Apr 24, 2016 at 2.05pm UK at ​Stadium of Light

Borini (58'), Khazri (93')

Ramsey (40'), Bellerin (49'), Elneny (76'), Koscielny (91')

Live Commentary: Sunderland 0-0 Arsenal - as it happened

A general view of the stadium during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion at Stadium of Light on February 21, 2015
© Getty Images
Sports Mole provides live text commentary of the Premier League match between Sunderland and Arsenal at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland and Arsenal take home a point apiece after playing out a goalless draw at the Stadium of Light on Sunday afternoon.

Both sides had large spells of dominance during the match, and could have had a penalty each in the first half following hand-ball incidents, but the match ended in a stalemate.

Sunderland have moved out of the relegation zone on goal difference alone, while Arsenal remain fourth, on level points with Manchester City above them.

Discover how the game unfolded in Sports Mole's text commentary below.

1.00pmHello all! We have two Premier League matches in the calendar today. Leicester City will try to strengthen their position at the top of the table when they take on Swansea City this afternoon. Before that, though, we will bring you all the action from the clash between relegation battlers Sunderland and top-four side Arsenal at the Stadium of Light.

1.03pmIt is becoming a theme for Sunderland to be fighting for their lives at the bottom of the table each year. They have another chance of securing their safety as they are just one point off 17th-placed Norwich City and have a better goal difference that the Canaries. The Black Cats have only managed to win once in their last seven league games, but four draws in that time have kept them close to the safety mark.

1.07pmWhat about Arsenal? Well, it's been a disappointing season by the club's standards. They have had a great chance of winning the Premier League title due to Chelsea and Manchester United dropping out of contention early, but towards the mid-season point, the Gunners began to crumble. Their best hope now is finishing second, which is currently occupied by their North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who have a five-point advantage. A lot of Arsenal fans have been calling for Arsene Wenger to step down as manager, but the Frenchman is adamant that he will stay on.

1.07pmNow, I'm sure you're all eagerly awaiting the team news. So, I won't make you wait any longer. Here are today's lineups...

1.07pmSUNDERLAND XI: Mannone; Yedlin, Van Aanholt, Kaboul, Kone; Kirchhoff, M'Vila, Cattermole; Borini, Khazri, Defoe
Subs: Pickford, Jones, Larsson, Rodwell, N'Doye, O'Shea, Watmore

1.08pmARSENAL XI: Cech; Bellerin, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Ramsey, Elneny; Sanchez, Iwobi, Ozil; Giroud
Subs: Ospina, Gabriel, Coquelin, Wilshere, Campbell, Walcott, Welbeck

1.10pmJACK WILSHERE RETURNS! As we thought, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has included Jack Wilshere in today's squad. The midfielder has not played at all this season because of a broken leg, but is back in contention this afternoon. The England international has been given a spot on the bench at the Stadium of Light.

Jack Wilshere of Arsenal looks on during the Emirates Cup match between Arsenal and VfL Wolfsburg at the Emirates Stadium on July 26, 2015© Getty Images

1.12pmThat is the only big news with regards to team selections as the starting lineups for both sides are unchanged from their previous respective games. Vito Mannone, who used to play for Arsenal, starts in goal for Sunderland. DeAndre Yedlin, Patrick van Aanholt, Younes Kaboul and Lamine Kone line the back four. Jan Kirchhoff, Yann M'Vila and Lee Cattermole sit in midfield, while Fabio Borini, Wahbi Khazri and Jermain Defoe form a three-pronged attack.

1.15pmAs for Arsenal, Petr Cech remains in goal and will be protected by Hector Bellerin, Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Nacho Monreal in defence. Aaron Ramsey and Mohamed Elneny have been selected to start in midfield, with Alex Iwobi, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez providing attacking threat behind striker Olivier Giroud.

1.17pmSam Allardyce and his side know that a win today will push them out of the relegation zone and give them a three-point cushion, and despite being the underdogs this afternoon, they are heading into today's game with momentum. Last weekend they earned their first win in seven league games as they took Norwich City apart 3-0 at Carrow Road.

