By Walter Broeckx
No changes in the starting line up from Arsenal but one change on the bench. The return of Jack Wilshere on the bench for the first time this season after his injury sustained in August on the training ground.
Arsenal team: Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Elneny, Ramsey, Iwobi, Ozil,Alexis, Giroud
On the bench: Ospina, Gabriel, Coquelin, Wilshere, Campbell, Walcott, Welbeck
Iwobi with an early shot that just went wide of the post. At the other end Cech had to rush off his line to prevent Defoe from getting on the end of a long ball. Dean being Dean and allowing Monreal nothing when cleanly jumping in the air… A Sunderland player jumping in the same way against Alexis… no foul of course. Giroud from a difficult angle forcing a corner that was headed by Mertsacker in the hands of Manone. Monreal with a cross but Manone first on the ball. Ramsey losing the ball leading to two shots from Sunderland that go wide. Arsenal dominating the opening minutes but still 0-0 after 15 minutes.
Elneny with a shot but too easy for Manone after a few minutes with not much history. Defoe sticking out his leg to win a free kick and of course Dean gives it as we predicted he would. Van Aanhold kicks the free kick against the crossbar. Almost a goal for Dean. Giroud at the end of a low cross from Monreal but he could only poke it wide. Arsenal with most of the ball but Sunderland defending in numbers and hoping for the lucky break. Iwobi working very hard but his final ball not good enough. Still 0-0 after 30 minutes.
A good attack on the right flank is finished with a shot from Özil but no problem for Manone. Arsenal with a free kick from Alexis but Manone with a good save and a defender blocking the rebound. Leading to a corner and a header from Alexis that is saved on the line and Sunderland can clear. Sunderland with a rare counter and Bellerin heads the ball in the path of Defoe whose shot hits the arm of Per from half a meter out, no handball judges Dean. A real surprise het let that go.
Sunderland now battling even harder in the duels but not much end product because of some real poor passing. Ramsey picking up a yellow card for a pull foul that Dean gave an advantage for. Iwobi then with a shot and now a Sunderland defender using his hands but Dean lets it all go. Maybe they changed the laws that I didn’t know. Iwobi with a cross but Giroud cannot make contact. Defoe pulling but no card this time. No goals in a first half dominated by Arsenal so 0-0 after 45 minutes.
Sunderland can just deny Özil at the start of the second half and hen Bellerin goes in the book for a late tackle. Defoe on a long ball but two good saves from Cech to stop Sunderland from scoring. Sunderland countering better now and Cech has to go down again on a shot from distance. Alexis with a boog ball to Giroud who crosses it in front of goal but Iwobi completely misses his shot. Arsenal again with a promising attack but this time Alexis overdoes it and the chance goes begging. Borini gets a yellow card for putting his studs on the calf of Iwobi. Alexis then again in a promising situation but he can’t find a good pass to his teammates. Ramsey shoots wild over after the corner. Still 0-0 after 60 minutes.
Arsenal trying but sometimes choosing the difficult solution too much on occasions. Defoe chasing a long ball and with a lob but Cech saw it going wide from the start. Ramsey then had to come back to defend. Dean sensing the moment and letting a few fouls on Arsenal players go. Defoe escapes again but Koscielny can stop his cross and the corner goes past everyone. Arsenal then at the other end after a free kick but Sunderland can clear. After 70 minutes Walcott comes on for Iwobi and Welbeck comes on for Giroud. Still 0-0 after 75 minutes.
Elneny goes in the book for a light pull. Manone then misses the ball but Welbeck being bundled over and Dean doing nothing ends the chance for Arsenal. Welbeck then with a shot but straight at Manone. After 83 minutes Özil is taken off and Jack Wilshere comes on.
Alexis with a low shot but Manone with the save. Arsenal trying to get the winning goal in the final minutes and Sunderland hanging on in their penalty area. But they get out of it and get a few corners in extra time. But the effort from Kone goes over. Koscielny goes in the book for a foul on Larson. Again 4 yellow cards against Arsenal players. Adn then Khazari also gets a yellow for stopping a possible Arsenal attack.
A rather typical Arsenal match since the start of the year. No finishing and so no win. We tried to win this match but if you don’t put the ball over the goal line then you cannot win the match. The best thing was to see Jack back on the field.