Arsenal beat Sunderland 3-1 away from home on Saturday afternoon, with goals from Giroud and a brace from Ramsey with Özil impressing on his debut. Per Mertesacker and Santi Cazorla were ruled out late on due to illness and injury. Below, Andre Lam shares his thoughts and match ratings.
Woijech Szczesny – 8
A solid performance, some good saves kept Arsenal in the game when Sunderland drew level and came back fighting.
Keiran Gibbs – 7
Offered decent attacking options along the wings when the creative spark was lacking at times. Actively tracking back to help in defence too.
Laurent Koscielny – 6.5
A bit of shaky defending from Laurent, uncharacteristic given his latest form. Unnecessary challenge on Johnson gave Sunderland the penalty.
Bacary Sagna – 7.5
Some good challenges and firm headers in and around the Arsenal penalty box ensured that the lead that Arsenal re-established was not wasted, except being out-muscled by Altidore for the dubious disallowed goal for Sunderland.
Carl Jenkinson – 6.5
Crossing consistency needs improving, although he did provide the cross for Ramsey’s first goal.
Jack Wilshere – 7
Played lovely football throughout the first half, a bit more quiet in the second period, but looked like he was thoroughly enjoying himself while feeding the passes to the attackers.
Mesut Özil – 8
Brilliant debut for the new marquee signing, showed his class on multiple occasions, such as providing the killer pass for the first goal to Giroud, and offering the pass to Giroud for Ramsey’s second.
Aaron Ramsey – 9
The knight in shining armour for Arsenal today, came to Arsenal’s rescue just when Sunderland began to regain their confidence. Exceptional volley for his first, and good attacking positioning for his second. Top-notch from the lad, easily Man of the Match.
Mathieu Flamini – 7
All-around decent performance, filling the shoes of Arteta.
Theo Walcott – 5
A shadow of his normal self, given the way he ended last season. Presence felt but little contribution, wasting three good chances in the first half that could have easily killed off the game without the added pressure in the second half.
Olivier Giroud – 8.5
Killer instinct, continuing his scoring streak by converting the through ball from Özil for the first goal. Also showed his vision by providing Arsenal’s second.