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Preview: Arsenal v Sunderland: Team News, Line-Up & Prediction
Arsenal will be looking to wrap-up third spot in the Premier League table when we take on Sunderland tonight.
Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Manchester United means we remain two points clear of fourth place so we can secure third if we avoid defeat in our game in hand tonight.
We have a +7 goal difference over United so a point this evening will almost certainly be enough, but victory would keep alive any slim hopes of catching Manchester City.
We’re currently five points adrift of second and with City boasting a far superior goal difference, we’d need to beat Sunderland and West Brom, and hope City lose at home to Southampton on the final day to pip them to second. Not impossible, but highly unlikely.
I don’t care what anyone says, third and retaining the FA Cup would be an excellent season and we’ve certainly made progress this year. We had a difficult opening four months when injuries killed us, but nobody can deny our superb form since the turn of the year.
Sunderland will be coming to the Emirates desperate to pick up the point they need to secure their top flight status for another year, so I’m not expecting them to do a lot of attacking tonight. It’s going to be up to us to break them down.
Koscielny was a doubt for the game due to flu but he took part in full training yesterday. I’d still give him a rest and start Gabriel though.
Debuchy is still short of fitness while Oxlade-Chamberlain is also not back in contention yet due to a hamstring injury and time is running out for them to be available for the FA Cup final.
Welbeck is another who’s taking longer than expected to recover from his knee injury so he’s set to sit this one again again.
Arteta is still not deemed fit enough to return to the squad and I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see him again this season.
I’d like to see Gibbs given a run-out at left-back while I’d also play Ramsey in the middle alongside Coquelin. He’s totally wasted on the right and Cazorla has looked jaded recently, so let’s give the Spaniard a rest and get the best out of Rambo.
That would leave a space open on the right wing and I’d love to see Theo start. He made a difference against United and we need his pace and width down the wing.
This is the side I’d go with:
As mentioned previously, Sunderland will be in defensive mode tonight as they only need a point to avoid relegation. We sometimes struggle to break down teams who sit deep with men behind the ball but surely we’ll break them down?
We have so much talent in attack that it’s difficult to see us not scoring, so I’m going for a 2-0 win. Arsenal 2-0 Sunderland