Sunderland vs Arsenal Preview: Black Cats still in search of first win up against in-form Gunners

Sunderland vs Arsenal Preview: Black Cats still in search of first win up against in-form Gunners

Sunderland host Arsenal at the Stadium of Light on Saturday looking for their first victory of the 2016-17 Premier League season.

Jamie Joslyn

Second-place Arsenal travel to Sunderland to start the Premier League weekend, with the Black Cats still looking for a first win of the season.

Quick turnaround for both

This game is the weekend's early kick-off and it will certainly demand a lot from both teams, after Sunderland and Arsenal were in EFL Cup fourth round ties in mid-week.

The two side's respective fortunes went as they have in the league, with Arsenal seeing off Championship side Reading 2-0 at home, while Sunderland made the long trip to Southampton, only to lose 1-0. 

It is likely that David Moyes' team will be more fatigued after playing on Wednesday night with a full-strength team, compared to Arsenal who played on Tuesday and fielded a more rotated team.

Late decisions proving costly

The last league games for Sunderland and Arsenal both provided cruel twists at the end of their respective games. Arsene Wenger's team were denied a last minute winner at home to Middlesbrough, due to an offside goal and ultimately missed the chance to take the outright lead of the Premier League.

Meanwhile, Sunderland came agonisingly close to a third point of the season, elsewhere in London. A 94th-minute Winston Reid strike gave West Ham United all three points at the London stadium, despite a suspicion of a player just in front of the Sunderland goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, who looked to be interfering with him from an offside position.

One man can't do it all

The simple reason why Sunderland are struggling is because they can't score enough goals to win an game and sometimes this season, that one goal might have been enough to get something.

Moyes team have only registered six strikes in the league all season and they have been split between Jermain Defoe and Patrick Van Aanholt

Defoe has a respectable total of four goals to his name this season, but with literally no support around him, he could end up with 20 goals for the campaign and Sunderland still wouldn't win enough games to survive in the top flight.

Arsenal will be sure to focus their defensive efforts on the former Tottenham Hotspur man. 

Team news

Sunderland may well be boosted by the return of on-loan Manchester United winger, Adnan Januzaj. The Belgian has been out for the last month or so but returned to training this week and Moyes has revealed he could well be in the squad on Saturday. 

Forward Lucas Perez has joined Arsenal's long-term injury list, after he was forced off in the league cup win with an ankle ligament problem

Arsene Wenger also has doubts over Santi Cazorla (achillies), Nacho Monreal (muscular) and Theo Walcott (hamstring). 

Midfielder Granit Xhaka is still serving a suspension, but fellow midfielder Aaron Ramsey is set to return from his hamstring injury. 


Sunderland have won just one of their last 25 Premier League meetings with Arsenal. 

Sunderland have not won any of the 34 Premier League games in which Jack Rodwell has started for them, the longest run ever by a Premier League player.

Arsenal have conceded just eight times in their last 15 league visits to Sunderland.