Arsenal FC bounced back from midweek disappointment with a comfortable win over Sunderland at home.
The question at the start of this game was about Arsenal will bounce back from the loss against Bayern Munich and whether they have enough left in the tank after chasing the ball for the most of the second half in the Champions League. But Arsene Wenger made a lot of changes to the side and with some fresh leg in the starting line-up the Gunners cruised to comfortable win over Sunderland, who didn’t turn up for the first half.
Arsenal controlled the match and the possession from the first whistle and Olivier Giroud, who has had a tough week off the pitch, opened the scoring after being set up by Jack Wilshere. Sunderland looked out of sorts and it was as if most of their players had their minds focused on the cup final against Manchester City rather than this game at hand. The home side doubled their lead in the 31st minute as Santiago Vergini’s awful back pass was picked off by Giroud and the Frenchman calmly slotted it past Mannone, who was left stranded.
Arsenal’s third arrived few minutes before the half time and it was another of those team goals which will be up in contention for goal of the season. Five one touch passes and a 1-2 between Giroud and Rosicky set the Czech international through on goal and he dinked it over on rushing Mannone. It was a goal to savour.
Sunderland fought back in the second half as Gus Poyet brought on Emanuele Giaccherini and Sebastian Larsson. The away side looked more potent going forward with these changes and finally made provided Arsenal with something to think about. But it was the Gunners who scored their fourth in the 57th minute as Laurent Koscielny was left unmarked from a corner and headed it home with ease. Sunderland did get one back in the end as Giaccherini scored with a wonderful long range effort, but it was too little too late.
Arsene Wenger was delighted with the result and was particularly pleased with the type of goals his side scored in this game.
“It’s one of the best and even one of the two Giroud goals was a great goal, with a great ball in behind from Jack (Wilshere).
“It’s the way we know we can play, it’s the way we want to play. When it’s successful, of course you are extremely happy, because it reinforces your belief in the way you want to play.
“It was an important game for us firstly. We had given a lot physically, against Liverpool (in the FA Cup last weekend), against Bayern, with 10 men.
“To win today was of course vital. We did the job in the first half very well and, after that, it was a convincing win.” – The Arsenal manager said.
Wenger was also pull of praise for Olivier Giroud, who has grabbed the headlines for all the wrong reasons recently, and stressed on how he has developed this season.
“You can take the videos out and see how he has improved compared to when he arrived.
“His link play is much better, his movement as well, and it’s good that he came back and scored two goals.” – Wenger added.
Arsenal did have some injury scare in this game though as Nacho Monreal was substituted, while Jack Wilshere seemed to struggle with his hamstring right at the end. But Wenger feels Jack’s injury is not serious and should recover soon.
“Jack has a hamstring problem but it just tightened up, I don’t think it’s a pulled one.” – He revealed.
Wenger was also asked his views about the fact that both Chelsea and Manchester City managed to win their respective games as well and what it meant for the title race.
“It’s exciting but we have to focus on our performances, and keep that spirit in the side – then we have a chance.” – Wenger explained.
Mesut Ozil, who has come under a lot of criticism recently, missed out this game and Arsene Wenger insisted that he had a dead leg and should be available next week.
“It was a kick, he should be available next week.” – He said in his post-match press conference.