Arsenal 2-0 Sunderland: Satisfying if a little stressful

Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Sunderland was satisfying, but should have been far less stressful.

It took until the 90th minute for Cesc Fabregas to put the game to bed after Nicklas Bendtner opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark. But it should have been done and dusted by that point with a host of chances going begging from the likes of Samir Nasri, Theo Walcott and Tomas Rosicky.

That it should have been a far more comfortable afternoon for our boys didn’t change the fact that Sunderland also had chances. Good chances, too.

The returning Manuel Almunia made two excellent blocks on Frazier Campbell and especially Darren Bent, while lanky striker Kenwyn Jones wasted a clear-cut chance by shooting wide in the first half.

For us to have so much ball and still give away three one-on-ones was disappointing but indicative of the disruptive nature of Sol Campbell’s absence and Mikael Silvestre’s return to the team. While his commitment cannot be faulted, Silvestre’s lack of pace meant that as long as the scored stay at 1-0, Sunderland were always in it.

After hitting the bar through Bendtner and creating a couple of other chances, our opening goal came from a superb assist from the best player on the day. Emmanuel Eboue, brought into the team in place of Bacary Sagna to provide more attacking thrust, drove forward from his position at right-back and drew three players before feeding Bendtner with an unmissable opportunity.

It wasn’t the first time Eboue would get forward with purpose and he was supported well on the right by a bubbly if inconsistent Theo Walcott. His brain doesn’t seem capable of keeping up with his feet just yet but this was something of a return to form.

Other strong performances on the day came from Aaron Ramsey, Samir Nasri and the increasingly vital Alex Song.

The team’s only defensive midfielder dominated the centre of the pitch all day while Nasri played with far more purpose than in recent weeks. Meanwhile Ramsey showed why he should remain ahead of Denilson in the midfield pecking order with a performance of determination and desire. He might only be 18 but the presence he exerts is that of a 25-year-old.

The final word goes to the captain who both won and converted the penalty that sealed the game.

Cesc seemed despondent after the midweek loss to Porto but showed again that he is the main man in this team, grabbing the ball once he was fouled and making sure of the points. That he had the confidence to step up after missing our only other penalty this season, against Stoke, just shows what a composed and responsible leader he has become.

So another three points gathered and with United losing to Everton and Chelsea hosting Manchester City next weekend we remain well and truly in it.

Thoughts?

Have your say on Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Sunderland by leaving a comment.

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35 Responses to “Arsenal 2-0 Sunderland: Satisfying if a little stressful”

  1. Temmie 9ja
    February 22, 2010 at 6:55 pm #

    A timely win,pray we can do thesame at the britannia on saturday n hopefully we’ll have our injured players like diaby, arshavin n gallas back for the match. A win at stoke is a must…. Up gunners

  2. Andrew Weber
    February 22, 2010 at 8:01 pm #

    It’s a very quiet day in here today. I’ve never seen anything like it!

  3. walter
    February 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm #

    Here are some stats of goals against appearances which includes starting and subs combined in the PL only. RVP 7 goals in 11,Eduardo 3 in 18, Walcott 1 in 13,Arshavin 7 in 24, Bedntner 2 in 14,Rosicky 3 in 18, Vela 0 in 8. We may be joint top scorers but it is clearly evident that the strikers aren’t scoring, and from this list only Eduardo and Bedntner are recognised strikers.Here in lies part of our problem.We may have bags of potential but the need for a top class striker was evident when RVP got injured.

  4. IYKE OHAEGBULA
    February 22, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

    THE RESULT WAS NEVER A SUPRISE BUT WE NEED TO WORK HARDER TO STAND ANY CHANCE OF WINNING THE PREMIERSHIP.

  5. asad
    February 22, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

    Walter very true & if comments are right then RVP should be back in April which would help our push.

