Premier League

Sunderland 0-0 Arsenal

By Chris OsborneBBC Sport
Jermain Defoe challenges in the air with Petr Cech
Jermain Defoe came close to beating Petr Cech on two occasions

Sunderland climbed out of the relegation zone with a deserved point against an uninspiring Arsenal.

Both sides had penalty appeals for handball denied and Patrick van Aanholt struck Arsenal's post with a free-kick.

Sunderland keeper Vito Mannone had to be sharp to keep out Mesut Ozil's free-kick and Alex Iwobi's follow-up.

Arsenal's Jack Wilshere came on for a first game in 10 months, but the visitors relied on numerous Petr Cech saves to preserve a point.

The failure to win could prove costly for Arsenal, who occupy the final Champions League qualifying spot, but lie just five points above fifth-placed Manchester United, having played a game more.

And Leicester's 4-0 win over Swansea later on Sunday ensured the Gunners' faint title hopes were ended once and for all.

Sunderland showing survival spirit

Giroud touches
Olivier Giroud had 11 touches in the Sunderland penalty area, but not a single shot on target

Sunderland may only have lifted themselves above Norwich City on goal difference, but they end their four-game stretch in the bottom three and Sam Allardyce's side have now lost just one of their last seven league games.

This was their fifth draw in that sequence though, and with a more cut-throat mentality in the final third - or fewer moments of brilliance from Cech - they would have secured a victory.

The Wearsiders wanted a penalty in the first half when the ball struck centre-half Per Mertesacker's arm at point-blank range, but referee Mike Dean deemed the contact accidental.

Similarly, Dean ruled in Sunderland's favour as DeAndre Yedlin blocked with an arm at the other end.

It was in the second half that the home side showed they may have the guile to survive the drop, with Cech producing a double save from Jermain Defoe and Yann M'Vila, before Defoe went agonisingly close with a lobbed effort that dropped the wrong side of the post.

Gunners misfire

It was perhaps an opportunity missed against an Arsenal side whose performance was sluggish from start to finish.

A 19th-consecutive season in the Champions League is by no means confirmed and after three draws in four games, and Arsene Wenger's men are seemingly opening the door for FA Cup finalists United to make a late move into the top four.

They forced the best saves from Mannone in the first half but were devoid of ideas after the break, when they could only muster two shots on target and none from their striker Olivier Giroud, who is now goalless in 17 Premier League games.

The introduction of England trio Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott and Wilshere failed to spark any invention for the visitors.

Wilshere returns to the fray

Sunderland 0-0 Arsenal: We have to fight for Champions League - Wenger

Wilshere's return will have been the greatest positive for Arsenal, 330 days since his last appearance for the club, when he played the final 13 minutes of the FA Cup final win over Aston Villa last year.

He went on to feature twice for England in the summer but suffered a hairline fracture in his left leg in August and then needed an operation in September to aid his recovery.

His career has been plagued with ankle problems and since 2013 he has been ruled out by 21 different injuries.

The 24-year-old has less than three weeks and just three more games to prove to England boss Roy Hodgson that he is fit and sharp enough to be considered for Euro 2016 in France, with the squad to be announced on 12 May.

"Of course I want to go and be involved. I feel I am ready to push for that place," Wilshere told BBC Sport.

Man of the match - Lamine Kone

Olivier Giroud and Lamine Kone
Kone (right) and his centre-back partner Younes Kaboul were superb. But Kone edges it for his commanding 15 clearances - 12 more than any team-mate - and seven out of nine aerial duels won

What they said

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce: "In the second half, we did enough to maybe pinch the game 1-0.

"Arsenal had chances as well but I thought we coped extremely well with their possession.

"I thought we definitely should have had a penalty.

"Mertesacker turned his back on the ball with his arms in the air and stopped what looked like a certain goal.

"With DeAndre it hit his leg and then his arm, and I think it's difficult to get your arm out of the way in that situation.

"We've got ourselves out of the bottom three now for the first time in many months and the challenge now for the lads is to stay out of it."

Sunderland 0-0 Arsenal: Disappointed with Gunners draw- Allardyce

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "I think our first half was very good but we couldn't take our chances.