1.19pmIt took 41 minutes for the first goal to be scored and it came from Fabio Borini, who gave the Black Cats a slender lead heading into the half-time break. Eight minutes after the restart, Jermain Defoe added a second goal to the scoresheet and Duncan Watmore, who recently returned to action following an injury, rounded off the win in the 91st minute.

1.21pmAs mentioned, Arsenal will be favourites to win today, but Sunderland have already picked up unlikely results against some of the bigger teams in the league this season. In February, they managed to restrict Liverpool to a 2-2 draw at Anfield, and in the next game, they overcame Manchester United 2-1 at the Stadium of Light.

1.23pmGiven how unpredictable Arsenal can be on the pitch, there is hope around Wearside that Sunderland can earn at least a point today. Since March, Sunderland have suffered one defeat in the top flight, which was a 2-0 loss to probable champions Leicester City. They have picked up a whole host of draws, though.

1.26pmAllardyce's team recorded four draws on the bounce from the start of March. The first was at home to Crystal Palace when they managed to come from behind after initially taking the lead to draw 2-2. Borini nabbed the equaliser in the 90th minute. A clash against Southampton followed, and it was unfortunate for Sunderland not to win that game as they were leading through Defoe before Virgil van Dijk scored in equaliser in the 93rd minute.

1.31pmThe Black Cats recorded another 1-1 draw when they faced arch rivals Newcastle United at St James' Park. Once again, Defoe gave Sunderland the lead, but they were forced to settle for a draw when Mitrovic equalised for the Magpies. The fourth stalemate in that run came at home to West Bromwich Albion as neither team could break the deadlock.

1.34pmSTATS! Most clubs take comfort from playing at home and use it to their advantage, particularly if they are taking on a big opponent, but Sunderland have won just four of their last 17 top-flight matches at the Stadium of Light. In fact, the team have recorded just a single victory in their last six. A positive for the North-East outfit, though, is that Defoe has scored nine goals in his 14 league appearances in 2016.

1.37pmSpeaking of Defoe, Allardyce recently admitted that he's been surprised by the forward's goalscoring prowess.

"He's been brainwashed, and I was almost brainwashed, into the fact that he couldn't play up front on his own, which is a bit of a nonsense, really," Sky Sports News quotes Allardyce as saying. "The number of goals he has scored since he has played up front on his own - long may it continue.

"He's probably played more regularly for us than he has done for clubs in recent years, and most of those now up front on his own, which I am glad to say has borne us 16 goals in all competitions.

"I know some of them came by playing somebody else up front with him, but we were clearly a team, when I first started, that couldn't play 4-4-2 on the basis of how many goals we were letting in.

"Jermain might score, but we let in one more than Jermain or whoever scored, so if we scored two, we'd lose three if we scored one, we'd lose two and so on and so forth. We had to stop that - and still have to stop it."

Jermain Defoe celebrates scoring during the Premier League game between Newcastle United and Sunderland on March 20, 2016© Getty Images

1.40pmRight, let's turn our attention to Arsenal then, shall we? The North London outfit are expected to secure Champions League football for another season, which is a good achievement, but many of Arsenal's fans have been expecting a lot more. Wenger's side were strong title contenders in the first half of the season, and their chances were strengthened when Chelsea and Manchester United dropped out of the race early.

1.41pmHowever, they could not hold on to their momentum and now the title fight is between Leicester City and the Gunners' North London rivals Tottenham. The season will end without silverware for Arsenal too as they failed to defend their FA Cup crown and they were knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona.

1.44pmWenger will celebrate 20 years in charge of Arsenal in September, but many fans don't want him to be in charge by that time. There have been banners calling for the Frenchman to step down, but he has reiterated many times that he has no plans to walk away before his contract expires in 2017.

Last month, when asked about his critics, Wenger told beIN Sport: "I don't worry too much about all the rest, what people say. All the rest is judgments, opinions and that is linked with the beliefs from the last result or the last disappointment or the last happiness.

"In my job you focus on what is important and that's to perform. I believe in life you should focus on what you're appointed for and I'm appointed to perform and do the best for my club. That's all I focus on. My future is my future, I don't master that more than you."