    However if we look at the next few games, burnely H, hull A, west ham H Birmingham A wolves H. after stoke they are our next 5 league games. 5 winnable games. in fact 4 should be bankers with birmignham away tricky. it all means nothing if we cant beat stoke away this week. our current position isnt too bad. were being over looked as potential champions which is great. chelsea lose one and we win bam we are 3 points behind with the simplest run in. i wish wenger would shut up about ‘being in it’ i would rather we believe we are in it without telling it to the papers. united and Chelsea still have to play each other and both have to play Liverpool. we have to beat stoke. the 6 point lead chelsea have can be closed or even wiped out over the next 5 weeks as ive pointed out we have simple games they have tough ones. 6 points possible. 9 points behind forget it. cant stress it enough we must beat stoke to give ourselves a chance.

  6. parsi
    February 22, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

    To be honest I I don’t think we will win the league i would love them 2 but chelsea have to be piss poor to throw it away & i’m not saying thats not possible but the places where they can drop points are the places wher utd can pick them up. hmm still hoping though.
    we must beat stoke – no doubt about it.

    then we have the spuds who are really good at home so im sincerely hoping we can do it.

    ok you can argue that we havn’t had van persie for the 2 chelsea games and one against united. we got beaten well by man city and man utd in the first game. I think still the worst move is not getting a striker and a goal keeper in the january transfer window. I truly believe arsenal are in the same position as liverpool and man utd and i do think we will sell fabregas in the summer as we have sold every year for the last 5, every year it is our biggets player or there abouts. viera, henry, hleb, adebayor, reyes pires flamini i think there are more but we are skint and you better believe it how many of these flats have sold any ideas, 400 million to pay back on a stadium that is a big mortgage any body know what kind of loan it was borrowed against the sale of the flats etc. don’t get me wrong i don’t want the american or the russian to own us but i would like to know where i stood with the club i support all these little remarks coming out of emirates “we are in the market”. “we will only buy to improve”. “don’t wan to upset the balance”. what balance ther all 5 foot tall and play the same football that is not balance my good man. I really want to win the league but it is seriously not good for the club if we do we probably sell 8 players as the board will think we have over achieved and fourth is as good as it should be on our budget. I don’t like liers salesman or politicians and so far this year arsenal have tried every trick in the book to brain wash its supporters. we don’t play the best football in the league neither the most efficient its all media fabricated so every body has something to argue and not to lose trust in arsenal. let me know if any body has any thoughts

  7. Babyboy
    February 22, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

    A win at gStoke will do a massive boost to confidence and belief…We are still on it.Bendtenr’s presence is vital..With Diaby coming coming back and Song FIT..We are good to go.

    Loyalty cannot win us games..Silivestre’s lack of pace is worrisome.Vem and Gallas partnership can see us throu.

    Fab is fabulous and he is the centre of confidence.Eboue was fantastic

    We can do it this year..comn Gooners

  8. francis
    February 22, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

    ManC – Pool draw is another good result for us, as all teams around us are dropping points.

    ManIOU & Chelski will be meeting in the coming weeks. I’d hate to say it, but I think a ManU win is the best result for us! What do you think?

  9. steve ryder
    February 22, 2010 at 8:29 pm #

    It’s a lose-lose situation for AW. The more he complains, the more he gets labeled a whinger, the more the team gets labeled as weak, and the more the referees ignore fouling against Arsenal. It’s incredible, and I feel that it’s only going to get worse until we get some more friends in the media and in refereeing circles.

  10. Rian Joubert
    February 22, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    I agree. Ramsey should start ahead of Denilson. I think its a good win. I am still a bit worried about Porto next week. We are in a good position!

  11. Avik
    February 22, 2010 at 8:37 pm #

    ManU & Chelsea draw would be the best result for us!

  12. Lompri
    February 22, 2010 at 8:42 pm #

    it was not the best of games at the emirates; we missed a lot of opportunities which is really not good 4 us now; we should b sharp up front.
    bendtner- not d sharpest of attackers.
    cesc loses possession of the ball too often nowadays

  13. steve ryder
    February 22, 2010 at 8:46 pm #

    Do you have to win…..

    the UEFA Champions League to be considered a Great Club?

