Away days at the office have been a polarised mixture of clean-sheet induced highs and multiple-concession misery jags for the Arsenal defence since late September.
In the 19 road games the Gunners have contested since beating Tottenham at White Hart Lane in the Capital One Cup, all bar one has seen them either shut out their hosts or ship a minimum of two goals.
During that sequence they’ve kept a reasonable eight clean sheets, but, rather more soberingly, been hit for a deuce or more on ten occasions.
Since Christmas the north London-side’s shifts from impregnability to porousness have become more extreme.
Of the ten away games beginning with the trip to Southampton on Boxing Day, four brought clean sheets, while all bar one of the remainder saw them ship at least three times.
Admittedly, Barcelona were one of the sides to smite them during that period, but the comparatively pedestrian likes of the Saints and West Ham also managed the feat.
Such, erratic defensive powers on their travels might suggest that Arsenal should travel to Wearside as 18/25 favourites to best Sunderland with a certain degree of humiliation trepidation.
The Black Cats are 7/2 for victory and warmed up their powers of three courtesy of a treble without reply against Norwich at Carrow Road last time out.
It’s 11/1 that they put as many (or more) past the Gunners at the Stadium of Light, but, given the inconsistencies in their own ability to find the net on home turf, odds of 29/20 about them failing to score against Arsene Wenger’s men have more chance of being landed.
Six of the last 11 visitors to the Sunderland stronghold departed the arena having denied their hosts a goal.
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