20th May, 2015; 19-45 GMT
Emirates Stadium, London
Arsenal host Sunderland tonight at the Emirates Stadium in the English Premier League, playing the game in hand that had to be rescheduled.
For Arsenal, this is a must win game if they want to harbour any hopes of finishing second this season. Having drawn to Manchester United and the earlier defeat to Swansea City, the Gunners have made it difficult for themselves. But they still have a chance to make the second spot on the table theirs as Manchester City will have to play Southampton in their last game of the season. With the way the Saints destroyed Aston Villa over the weekend, Arsenal fans can still hope, but only if they can win both their remaining games.
Sunderland need only a point to survive in the league for one more season, and they would definitely want to make sure of that a game in advance rather than leave it to the last game of the season. After Arsenal, they will be playing Chelsea, so there is no easy game for them. Arsenal will be looking for the win, and Chelsea will not want to do a repeat of what happened at West Bromwich Albion. Although Sunderland do have a silver lining that Hull themselves will be facing Manchester United while Newcastle will play West Ham.
Team News and Tactics
For Arsenal, it will pretty much be the same team till the end of the season, unless they have any new injuries. Despite playing on Sunday, Arsene will most likely put out the same team, with Giroud leading the line while Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey provide support from either side. There may be a temptation to play Theo Walcott instead of Ramsey on the right after his goal bound effort against Manchester United, but it is unlikely Arsene will want to change the balance of the team this late in the season.
There are no new injuries for the team, with the usual 4 of Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck and Debuchy still on the injury list. There is a little bit of uncertainty regarding the fitness of Laurent Koscielny, but if passed fit, he will surely start.
Expected Line up: Ospina; Monreal, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Bellerin; Cazorla, Coquelin; Sanchez, Ozil, Ramsey; Giroud.
For Sunderland, that all important one point will be a huge burden as it will mean the difference between another season at the elite level and much needed cash or relegation and fight for survival. It will most definitely be on the minds of the players as they go out on the pitch, and will hope that they can somehow get a draw to make their lives easier.
The manager Dick Advocaat will likely line up with a 4-3-3 formation, with Wickham, Graham and Defoe leading the line. Sunderland have a long injury list, as Alvarez, Bridcutt, Gomez and Brown are all ruled out for the game. Billy Jones is a doubt as well.
Expected Line up: Panitilimon; Aanholt, Oa Shea, Coates, Reveillere; Larsson, Cattermole, Rodwell; Wickham, Graham, Defoe.
- In their last 4 games against Sunderland in all competitions, Arsenal have come out victorious.
- Arsenal have been undefeated in 11 of their last 12 games.
Both teams will come into this game looking to take precious points, with the Gunners having 3 on their mind while Sunderland will hope to steal at least one. However, Arsenal have the superior quality in the team and will likely come away with a win.
Predicted Score: Arsenal 2-0 Sunderland