    The topic of many a discussion. Discuss

  14. raj
    February 22, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

    An objective look at the remaining premiership fixtures shows that Arsenal have a favourable fixture list and with only 2 really tough games left, they are very much in the title race. What happened to United on saturday was exactly what i (and a lot of Arsenal fans) had predicted a while back, the top 2 are DEFINITELY going to drop points because their hardest matches are their last matches. Chelsea still have to travel to Man Utd, Liverpool and have Man City and Spurs at home. Man Utd still have to go to Man City and still have Spurs and Liverpool at home (some might say that those two have poor records in Old trafford but then again, Villa did and United only managed to get a single point from them this season). If the season continues to play out according to the laid down script (i.e Arsenal smashing the teams below them, Man Utd and Chelsea dropping points in midly tough fixtures) Arsenal have a fantastic chance of taking the title this season.

  15. Hey Nonny Mouse
    February 22, 2010 at 10:36 pm #

    No. I disagree. Arsenal do not have a fantastic chance of winning the league this season. They have an outside chance. I’m sick of hearing about our ‘run-in’, as if the teams we play are just going to fall over and we’ll win all our games. Rubbish. I’m all for enthusiasm but you’re building yourselves up for a another fall, chaps and lassies. Arsenal will also drop points. We struggled to put Sunderland away – at home. If Kenwyne Jones had scored his one-on- one – different game. Did you see the Stoke FA Cup game where they beat us? They were right up for it and will be again.
    Meanwhile the Rent Boys are almost at full strength. Most importantly they have Drogba and their keeper in great form – did you see the saves Czek made against Wolves?
    manure have the fat boy in superb form.
    We have a dodgy keeper and Van Persie in his jammies with his leg up on the sofa. If The Great Man, Arsene Wenger, can win the league this season with the injuries, own goals and other unnatural disasters we’ve had to endure it will be the greatest sporting victory since Ali knocked out Foreman in Zaire. So I say let’s save the lemonade and bunting til we’ve actually won something. If we can beat the filthy mancunian scumbags to second place I’ll be a happy man. And maybe we can nab the Champs league along the way.

  16. Moriaso wa Kenya
    February 22, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

    Yeah..i agree it was not the most entertaining of games, but we still won. If we could take these opportunities from our rivals inconsistency, who knows…we could as well be celebrating come May.

  17. shambogunner
    February 22, 2010 at 11:08 pm #

    @ walter,
    iv been sayin that for months now
    @nonny,
    dead rite dude

  18. shambogunner
    February 22, 2010 at 11:13 pm #

    @nonny,
    even AW laughed when interviewed the other day about our ‘easy run in’….stoke shuda beat city last week with 10 men if not for some lowsy refereeing denying shawcross a clear goal at the death….lets be up beat but keep yr feet on the ground….wev spuds and city to come and stoke & hull away that i can think of off hand…..to say its ‘easy’ is total misplaced arrogance

  19. evd83
    February 23, 2010 at 12:25 am #

    Glad to see someone else is saying what i have been saying about Theo for 3 weeks. His pace and raw ability our outstanding. I just dont think he is the sharpest of lads, and just needs a little bit of time to get the football brain back. Saturday showed that just having his pace in the side worried the Sunderland defense, and once the brain starts working in time with the feet, we will have a rather fresh and very dangerous player. I was also glad to see Almunia grab control of his box. Although shakey at times and probably not a true #1, I can not fault his commitment to the team and his willingness to try and do his job. He seems to try to make the best of his clearly fragile place in the team. Over all a good team win. Keep up the good work Andy. Its nice to read a blog that generaly puts out articles from an inteligent and non-byist point of view.

  20. billi
    February 23, 2010 at 1:05 am #

    @Andy yes, great summary of the match again, and regarding the comments: well we all are busy…… 😉 and there weren’t so much things to get upset about in the last match neither (terrible English I fear, sorry), besides: who has won the jearseys? and with which great comments?

    @Nonny totally agree, couldn’t have said it better, I don’t like the talk of ‘easy’ matches for Arsenal neither, finally someone who points that out too 😎

  21. georgetown gooner
    February 23, 2010 at 1:43 am #

    we need to go up to stoke on sat and match them physically, dont want to see no powder puff stuff i want to see crunching tackles and for us to come away with 3 pts. lets not get complacent with our run in as there are still some tricky games to play. with regards to the sunderland game… nice to keep a clean sheet as well.

