Arsenal v Sunderland Preview

English Premier League | Saturday 22 February | Emirates Stadium | 17:00




The English Premier League title race is still open and up for grabs for any of the top sides that can prove their worth.

The pursuit of the title has never been this close with the top four teams separated by just four points.

Arsenal have been at the forefront of the race all season with the Gunners desperate to end their eight year trophy-less run and have proved genuine title contenders along with Manchester City and Chelsea.

To Win (90mins)
Arsenal 3/10 
Draw 44/10 
Sunderland 95/10

ARSENAL

Arsenal find themselves in second position on the table, just one point behind Chelsea and two points above Manchester City who have a game in hand.

The Gunners continue to be the forgotten side out of the ‘Big 3’.

The fact is that they have been the most consistent team this campaign.

Since the opening day of the season, just four points have been dropped against teams outside of the top seven in the division.

They have developed a welcome habit of being able to get through games operating largely in second gear, seemingly in the knowledge that a short spell or two of their high-tempo passing and movement will cut through the opposition.

When they do move through the gears, Arsenal are a joy to behold.

A gaggle of brilliantly creative attacking midfielders can find the gaps in opponents’ defences, while they have consistently found different midfielders able to step up at required times and take the goal-scoring burden off of the non-prolific net finder but proficient linkup man Olivier Giroud.

Arsenal set up an FA Cup quarter-final meeting with Everton after overcoming Liverpool 2-1 in a feisty and gripping fifth-round match at the Emirates Stadium at the weekend.

Liverpool had trounced Arsenal 5-1 at Anfield in the Premier League the weekend prior, but the London club took revenge through goals in each half by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lukas Podolski.

Arsenal's young winger Chamberlain has certainly hit a run of form at the right time.

After experiencing a frustrating start to his season, sustaining a knee ligament injury against Aston Villa in August, Oxlade-Chamberlain has returned to top form in recent weeks.

A double against Crystal Palace and a goal and an assist against Liverpool in the FA Cup has seen the former-Southampton star reaffirm his status as one of the English games best prospects.

SUNDERLAND

With Sunderland battling relegation and already in the Capital One Cup final many Sunderland fans felt it
would have been a barely disguised blessing had their team bowed out of the FA Cup at the weekend.

Yet if Craig Gardner's fabulous, 20-yard goal prompted mixed feelings, the late sitter missed, from three yards, by Rickie Lambert at least ensured a replay was avoided.

Even so Gus Poyet faces considerable fixture congestion with postponed league games against Manchester City, West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool requiring rescheduling.

It leaves Sunderland's manager on the brink of either an amazing season or disaster.

“Staying in the Premier League is the most important thing," Poyet said. “If we go down I'm going to hide somewhere in the middle of Asia but if we stay up you're going to see me in every single paper on the beach somewhere famous.”

To achieve the latter he may need to hypnotise his players into thinking every game is a cup tie.

"In the league I think there's a mentality that there's still time to get out of trouble, but there's not.

But in the cup we play to finish the tie that day. We have to play like that in the league otherwise we can go down.”

Winger Adam Johnson has been remarkable of late and has netted six goals and also assisted twice in his last five Premier League outings.

Before that loss to Hull, Sunderland had gone unbeaten in four matches with three wins and a draw.

Betting PredictionARSENAL 3/10
Arsenal won the first round meeting with Sunderland 3-1 at the Stadium of Light and also won this fixture 2-0 last season at the Emirates. The Gunners have conceded a mere six goals in their 13 home matches this season while Sunderland are among the lowest scoring teams in the league. Arsenal have lost just once at home, winning nine of 13 matches and should make it 10 here.   

Written by Wayde Dorkin for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now! 

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