Arsene Wenger watches on during the Premier League game between West Ham United and Arsenal on April 9, 2016© Getty Images

1.48pmThere is doubt over one person's future at Arsenal, though, and that is Theo Walcott. The England international has not started a Premier League game since February 28 and has scored just five league goals this season.

When asked by reporters if Walcott could leave Arsenal in the summer, Wenger said:
"I don't know yet.

"I'm not in transfer mode at the moment but I think he has gone through a bad spell. He has responded very well, because he said, 'Okay, I will work harder and more.'

"When he comes on now, you see he is motivated and focused. Let's see how well he finishes the season."

Theo Walcott celebrates scoring during the FA Cup game between Hull City and Arsenal on March 8, 2016© Getty Images

1.50pmIt may not be the happiest of times at Arsenal at the moment, but in terms of recent results, they are unbeaten in their last six Premier League games. The downside to that, though, is that just half of those games have ended in victories. In the second week of March, Arsenal took on their enemies Tottenham and from the 62nd minute, they were staring at a 2-1 defeat, but Alexis Sanchez managed to find an equaliser in the 76th minute.

1.53pmAfter earning a point at White Hart Lane, the Gunners earned convincing victories over Everton and Watford. Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi scored in a 2-0 win over the Toffees, while Sanchez, Hector Bellerin, Walcott and Iwobi contributed to a 4-0 romp over Watford on home turf.

1.55pmA dramatic 3-3 draw against West Ham United, with Andy Carroll scoring a hat-trick, was next for Arsenal, who were then restricted to a 1-1 draw by Crystal Palace the following weekend. The Gunners managed to get back to winning ways on Thursday night when Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey scored to give Arsenal a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion at the Emirates.

1.57pmSTATS! In terms of goalscoring opportunities, Arsenal will probably look to Sanchez as he has scored four goals and made assists for three in his last six league appearances. Olivier Giroud has been struggling to hold down a starting spot, but he enjoys playing against Sunderland having netted four in his last four games against them. Also, Ramsey has scored three goals in his last four league meetings with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

1.58pmA downside for Arsenal, though, is that their away form has not been the best of late. The North London team have only managed to win three of their last 11 top-flight games on the road.

2.00pmHEAD TO HEAD: Sunderland have confidence heading into this game following last weekend's win over Norwich, but in their last 24 league matches against Arsenal, they have only been able to win once. They drew eight and lost the remaining 15. The Gunners have actually won their last four matches at the Stadium of Light and already this season they have recorded two 3-1 wins over the Black Cats - one was in the December fixture in the Premier League and the other in the third round of the FA Cup in January.

2.01pmWe have five minutes to go until kickoff. Can Sunderland cause an upset and claim a crucial win or will Arsenal stretch their unbeaten league run to seven games? Let's find out!

1 minKICKOFF! Sunderland get us underway at the Stadium of Light! Mike Dean is the referee this afternoon.

2 minBorini tries to break away but gets fouled by Monreal in the process. Sunderland ear a free kick and it's whipped into the area but comfortably headed away by Koscielny.

4 minSHOT! Arsenal get the first shot away this afternoon. Sunderland have started well having seen more of the ball, but the Gunners launch the first serious attack as Iwobi receives the ball off Sanchez and goes for goal, but his low drive pulls just wide of the post.

5 minThe hosts try to hit back instantly as Cattermole plays a long ball forward for Defoe, but Cech comes off his line to punch the danger away. Sunderland win a corner a few seconds later, but it comes to nothing for the Black Cats.

7 minM'Vila wins the ball in the middle of the park and tries to unleash Borini in behind with a pass, but it's too heavy and the forward cannot get to the ball. It's a bit scrappy at the moment.

8 minThe visitors launch a counter-attack and the ball is played forward to Sanchez, who tries to go for glory with an effort from outside the area, but it ends up hitting Iwobi and the chance goes missing.

9 minCHANCE! Mannone manages to keep the ball out of his near post following a deflected effort from Giroud. Ozil takes the corner and the German finds Mertesacker, who heads towards goal, but it's a weak attempt as the ball goes straight into Mannone's hands.

10 minArsenal have ramped up the pressure. Iwobi does well to get the ball to Monreal, who opts against crossing and instead goes for goal himself. His shot goes straight to the keeper, though.

