Giroud and Sanchez Sink Sunderland
Sunderland 1-4 Arsenal
The thing about early fixtures is that it sets the tone for the rest of the game week, especially when your team is involved. Based on form, it was a fixture that looked easy on paper but with the Gunners dropping points at home to Middlesbrough, Wenger had to ensure that his lads don’t let their guards down.
Due to fitness issues, Nacho Monreal and Theo Walcott were sidelined but the club had the adequate depth to replace them as Kieran Gibbs and the in-form Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain stepped in. Ox was at it as he supplied a sumptuous cross that was headed spectacularly by Alexis Sanchez. You would have expected Lamine Kone to get his head to the ball but he wasn’t aware of Alexis’ presence. Mesut Ozil had a great chance to double Arsenal’s money when he was clean through on goal but his lobbed attempt was saved by Jordan Pickford.
With Arsenal failing to gain a stronghold on the game, Sunderland got themselves back when Skhodran Mustafi’s unfortunate slip saw Watfore bear down on Petr Cech’s goal before he was scythed down by the Czech goalie. Jermaine Defoe sent Cech the wrong way from 12 yards with Sunderland’s first shot on target, leveling the contest.
Wenger summoned Olivier Giroud for a clearly jaded Alex Iwobi and gave Arsenal the lead with literally his first touch of the game. A lovely snap shot from Gibbs’ drilled pass. Giroud doubled his effort afterwards when he reacted early to Mesut Ozil’s in-swinger to give the Gunners a comfortable lead. Late on, Alexis joined the party with his brace for the night, thereby driving the final nail in Sunderland’s coffin.
With the game against Ludogorets on the horizon, it was good seeing the lads dispatch Sunderland with such ease, without any new casualties. The result saw Arsenal go to the top but results elsewhere dropped the club to second place, as Man City thrashed West Brom resoundingly.
All focus would be on the midweek game in the coming days.
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