Competition: Premier League – Arsenal vs. Sunderland
Venue: Emirates Stadium – Wednesday, May 20th – 19:45 BST (14:45 ET)
Match Odds: Arsenal 2/7 – Draw 9/2 – Sunderland 9/1
Arsenal welcome Sunderland to the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night for the penultimate game of the Premier League season with both sides in need of just one more point to secure very different objectives.
The Gunners are in search of one more point to ensure they finish in third place above Manchester United and avoid the Champions League qualification playoff game, while a point for Sunderland will guarantee their top flight status for another season.
Theo Walcott‘s deflected cross off Tyler Blackett rescued a vital point for Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday and kept them two points clear of fourth-placed Manchester United coming into this game-in-hand.Embed from Getty Images
Arsenal’s fantastic run of eight straight wins has been halted by a run of four games with just one victory (D2, L1), although Arsene Wenger has still done enough to guide his side to a Champions League finish for the 17th consecutive season.
The Gunners have won all but one of their home games against sides in the bottom 11 of the Premier League table this season – a 2-2 draw with Hull City back in October being the only points they’ve dropped against the lower league teams at home.
Sunderland arrive in London having lost just one of their last six games (W3, D2) and their 0-0 draw at home to Leicester last weekend extended their current mini-unbeaten run to four games.Embed from Getty Images
Despite the good run, Dick Advocaat will know there is still work to do and the final two games are away at Arsenal and Chelsea, so they may be relying on Hull City failing to win against Manchester United on the final day in order for them to survive.
Arsenal won the reverse fixture 2-0 at the Stadium of Light thanks to two goals from Alexis Sanchez and have won the last four meeting between the two sides.
Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny will face a late assessment as he is suffering with the flu, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Debuchy are all unavailable because of injury.
Sunderland will be without the injured Billy Jones, Jordi Gomez, Wes Brown, Jack Rodwell and Ricardo Alvarez.Embed from Getty Images
Arsenal’s last five: W/D/W/L/D
Sunderland’s last five: L/D/W/W/D
Key Stat: Sunderland haven’t won away at Arsenal in the league since November 1983 when they beat the Gunners 2-1 at Highbury.
Key Player: Aaron Ramsey – The Welshman doesn’t stop running and his work-rate can’t be faulted even though he’s playing out of position on the right side of midfield.Embed from Getty Images
Arsenal 2-1 Sunderland – The Gunners’ home advantage will help them just edge past the Black Cats who will go into the final day with it all to play for.