  22. Delia -Sec 112
    February 23, 2010 at 1:58 am #

    Saturday was a struggle and a half and unless reinforcements are fit for Stoke we will come home empty handed.If only RVP and Gibbs had been available we might have had a glorious finale to look forward to, as it is a runners-up slot is a serious shout, in a season where injuries have done their best to scupper our endeavours!With everything crossed, come on you Reds !

  23. Leftcoastgooner
    February 23, 2010 at 3:52 am #

    The win was a good and vital one but I was not surprised that it was not easy and I am surprised that anyone who has followed this campaign thought it would be.
    For me Song and not Eboue is deservedly the hero of the day though our mercurial right back certainly played a strong supporting role. As for Cesc and Samir I always get that vague “I’d rather be elsewhere vibe” but who knows after 20 years of California goonerism I’m picking up all kinds of weird, outlandish signals. One of these keeps saying that Bendtner is a real Prem striker. Another more prevalent aura warns me that there is more to Theo than pure pace. But as always I will ignore all alien orders.
    Next up is I’m-not-so-totally Stoke(d) City. We may get all 3 but now hear this. IT WILL NOT BE EASY.

  24. ALGunner
    February 23, 2010 at 3:53 am #

    Sunderland match against us was one the match were arsenal dominated all the away. We should have won at least 4 -0 this would have been good for the team as whole. I still believe that arsenal as an squad are that good to win anything this season. We have good player in position but this squad is not good enough to win anything to be frank. If we win something this season this would be an miracle. Seriously guys it is almost the end of the season we have one HALF fit ST. It is just an basic error from the arsenal team management ST was priority. If they were thinking that they will get away with Little Arsha playing upfront on alone that was one the grave mistake they have done. Just hope Arsenal push Chelsea and Manu till the last. Not criticism to our team but it is an truth we should accept.

  25. JKColombia
    February 23, 2010 at 4:26 am #

    Easy game but a stressed one ! A team like Villa grab that goals that sunderland waste ! Very worry with sylvester in the team.
    At the end of the day, the team did the homework, with my personal top 3: Eboue, Bendtner & Song

  26. Nairobi Gooner
    February 23, 2010 at 6:03 am #

    Quoting Wenger from the Arsenal Newsletter :

    “Our run-in is said to be easier than others, but I believe we still have difficult games. For example, we go to Stoke City this weekend, and we know that is going to be another tough challenge for us.
    But we promised ourselves to give our best in every game until the end of the season. Then our pride will be being able to say ‘we went as far as we could’.”

  27. theicehammer
    February 23, 2010 at 6:06 am #

    @heynonneymouse, are you shambo in disguise. Agree wid you totally @Algunner, Wenger has been playing that card for to long now. Eboue and Song had a very good game and as i have been saying from time since the boo boys got on Eboue’s back a while back he is coming into his own. Best right back right mid/winger in the team. Actually starting to add end product to his repertoire (good word ice). What is Arsenal’s best 11 team now, including injuries.

  28. theicehammer
    February 23, 2010 at 6:19 am #

    @nairobi, that’s the comment i was talking about yesterday from MOTD. “Then our pride will be being able to say we went as far as we could” Shambo @andy, i know i dont wear the colours but come on. How the fuck can you stomuch that shit. ” We went as far as we could” He is trying to say that it’s the best he could have done for you supporters this season and no matter what position the boys end up, “they went as far as they could”. So you should be satisfied with that. What does that say for next season. The same fucking same. He needs to be sent packing upstairs. Sorry boys. Look at the state of upton park, but we are still bringing in bodies by hook or crook, still trying to kick arse. We might fail but we will go down kicking and screeming. Up de ammers.

  29. reshem
    February 23, 2010 at 8:21 am #

    so if arsenal win the league they wont deserve it because we lost home and away to man utd and chelsea.last season manutd lost away to arsenal and drew at home.lost home and away to liverpool and lost away to chelsea and drew at home,didnt hear anyone in the media say they wernt worthy champions,as for arsenal fans coming out with this crap wise up, if your top after 38 games youre champions end off.

