Sunderland and Arsenal drew 0-0 at the Stadium of Light which saw the Black Cats move out of the bottom three – and keeps the Gunners worrying about their place in the Champions League.
Sunderland can climb out of the relegation zone if they avoid defeat and Sam Allardyce has also named an changed side from the team which beat Norwich last time out.
The visitors dominated the early stages with the Black Cats simply unable to match their pace and movement in the middle of the field – and it was not until Allardyce managed to get his players to press higher up the pitch that they started to come into it.
Mohamed Elneny and Aaron Ramsey are selected in central midfield once again, while Alex Iwobi, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil will link up behind lone striker Olivier Giroud in the North East.
But there was controversy at both ends as the half-time whistle approached. Bellerin made a mess of a header clearance, with the ball falling to Defoe in the box – the Sunderland man aimed a volley at goal, but Mertesacker blocked the effort with his arm, but Mike Dean waved the appeals away.
Pies Morgan @piersmorgan “0-0”.
Jermain Defoe had the first chance of the second half, his drive from just inside the area requiring Cech to be at full stretch.
But after three run-outs for Arsenal’s Under-21 side, he is fit enough to take a spot on the bench for today’s game at Sunderland. Sunderland are at home to hit-and-miss Arsenal while Newcastle travel to Anfield where they haven’t won in their last 21 visits there.
I think they are more than capable of beating a Watford side who have been sliding down the league at an alarming rate since January and Everton have been anything but convincing this season, especially at Goodison Park where they have lost eight of their 17 games while conceding 28 goals in doing so.
Sunderland’s desperate need for points could play into Arsenal’s hands, Ray Parlour has told Betsafe.