One of the big games in the Premier League this weekend takes place at the Stadium Of Light with Arsenal making the long trip to the north east to play Sunderland. It promises to be a fascinating clash between the two sides with both in need of the three points but for very different reasons. All eyes will be on the Gunners though as they look to push on towards the Champions League places with the Manager and the team under increasing pressure.
Arsene Wenger has been stoic in the defence of his team all season but sooner or later they will need to improve their consistency if they are to qualify for the Champions League once again. The Gunners have shown glimpses of their class this season but they currently sit in sixth place which is four points behind north London rivals Spurs who occupy that all important fourth spot at the moment. Last weekend they claimed a streaky 1-0 win at home against Stoke and Wenger will know that they will need to improve on their travels starting on Saturday against the Black Cats.
Even taking into account the inconsistency of Arsenal it is the Gunners who are the favourites to claim the win this weekend with Paddy Power offering odds of 10/11 about them winning the match by any score. One man who is in form for Arsenal at the moment is Olivier Giroud with the Frenchman finally starting to find his feet in the Premier League over the last few weeks and he is likely to start at the Stadium Of Light on Saturday.
Sunderland will go into this one as underdogs but full of heart following a good few weeks which has seen them move away from the relegation zone and into the relative safety of mid table obscurity. Manager Martin O'Neill will be eyeing a top half finish for Sunderland come May and a result of some kind against Arsenal this weekend would send them in the right direction.
The bookmakers do make the Black Cats the outsiders here but any punter wanting to back them to win the match by any score can currently get a nice price of 3/1 with PaddyPower bookmakers. As is usually the case with Sunderland much of the burden will rest heavily on the shoulders of Steven Fletcher who has been in fine form in front of goal this season and when he struggles, so does the team.
This is a tight match to call at the prices but we do feel that Sunderland will cause Arsenal a problem or two on Saturday afternoon. The Black Cats are not renowned for their goal scoring prowess so a low scoring draw could well be the bet to follow with Giroud and Fletcher the key men to follow on either side in the goal scorer markets.
Tip 1 - Final score to be 1-1 @ 11/2 with Paddy Power
Tip 2 - Olivier Giroud to score anytime @ 13/8 with Paddy Power
Tip 3 - Steven Fletcher to score anytime @ 21/10 with Paddy Power
Sunderland v Arsenal Match Odds
Correct Score Odds
11/2 - Draw 1-1
6/1 - Arsenal 1-0
7/1 - Arsenal 2-1
15/2 - Arsenal 2-0
9/1 - Draw 0-0
11/1 - Sunderland 1-0
12/1 - Sunderland 2-1
12/1 - Draw 2-2
All markets supplied courtesy of Paddy Power.com
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