Premier League

Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Emirates Stadium
Steven Fletcher
Arsenal have failed to score in their last three home games
  • Sunderland secure ninth straight top flight season
  • Hull and Newcastle to contest final relegation spot
  • Arsenal stay third in Premier League table
  • Gunners one win in five league games

Sunderland secured Premier League safety with a magnificent display of defensive determination and organisation to get the point they needed at Arsenal.

Arsenal's own point effectively means they will finish third behind champions Chelsea and Manchester City - but the celebrations all belonged to Sunderland as manager Dick Advocaat completed the recovery he has engineered since succeeding the sacked Gus Poyet.

Wenger frustrated by lack of goals

On a night low on quality but high on the sort of tension these relegation struggles provide, Sunderland missed chances - with striker Steven Fletcher the main culprit - to avoid the desperate closing phase that saw them survive a series of last-ditch penalty box scrambles.

Goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon was a heroic figure as he produced a series of fine saves and handled with complete assurance in what must have been an excruciating last few minutes for the thousands of Sunderland fans who had travelled to north London.

Last day relegation scenario
Hull, who occupy the last relegation spot, entertain Manchester United while Newcastle host West Ham.
Steve Bruce's Hull must win or they are definitely down; a Newcastle win will send Hull down whatever their result.
If Newcastle draw and Hull win, the Magpies will be relegated on goal difference.
Hull have lost their last three games while Newcastle have one point from a possible 30.

All the worries disappeared at the final whistle as Advocaat joined his joyous players on the pitch in front of their supporters, the veteran former Netherlands coach now a Wearside hero.

And, with survival guaranteed, Sunderland's fans turned up the heat on their Tyneside rivals as they chanted: "Are you watching Newcastle?"

The Magpies, who host West Ham, will fight it out with Hull City, who welcome Manchester United, to avoid relegation on Sunday's final day of the Premier League season.

Sunderland and Advocaat must now decide whether to continue their successful relationship - but whatever happens he is assured of his place in Black Cats' folklore after taking them to safety.

Analysis: BBC Sport's Phil McNulty
"Advocaat's poker face gave nothing away at Arsenal but the sight of [owner Ellis] Short beaming and waving in his manager's direction from high in the directors' box after the final whistle suggested he would happily keep him."
Read more

They only needed a draw to ensure Premier League survival and their first-half mindset reflected their objective as they dug deep defensively to frustrate Arsenal, with Gunners' manager Wenger an increasingly agitated figure.

Jack Wilshere did penetrate the blue wall of defiance but Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud were unable to take advantage, both unable to hit the target from presentable positions.

Advocaat made two changes for the start of the second half, sending on Fletcher and Jack Rodwell for Danny Graham and Connor Wickham.

Emotional Advocaat proud of team

The result was a more positive approach that brought three chances that should have been taken, two for Fletcher and one for Patrick van Aanholt, but Arsenal keeper David Ospina saved to keep the nerves of the travelling thousands from Wearside on edge.

As the game became stretched, Arsenal had opportunities of their own and Pantilimon excelled with saves from Giroud's flick and an athletic stop to save Kieran Gibbs' header.

Fletcher, however, was misfiring badly and was the villain again with two more misses that betrayed his lack of confidence.

The Scot raced clear on to Defoe's flick but his over-elaborate attempted finish made life easy for Ospina, before the striker missed his clearest opportunity yet, scuffing over from six yards when Van Aanholt's mishit cross turned into a perfect pass.

It must have been agonising for the watching Sunderland fans and they survived another scare when Jones, facing his own goal, headed Aaron Ramsey's cross against the bar.

Sunderland survived several scrapes inside their own six-yard area before the final whistle was the signal for wild celebrations among those who had travelled from Wearside.

Sunderland players
Sunderland have kept three straight clean sheets to beat relegation
Steven Fletcher is denied
Sunderland started May in the bottom three of the Premier League table
John O'Shea and Olivier Giroud
Arsenal have won one of their last five Premier League games
Dick Advocaat and Lee Cattermole
Sunderland's final game of the season is away to champions Chelsea on Sunday



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 13Ospina
  • 39Bellerin
  • 4Mertesacker
  • 6Koscielny
  • 3Gibbs
  • 19Cazorla
  • 16RamseyBooked at 18mins
  • 10WilshereSubstituted forWalcottat 67'minutes
  • 11ÖzilSubstituted forRosickyat 81'minutes
  • 17Sánchez
  • 12Giroud


  • 1Szczesny
  • 5Gabriel
  • 7Rosicky
  • 14Walcott
  • 18Monreal
  • 20Flamini
  • 34Coquelin


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Pantilimon
  • 2Jones
  • 22Coates
  • 16O'Shea
  • 3van Aanholt
  • 7Larsson
  • 6Cattermole
  • 11JohnsonSubstituted forBuckleyat 75'minutes
  • 10WickhamSubstituted forRodwellat 45'minutes
  • 28Defoe
  • 19GrahamSubstituted forFletcherat 45'minutes


  • 8Rodwell
  • 9Fletcher
  • 15Réveillere
  • 23Giaccherini
  • 25Mannone
  • 27Vergini
  • 30Buckley
Anthony Taylor

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamSunderland
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Arsenal 0, Sunderland 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Arsenal 0, Sunderland 0.

  3. Post update

    Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Jermain Defoe (Sunderland).

  5. Post update

    Foul by Olivier Giroud (Arsenal).

  6. Post update

    Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Tomas Rosicky (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Jack Rodwell (Sunderland).

  9. Post update

    Attempt saved. Theo Walcott (Arsenal) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Tomas Rosicky.

  10. Post update

    Offside, Sunderland. Jermain Defoe tries a through ball, but Steven Fletcher is caught offside.

  11. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by John O'Shea.

  12. Post update

    Attempt saved. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Héctor Bellerín.

  13. Post update

    Attempt saved. Theo Walcott (Arsenal) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Olivier Giroud.

  14. Post update

    Attempt missed. Tomas Rosicky (Arsenal) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Theo Walcott.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Tomas Rosicky replaces Mesut Özil.

  16. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  17. Post update

    Delay in match Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland) because of an injury.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Sunderland. William Buckley replaces Adam Johnson.

  20. Post update

    Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Wednesday 20th May 2015

As It Stood

2Man City37237781384376
4Man Utd37209862372569
11West Ham371211144445-147
12Crystal Palace37129164651-545
13West Brom371111153747-1044
16Aston Villa37108193156-2538
View full Premier League table

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