Black Cats climb out of the relegation zone with a game in hand compared to both Norwich City and Newcastle United and that kind of put them in a good position to survive premier league with just three more games to play for.
Arsenal failed to take full points against Sunderland in the premier league game which leaves them just level on points with Manchester City and 5 ahead of Manchester United who are fifth in the table. It was a pretty decent point and Arsenal just need to win 2 of the last 3 games to ensure champions League football next season. Arsenal played better in the first half against Sunderland but had to dig deep at times in second half to see off the challenge from black cats who themselves move out of the relegation zone into 17th place with a hard earned points.
Arsenal and City are now just 5 point ahead of Manchester United while red devils still have a game in hand which put fourth place on the line since Arsenal will play City at Etihad in couple of weeks time.
Both teams has meet twice already this season and Arsenal won on both occasion with a 3-1 scoreline. The december premier league game finished 3-1 at Emirates while both meet against in the FA Cup third round where Arsenal came out 3-1 winners. Wenger need a similar result to keep themselves in third place as City’s win over Stoke has elevated them to third place atleast for a while.
Team News & Lineups: Arsene Wenger is likely to keep the starting lineup which took the field last weekend in a comfortable win against West Brom with Welbeck starting upfront Iwoby, Ozil and Sanchez to start in attacking roles with Coquelin and Elnany taking central midfield roles. Sam Allerdyce has a history of making life harder for Arsenal with his previous clubs like Bolton, West Ham and even Newcastle and he will setup a physical team against Arsenal and might take something out of this game.
Jermain Defoe set to start upfront and he will be the key man for Sunderland if they were to get a result, while a packed 5 man midfield of Khazri, Cattermole, Kirchoff, M’vila and Fabio Borini will be looking to counter Arsenal possession play. This is how I expect both teams to lineup on Sunday afternoon.
Predictions: Arsenal often started the season well than struggle for consistancy by new years time and than again pickup the pace towards the end of the season. This has been the theme for best part of last 10 years and this year is no different. Arsenal are in a spot of bother as far as their top finish is concerned, they are currently fourth with 63 points, 4 ahead of United who are fifth and this game holds massive importance as a defeat here will give United an opportunity to close the gap while Arsenal still have to play Man City. Sunderland fighting for survival will sure give it a good go and I can see them getting someting out of this match.