Premier League – Sunderland safe after draw at Arsenal
Premier League, Emirates Stadium – Arsenal 0 Sunderland 0.
The Black Cats needed a point to avoid a three-way battle for survival on the final day of the campaign and they produced a resolute rearguard to frustrate the Gunners for long periods and achieve another great escape.
The hosts dominated for the entire match but found it difficult to unlock the visitors’ defence withOlivier Giroud and Theo Walcott going close, while Black Cats defender Billy Jones saw an inadvertent deflection crash back off his own post.
Sunderland offered little in the first period but arguably manufactured the best chances of the match after the break with Steven Fletcher and Patrick van Aanholt forcing fine saves out of David Ospina.
Fletcher also blazed wide on the stretch from close range after getting on the end of a cross-shot from Aanholt, but it did not prove costly as Costel Pantilimon was unbeatable in the Black Cats goal.
The draw will not sit well with Arsene Wenger but he can take solace in the fact it all-but ensures Arsenal will finish in the top three and qualify for the group stages of the Champions League. Only a defeat and an unlikely seven-goal swing on the final day would see Manchester United pip them.
Danny Graham (FC Sunderland) im Laufduell mit Per Mertesacker (FC Arsenal)
Pre-match: Arsenal change their starting line up for the first time in seven matches. Kieran Gibbscomes in at left back for Nacho Monreal while Jack Wilshere starts for the first time since November. He replaces Francis Coquelin in midfield. Sunderland make just one switch from the 0-0 draw with Leicester. Adam Johnson gets the nod to feature from kick off for the first time since February, after his court case was moved. Liam Bridcutt drops out.
31′ – ARSENAL CHANCE! An exquisite dinked pass over the defence from Wilshere picks out Giroud’s run. The Frenchman watches the ball drop over his shoulder and volleys just wide of the far post.
50′ – SUNDERLAND CHANCE! Ospina comes to Arsenal’s rescue with two saves within seconds of each other. First he stands up well to deny Fletcher from Johnson’s pass before getting down to kick away Patrick van Aanholt’s tame shot from the left of the area.
56′ – ARSENAL CHANCE! Pantilimon reacts well to palm away Giroud’s clever effort at the near post following a lovely cross from Bellerin.
60′ – SUNDERLAND CHANCE! Sunderland break with speed and Defoe puts Fletcher through. The Scot looks to dink it beyond Ospina but the keeper does brilliantly again to touch it wide.
69′ – WHAT A MISS! Van Aanholt drills a cross-shot into the area for Fletcher who fires wide on the slide from eight yards out. Big, big chance goes begging for the visitors.
72′ – ARSENAL CHANCE! Walcott breaks into the right side of the area and flicks it beyond Pantilimon, but it rolls across the face of goal and Sunderland hack it away.
74′ – OFF THE POST! A cross from the right hits Jones after Coates misses it and bounces off the near post. Huge let off.
87′ – SO CLOSE! Walcott wriggles free on the right of the area and fizzes in a low shot that Pantilimon parries. Sunderland clear.
Jack Wilshere tente de mener Arsenal au succès contre Sunderland
Sunderland (7) set a new club PL record for most away clean sheets in a single season.
The Black Cats secure safety from PL relegation. Next season will be their eighth consecutive season in the PL, their longest run in the top flight since their first 58 seasons in league football (1890/91 to 1957/58). Sunderland have never won at Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners have failed to score in their last three Premier League games at the Emirates. The last time they went three without a goal on home soil was in February 2009.
Arsenal are now unbeaten in 16 top flight home matches against Sunderland, stretching back to the 2-1 defeat in the old Division One on 5 November 1983.