Sunderland put in a good effort against Arsenal in the race for survival. The Gunners were favorites going into the game as they hadn’t lost to the Black Cats since 2009. Sunderland kept a clean sheet in their last game against Norwich and continued to show the same defensive compactness against Arsenal.
The Gunners started the game well but failed to test Vito Mannone in the opening exchanges. Sunderland grew in the first half and even though Cech didn’t have a save in the first half, they were always a threat on the counter. It was Cech’s opposite number who was more active in the first half as Mannone made some good saves to deny the Gunners.
Arsenal were saved by the woodwork in the first half as Patrick van Aanholt’s free-kick just failed to dip in time. Both the teams had penalty appeals turned down in the first half and Sunderland will feel aggrieved that they didn’t get one. When Jermain Defoe connected with the ball following a mistake by Hector Bellerin, Per Mertesacker not only blocked the strike with his hand but what made it a no-brainer was that the shot was goal bound.
Arsenal had a penalty claim of their own but it would have been harsh considering the ball came off the defenders foot first and then struck his arm.
The second half saw Sunderland being much more proactive in the final third as they tested Cech on a number of occasions but the custodian always came with an answer. The fans will be a bit down that the team didn’t pick up the three points as they created enough to win the game. Nevertheless, they are out of the relegation zone as they have a vastly superior goal difference compared to Norwich.
With four games to go, Sunderland have matters in their own hands now and should survive if they can remain strong at the back and get the job done up front. Some of the Newcastle fans weren’t that happy with Arsenal’s performances, however!
SOURCE: The 4th Official
GUESS IYKE’s COMMENT: Awesome game. Kudos Sam. But wonder why they always start their season late!