13 minAt the other end, M'Vila gets the ball off Yedlin from 30 yards out. He unleashes a shot, aiming for the left top corner, but he misses the target as it drops behind the net. Yedlin doesn't look best pleased. He was waiting for the return pass.

15 minCHANCE! Ramsey loses the ball in his own half, allowing Khazri to pick it up and run with it. The Sunderland man then tries to curl the ball into the back of the net, but it's deflected wide for a corner, which drops to Cattermole, who shoots wide.

16 minSunderland are getting more of a look-in now. The hosts are getting more control of the play in midfield, which is pleasing the crowd. A very lively atmosphere at the Stadium of Light!

20 minElneny gets himself into the box after picking the ball up on the edge of the area. The midfielder tries to curl it past Mannone, but it's directly at the keeper.

21 minSunderland have a good chance here! Koscielny brings down Defoe just outside the box. Khazri and Van Aanholt are standing over the ball.

21 minOFF THE BAR! It's Van Aanholt who takes the set piece and comes inches close to opening the scoring, but the ball clatters off the post!

24 minAt the other end, Monreal gets a cross into the box for Giroud, but the striker has a very tight angle to aim at. The Frenchman tries to poke the ball past Mannone, but his attempt ends up going wide.

27 minArsenal get a corner this time and it's whipped into the centre of the box by Ozil, but it's comfortably headed clear by Sunderland. Both sides have had their chances, but the hosts are doing well to keep Wenger's men out.

30 minIt's all Arsenal at the moment. They're trying to build from the back and Sunderland are allowing them to do so. The hosts are looking to play on the break, but it's been difficult for the midfielders to get Defoe and Borini in the game.

31 minCHANCE! Sunderland lose the ball in midfield and Arsenal pounce. The ball is played into the box and Giroud lays it off for Ramsey, who squares the ball to Ozil. The German then goes for goal on the edge of the area with a low drive, but Mannone drops down to save after it takes a slight deflection.

33 minArsenal win a free kick in a dangerous position. Cattermole is the guilty party as he brings Elneny down while the midfielder tries to turn. Sanchez is poised to take it...

34 minSAVE! Great stop from Mannone! Sanchez does everything right as he gets the ball over the wall and it looks to nestle into the bottom corner, but the Sunderland keeper makes a one-handed save.

35 minSAVE! Mannone comes to the rescue again! The corner comes in and Sanchez heads towards goal but it's blocked on the line. Iwobi fires from from point-blank range but Mannone saves.

36 minPenalty?! Nope... Sunderland shout for a spot-kick after Defoe's strike hits the hand of Mertesacker as the Arsenal defender is turning away. The German's arms were up but Mike Dean rejects calls for a penalty. We've seen them given before!

40 minBOOKING! Ramsey is the first player to receive a yellow card this afternoon.

41 minArsenal are continuing to knock on the door, but it's not coming off for them at the moment. The visitors appeal for a penalty when Iwobi's shot appears to graze Yedlin's arm, but the referee says no.

43 minM'Vila has a chance to break for the home side and he eyes Defoe, but his pass is hit too early and Arsenal sweep up.


3.03pmArsenal have dominated the first half, but they have nothing to show for it. Alexis Sanchez came close from a free kick, but he was denied by goalkeeper Vito Mannone. Sunderland also had their chances, one of which was from Patrick van Aanholt, whose effort smashed off the crossbar, and they were also denied a penalty when Per Mertesacker handled in the box. A few minutes later, Arsenal could have also had a penalty when Alex Iwobi's shot hit DeAndre Yedlin's arm, but once again, referee Mike Dean waved away the claims. It's still all to play for! We'll return for the second half shortly.

45 minRESTART! Arsenal get the second half underway! Will the deadlock be broken or are we destined for a stalemate? Let's find out!

45 minThere have been no changes from either side yet. I wonder if we'll see Jack Wilshere at any point this afternoon!

46 minThere's no waiting around from Arsenal. They launch an attack as soon as the whistle blows. Ozil tries to play in Giroud, but the Frenchman is flagged offside.

49 minA lovely touch from Borini! The ball is played over the top for the former Liverpool man and he manages to control it with a flick, but his next pass lets him down as he sends the ball straight to Koscielny's feet in the box.

