Season So Far
Arsenal have bounced back from their 3-1 opening day reverse at home to Aston Villa, winning four in a row in all competitions and lie fourth in the Premier League table. They continued their recent home dominance of the north London derby last time out and will be buoyed by the £42.5m addition of midfielder Mesut Ozil.
The loss to Villa was the Gunners’ only defeat in 13 Premier League matches stretching back to March last season. They’ve won 10 of those games. The last two, against Fulham and Tottenham, they were leading at half-time and full-time. A repeat of that eventuality away to Sunderland, which would reflect last season’s fixture on Wearside, is priced up at 29/20.
Aside from the somewhat cagey 1-0 win against Spurs, Arsenal’s league games this season have been action-packed affairs so far, producing four goals apiece. Lukas Podolski will be missed after his two-goal start to the season was curtailed by injury, but the arrival of fellow German international Ozil is a massive boon. Over 3.5 goals in the match at 11/5 against a Sunderland side that shipped three away to Crystal Palace last time out looks very achievable.
It is difficult to look beyond Olivier Giroud for first goalscorer at the moment, as the Frenchman has netted the opener in each of Arsenal’s three league matches so far. Aaron Ramsey has popped up with three goals in Europe – at a big price on the score at any time markets – but Ozil’s five goals in his last eight league games for Real Madrid suggests he could be good for a debut strike.
Other Notable Trends
Arsene Wenger’s side have won at Sunderland in each of the last two seasons by a single goal and have not lost a league game in the north east since 2009. Despite finishing the campaign with 14 league strikes, Giroud’s three first-goals so far this term matches the amount of openers he bagged in 2012/13.