By Walter Broeckx
For the first time since ancient times we had a few changes in the starting line up for Arsenal. Hence all bloggers, journalists and anyone involved typing till their fingers bleeding to write about the massive overhoul of the team. Well massive…. 2 changes in fact.
That means that Koscielny recovered from his flu misery so it will have been a mild virus not really the flu. But on to the changes. Le Coq gets a rest after having done all the hard work in the last weeks or months. No Coq can keep on performing and performing without a rest I think. Jack Wilshere coming in to the team. The other change was Kieran Gibbs coming in the place of Monreal.
So the midfield will be a bit different this time. Will it be Santi-Ramsey staying a bit more behind and Jack more upfront or on the wing? That is what I think will happen.
Alexis making his 50th appearance for Arsenal in his first season and if Theo comes on he will make his 300th appearance.
The starting team was: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Ramsey, Cazorla, Wilshere, Ozil, Alexis, Giroud.
On the bench we had: Szczesny, Gabriel, Monreal, Coquelin, Flamini, Rosicky, Walcott.
Ospina was well awake as he had to come out in the first minute after a long ball saw Graham almost in with a chance for Sunderland. Arsenal reacted with some pressure and a low cross from Bellerin but a defender could clear before Giroud. A few minutes later another cross from Bellerin but Giroud came a bit short to touch the ball. Cazorla getting a kick on this achilles from causing him some pain and trouble for a few minutes it seems. Alexis then feeds Wilshere who tries to go pass the keeper who blocks the ball and looks in pain from the contact. But he seems to be able to continue. Manone warming up and the Gooners appreciate him still. Ospina again being quick to a long ball to smother any danger from Sunderland. 0-0 after 15 minutes.
Ramsey being booked for a foul on the side line against Larsson. Arsenal then with a nice move going from left to right and ending up in the cenger but Wilshere shoots wide over the crossbar. Sunderland players looking very tired as they have to take a long time to take a throw in each time. Another good attack from Arsenal with Alexis trying a volley that us cleared and the follow up was for Cazorla with a low shot that was saved by the keeper. Sunderland really starting to waste time with imaginary injuries. Again Alexis almost gives a shooting chance to Wilshere but a defender can do enough to disturb Jack when he wanted to shoot. Ramsey very angry when he is being puled back just outside the Sunderland penalty area but Taylor had his eyes closed I think. Özil getting a great ball from Wilshere but he shoots over with his right foot. 0-0 after half an hour.
Wilshere again with a lovely ball to Giroud this time but his shot goes wide at the far post. Defoe pulling Bellerin by his shirt but again Taylor lets it go. Cattermole kicking at Özil at every opportunity. Sunderland defending with all the players around their penalty box and it was difficult to find some space. Cattermore making his umpteenth foul, still no card. Arsenla trying to shoot from distance a bit more but Özil shooting over and Alexis straight at the keeper. After 41 minutes the first real shot from Sunderland but well over. Each time just another leg or foot in the way when Arsenal try to shoot. 0-0 at half time after a very one sided match but nothing to show for it on the score board.
Arsenal again attacking and Sunderland trying to counter. Koscielny with a possible handball outside the penalty area but Taylor didn’t see it but it was his upper arm so correct to not give it. But then Ospina had to make two excellent stops one when Fletcher suddenly was in space and again when Van Aanholt was in space on the other side. Giroud with a cross that ends up on top of the crossbar was the answer from Arsenal. A good cross from Bellerin to Giroud and a great save this time was needed from the Sunderland keeper. Another cross from Bellerin and a header from Gibbs but again a good stop from the keeper. Özil with some space to Alexis but his shot is blocked. Sunderland on the counter and Fletcher on his own but Ospina can stop the attempted lob at the expense of a corner. 0-0 after 60 minutes.w
A cross from Özil ends up at the head of Alexis and he heads wide. Jack Wilshere comes off and Walcott enters the field after 66 minutes. But at the other end a bad shot turns in to a cross but Fletcher fires wide but he was offside. The assistant not giving a corner to Arsenal … how could he miss that? Walcott away but he couldn’t direct his shot at goal and it went wide. A cross from Ramsey hits a defender and it ends up against his own crossbar. All Sunderland players around their own penalty area in this period. 0-0 after 75 minutes.
Rosicky coming in with 10 minutes to and Özil went off. Rosicky immedialtey with a 1-2 with Walcott but his left footed shot went wide. Walcott then with a low shot but Pantillon saves and Sunderland can clear. Ramsey with a shot but again the keeper. Walcott again with a good shot but again the keeper with a great save. Only 3 minutes extra time gave the official after all that time wasting? Taylor letting some fouls go against Sunderland in the extra time. It was a one sided match but we just couldn’t score. But at least we didn’t concede like we did against Swansea.
Sunderland saved themselves and can continue to bore us next season. Arsenal had enough shots and chances but couldn’t score. Their keeper saved them and that was it in fact.
I hope that Arsenal is saving up the goals for the cup final.