49 minBOOKING! Bellerin is next to go into the book after bringing down Khazri while the Sunderland winger tried to launch a counter-attack.

50 minDOUBLE SAVE! Cech is made to work hard as he denies Defoe's half volley from the edge of the box. M'Vila goes for goal on the follow-up, but Arsenal's keeper scrambles across to punch clear.

52 minSAVE! Another stop from Cech! Khazri gets the ball and drills a low shot from just outside the area, but the former Chelsea man is there to drop down and keep the ball out of the net.

53 minSunderland have upped their tempo and are causing some trouble for Arsenal's defenders. The way this game is at the moment, though, you could see a goal coming at either end.

55 minKirchhoff comes off worse than Giroud after the pair clash while trying to win the ball in the air. The Sunderland midfielder is limping slightly, but at the moment he seems fit enough to carry on.

56 minCHANCE! Some pressure from Arsenal now. Giroud gets the ball in the box and does well to draw Mannone off his line and wide. The Frenchman then lifts the ball across for Iwobi, who has an open net to aim at, but he mishits his shot and the ball completely misses the target.

58 minBOOKING! Borini is the first Sunderland player to be carded after clipping Iwobi's heel. The Sunderland forward is protesting his innocence, but the referee was right to book him.

60 minArsenal win a corner as Van Aanholt prevents Giroud from getting on the ball. The set piece is whipped in and Ramsey wastes and effort by blazing his shot from the edge of the area over the bar.

64 minCHANCE! Just wide from Defoe! The ball is played in behind by Cattermole for the striker, who times his run well and attempts to lift the ball over Cech, but his effort bounces wide.

66 minCattermole is involved again as he threads the ball through to Yedlin, who sends a low pass across the six-yard box looking for Defoe, but it's blocked.

68 minCHANCE! More opportunities for Sunderland! Defoe gets in behind Mertesacker and looks to cross the ball low to Borini, but Koscielny diverted the ball out for a corner. It's whipped by Khazri and reaches the middle of the box, but Kone cannot get there in time to tap the ball in.

71 minARSENAL SUBS: Wenger makes two changes to his side as Walcott and Welbeck replaced Iwobi and Giroud.

74 minSUNDERLAND SUB: It's time for the hosts to make a change, and it's Borini who comes off and is replaced with Watmore.

76 minBOOKING! Elneny is punished for bringing down M'Vila during a Sunderland break.

78 minSUNDERLAND SUB: Allardyce makes another change as Larsson comes for Kirchhoff.

80 minChances at both ends! Mannone is almost left red faced when he comes out of the area to head the ball away, but he makes a hash of it and it drops to Welbeck, who goes to ground under pressure from Kaboul. Walcott then tries to chase to the ball, but runs over it. At the other end, Watmore shows great feel in the box before shooting. Cech gets a hand to it to stop Defoe from latching on.

82 minArsenal work the ball around the area and a failed clearance drops to Welbeck on the area. The striker dummies a shot, cuts to his right and then fires a low shot towards the net, but it's straight at Mannone.

84 minARSENAL SUB: He's back! Wilshere comes onto the pitch for the first time in the Premier League this season. The midfielder replaces Ozil.

87 minSAVE! Sanchez cuts inside from the left and fires a shot, but Mannone drops down to make a stop.

90 minFour minutes added on. Is there going to be a winner?!

90+1 minCHANCE! Sunderland earn a corner and it's whipped in my Khazri. The ball drops to Kone, who goes for glory with an overhead kick, but it drifts over the bar.


3.59pmSo, there we have it! Sunderland and Arsenal take home a point each, and while the Black Cats would have taken that before the game, Sam Allardyce's side may feel that they could have got all three points today. The Black Cats had large spells of dominance, but they could not take their chances. The same can be said for Arsenal, who had nothing to show for their first-half dominance. Sunderland are now out of the relegation zone on goal difference, while Arsenal remain fourth, level on points with Manchester City above them. Thank you for joining us, and until next time, goodbye!

Theo Walcott and ginger Jack Colback in action during the game between Arsenal and Newcastle on January 2, 2016
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