Sunderland Wonderland: Arsenal 4 – 1 Sunderland – Report & Player Ratings

Final Score
Arsenal 4 – 1 Sunderland

The Gunners’ defeat at home to Bayern had left a sour taste in the mouth of Arsenal fans, but focus was needed in order to keep up with the ever-changing title race. With Dennis Bergkamp in the stands, the supporters were also hoping for a bit of style.[quote_right]”It was a beautiful goal, reminiscent of Wilshere’s goal against Norwich earlier in the season…”[/quote_right]

Arsenal needed to start the game with confidence, and that’s exactly what they did.

Wilshere, Rosicky and Giroud in particular were looking lively, moving well with the ball, showing good touched, and linking up with purpose.

It only took five minutes for the first goal to arrive. Wilshere got himself into the box after a pass from Rosicky, and got the ball to Giroud in space. The Frenchman tucked it away with ease from close range.

Arsenal continued their good rhythm throughout the first half, dominating possession until the thirty-first minute, where Giroud popped up again. A poor back-pass to Mannone allowed Giroud to spring, finishing first time from a difficult angle. Arsenal were cruising.

Just ten minutes later, The Gunners really turned on the style. Wilshere passed to Rosicky, who played an elegant one-two with Giroud as he ran into the box, eventually chipping the ball over Mannone. It was a beautiful goal, reminiscent of Wilshere’s goal against Norwich earlier in the season.[quote_left]”Sunderland had accepted defeat, but they were still having a good go regardless…”[/quote_left]

When the half time whistle blew, Arsenal were three goals up, and in complete control.

Unsurprisingly, it only took only ten minutes for The Reds to grab another. A good corner from Santi Cazorla was met in the box by Koscielny, who put it past Mannone for Arsenal’s fourth.

The foot came off the pedal after that goal though. Sunderland had accepted defeat, but they were still having a good go regardless.

Chances were few and far between for both sides, but in the eighty-first minute, Arsenal’s faultless game was tarnished. Szczesney punched out a catchable cross to Giacherrini, who controlled well, and let off a stunning shot into the bottom corner.

The rest of the game was played out with relative ease. Neither side threatened too much, and The Gunners were more than happy to see out a solid victory.

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[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]

Sczesney: [7/10]

Made a couple of important saves, but should have definitely caught the cross which he punched out, leading to Sunderland’s goal.

Sagna: [8/10]

Did a good job at right back, a good job at left back, and a good job at centre back. Good job, Bac.

Mertesacker: [7.5/10]

Per read the game to a tee as usual, lunging into tackles with precision, winning headers and keeping a good defensive line throughout the match. No worries for the BFG.

Koscielny: [8/10]

Picking up from him MOTM performance against Bayern, Laurent was as solid as ever. He made his tackles, won his headers and even grabbed himself a goal.

Monreal: [7/10]

Replaced at half time due to injury, but had an extremely relaxed game up until then. Sunderland weren’t giving him any trouble at all.

Arteta: [7/10]

Sunderland allowed him to play his game. He kept the ball moving, provided himself as an option, and sprayed out some decent balls across the pitch too.

Podolski: [6.5/10] 

Had one memorable moment – a stunning long-range effort which Mannone had to parry for a corner. Apart from that, he was invisible. Not necessarily bad, just invisible. Needs to get into the game more when he starts.

Cazorla: [7/10]

A quiet game overall from Santi. No real impact on the game, but he kept the ball moving, tracked back, and grabbed an assist from a well taken corner.

Wilshere: [7.5/10]

Jack was doing his usual stuff in midfield by beating players, whilst linking up with Rosicky, Cazorla and Giroud well all game. Played a role in Rosicky’s goal, and assisted Giroud’s first.

Rosicky: [8.5/10] 

Tomas was everywhere in the first half. He ran the midfield and looked threatening in the final third. He played a part in Giroud’s first goal, and scored one of the goals of the season too.

Giroud: [8.5/10] – MOTM

After a dodgy week personally, Olivier was back with a bang (no pun intended). He scored two well taken goals, and assisted Rosicky’s beauty of a goal. Also showed some great touches and passes throughout the game. Denied a likely hatrick towards the end by O’Shea’s clearance.

Subs:

Gnabry: [7/10]

Should have scored with his first touch after Wilshere set him through, but Mannone denied him. Showed a great touch and shot on goal soon after as well.

Jenkinson: [6/10]

Looked slow on and off the ball, mis-controlled the ball under no pressure at one point, and just looked nervous at the back for the duration of the second half.

Flamini: [7/10]

Showed versatility to come on at left back.Got forward when needed, looked at ease.

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[title]Sunderland Wonderland[/title]

It was befitting of the Arsenal lads to put on a bit of a show this afternoon, with Dennis Bergkamp looking on from the stands.

The Dutch legend witnessed some silky Arsenal moves, particularly for Rosicky’s goal. It was a great way to recover from Bayern, and it was equally satisfying to see Giroud back to his best.

Sunderland never really turned up. Apart from their long-range stunner, it was all Arsenal. All that, and Ozil, Ramsey, The Ox and Walcott never even touched a blade of grass.

Next up, Stoke away. Bring it.

Image: Arsenal

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