Relegation battlers Sunderland face an acod test on Sunday when they host Arsenal. Just a single point away from safety with a game in hand, the Black cats need to chalk results out in every single game irrespective of the opponents to survive the battle. Arsenal on the other hand, will be keen to cement their position amongst the top 4 of the Premier League.
Manager Sam Allardyce is expected to name an unchanged starting line up for the fixture against the Gunners continuing with the 4-1-4-1 formation. Right-back Yedlin is expected to shrug off an ankle sprain and take his spot in the starting line-up. Apart from Yedlin, there is no injury concern for the Big Sam.
Expected Line Up – Mannone, Yedlin, Kaboul, Kone, Van Aanholt, Kirchhoff, Borini, Cattermole, M’Vila, Khazri, Defoe
We expect Arsene Wenger to shuffle the pack against the game against Sunderland with Mertesacker, Ramsey, Iwobi dropping to the bench for Gabriel, Coquelin, and Walcott respectively. There is a possibility that Jack Wilshire could feature in some capacity in the fixture after playing for the U-21 side over the last few weeks.
Expected Line-Up – Cech, Bellerin, Gabriel, Kosielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Elneny, Sanchez, Ozil, Walcott, Welbeck
While he might not be the most glamorous midfielder plying his trade in the Premier League, the French midfielder has gone about his duty as the anchor of this Sunderland side. His work rate is impressive and his all round play has come to the fore often in the season making him the man to watch out for against Arsenal. In Kirchhoff, M’Vila has found an able folly in protecting his side’s defence while ensuring he adds to the attack. He will be up against the pacy, creative duo of Ozil and Sanchez on Sunday and will need to ensure that he needs to disrupt their rhythm from the word go to ensure that his side have a chance. M’Vila is prone to making frequent errors which often leave his team in a precarious situation and the midfielder will need to work on his discipline on and off the ball to not gift Arsenal a chance.
Fresh from his omission from the Team of The Year, the German playmaker will look to prove his critics wrong with yet another stellar outing at the Stadium of Light. With 18 assists and 8 goals in all competitions this season, he is by far been the most creative player in the league creating chances at will and also scoring vital goals when presented with the opportunity. Within touching distance of legendary Gunner Thierry Henry’s all time assist record of 20, Ozil can certainly add to the tally of 18 assists in the game against Sunderland. The Black cats have not had a very stellar defensive record and should they afford to Ozil, he could turn destructive.
This will be the 150th meeting between these two sides in all competitions, with Arsenal winning on 60 occasions compared to Sunderland’s 49 wins. – Sunderland have not won against Arsenal on the last 8 occasions, drawing 2 while losing the rest.
While Sunderland come into the game on the back of an explosive victory over Norwich, it will take an immense team performance to go past Arsenal. With survival in sight now, we expect the side to go into the game with atleast an ambition of a draw. We predict a 1-1 Draw for the tie.