Sunderland 0 Arsenal 0: Kone and Kaboul key to survival plus five other things learned from draw

Finally, the Sunderland players, coaching staff and management can look at the Premier League table without wincing.

Sunday, 24th April 2016, 4:57 pm
Updated Sunday, 24th April 2016, 6:03 pm
Fabio Borini in action

The point at home to Arsenal saw the Black Cats climb out of the drop zone with four games of the season left.

Here's what we learned from the draw:

Jermain Defoe

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sunderland's destiny is firmly in their own hands:

It could - and perhaps should - have been all three points but most supporters would have settled for a point before kick-off.

The draw saw Sunderland climb out of the drop zone on goal difference. Now their task is to stay there.

Their destiny is, at least, in their own hands.

Jan Kirchhoff

Norwich City and Newcastle United will be relying on them to slip up. It couldn't be much tenser as the season draws to a close.

One clean sheet down, four to go:

Before kick-off Sam Allardyce declared he is targeting a 100 per cent clean sheet record from the remaining five games.

Well, one down, four to go. It is a huge ask but finally this Sunderland side appears to have cracked it.

Jermain Defoe

Sunderland have now kept three clean sheets in their last four top-flight games after conceding in each of the 16 before that.

A solid base from which to build, starting with Stoke City next weekend.

Lack of goals at home a concern:

While Sunderland have managed to successfully shut up shop at the back, the lack of home goals is a growing concern up the other end.

Jan Kirchhoff

Three home games on the spin now Sunderland have failed to score in front of their home support.

They were clinical away at Norwich City last weekend but on home soil they continue to struggle to put the ball in the net.

A concern with Chelsea and Everton still to visit this season.

Sunderland impressed out of possession, not so much when they had the ball:

When they didn't have the ball, Sunderland maintained a very rigid, solid formation, frustrating the Arsenal forwards.

Lee Cattermole and Jan Kirchhoff helping to snuff out the threat of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez - even if they were given too much space on occassion.

It was when Sunderland had the ball, they had problems. It was similar to the Leicester game with too many passes going astray.

Sam Allardyce has finally found his best side:

For the fourth successive match, Allardyce named the same Sunderland starting line-up.

No great surprise after the 3-0 win at Norwich City; the only selection headache was whether to keep faith with Wahbi Khazri or bring Duncan Watmore in.

Teams can often panic in the final weeks of the campaign, chopping and changing to find a winning formula.

But Allardyce has clearly found his best side.

Lamine Kone and Younes Kaboul partnership key to survival:

Keeping Olivier Giroud quiet has been a relatively simple task for Premier League defences in recent months with his goal drought now extending to 14 league games.

But that would be unfair on the Sunderland pair who both excelled, supported by full-backs DeAndre Yedlin and Patrick van Aanholt.

Kone was commanding, making 15 clearances - 12 more than any team-mate - and won seven out of nine aerial duels.

Keeping them two fit and performing will be key.