Arsenal were expected to dominate and cruise through a pedestrian club that is at the sheer bottom of the Premier League table. Many believed that the gunners wouldn’t have to dredge a rootless fluctuant Sunderland defence, but they did; even though the 4-1 scoreline exerts a gulled view of the match. The north London club resembled the likes of mudlarks – pervasively looking for answers in the second half; struggled a bit to breakdown a basement club that haven’t been able to keep a clean sheet so far this season. Small football clubs tend to surprise the top four clubs in peculiar matches that defy pundits’ predictions even though low-budget squads lack top quality. It would be foolish to dismiss a team lacking superiority, because in the premier league, upsets occur frequently and there’s no greater incentive than a regulated-level club to avoid a dismissal from the topflight English league.
The first half was a commanding display by arsenal, as Alexis Sanchez had Sunderland on their heels, merely gasping for air, as the vigorous-spirited Chilean played with intent, being the mechanical factor that engineers arsenal’s organisation. Alexis slips-in a pass to Mesut Ozil – as he made a stealthy run in the middle but his shot was too finesse, as he attempted to tap it in with the side of his foot.
The crosses from Arsenal: Hector Bellerin and Mesut Ozil, were spot-on but the finishing wasn’t quite accurate. In the 18’ minute, Arsenal showed the affluent passing football orchestrated by Arsene Wenger – Bellerin linked passes with Mohammed Elneny, recoiled it back to Oxlade Chamberlain, who took the defender wide from the right wing and swung in a cross for a running header by the short-statured Alexis Sanchez. Later in the 21’ minute, Van Aanholt whipped in a free kick over the wall but just too wide right of the near post, as Petr Cech controllably shields the corner of goal post. Alex Iwobi and Mesut Ozil had their chances later in the half, but just couldn’t quite get the right precision on their shots. Even with all miss opportunities from Arsenal, they were totally in control. Sunderland’s manager David Moyes stated that “It was hard to stay in the game for the first half” down one goal, didn’t illustrate Sunderland’s morale, frustrated in their limited time of possession.
“Getting them off a counter attack” alluded the Sunderland manager, as they defended tightly and played long balls with counter-attacking football, pressured Arsenal in their half of the pitch. Jermain Defoe picks out Duncan Watmore inside the left area of the box, tries to get a pass in front of goal, but in the nick of time, Laurent Koscielny clears the ball away from danger.
Nearing towards the 63rd minute, Sanchez gets pulled back by Lamine Kone inside the penalty box – Sanchez argued for a penalty; however, it wasn’t given. Just a minute later, the arbitrator gave the verdict of a penalty to Sunderland’s Watmore, at the breathless moment, as Petr Cech rushed to caress the ball, and made contact with Watmore, which merited Sunderland with a penalty kick. Defoe stepped up and pulled a goal back for Sunderland – tying the game and brought the energy back into the Stadium of Light, bringing an explosion euphoric atmosphere for the Sunderland supporters. It left Arsenal fans with the complacency paradigm: Arsenal finds a way to bottle it.
“We had to gain a great response” exerted the Arsenal boss. Arsene Wenger was relief of seeing his squad turning the trajectory of the match after the unfortunate penalty, from an Arsenal perspective. The imminent shift came about when Oliver Giroud substituted Alexi Iwobi, as Arsenal desperately needed a physical presence inside the box to break the tying scoreline. Only over a minute, Giroud found the back of the net (his first touch), assisted by Kieran Gibbs with a left cross. Giroud rightfully got the brace, with a delicate header, that archly hovered over the keeper. Sanchez surged the level of supremacy by adding another goal, making it a convincing 4-1 result for the Arsenal.
“Quality on the pitch is going to cause all sorts of problems” Moyes interjected that surely Arsenal were going to show the abilities as portrayed in their recent form. Arsenal opened the game towards the end; capitalising on Sunderland’s miscues of defending crosses. The winless Sunderland will face Bournemouth; a promoted football club battling in the middle of the table with Leicester City and Stoke City. Meanwhile, Arsenal will take on the North London rivals, who are battling for a top four position.