Arsene Wenger is still pushing for second place, even though it’s a serious long shot.
Five points back of Manchester City, Arsenal must win out coupled with a Manchester City loss for any hope at achieving second. That starts with today’s match against Sunderland with a 2:45 P.M. kickoff at the Emirates, live on NBCSN or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.
And for it, Wenger has his men. Laurent Koscielny has overcome a sickness to make the starting lineup, Jack Wilshere is back from his long spell on the bench, and Kieran Gibbs makes a return as well. With the new reinforcements, the in-form Francis Coquelin drops to the bench.
For Sunderland, this match is much more important. Three points ahead of the drop, they need just one more point to secure safety, and can do so today. If they fail to pick up any points today, they’ll need to make something happen at the title winners on Sunday to ensure their Premier League survival.
Thankfully for the Black Cats, Dick Advocaat also has reinforcements. While Liam Bridcutt is out with an injury suffered last weekend, Adam Johnson comes in to replace him. Billy Jones is fit after finding himself substituted last weekend with a knock, and Jack Rodwell is back and on the bench after recovering from a hamstring issue.
Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Ramsey, Cazorla, Wilshere, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud.
Bench: Szczesny, Gabriel, Monreal, Coquelin, Flamini, Rosicky, Walcott.
Sunderland: Pantilimon, Jones, van Aanholt, O’Shea, Coates, Cattermole, Larsson, Johnson, Graham, Defoe, Wickham.
Bench: Rodwell, Fletcher, Reveillere, Giaccherini, Vergini, Buckley, Mannone.