Arsenal went into today’s game with the clear objective of obtaining the three points that will get them closer to Champions League football next season. Sunderland, on the other hand, are already relegated and didn’t have much to play for.
Written by Cosmin Mihalescu. May 16, 2017.
Arsenal dominated the game from the beginning, showing their clear intentions.
Canceled goal Arsenal: In the 8th minute, Arsenal had the first big chance of the game. Alexis Sanchez received a ball, around 20 metres away from Sunderland’s goal, turned nicely and took a shot. The shot was deflected by Olivier Giroud and went into the net. But the referee made the right call to cancel the goal, as the ball hit Giroud’s hand on its way into the back of the net.
Arsenal continued to dominate possession and create scoring chances, but just couldn’t find the way to the goal, with Pickford managing a few great saves.
Sunderland, on the other hand, displayed a good counter-attacking football, also creating danger and forcing Petr Cech to make two important saves.
Just before the halftime whistle, Arsenal missed a huge opportunity. First, Pickford made a great save on a Bellerin shot from inside the box. Then, from the resulting corner, Mustafi was unable to put enough power into his header and the English goalkeeper kept the ball safely.
Half-time: It was 0-0 at the break, with neither side able to break the deadlock.
Hector Bellerin picked up a yellow card in the first half.
Arsenal started the second half with a sense of urgency, feeling that they would have to work harder in order to get something out of today’s match.
The Gunners efforts were, however, very well dealt with by Sunderland who kept a tight formation and allowed very little space to Arsenal’s players, who dominated possession, but without posing any real threat to Pickford’s goal.
In the 68th minute, both Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi came on, in an attempt from Arsene Wenger to boost his side’s attacking play.
Welbeck had his first opportunity in the 72nd minute, when Pickford managed to parry his shot away.
1-0: From the resulting corner, Arsenal opened the score. The ball was initially played away by Sunderland’s defence but not very far. A new ball was sent into the box and reached Mesut Özil on the left side, who crossed from the byline for Alexis Sanchez who only had to tap the ball in to the empty goal.
2-0: In the 81st minute, a cross from the right wing reached Olivier Giroud in the box, but his effort was parried away again by the magnificent Pickford. Unfortunately for the English goalkeeper, the ball found its way to Alexis Sanchez in the 6 yard box, who again had the easy task of passing the ball into the empty goal.
Full-time: Arsenal managed to get the job done in the end and stay within reaching distance of the top four and Champions League qualification. It was only Pickford’s heroics that avoided a heavy defeat for Sunderland.