It means that Sunderland could win back-to-back Premier League away games for the first time since April 2014, when they beat Chelsea and then Manchester United as part of their ‘Great Escape’.

Sunderland have failed to score in 19 Premier League games this season, more than any other side – they last failed to score in more in a league season in 2002-03 (20 games).

Head-to-Head

Arsenal won the reverse fixture 4-1 at the Stadium of Light on 29 October 2016.

The Gunners have played the Black Cats 31 times in the top flight and have a winning record (W18, D8).

Arsenal have never lost a home Premier League match against Sunderland (W10 D5 L0).

Sunderland have won only one of their last 26 Premier League matches against the Gunners, a 1-0 victory in November 2009 (W1 D9 L16).

Key Men

Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez scored his twenty-first Premier League goal of the season against Stoke City.

The goal meant that Sanchez is the eighth player to score fifty Premier League goals for Arsenal, with only Thierry Henry (83 games) and Ian Wright (87) reaching the milestone faster than the Chilean (101).

It was also the Chilean’s fifteenth away Premier League goal this season – only Kevin Phillips (16 in 1999-00) has scored more in a single campaign.

Sanchez is also the first player to record double figures for both goals (21) and assists (10) in the Premier League this season.

Olivier Giroud has scored four times in his last four matches in all competitions against Sunderland and if he scores in this fixture he will become the third player to hit 50 goals at Emirates Stadium, after Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott (all competitions).

Sunderland

Sought after Jordan Pickford has emerged and become first choice Sunderland keeper this season. It will be a challenge for the Black Cats to keep hold of Pickford for the start of their Championship campaign later this year.

Jermain Defoe has scored fifteen times this league campaign. He has a relegation release clause in his contract and is likely to be one of the first departures from the Stadium of Light once the season ends.

Defoe though has failed to score in nine previous appearances at the Emirates Stadium in all competitions. His only previous goal away to Arsenal came in West Ham’s 3-1 defeat at Highbury in January 2003.

The Managers

Victory for Arsenal would be Arsene Wenger’s 20th victory in all competitions against David Moyes – more than any other manager he’s faced with Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger

This is what Wenger had to say about Arsenal’s chances of finishing in the top four::

“Our chances are just to win our games. Getting 75 points would be four more points than last year.

“We had a difficult period and we have recovered from it. I’m very positive [ about the team’s displays]. It looks like we’ve been getting stronger every game.

“I believe if we finish outside the top four it will not have any influence how the club will be led and behave in the transfer market.”

David Moyes

This is what Moyes had to say about trying to end Sunderland’s season on a positive note and preparing for next season in the Championship..

“After beating Hull we wanted to end the season well so there’s no doubt that Saturday’s 2-0 defeat against Swansea was disappointing. As far as I’m concerned and you’re judged in every one, so we have to perform much better against Arsenal.

Team News

Arsenal

Laurent Koscielny (calf) and Alexis Sanchez (thigh) are both being assessed and are doubtful to play.

Sunderland

Sunderland have a number of injury concerns.

George Honeyman (back), Victor Anichebe (hamstring) and Jason Denayer (thigh) are all doubtful.

Bryan Oviedo and Darron Gibson were both on the substitutes bench on Sunday after injury.

Lee Cattermole has returned to training,

Younger players Joel Asoro, Josh Maja and Elliot Embleton are all in contention to be involved.

Match Officials

Referee: Roger East
Assistants: P Kirkup, M Wilkes
Fourth official: L Probert

Prediction

Arsenal to win 3-0.

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