Report: Lads bow out at Emirates

Arsenal 5-1 Sunderland AFC


Sunderland bowed out of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night at the Emirates Stadium, as Arsenal claimed a 5-1 victory.


Nathan Broadhead’s first-half goal gave the Lads hope following Eddie Nketiah and Nicolas Pepe’s strikes, before Nketiah added two more after the break to make it four.


Teenager Charlie Patino added a fifth on his debut to gloss it for Arsenal, but the Lads can look back on a tremendous cup run which culminated in over 5,000 ardent supporters making a huge impact in North London on the night.


Lee Johnson made two changes to Saturday’s side which drew 1-1 at Ipswich Town on Saturday, with Lee Burge replacing Thorben Hoffmann in goal and Elliot Embleton coming in for the injured Leon Dajaku.


A nine-man substitutes’ bench included Islington-born Aiden O’Brien, along with the returning Corry Evans and Dennis Cirkin.


The game began predictably with Arsenal maintaining the lion’s share of possession, but the Lads forced the first attempt on target of the contest when Alex Pritchard’s effort was taken in by Bernd Leno.


The hosts then nearly took an unorthodox lead when Embleton stumbled into Nuno Tavares’ low ball in, the ball diverting into Burge’s crossbar and out.


The let-off was however not to last long, as Arsenal opened the scoring after 17 minutes – Burge getting down to save Rob Holding’s header, but Nketiah mopping up the loose ball to make it 1-0.


A period of 10 minutes later and the advantage for Mikel Arteta’s side was doubled. Pepe burst away down the right-hand side and played a neat exchange with Cedric Soares, the latter finding the Ivorian winger with a pulled-back pass which saw a deflected effort find the net.


But from there on in the first half was a quite remarkable Sunderland response. A spell of real dominance from Johnson’s men was rewarded just after the half-hour mark, as the Lads carved through the Arsenal defence. Embleton drove through the midfield and threaded an exquisite ball through to the in-form Broadhead – who made no mistake with an excellent chipped finish over Leno to reduce the arrears.


This was to be followed by a stern Carl Winchester effort, kept out by Leno which began a series of set-plays – Tom Flanagan heading the last wide, though the offside flag was to thwart him in any case.


After Burge denied Emile Smith Rowe well with a solid save to stop the England man’s volley, a real setback for the Lads occurred when Broadhead went down with an injury, truncating his involvement in the game. Denver Hume replaced the Welshman as the half-time whistle blew.


The second half saw the Gunners step things up a gear as they flew out of the blocks, Nketiah adding to his tally to make it 3-1 with a controlled finish to convert Tavares’ delivery from the left.


Embleton then sent an almost stunning effort goalwards, the left-footed curler from 25 yards having Leno well beaten but striking the outside of the far post.


And a quickfire Arsenal move made it four soon after. Beginning from Leno, good work from Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard allowed Pepe free down the right. He would check back and produce a nutmeg, before laying off Nketiah who flicked home his hat-trick goal.


The Lads continued to put in a commendable shift as the game wound to a close, but the energy gulf told, and debutant Patino scored a fifth from Pepe’s cutback in second-half stoppage time.


Now a six-day break takes place over Christmas, before Sunderland return to Sky Bet League One action on Monday against Doncaster Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium.


SUNDERLAND AFC: Burge; Winchester, Flanagan, Wright ©, Doyle, Gooch (Evans 78’); Neil, Embleton (O’Brien 78’); Pritchard; Broadhead (Hume 45+1’), Stewart (Kimpioka 90+3’).


Subs not used: Patterson, Cirkin, Xhemajli, Younger, Dunne.


Arsenal: Leno; Cedric, Holding ©, White (Gabriel 73’), Tavares; Elneny, Odegaard (Martinelli 73’), Smith Rowe (Patino 80’); Pepe, Balogun (Xhaka 56’), Nketiah.


Subs not used: Ramsdale, Tierney, Partey, Saka, Lacazette.

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