MATCH REPORT : SUNDERLAND 1 – 1 ARSENAL FC

A 10 man Arsenal stumbled to a 1-1 draw infront of 38950 fans at the stadium of light on saturday courtesy of a “late-late” goal by Darren Bent.

In the first minute Hendersen volleyed out of the stadium. Arsenal did not touch much of the ball within the 1st 3 minutes. In the 4th min however, Arshavin after receiving a pass from Song skied his shot. Although Sunderland did boss over the game in the 1st 10 mins, yet they failed to create any clear chances…

However things changed from then.The 11th min saw Onuoha get a free-header and miss. 2 mins later witnessed one of the most weirdest and ‘wonderful’  goal of the season. Anton Ferdinand ‘fierce’ clearance just before the centre-line of the pitch rebounded of Cesc’s loose ankle. Moments later the ball had flown back 35-40 yards towards the Sunderland goal and into the net, past a dumb-struck Mignolet…1-0 to the Arsenal.

Minutes later Malbranque ran into SQ18, asking for a penalty, but the ref wavered it off. 2 mins later the sco-…I mean the corner stats read Sunderland 4-0 Arsenal.

Arsenal did not play well. To add on more bad news, Cesc picked up a knock on his hamstring and had to be subbed off for Roscicly in the 28th minute. The team was in ruins. And had no idea what was going on.

By half-an hour we could ask ourselves the question – Did we score ? Because frankly, Sunderland were all over us. In the 31st min, it should have been 1-1, when Al-Muhammadi’s cross was met by Riveros’s head, but he missed the target. In the 37th minute, Song got booked, probably because of his reaction to an honest tackle…

Bad was not the right word to describe the performance of the team. Sunderland were head and shoulders above us. Just before half-time, Chamakh won a corner which came to nothing and Welbeck flicked Al’s cross straight to Almunia..This was not Arsenal, it was probably Spurs- pathetic, sad, and crude football.

When the second-half began, Malbranque put Welbeck through but he squandered his chance. A min later Chamakh drove a cross to Arshavin but he missed. 2 mins later when Song gave the ball to the ‘Little Russian’ he smashed it wide…this was becoming a habit for him. In the 51st minute 2 things happened – Bent had a tough chance but he missed, and Chamakh was put thorugh on goal by Nasri, but the the Moroccan just couldn’t convert.

The turning point of the match however came in the 54th min, when Song was ridiculously sent off for a soft-challenge on  Malbranque.

After this, I lost count of the number of times Almunia’s goal was barraged. Bent smashed the ball wide after a short corner was played up by Hendersen. 4 mins past the hour-mark Ferdinands flick header was headed of the far post by Clichy.

Arsenal had spells of brilliant passing and movement. Rosicky,Nasri, Chamakh, Wilshere and Denilson all played some neat football but it was pointless, up to the 73rd min, when Nasri won a penalty.

Now, if this was a goal, the match would have been put to bed. But sadly, Rosicky blasted it over. Sunderland survived, now it was our turn….

In the 80th minute, Sunderland had a real chance to equalise, when Gyan (who was brought on for Riveros in the 63rd min ) headed the ball from Malbranque straight to Almunia.

The next few minutes saw Arsenal keeping possession. We just had to survive the Black Cats onslaught..

Within the next 5 mins,  Denilson gave a sole counter-attack, only to have his shot go wide. Henderson ground shot was saved by Almunia, and Al Muhammadi won a corner which we survived…. The fourth official held up his board – 4 minutes were added.

In the latter stages of the 93rd minute Bramble won another corner.Denilson did clear the ball, but the referee never blew the whistle. Time was up, he should have blown his  whistle….In the 95 min, God knows why it came here, after a scrappy scene, Darren Bent humbled Arsenal with an equalizer. It was 1-1…

FINAL THOUGHTS:

Apart from the fact that the referee should have blown his whistle and Songs ridiculous red card, we played crap. Some may say it was because Cesc was off, but I disagree. The team as a whole really played badly. No free passing, no free flowing movement. Except for a few spells of the “beautiful game”, we really played awful. The draw was more hurtful because we gave up the opportunity to lead the standings and go ahead of Chelsea. Anyway, whats done is done…

Next up, WBA at the Emirates…..