Educated Guesswork: Sunderland vs Arsenal

Andi Foster takes a statistical look at how Sunderland vs Arsenal may play out...

There is no question that the Premier League season so far belongs to two clubs, Chelsea and Southampton, but there are still a number of other stories being playing out.

And one of the games to keep an eye on, for a number of reasons, will be at the Stadium of Light as an off the pace Arsenal side take on a team who were last week completely taken apart by Southampton - Sunderland. Both teams badly need three points - but looking at the stats, who will come out on top?

It's still early in the season, but Arsenal are already 11 points behind Chelsea having dropped 13 points, with an average point per game ratio of less than 1.5 points.

Thankfully for Arsenal though, they haven't been the only big team that has stuttered and stumbled their way through the season so far, meaning that the media focus has landed on other clubs, or at least it has been.

However Arsenal will be looking at their run of games coming up to Christmas and thinking that there are a number of points available for the taking. On paper, Arsenal should take the game easily - but the stats tell a different story.

Arsenal have the 3rd best defence in the league away from home and the 6th best attack, however Arsenal have conceded over a goal a game and only kept one clean sheet in their four away fixtures in the league so far.

On top of that, Arsenal have only averaged 1.5 goals a game away from the Emirates. This leaves them with a slender goal supremacy rate of 0.25. And what that means is that this is a good time to play Arsenal.

Sunderland on the other hand are unbeaten at home this season and have a fairly solid defensive record (for the Premier League) having kept a clean sheet and conceded on average a goal per game.

Going forward however, Sunderland have had a similar issue to Arsenal - as they have only scored an average of 1.5 goals per game. Coming off the back of their Southampton thrashing though, stats should go out of the window as Sunderland will be looking to bounce back and put in a performance to make their fans proud.

Playing an Arsenal team in top form could send Sunderland into freefall but Arsenal are in anything but top form. Sunderland have a chance to get back on track on Saturday but they will have to be up for it. It's an age old saying, but Saturday's game will come down to who wants it more.

Games like this are really hard to predict and as on paper Arsenal should win. But there have been so many twists and turns so far this season that nobody should rule out an upset.

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch