Arsenal prediction - Don’t write off Sunderland’s chances of a point

Dick Advocaat
Dick Advocaat
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The nausea, cold sweats and relegation battle arithmetic could all be over tonight.

How enjoyable that last-day trip to Chelsea would be if Sunderland got that final elusive point tonight and then spent the final day with pipe and slippers watching the relegation battle from afar.

Sunderland will put men behind the ball, flood midfield and look to hit Arsenal on the break

But can Dick Advocaat’s men come away with a draw at the Emirates and leave Hull and Newcastle to scrap it out?

After the feats at the end of last season – and the dogged determination Sunderland have displayed over the last four games – it shouldn’t be written off.

Sunderland’s chances of coming away with a point from two capital trips are not necessarily any worse than Newcastle or Hull’s hopes of winning at the weekend.

Yes, they’re away from home against two of the top three, yet Sunderland’s players are by some distance, in the best place mentally of the trio of sides battling to stay up.

They have two bites of the cherry too.

Advocaat’s strategy tonight will hold no surprises – Sunderland will put men behind the ball, flood midfield and look to hit Arsenal on the break.

That’s always ominous, with Arsenal masters of those slick, sharp triangles on the edge of the opposition penalty area; probing for the breakthrough which changes the entire make-up of the game.

The Black Cats will need to be disciplined, they will need to be prepared if they fall behind, even to the extent of keeping goal difference in mind.

But if Sunderland can reproduce the intensity from their recent games against an Arsenal side who only need a point to guarantee third, perhaps Advocaat’s men can complete the job before the final day.

Prediction: Home win