Sunderland 1 Arsenal 3

by James, Junior Black Cats reporter

Gunners shoot down Black Cats.

After their 3-1 defeat at Crystal Palace, the Black Cats went down by the same score against high-flying Arsenal.

Steven Fletcher, Valentin Roberge, Charis Mavrias and Ki came in for Sunderland as they looked to build on the sole point they had picked up prior to the international break.

It was not a good start for Paolo Di Canio’s men when the North Londoners took the lead after 11 minutes. A long Kieran Gibbs ball forward was expertly brought down by new man Mesut Ozil and, with only Roberge to challenge him, the German played it through to Olivier Giroud who calmly slid the ball past Westwood from close range.

The Black Cats could have being back on level terms soon after as Mavrias’ in-swinging corner was met by the head of Modibo Diakite and the defender’s powerful header crashed against the bar before Altidore’s return was headed over by Roberge.

Altidore himself could have scored as Sunderland looked to push forward. The American’s 30 yard shot swung toward the Arsenal goal at some pace and Szczesny did well to parry the ball away.

In between these two chances, Theo Walcott was put through on goal and, at a slight angle, the attacker took his shot which was pushed away by Westwood.

A marauding run from deep by Jack Wilshere saw Walcott again get on the end of the cross. However, he could not keep his header down and blazed the ball over the bar.

Sunderland came out second half and had Arsenal on the ropes, winning a corner immediately. The kick was headed out but returned in by substitute Craig Gardner. The ball fell to Johnson who was brought down inside the box by Koscielny. Gardner himself now had a chance to net his first goal of the season and the midfielder obliged, dispatching his spot kick into the bottom right corner.

Gardner again was the creative spark with Sunderland, hitting the post from a 25 yard free kick in addition to Steven Fletcher’s disallowed goal as Di Canio’s half time team talk looked to have worked.

Arsenal hit Sunderland with a major body blow, however, on 67 minutes. After a long period of possession inside the Sunderland half, Jenkinson delivered a cross to Ramsey on the edge of the box. The Welshman expertly hit a first time volley which flew past the helpless Westwood into the bottom corner.

A moment of controversy then occurred. Only a couple of minutes after going 2-1 down, Altidore had the ball in the back of the net but referee Martin Atkinson blew the play back for a free kick on the edge of the box after Sagna has fouled Altidore.

Some good play again on the edge of the Sunderland box saw Ramsey again with a clear opportunity to score. Again, Ramsey hit the ball through the legs of Westwood and into the back of the net to put the Gunners 3-1 up.

Sunderland team: Keiren Westwood, Ondrej Celustka, Jack Colback, Modibo Diakite, Valentin Roberge, Ki, David Vaughan (Craig Gardner), Adam Johnson, Charis Mavrias (Fabio Borini), Steven Fletcher (Connor Wickham), Jozy Altidore.

Subs not used: Vito Mannone, Seb Larsson, Wes Brown, Carlos Cuellar.

Arsenal team: Wojech Szczesny, Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs, Bacary Sagna, Laurent Koscielny, Mathieu Flamini, Mesut Ozil (Thomas Vermaelen), Theo Walcott (Nacho Monreal), Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud (Akpom)

Subs not used: Emanuel Frimpong, Gnarby, Ryo Miyaichi, Lukas Fabianski.