WTTGT Reporter: Tashan Deniran-Alleyne
ARSENAL 2-1 SUNDERLAND
Arsenal climbed into the top half of the table after a hard-fought win over fellow strugglers Sunderland at the Emirates, thanks to a double from their captain Robin van Persie.
Both teams went into the game on the back of poor early season form, with only a point separating the clubs, the major team news for the home side was with Bakary Sagna out at least until the new year, summer signing Carl Jenkinson took his place at right-back.
Arsenal made a fast start to the game taking the lead after only 29 seconds when Gervinho fed van Persie whose right-footed shot found the net to give his side the perfect start. It was just what the team needed and Gervinho was a constant menace down the left causing John O’Shea numerous problems.
But it was the Dutchman who was simply the stand-out player, he almost grabbed a second but his sumptuous chip came back off the post before bouncing on the line then cleared to safety, moments later he sent a left footed effort just wide of the post, as Arsenal searched for the second.
For all their dominance, it was Sunderland who almost grabbed an equaliser when Szczesny rushed out of goal and was rounded by Sessegnon but his cut back was cut out by Alex Song. But that only served as a warning as Arsenal old boy Sebastien Larsson curled home a brilliant free-kick to bring his side level.
The visitors were unlucky not to go in ahead at the break as they missed two clear cut chances, firstly a brilliant save from Szczensy denied Cattermole from close range, then Jack Colback fired over from inside the area, as the first half ended 1-1.
Arsenal started the second half brightly looking to retake the lead, creating a couple of openings but nothing to seriously test the goalkeeper. With the minutes ticking away the home crowd were becoming increasingly frustrated as Theo Walcott and Mikel Arteta both wasted decent free-kick opportunities.
Russian playmaker Andrei Arshavin was introduced half way through the second half and produced a moment of class, to find space in the area but dragged his shot wide of the far post. With the away side offering little in attack, Arsenal had ten minutes to find a winner….
….82nd minute, free-kick in a dangerous area; up stepped van Persie to curl home a superb effort to put Arsenal 2-1 up. Dong-Won Ji was immediately denied a second equaliser due to an offside flag, but the Gunners held on for three vital points.
Not for the first time this season Arsenal have showed they may have turned the corner. Now, it’s time to find some consistency.
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