Competition: Premier League – Sunderland vs. Arsenal
Venue: Stadium of Light – Saturday, October 29 – 12:30 BST (07:30 ET)
Match Odds: Sunderland 13/2 – Draw 19/5 – Arsenal 2/5
The Black Cats’ objective has already become merely about survival and ensuring they maintain their Premier League status.
David Moyes is still without a win as Sunderland manager and just two points from the opening nine games sees his side rooted to the foot of the table in the early stages.
Sunderland have suffered by repeatedly conceding late goals, and last weekend’s trip to West Ham was no different as an injury time goal condemned them to a 1-0 defeat and their fifth loss in six games.
Arsenal arrive in the North-East after eight games without defeat in the league (W6, D2), and will be looking to sustain a serious title challenge this season.
Arsene Wenger’s side drew 0-0 at home to Middlesbrough last weekend in a game that denied the Gunners a seventh consecutive win.
A win takes Arsenal top of the league, even if only for a few hours. Either way, anything other than victory would be seen as a disappointment and missed opportunity to put pressure on their rivals.
The last meeting between these two sides ended in a 0-0 draw at Sunderland in April 2016.
Sunderland’s Vito Mannone (elbow), Lee Cattermole (back), Sebastian Larsson (knee) and Fabio Borini (groin) are all out injured. Jason Denayer (groin), Jan Kirchoff (hamstring) and Adnan Januzaj (ankle) are also doubts for the game.
Arsenal will be without long-term absentees Per Mertesacker (knee), Danny Welbeck (knee) and Chuba Akpom (back), while Lucas Perez (ankle) is also a major doubt after picking up an injury in midweek. Santi Cazorla could return to the squad following an Achilles problem. Aaron Ramsey is also back in full training and could feature. Granit Xhaka serves the final game of his three match suspension.
Sunderland’s last five: L/L/D/L/L
Arsenal’s last five: W/W/W/W/D
Key Stat: Sunderland haven’t beaten Arsenal in the league since November 2009 (D5, L8).
Key Player: Theo Walcott – The Englishman has been imperative for Arsenal this season, scoring five league goals so far. It now remains to be seen whether he can maintain his impressive form. He’ll be hoping a trip to struggling Sunderland will provide a perfect opportunity.
Sunderland 0-2 Arsenal – The Gunners enjoyed a midweek League Cup win over Reading which extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 13 games. Meanwhile, Sunderland were dumped out by Southampton, so if the form book is anything to go by, this should be a regulation away win.