Arsenal got back to winning ways in the Premier League, but it wasn’t as straightforward as the scoreline might suggest.
Braces from Alexis and Olivier Giroud helped the Gunners move to the top of the table, leaving them to sit pretty whilst the rivals battle it out to join them level on points.
For Sunderland it was another weekend to forget, and after today’s performance you’ve really got to question how many days David Moyes has left with the Black Cats.
Didn’t catch the game? Don’t worry, we’ve highlighted how each of Arsene Wenger’s men got on at the Stadium of Light this afternoon.
Petr Cech – 5: Considering Sunderland had just one attempt on goal in the 90 minutes, it wasn’t exactly a busy afternoon for Arsenal’s number one shot-stopper. Conceded a penalty that led to Sunderland drawing level, a strange decision to collide with Duncan Watmore who was straying away from goal.
Hector Bellerin – 6.5: Again, exactly what we expect from Bellerin, another consistent performance throughout with very little to do in terms of defensive work. Shown he can cope well with the right-wingers changing often.
Shkodran Mustafi – 6.5: Slightly harsh to blame him for the Sunderland equaliser, a mix of the ball spinning and wrong footing left him helpless to Watmore running free on goal.
Laurent Koscielny – 7.5: Strong in the tackle and pulled through when needed, frustrated Defoe who was playing on his own for the majority of the game.
Kieran Gibbs – 8.5: Brilliant stuff from Gibbs who proved he’s capable of performing when needed. In his first Premier League start since March, he created the most chances (3) than any other player on the pitch. Assisted Giroud’s opening goal with a superbly weighted cross.
Francis Coquelin – 5.5: Had rare glimpses of activity but in terms of being the engine in the midfield, I’d still give Xhaka the nod when he’s back from suspension. Strong when needed but had a good number of passes cut out.
Mohamed Elneny – 7.5: Stepped into more of a ‘Cazorla’ role of pushing up into the attack and supporting Ozil. Remember, he was in charge of playing the defensive game last year so making the transition will take time. His good performances puts pressure on Ramsey and Santi.
The Ox – 7: Had his good moments this afternoon, a lovely move to beat the left-back and whip an inviting cross onto the head of Alexis who put Arsenal in front. His confidence is building, didn’t give the ball away as much as normal and has started to ‘have a go’ at defenders again.
Mesut Ozil – 6.5: A quiet evening for the German who could well have had another two goals to his name after missing a couple of golden chances. Put through one-on-one with Jordan Pickford but sadly his lobbed attempt didn’t have enough power behind it.
Alex Iwobi – 4.5: Looked like a different player today, tried to make up for his poor dribbling by taking on some long range finesse shots but none of them challenged Pickford. Could do with a rest against Ludogrets, the EFL Cup looked like it took some of the bite out of him.
Alexis Sanchez – 9 (MOTM): It’s 50 Arsenal goals for Alexis, after a fantastic header and cheeky bit of footwork helped to see of the Black Cats. Giroud his breathing down his neck for the centre forward position now so expect to see him fight even further. No suggestion that Wenger wants to drop Alexis back to left-wing which is great news.
Olivier Giroud – 8: Two goals. If you need proof that Giroud can be an effective part of our season then today is exactly it. At 1-1 we were getting frustrated with where the next goal was coming from, Sunderland became used to the attacking spells they found themselves defending but Giroud’s towering presence soon messed all of that up.
Aaron Ramsey – 6: No signs he wasn’t ready, and even managed to bag himself a dodgy assist with an effort that fell into the feet of Alexis.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – N/A
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