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Giroud and Sanchez Sink Sunderland

Alexis v Sunderland

Sunderland 1-4 Arsenal

Match ReportMatch HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

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.

Sayonara.

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Sunderland Preview: Time to Return to Winning Ways in the League

Sunderland are currently one of the poorest teams in the league in terms of form and in David Moyes, they have a manager with a track record of struggles in his Manchester United days. With just two points from their opening nine games, Sunderland have one of the worst records in the league and would be hoping to stop the rot from this weekend when the Gunners arrive at the Stadium of Light.

Their record against the Gunners isn’t favorable as well, with Arsene Wenger’s side unbeaten against the Black Cats in their last nine meetings. In fact, Sunderland has won just one of their last 25 Premier League meetings with Arsenal, drawing nine and losing 15. When both sides met last season in this venue, it turned out to be a stalemate with the home side putting up a dogged display which was combined with some efficient goalkeeping from ex-Gunner, Vito Mannone. Sadly, he wouldn’t be available for this tie, following the nasty elbow injury he picked up early in the season.

Arsenal Team News

With Arsene Wenger resting a host of players for the Reading game, we would expect a fresh squad for today’s game but in his press conference yesterday, he confirmed the availability of Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey for the game, while raising concerns about the fitness of Nacho Monreal, Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla.

Thankfully, the squad has enough depth to deal with the situation. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a player that could be considered following his upturn in form but it’s down to the manager to decide his best XI for the game with half an eye on the game against Ludogorets.

Arsenal Injury / Suspension News

Per Mertesacker, Danny Welbeck (knee), Santi Cazorla (Achilles tendon), Chuba Akpom (back), Granit Xhaka (suspension), Lucas Perez (ankle), Theo Walcott (hamstring – doubt), Nacho Monreal (muscle – doubt)

Arsenal Predicted Lineup

Arsenal 4-2-3-1 football formation

Sunderland Team News

The Black Cats have many injury problems to contend with and would be gnashing their teeth following yet another narrow defeat, this time to Southampton, in the EFL Cup. Before that encounter, the Black Cats were odds on to seal a draw with West Ham before Winston Reid scored a late goal that ended the game in anguish for Moyes.

The Scot manager has some injury problems to contend with but he would be hoping to line up a squad that would do the business against Arsenal today.

Sunderland Injury / Suspension News

Jason Denayer (groin), Jan Kirchhoff (hamstring), Lee Cattermole (back), Adnan Januzaj (ankle), Fabio Borini (groin), Vito Mannone (elbow), Seb Larsson (knee)
Sunderland Predicted Lineup

Sunderland 4-2-3-1 football formation

Team Form

Arsenal

  • Last Five Games: W W W D W
  • Last Result: Arsenal 2-0 Reading
  • Leading Goalscorer: Theo Walcott (8)

Sunderland

  • Last Five Games: L D L L L
  • Last Result: Southampton 1-0 Sunderland
  • Leading Goalscorer: Jermaine Defoe (4)

Gooner Daily predicts a 2 – 0 win.

Sayonara.

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Arsenal 3-1 Sunderland: Campbell Shines as Gunners Progress in FA Cup

Arsenal 3 (Campbell 26′, Ramsey 72′, Giroud 76′) – Sunderland 1 (Lens 17′)

Match Report Match HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

With half an eye on the all-important Premier League clash against Liverpool on Wednesday night, Arsene Wenger had to dig deep within the depth of his squad to pick a team that was going to be capable of defeating Sam Allardyce’s Sunderland. The chewing-gum expert had bemoaned the fixture and stated that he was going to rotate his squad, and he kept his word, making seven changes to the team that defeated struggling Aston Villa last season. Wenger on the other hand made five changes with Kieran Gibbs, Gabriel Paulista, Calum Chambers, Alex Iwobi and Joel Campbell coming into the side. Had David Ospina been fit, he would have kept in Petr Cech’s stead. Interestingly, Matt Debuchy stayed on the bench.

The game began well for the home side with Gibbs testing the debutant goalie on his near post that prompted him to make a fine save but against the run of play, Sunderland grabbed an unlikely lead from Jeremain Lens. Gibbs had fed the captain of the day, Laurent Koscielny, with what seemed to be a simple back pass but the ball got in between the French defender’s legs and fell kindly to Lens that blasted the ball past Cech. I was a bit disappointed seeing the ball breeze past the legendary goalie because I believed it was close enough for him to make a save but hey, that’s football.

 

The Gunners didn’t let that goal dismay them and they kept pressing and probing for an equalizer. Their efforts were crowned when Campbell crept unbeknownst to the defenders and latched onto Walcott’s drive before side-footing past Pickford to make it 1-1. It was a well deserved goal for a player that had really made an influence on the game.

Going into the break level on terms wasn’t bad but there was some concern about Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s performance. I don’t know why his confidence has been dented but he struggled by his fair standards. His best moment arrived when he curled a sweet ball that clipped the post but Walcott’s rebound was tame.

With Sunderland on the rise, Wenger took out Chambers and Iwobi to bring on Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta. It didn’t take long for Rambo to make his presence felt when he arrived late in the box to convert Hector Bellerin’s perfect-cushioned ball to give the Gunners the lead. Two became three when an anonymous Olivier Giroud made good space for himself to side-foot Bellerin’s drilled pass. These two strikes were scored within four minutes and it put the game beyond doubt.

From that moment that wind left the sails of the away side and held protected their lead to progress to the next round. There was even time to give the Jeff a debut and he didn’t put a foot wrong making neat passes along the way.

The win indicated that Arsenal’s defense of the FA Cup title has begun and it would be interesting to see who they face in the fourth round. However, I must say that Joel Campbell’s performance on the day was exemplary. He attacked and defended valiantly and there was one moment he unleashed his inner Brazilian executing a neat skill on the touchline. In contrast, the Ox didn’t play too well and I hope he gets his act right soon. The lad’s inconsistency is quite shocking and with players returning from injury, he could find himself further down the pecking order. I will be really surprised if he starts ahead of Campbell when the Gunners visit Anfield.

Sayonara.

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