Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on Tuesday (19 May) that he wants his team to do as well as they can as they push for an unlikely second place in the English Premier League.
With London rivals Chelsea already confirmed as champions, Arsenal will close the gap to second-placed Manchester City to two points if they beat Sunderland at the Emirates on Wednesday. However, with just one game each remaining after that, with Arsenal at home to West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, Wenger knows that City would seal second place with a home win against Southampton the same day.
"We have a possibility to take the six points, but it will not be enough if Man City win their last game against Southampton. The fact is likely, so how many chances we have, I don't know, but the only chance we have is to win our games," said Wenger at Arsenal's London Colney training ground on Tuesday.
After finishing either third or fourth in the Premier League for the past nine seasons, Wenger was asked if he was comfortable with finishing third.
"It depends what you call comfortable. You know, we would like to finish first, but at the moment, that is mathematically impossible so you want to do as well as you can," he said.
Sunderland come into the match knowing that a draw will ensure their Premier League survival this season. In March, the club sacked manager Gus Poyet and replaced him with Dutchman Dick Advocaat who has led them to three wins and two draws in his seven matches in charge and are undefeated in their last four matches.
In the past two seasons, Sunderland have also narrowly escaped relegation under managers Paolo di Canio and then Poyet.
"Sunderland, for a few years now, they struggle until five, six games before the end. I think then first Di Canio saved them, after Gus Poyet saved them, and now Dick Advocaat saved them. So, always they just find the final resources to get out of relegation. Dick Advocaat has used his vast experience to give them confidence again and to get them to play. I think as well, players certainly question themselves and respond always with a few games to go," said Wenger.
Advocaat's team have only conceded two goals in their last four matches and Wenger said that his team will need to play with a high rhythm to win.
"Expect them to be well organised defensively, and be sound at the back and try to use all the counter-attacks they can have, all the set pieces they can have to score goals, so we have to put a high rhythm into this game and play with a high level of energy to win the game," he said.