Arsenal V Sunderland
With the Gunners resigned to having to sell their star striker Robin van Persie to their Premier League rivals Manchester United, will the Black Cats be able to capitalise on the Arsenal unrest and take an opening day win?
Arsenal v Sunderland Betting Odds at online bookmaker Paddy Power:
Arsenal 2/5, Draw 7/2, Sunderland 15/2
Verdict: After limping towards the end of last season in the Premier League, Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill has been a little unhappy that he hasn’t been able to be active in the transfer market. They snapped up Louis Saha on a deal to help out up front, but is that enough to solve the Black Cats’ lack of goalscoring talent which was evident last year? Arsenal will go into the season without Robin van Persie and how they cope without him is going to be the main factor of their season. Regardless, the Gunners go as short odds and with the squad proving that they are good enough with RVP, the Gunners still look decent for a +1.5 Asian Handicap at 23/20 with online bookmaker Paddy Power.
- The Gunners have lost just one of their last 17 home matches in the league against Sunderland
- Martin O’Neill has won just once in 16 EPL meetings against Arsene Wenger
- Sunderland are carrying over a winless streak of seven away matches
- Arsenal were the league’s highest goalscorers in the first fifteen minutes of matches
Head To Head:
There have been seventy meetings between the two sides at Arsenal and the Gunners have a big supremacy in the fixture. The Gunners have won 54% of the meetings at home against the Black Cats and recorded a win in the fixture last season. That was Robin van Persie netting a brace in a 2-1 win. Sunderland will be happy RVP won’t be there on Saturday, as the Dutchman has netted five in four home games against them. Despite two league defeats, Sunderland did record a home win over Arsenal in the FA Cup last season. Which means that Arsenal have won just two of the last five matches against Sunderland in all competitions. At home, Arsenal haven’t lost to Sunderland since a meeting in the 2002/03 League Cup.
Online bookmaker promotion:
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Arsenal v Sunderland Betting Preview:
Life without Robin van Persie, that is what Arsenal are looking at. With the Dutch striker refusing to sign an extension to his contract, Arsene Wenger admitted that he had no choice but to sell their best player. Van Persie netted 30 of Arsenal’s 70 league goals last season and even with his haul they finished nineteen points off the top. So how are they going to close the gap this season? They have drafted in Olivier Giroud and they have the likes of Gervinho and Chamakh around. They also picked up Germany’s Lukas Podolski to help weigh in. But is that going to be enough to fill the void that Van Persie has left behind? Maybe, maybe someone will step up and fill their boots. Arsenal do have a good crop of young players to call on in Aaron Ramsey, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere in particular. The likes of Mikel Arteta and Alex Song are going to be crucial in holding things together.
Sunderland really haven’t taken on much of a new identity since last season. It all started well for Martin O’Neill when he took over, but the same old problems still seem to be there, a lack of expansive play and goalscoring ability. The Black Cats have turned to Louis Saha for goals. They are solid enough through the middle and at the back, but they really have to find a new dimension in pushing forward this season if they are going to be looking for a top half of the table finish. The Black Cats finished the season without a win in their last eight matches. A draw looks as if it will be just about the best that they could pick up on this opening day. If their pre-season form is anything to go by, four defeats and a draw (scoring just one goal in those matches) it could be a long season ahead for O’Neill and Sunderland.