Sunderland 1 - 3 Arsenal
Off the back of an untimely International break, Arsenal travelled to face Sunderland with their injury depleted squad hit even harder with knocks and illnesses to key players. Sunderland were looking to cause an upset, and there was a feeling that Arsenal were going to have to dig deep to snatch all three points. [quote_right]”The first half started off just as every Arsenal fan would have wanted. Mesut Ozil was playing, and Mesut Ozil was playing well…”[/quote_right]
The first half started off just as every Arsenal fan would have wanted. Mesut Ozil was playing, and Mesut Ozil was playing well.
Thanks to Ozil, Wilshere and Ramsey, The Gunners were keeping the ball well in midfield, passing their way around the Sunderland midfielders with ease. As a result, it took just eleven minutes to break the deadlock.
A long, lofted ball from Gibbs down the left-flank was beautifully brought down by Ozil, who saw Girud’s run through the middle, and produced a superb, effortless cross along the grass. Giroud met it gratefully, tucking it into the corner of Sunderland’s net. It was a dream start.
Unfortunately, our brilliant start found it difficult to flourish thereafter. Mesut Ozil was constantly pulling off good short-range passes, and also managed to put Theo Walcott through on goal twice, only for the Englishman to be denied by the Goalkeeper on both occasions.
Another chance later in the half also fell for Theo, but yet again he looked far too casual, allowing the Goalkeeper to deal with the danger.
Sunderland only threatened on one or two occasions, but with Arsenal’s bench looking almost ridiculously weak, you got the feeling that early goals were going to be vital. Yet, thanks to some poor finishing from Walcott, Arsenal were walking down the tunnel at half time with just one goal to their name.
Typically, Arsenal’s missed chances came back to haunt them.
In the forty-eighth minute, Laurent Koscielny slid in on Johnson inside the box, making the midfielder hit the deck. The Frenchman certainly didn’t touch the ball, but it was also unclear if he touched Johnson either. Whatever the case, Gardner stepped up to the spot, and fired home Sunderland’s equalizer. Arsenal were now very worried.[quote_left]”Shabby defending from Arsenal made the entire experience a little worrying, but in the end, Arsenal welcomed the final whistle with all three points pocketed, thanks to Aaron Ramsey.”[/quote_left]
The Black Cats took confidence from their goal, and began bombarding Arsenal’s defences. In fact, Sunderland actually managed to put the ball over the line twice. Thankfully, the first goal was determined to be offside,whilst the second was disallowed due to the referee blowing his whistle for a free kick seconds before.
Arsenal seriously looked to be buckling, until Aaron Ramsey once again decided to rescue his side. An excellent cross from Jenkinson in the sixty-seventh minute was met by Ramsey’s volley, which thundered past the Goalkeeper, and into the net.
The danger of a second Sunderland goal was not averted though, as the game remained tense with end-to-end Football.
However, Ramsey finished the job off for The Gunners just ten minutes later. Ozil passed to Giroud, who beautifully touched the ball on for Ramsey, who was through on goal. The Welshman controlled calmly, and tucked the ball away, giving Arsenal a two goal cushion.
The rest of the match was played with less pressure, although Sunderland - to their credit, always looked a threat. Some shabby defending and Goalkeeping from Arsenal made the entire experience a little worrying, but in the end, Arsenal welcomed the final whistle with all three points pocketed, thanks to Aaron Ramsey.
[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]
Made some decent stops, but nothing you wouldn’t expect from a Goalkeeper at his level. However, he looked extremely slow coming off his line all game, and - as usual, was too casual in situations which demanded a firm hand.
Carl worked very hard all game, doing his best to help out attacks, whilst keeping his duty at the back. His cross for Ramsey’s volley was pinpoint perfect.
Not one of Bacary’s finer games. The Sunderland attackers seemed to out strength him a few times, and he wasn’t as dominant in the air as he usually is. Lucky not to receive a red card for a last man foul.
A very poor performance from Laurent. His slide for the penalty was hugely unnecessary, and he also looked off the pace at other times, missing headers, and so forth. Not his usual self.
Kieran was solid overall, but he didn’t get involved with the build-up play as much as he usually does. Didn’t have much trouble defensively.
Mathieu did a job behind the scenes today, which is precisely what we needed. He broke up play well in the centre, and held his position well all game. Sunderland were causing us severe problems at the back, and I fear to think what could have been if we didn’t have such a defensive minded midfielder on the pitch.
Jack didn’t set the game alight with his passing, but he looked in his element alongside Ozil. He kept things moving with short, cute passes, and weaved his way past defenders, winning plenty of free kicks. Good to see him playing more freely.
A great debut. Mesut took just eleven minutes to get his first Premier League assist, which was beautiful to watch. He kept the ball well, put attackers through on goal, and simply looked world-class. Obviously, he wasn’t in fifth gear, but this was certainly a good start. What a joy it is to have him.
Ramsey: [8.5/10] - MOTM
Once again, Aaron steps up with some goals - and what fantastic goals they both were. His first was a sublimely executed volley, and the second showed his maturity in front of goal. Aside from that, he also did well keeping the ball, and worked his socks off as usual.
I hate to say it, but what a poor, poor performance from Theo. Three missed chances in a game where he hid from play, especially in the second half. Needs to start working hard if he is to hit the heights of last season.
Olivier was superb. He took his goal elegantly, and got the assist for Ramsey’s second. His first touches were simply epic at times, and his movement off the ball made it easy for Ozil and others to find him.
Vermaelen : [6.5/10]
Great to see the Skipper back in action. Thomas came on to shore up the defence, and did a fairly god job of it, although he let a cross come in when he could have done a lot more. Early days.
Monreal: [N/A], Akpom [N/A]
[title]Ramsey to the Rescue[/title]
Well, the positives are obvious. Ozil had a great debut, Giroud continues to impress, and Aaron Ramsey is simply on fire, rescuing Arsenal again with two well taken goals.
However, lets not paper over the enormous cracks. Sunderland have every right to feel hard done by, as their second disallowed goal was perfectly good, whilst both Koscielny and Sagna could have been sent off. Hardly encouraging stuff. On top of that, our squad is desperately thin.
Yet, we now have a few days to recover, and three points to keep us company as we do so. A mediocre performance, but a win is indeed a win. Next up, Marseille.
What do you think of the Sunderland vs Arsenal match? Share your views in the comments section below!