"The second half wasn't as good but this can always happen in the second half of the third game when you have played Sunday, Thursday, Sunday.

"It leaves us having to win the next game, as always. We fight against teams who fight not to go down and we know how important being in the Premier League is."

On the penalty decisions: "I think when a guy is close to the ball and it's not deliberate handball then it's not a penalty and that's how it was on both."

What's next?

Sunderland have four games remaining to secure survival, starting with Saturday's trip to Stoke and followed by the visits of Chelsea and Everton and a journey to Watford on the final day.

Arsenal can do the Black Cats a favour by beating Norwich at home on Saturday, and then go to Manchester City before finishing the season at home against Aston Villa.

The stats you need to know

  • Mesut Ozil has created 137 goal-scoring chances for team-mates this season in the top flight, more than any other player in a single Premier League campaign since 2003-04
  • Arsenal have won just three of their last 12 Premier League away games (W3 D6 L3) after winning 10 of the previous 12 (W10 D1 L1)
  • Sunderland have kept three clean sheets in their last four top-flight games after conceding in each of the 16 before that
  • Olivier Giroud has now gone 14 Premier League games without scoring, his longest goal-drought in the competition
  • Since the start of 2016, both Sunderland and Arsenal have drawn a league-high seven games
  • The Gunners are now unbeaten in seven Premier League games, their best run without defeat since May 2015 (10 games)
  • The draw was Sunderland's first point against any of the current top four in the Premier League this season (L7)



Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 25Mannone
  • 24Yedlin
  • 23Koné
  • 15Kaboul
  • 3van Aanholt
  • 27KirchhoffSubstituted forLarssonat 78'minutes
  • 9BoriniBooked at 58minsSubstituted forWatmoreat 74'minutes
  • 21M'Vila
  • 6Cattermole
  • 22KhazriBooked at 90mins
  • 18Defoe


  • 2Jones
  • 7Larsson
  • 8Rodwell
  • 10N'Doye
  • 13Pickford
  • 16O'Shea
  • 41Watmore


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 33Cech
  • 24BellerínBooked at 49mins
  • 4Mertesacker
  • 6KoscielnyBooked at 90mins
  • 18Monreal
  • 35ElnenyBooked at 76mins
  • 16RamseyBooked at 40mins
  • 17Sánchez
  • 11ÖzilSubstituted forWilshereat 84'minutes
  • 45IwobiSubstituted forWalcottat 71'minutes
  • 12GiroudSubstituted forWelbeckat 71'minutes


  • 5Gabriel
  • 10Wilshere
  • 13Ospina
  • 14Walcott
  • 23Welbeck
  • 28Campbell
  • 34Coquelin
Mike Dean

Match Stats

Home TeamSunderlandAway TeamArsenal
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Sunderland 0, Arsenal 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Sunderland 0, Arsenal 0.

  3. Post update

    Offside, Sunderland. Lee Cattermole tries a through ball, but Duncan Watmore is caught offside.

  4. Booking

    Wahbi Khazri (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  5. Post update

    Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Wahbi Khazri (Sunderland).

  7. Booking

    Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal).

  9. Post update

    Duncan Watmore (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  10. Post update

    Attempt missed. Lamine Koné (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left following a corner.

  11. Post update

    Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Nacho Monreal.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a corner.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Theo Walcott.

  14. Post update

    Attempt saved. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Danny Welbeck.

  15. Post update

    Offside, Sunderland. DeAndre Yedlin tries a through ball, but Duncan Watmore is caught offside.

  16. Post update

    Offside, Arsenal. Petr Cech tries a through ball, but Alexis Sánchez is caught offside.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Jack Wilshere replaces Mesut Özil.

  18. Post update

    Hand ball by Lamine Koné (Sunderland).

  19. Post update

    Attempt saved. Danny Welbeck (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  20. Post update

    Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

As It Stood

3Man City35197966343264
5Man Utd34178942301259
6West Ham341414657431456
14West Brom341010143142-1140
16Crystal Palace35109163645-939
20Aston Villa3537252569-4416
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