The Black Cats dropped out of the relegation zone after a deservedly 0-0 draw against a poor Arsenal side on Sunday afternoon. This is the second year running in which Sunderland have come out if the bottom three at the hands of Arsenal.
Both sides had big penalty appeals for handballs which were both denied by referee Mike Dean in the opening stages of the game – but neither sides managed to get the ball into the back of the net. Mertesacker /Shutterstock
Arsenal failed to put their foot on the break from the get go – they obtained a high amount of possession and played beautiful passes but the executive of opportunities was frustrating. It is now 14 games without a goal for Olivier Giroud and he never came close to scoring or looking like he was going to score at The Stadium Of Light. The Gunners mustered 70% possession and had 20 shots on goal against Sunderland.
Only Alexis Sanchez’s free kick in the 34th minute scared Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone, who had to stretch and dive to save his curling effort. Mohammed Elneny and Alexi Iwobi had shots on goal, but nothing special enough to beat Mannone – who had been exceptional for Sunderland. Alexis Sanchez Free Kick/ Ian Hodgson
Petr Cech was also exceptional for Arsenal and may well have earned them the point when ex Spurs striker Jermain Defoe struck twice at Petr Cech who made two diving reflex saves to keep the Gunners level.Petr Cech/ Reuters
Arsenal had another opportunity to overtake Manchester City into 3rd position and grab an easy 3 points from The Stadium Of Light, but yet again failed to finish their wonderful play with goals.
Arsene Wenger looked fairly frustrated with the title out of reach and battling for 4th place yet again, but he needs to rally his troops so Arsenal can finish as strong as possible.
One positive thought that came out of this match was the return of injury prone midfielder Jack Wilshere who looked extremely sharp.
Cech (8), Bellerin (6), Mertesacker (6), Koscielny (6), Monreal (6), Ramsey (5), Elneny (7), Sanchez (7), Ozil (7) Iwobi (7), Giroud (4)
Wilshere (6), Walcott (5), Welbeck (5)
My man of the match