Sunderland arrived at the Emirates Stadium with one objective in mind: survival. Dick Advocaat's side had a simple gameplan, but one which was always going to be difficult to implement against the technically superior Arsenal. Sunderland knew that their fate rested in their own hands, and they had to make sure that they achieved a single point in order to remain in the Premier League for next season.
With the 0-0 scoreline they achieved this and their performance showed that they had the mental resilience to hang on for the entire 90 minutes of the game. Arsenal created plenty of attempts on goal, and dominated possession, which has come as the standard for the Emirates faithful. Most worryingly, however, the Gunners were unable to capitalise on the many opportunities they had, leading to a third scoreless home game for the club which will leave Arsene Wenger worried with the FA Cup final looming on the horizon.
With fantastic support from the travelling fans, Sunderland rallied together, fan and player to pull off a miraculous recovery. It has now become the norm for the northern club to survive the drop, with excellent manager choices brought in to revive their dismal situations.
Sunderland looked dead and buried after suffering large defeats to Aston Villa and Crystal Palace. Arguably a major turnign point in their season came with the excellent 1-0 defeat to bitter rivals Newcastle United in the Tyne-Weir Derby.
Their goalkeeper, Costel Pantilimon was superb on the night at the Emirates Stadium making a number of not only impressive saves but ones which proved to be crucial as Arsenal were completely on the offensive for the entire game. Arsenal had 28 shots on target and were despairingly close on several occasions to putting the ball in the back of the net only to be thwarted by the Romanian goalkeeper.
Worryingly for Arsenal, out of the 28 shots they had on goal only eight managed to be on target which will cause concern for Arsene Wenger who will be taking his side to the FA Cup final on the 30th of May. The Arsenal players and their manager would certainly want to be heading into that game at Wembley stadium on the back of a win, which therefore leaves their final game of the Premier League against West Bromwich Albion one which they will look to impress and score a solid number of goals.
The Baggies will be coming off a fantastic result which saw they overcome the odds and beat the Premier League champions Chelsea by two goals to nil. Arsenal will have their work cut out in order to break down the excellently drilled West Brom side who have been galvanised by manager Tony Pulis since his appointment.
Dick Advocaat can be extremely proud of his work this season which now means Sunderland will enjoy their ninth consecutive Premier League season.
Rumours have surrounded of late that Advocaat is unsure as to whether he will remain as manager for next season, but with the final whistle of the Arsenal match, the Dutchman's eyes filled with tears which may prove that Sunderland have a place in his heart.
Certainly the Sunderland faithful will be hoping that he continues as their manager into next season and that they can secure a mid table finish and avoid the relegation scrap which they have become accustomed to in recent seasons.
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