Arsenal host Sunderland on Wednesday in their English Premier League encounter at the Emirates Stadium.
Gunners manager Arsene Wenger has revealed what he expects from the Black Cats, and said: “Sunderland need a point to be safe so I expect them to be well organised defensively, sound at the back, and to try to use all the counter-attacks they can, all the set-pieces they have, to score goals.”
He added: “We have to put a high rhythm into this game and play with a high level of energy to win the game.”
Touching back on his side’s last home game, a 1-0 loss to Swansea City, Wenger described the match as an “accident”.
“For me the Swansea game was an accident. Having analysed it, it’s one of the games we deserved to win the most of all the games. We lost two in two or three years now, so you can say that’s an accident,” the Frenchman explained.
Despite Sunderland being the underdogs in their midweek clash in North London, Stadium of Light boss Dick Advocaat explained that the pressure is firmly on Wenger’s men.
“Everybody expects us to lose and I think that makes it easier for us,” he said.
“We were confident when we started and I think we have done extremely well so far, but it is not well enough where we know whether we’ll stay up.
“We still have four chances to stay up and the first two chances are Wednesday night and Sunday.”
The Dutchman continued: “I would take anything if it means we get a point and we will give everything to get it.
“It will be difficult because they are a great team – we saw that in the second half on Sunday when they played brilliant football – and against those kinds of teams you have to show yourself as a football player.
“We will give them a very difficult time; there is no doubt about that.”
3rd-placed Arsenal’s last five Premier League matches have ended in two wins, two draws and one loss, the latest result being a 1-1 away draw against Manchester United, as well as a recent 2-1 win over Reading in the semi-finals of the English FA Cup to secure their spot in the final of the competition.
Meanwhile, 16th-placed Sunderland’s last six league matches have resulted in three wins, two draws and one loss, with a 0-0 home draw with Leicester City being the latest scoreline.
The last six previous meetings between the two sides in all competitions have gone four times in Arsenal’s favour, once in Sunderland’s, and on one occasion the spoils were shared.
The last meeting between them was in the first league encounter between them in the 2014/15 season, when Sunderland lost to Arsenal 2-0 at the Stadium of Light in October last year.
Key Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is unfit for this week’s fixture, along with Mikel Arteta, as well as doubts for their match against Sunderland being Danny Welbeck and Mathieu Debuchy.
On the other hand, Sunderland’s injury list comprises of first-team players Jordi Gomez and Wes Brown, as well as Ricardo Alvarez and Liam Bridcutt, while a doubt for their midweek meeting with Arsenal being Billy Jones.