  30. theicehammer
    February 23, 2010 at 8:45 am #

    if if if if if if if if.

  31. RGJ
    February 23, 2010 at 9:40 am #

    I said last week that being an Arsenal fan is stressful and sends my blood pressure up. Watching Arsenal should come with a government health warning like the smokes.

    My XI versus Stoke:
    Almunia, Eboue, Gallas, Campbell, Vermeulen, Song, Diaby, Cesc, Rosicky, Arshavin, Bendtner. We’ll need the height of Sol, Bendtner and Diaby against those long throws!

    What I’d give for a comfortable 2-0 win on Saturday, but something tells me it won’t be!

  32. dave m
    February 23, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    IMHO, to say that Arsenal has a good run in is on paper fair but in reality that’s not going to happen. How many of those ‘bottom half’ teams will be fighting for their lives. There will almost certainly be a few surprises for all the top teams in the run in and seeing as Sunderland really should have made it 1-1, don’t count your chickens. Stoke, Burley, Hull, West Ham, Birmingham, Wolves – looks fantastic doesn’t it! There’s at least 1 or maybe 2 draws in that lot.

    The way Stoke, Hull, West Ham and Birmingham have been playing, I’ll be happy with 4 wins, a draw and a loss from this 6.

  33. Hey Nonny Mouse
    February 23, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

    @icehammer – I like shambo’s posts and he makes good points but I feel I’m generally more positive about The Arsenal than he (no offence Shambo). And one point where I particularly disagree with you, Ice, is your crtiticisms of Arsene Wenger. Frankly they mostly sound like wind-ups to me -and coming from someone who isn’t even an Arsenal supporter I take exception to that. Take your latest comments for instance: ‘How the fuck can you stomach that shit’?? We can ‘stomach that shit’ because he’s OUR F*CKING MANAGER and there’s barely a football team in the world who wouldn’t tear their arms off to have him in charge – including your mob. Do you think whoever the hell owns West Ham these days wouldn’t kick Zola out on his skinny arse in a minute if AW told them he’d be willing to take over?
    The man’s a legend. His contribution to English football generally and Arsenal in particular has been absolutely bloody astounding and fantastic. And right now we’re 3rd in the table and looking at yet another years qualification for the Champions League, one of the many successes he’s brought to the club.
    I don’t always agree with what he says and does but why the hell should I? He gets asked a million questions on every subject every week and, according to the media, is always helpful and polite in answering. How much utter crap would you come out with, week in week out, Ice, if you had a mic shoved in your face every day and was asked to give an opinion?
    He’s not bigger than Arsenal, ultimately no one is, and the club is us, the fans, but it’ll be a black day in our history when Arsene does go – and anyone who thinks we can just get Carlos Kickaball or any other famous foreign manager in to win us the league again is going to be in for a shock when that day happens.

  34. Arshadin
    February 23, 2010 at 4:39 pm #

    I predict an away at Stoke win for Arsenal and closing the top considering,

    1. A must win for WHU to stay at mid table.
    2. A must win for MU at Carling Cup Final, so players need to be fit and form for the Cup.Key players will be rested.Draw or lost at home for MU.Dropped points.
    3. Stock must win for the FA Cup running.Pulis is pushing everything he’s got to take Man City.And are now safe in the mid table of EPL.Draw or lost to Arsenal not really matters.Need a rest of key players after that to take on away at Burnley.
    4. Chelsea away for Inter in CL.Must win or getting away goals.Will not in form after CL and a Draw or lost to Man City at the weekend.Dropped points.
    5. Man City if lost or won at Britannia will force them to take down Chelsea either way.To stay at 4th on table to rivals.

    Both top will drop points.

  35. theicehammer
    February 24, 2010 at 1:27 am #

    @heynonneymouse, i guess i asked for that. When you boys played footy 5,6or 7 years ago it was the best thing i had ever seen in my life. It was like having a coke habbit and Wenger being the dealer. At this moment it feels like im been sold second rate gear. Thats all i can say mate. Deep down inside as a football fan im sure you all out there understand exactly what im talking about.
    Up de ammers

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