Premier League
Sunderland0Arsenal0

Sunderland 0-0 Arsenal

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

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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."

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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)

Line-ups

Sunderland

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

Substitutes

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

Arsenal

  • 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

Substitutes

  • 5Gabriel
  • 10Wilshere
  • 13Ospina
  • 14Walcott
  • 23Welbeck
  • 28Campbell
  • 34Coquelin
Referee:
Mike Dean
Attendance:
45,420

Match Stats

Home TeamSunderlandAway TeamArsenal
Possession
Home30%
Away70%
Shots
Home12
Away20
Shots on Target
Home3
Away7
Corners
Home7
Away7
Fouls
Home10
Away8

Live Text

Match ends, Sunderland 0, Arsenal 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Sunderland 0, Arsenal 0.

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

Booking

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

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

Foul by Wahbi Khazri (Sunderland).

Booking

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

Foul by Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal).

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

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

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Nacho Monreal.

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

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Theo Walcott.

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

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

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

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Jack Wilshere replaces Mesut Özil.

Hand ball by Lamine Koné (Sunderland).

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

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

Foul by Lee Cattermole (Sunderland).

Offside, Sunderland. Duncan Watmore tries a through ball, but Jermain Defoe is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Sunderland. Sebastian Larsson replaces Jan Kirchhoff.

Offside, Sunderland. Duncan Watmore tries a through ball, but Jermain Defoe is caught offside.

Booking

Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal).

Yann M'Vila (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt blocked. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

Attempt blocked. Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

Substitution

Substitution, Sunderland. Duncan Watmore replaces Fabio Borini.

Foul by Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal).

Wahbi Khazri (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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

Foul by DeAndre Yedlin (Sunderland).

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Danny Welbeck replaces Olivier Giroud.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Theo Walcott replaces Alex Iwobi.

Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Fabio Borini.

Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jan Kirchhoff (Sunderland).

Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Laurent Koscielny.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Leicester35221033076
2Tottenham34191143968
3Man City3519793264
4Arsenal35181072464
5Man Utd3417891259
6West Ham34141461456
7Liverpool34151091355
8Southampton35159111254
9Chelsea34121111747
10Stoke3513814-1447
11Everton3491411541
12Watford3411815-741
13Bournemouth3511816-1941
14West Brom34101014-1140
15Swansea35101015-1540
16Crystal Palace3510916-939
17Sunderland3471017-1831
18Norwich348719-2531
19Newcastle357919-2630
20Aston Villa353725-4416
View full Premier League table

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