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Arsenal vs. Sunderland: Match preview

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A match in hand is better than a really bad metaphor.

this picture will never not make me laugh
this picture will never not make me laugh
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Arsenal vs. Sunderland
English Premier League
Wednesday, May 20, 2015
11.45AM PT/2.45 PM ET/7.45 PM BT
Emirates Stadium, London
Form ARS: Simpsons season 5 | SUN: Simpsons season 8
US TV: NBC Sports | Worldwide TV info: livesoccer.tv

All you can ask from a late season game is that it mean something. Unlike the burning clown car that was yesterday's Chelsea/West Brom match, tomorrow's Emirates clash means something for both teams. For Arsenal, three points locks up third place, and a point all but locks it up thanks to a superior goal difference against Manchester United; for Sunderland, there's just as much motivation. A draw guarantees them safety; a loss means they're right back in 18th, if Newcastle beat West Ham and Hull beat Manchester United on Sunday.

At least one of those Sunderland-damning results is unlikely, but that doesn't mean Sunderland won't turn up at the Emirates and give it a go; they will want to make sure their destiny is in their own hands. They've hauled themselves out of relegation trouble quite well in the last couple months, and they haven't lost in over a month; this is by no means going to be a playing-out-the-string fixture for them.

Arsenal made it through the Manchester United match injury-free, but Kos has the flu and may not feature. Sunderland will be without Billy Jones, Wes Brown, Jordi Gomez, and Jack Rodwell, but only Jones of that group is a fresh injury; Sunderland have only lost once in their last six, so while injuries have mounted those injuries haven't slowed them up much.

So basically, from this game, everyone needs a point. I'd prefer three, though.