Arsenal will attempt to continue their impressive form on Tuesday night as they host Sunderland at the Emirates
The Gunners have been in good form of late and have won 4 out of their last 5 Premier League fixtures – with the only loss coming to Tottenham at White Hart Lane – and Arsene Wenger’s men have scored 9 goals in those 4 victories.
4 of those goals came in their impressive victory over perennial bogey team Stoke City on Saturday, when the 3-4-3 formation that Wenger has adopted in recent weeks paying dividends once more as Arsenal continue their push for a top 4 position.
The Gunners will be full of confidence going into this match and given their recent run of fixtures, Sunderland represent a much easier prospect than their recent opponents – especially given that David Moyes’ men have already been relegated and have nothing to play for.
The Black Cats have drawn 1, lost 3 and won just 1 of their last five fixtures in the English Premier League and quite simply look deflated and utterly demotivated. However, they will still attempt to recover some pride against the Gunners on Tuesday night so Arsene Wenger’s men will need to ensure there are no slip ups.
Team News and Tactics
Alexis Sanchez is a doubt after picking up a thigh injury during the victory over Stoke and faces a late fitness test although Arsene Wenger is hopeful the Chilean will recover in time during such a critical period for the Gunners.
Laurent Koscielny continues to struggle with his fitness and will also face a late test, with Gabriel Paulista waiting in the wings to take the Frenchman’s place should he fail to recover in time for the match against Sunderland.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also a doubt for the fixture and will likely miss out, meaning Hector Bellerin will start in the Englishman’s place. Olivier Giroud was chosen to lead the line against Stoke City and repaid the faith with a brace but it is possible that Danny Welbeck could get the nod ahead of the Frenchman.
Arsenal will continue with their 3-4-3 formation and will be looking to settle things early on and score as many goals as possible, as there is every chance that European qualification could come down to goal difference.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Cech, Holding, Mustafi, Monreal, Bellerin, Coquelin, Xhaka, Gibbs, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud
David Moyes could be without Victor Anichebe, who picked up a hamstring injury against Swansea. Should Anichebe fail to recover in time for the trip to the Emirates, Wahbi Khazri will likely take his place.
Darron Gibson could also feature for the Black Cats as Jason Denayer is currently struggling with a knock but it is likely that Denayer will recover in time. Lee Cattermole and Steven Pienaar are also doubts for the trip to the Emirates.
David Moyes will also be without Paddy McNair, Duncan Watmore, Jan Kirchhoff and Bryan Oviedo, all of whom have been ruled out through injury. Other than that, Moyes does not have any suspensions or injuries to contend with.
Sunderland will look to stay compact and defend against an Arsenal side that are sure to pile on the pressure and look to hit the Gunners on the counter. The Black Cats will be hoping to snatch a goal and shut up shop but Moyes will be well aware of the threat Arsenal pose and will be very conservative with his tactics.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Pickford, Jones, Kone, O’Shea, Manquillo, Ndong, Cattermole, Larsson, Borini, Defoe, Khazri
- Sunderland have failed to score in 10 of their last 12 matches
- Arsenal have won 9 of their last 11 home matches
- Arsenal are undefeated in their last 11 home matches against Sunderland in all competitions.
- Arsenal have never lost a home Premier League match against Sunderland (W10 D5 L0).
- Sunderland have won just one of their last 26 Premier League fixtures against the Gunners, this coming in a 1-0 win back in November 2009 (W1 D9 L16).
- Olivier Giroud has scored four times in his last four games in all competitions against Sunderland, including twice from the bench with his first two touches in the reverse fixture.
- If Giroud scores, he’ll be the third player to hit 50 goals at the Emirates Stadium in all competitions (after Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott), while the Frenchman is also just two goals short of becoming the 19th player to score 100 goals in all competitions for Arsenal (currently 98).
- David Moyes has lost 15 times to Arsene Wenger in the Premier League, his most defeats against a single manager in the competition.
Prediction: Arsenal 3-0 Sunderland
Arsene Wenger’s men are on a good run of form currently and are very unlikely to make too many mistakes against Sunderland especially given what is at stake. The Gunners have overcome some tough tests over the last few weeks and will have to make sure they are not complacent against the Black Cats.
Sunderland are simply too limp and deflated at this point to pose too much of a threat to Arsenal and it is likely going to be a long day at the office for David Moyes and his men, on whom Arsenal are likely to heap the misery.