Arsene Wenger’s side travel to the Stadium of Light.
Martin O’Neill has warned his players to be wary of Jack Wilshere’s influence in Arsenal’s midfield. “Wilshere’s come on in leaps and bounds and he can cause us problems,” said Sunderland’s manager. “He’s come back from injury and added another dimension to his game. He’s got that little burst of pace which kind of reminds me of Liam Brady.” While a knee injury means Lee Cattermole is unlikely to be around to tackle Wilshere, O’Neill’s team must also attempt to damage Arsenal’s hopes of finishing in the top four without Connor Wickham. The England Under-21 striker has been loaned to Sheffield Wednesday.
Venue Stadium of Light, Saturday 3pm
Last season Sunderland 1 Arsenal 2
Referee Anthony Taylor
This season’s matches 16 Y36, R5, 2.56 cards per game
Subs from Westwood, Kilgallon, Cuéllar, Mangane, Bardsley, Vaughan, McClean, Cattermole, Graham
Doubtful Cattermole (knee), Cuéllar (hamstring), McClean (ankle)
Injured Brown (knee, unknown)
Form guide LDWWLL
Disciplinary record Y38 R0
Leading scorer Fletcher 10
Subs from Mannone, Martínez, Jenkinson, Yennaris, Squillaci, Santos, Diaby, Ramsey, Coquelin, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gnabry, Rosicky, Arshavin
Doubtful Koscielny (calf), Coquelin (hamstring), Walcott (foot)
Injured Gervinho (fatigue, 16 Feb), Fabianski (ankle, 23 Feb), Vermaelen (ankle, 23 Feb), Gibbs (thigh, Apr)
Form guide WDWLLD
Disciplinary record Y24 R2
Leading scorer Walcott 11
Sunderland’s only win in their last 18 league meetings with Arsenal came at the Stadium of Light in November 2009 when Darren Bent scored the decisive goal.
The Black Cats have only scored two first-half goals in the 23 Premier League meetings between the clubs and have never been ahead at the interval.
The reverse fixture on the opening day of the season ended goalless. Arsenal had 23 shots (including blocked shots) without scoring, their most attempts without a goal in a Premier League game since April 2007 against West Ham.
Arsene Wenger has lost only one of his 18 league matches against teams managed by Martin O’Neill (W10, D7, L1).
Sunderland have won half of their last eight league matches, drawing one and losing three.
They have kept four clean sheets in their last five home matches.
Their season’s tally of nine clean sheets in the Premier League is bettered only by Manchester City (11).
Martin O’Neill’s side have only won one of their 13 matches against top-half opposition this season (W1, D5, L7).
Steven Fletcher has scored the most opening goals in the Premier League this season (six).
The Gunners have won 11 league matches this season, their lowest tally after 25 games since Arsene Wenger took charge in September 1996.
They are unbeaten in their last 12 league matches played in the month of February since a 2-0 defeat at Chelsea in 2010.
Arsenal have not led at half-time in any of their last eight Premier League matches. Seventeen of their last 20 league goals have been scored in the second half.
Wenger’s side would be top of the league if only the second half of matches counted.
According to Opta, Arsenal have made a league-high 13 errors leading to goals this season.
Lukas Podolski has 12 goals and 11 assists in 31 league and cup games for Arsenal.
Arsenal to win 2-1 at Sunderland 7/1: Sunderland vs Arsenal Betting