Arsenal vs Sunderland – Premier League preview and team news

Sunderland will ensure safety and extend their eight-year stay in the Premier League if they can avoid defeat away to Arsenal, who can confirm third place with victory.

A draw at Manchester United on Sunday suited the Gunners in their attempts to qualify for the Champions League group stage, although achieving a top-two finish for the first time in a decade now looks unlikely. They improved as the game wore on at Old Trafford, but were largely toothless and had a massive slice of fortune for the equalising goal.

Should Sunderland sit back, this would be a good opportunity for Arsene Wenger’s men to prove that they can see off opposition who aim to frustrate, and in doing so right the wrongs of their last home match against Swansea City. The pace and quality they have in attack should cause problems.

With a visit to champions Chelsea to come in their final game, the visitors cannot be too confident that they will survive, despite Dick Advocaat picking up three wins since taking charge. It would still be a surprise, however, as it would require final day wins for rivals Hull City and Newcastle United to have any chance of overhauling the Black Cats.

Try as they might, they could not complete the job a week early against Leicester City, in spite of having the better of the chances throughout. As it has so often this season, a lack of goals cost them, although another clean sheet was pleasing in what has been a year of peaks and troughs at the back.

Arsenal are still without the injured Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck. Defender Laurent Koscielny will undergo a late fitness test.

Jack Rodwell is back available for Sunderland, who are unable to call upon fellow midfielders Jordi Gomez and Liam Bridcutt.

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