David Moyes’ decision to accept a point with 10 minutes to go against West Ham with a couple of negative substitutions proved costly for Sunderland. They invited unneeded pressure, eventually conceding and as a result Moyes has overseen the worst start to a top-flight season by any Sunderland team. The Black Cats are desperate for three points but it will be no easy task against an Arsenal side they’ve beaten just once in the league since 2000/01.
Despite having 73% of the possession against Middlesbrough, the Gunners failed to break the deadlock. Burnley also showed (up until the 94th minute) it is possible to frustrate Arsenal with a compact and disciplined approach. Despite their poor results thus far, Sunderland certainly have the ability to do this. Last term they held Wenger’s side 0-0 and in their home fixtures against last season’s top-six, five saw fewer than three strikes as they were beaten by more than one goal just once.
Santi Cazola remains a doubt for Arsenal, who missed his guile against Boro, and in the 25 games he’s failed to start since the beginning of last season 52% of their games have landed Under 2.5 Goals, compared to just 41% with him. Moyes knows there’s no point in going toe-to-toe with Arsenal with such a gulf in quality between the sides. Instead their best chance is to try and frustrate the Gunners and look to pinch a goal. Under 2.5 goals occurred in five of Arsenal’s trips to bottom-six opposition last term and appeals again.
Best bet: Under 2.5 Goals at 2.25