Arsenal v Sunderland Preview: Advocaat eyes point to seal survival

The Black Cats require just a draw to avoid taking their battle against relegation to the final day, though the Gunners still have an outside chance of sealing second place

Sunderland visit Arsenal on Wednesday needing just a point to confirm their Premier League survival.

Dick Advocaat’s men missed the chance to make sure of their top-flight status for next season last Saturday as they were held to a 0-0 home draw by Leicester City.

But the Wearside club still hold a three-point advantage over third-bottom Hull City and only require a draw at the Emirates Stadium to stay up.

However, earning a point against an Arsenal side that can seal third place and a spot in the Champions League group stage with a win will be no easy feat.

A heavy loss would keep the pressure very much on Sunderland – whose goal difference is inferior to Hull’s and only five better than that of struggling Newcastle United – ahead of a final-day meeting with champions Chelsea.

But a confident Advocaat said: “Normally, if you have 37 points, you’re safe. But we will go on until the end and we have to do what we have to do to get that point.

“The other teams have to do what they have to do too, and win their games.

“We will stay up, I have no doubts about that.”

Arsenal lost their last home game 1-0 to Swansea City, and midfielder Aaron Ramsey expects Sunderland to pose a similarly difficult challenge.

Ramsey told Arsenal’s official website: “It is another important game. They will be fighting for their lives and we have two home games and we want to finish strong before the FA Cup final.

“I think we feel quite confident about [finishing in third]. It was important to get a result today and hopefully we can go into the remaining games and win them both before the big one.”

It remains to be seen whether Danny Welbeck (knee) will be fit to play, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mathieu Debuchy both have hamstring injuries.

Billy Jones has added to Sunderland’s injury worries with a muscle injury picked up late in the Leicester draw.

Should Jones miss out he will join a lengthy list of absentees that includes Wes Brown, Jordi Gomez and Ricky Alvarez (all knee) and Jack Rodwell (hamstring).

Sunderland were hammered 4-1 on their last visit to the Emirates and, with Arsenal eyeing a first top-three finish since 2012, the visitors look set to have a tough time preventing Arsenal from building momentum ahead of the FA Cup final.

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