Arsene Wenger says Arsenal must avoid another “accident” by starting on the front foot against Sunderland at Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners’ last home game saw them slip to 1-0 defeat against Swansea City despite dominating large portions of the game, and the manager wants his side to take their chances and prevent a similar upset this time around.
“For me the Swansea game was an accident,” Wenger said. “Having analysed it, it’s one of the games we deserved to win the most of all the games. We lost two in two or three years now, so you can say that’s an accident.
"First Paolo di Canio saved them, then Gus Poyet saved them, and now Advocaat saved them, so always they just find the final resources to get out of relegation"
“Sunderland need a point to be safe so I expect them to be well organised defensively, sound at the back, and to try to use all the counter-attacks they can, all the set-pieces they have, to score goals. We have to put a high rhythm into this game and play with a high level of energy to win the game.”
Sunderland sit just three points above the relegation zone, but they have a game in hand and Wenger believes that manager Dick Advocaat has enough experience to help his side avoid the drop.
“Sunderland, for a few years now, have struggled until five, six games before the end,” said Wenger. “First Paolo di Canio saved them, then Gus Poyet saved them, and now Advocaat saved them, so always they just find the final resources to get out of relegation.
“Advocaat has used his vast experience to give them confidence again, and to get them to play. I think as well, players certainly questioned themselves and respond always with a few games to go.”
Advocaat’s contract runs out at the end of the season and Wenger says he understands why the Sunderland manager could choose to leave, even if he keeps Sunderland in the Premier League.
“Normally you want to continue, but you have to respect his desire as well,” Wenger said. “He has given a lot and he has been in this job for a long, long time, maybe he has the right to say no when he doesn’t want to stay.”
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.