BPL Season 2015/2016: Arsenal 3 - 1 Sunderland
Match review & rants by a Malaysian Gooner
With more than 10 players on the injured list, it's quite amazing how the fans like myself wasn't panicking quite yet. Compared to previous seasons, it would've easily been called a crisis. But it wasn't bad yet. Laurent Koscielny may have been subbed off injured last weekend, he came back starting for this match alongside Per Mertesecker, both who had a good performance despite Petr Cech's much needed heroics. We have had a very shaky start and if it wasn't because our world class goalkeeper, we would've conceded quite a few. Cech had to pull some amazing saves in the second half too.
With Santi Cazorla injured as well, Aaron Ramsey finally got to play in his preferred position, which is in the middle, box-to-box. That's where his workrate really shines and that was evident in this match as he provided, scored and covered a lot of the central midfield defensively compensating Mathieu Flamini who's playing in place of the still-injured Francis Coquelin. Theo Walcott returned too coming off the bench and showing immediately why we actually do miss him as an option. He may not be technical or smart, but his pace and runs are brilliant alternatives to Olivier Giroud's target man capabilities.
Offensively at the beginning, we were quite poor, doing the usual uninspiring stuff, crossing without real purpose to only Giroud in the box against three or more defenders. Sunderland's three central defenders and two wingbacks were doing the job, making it very difficult for us to break them down until Mesut Ozil found the running Joel Campbell on the left side with an exquisite through-pass which allowed the young Gunner to put it pass Costel Pantilimon and scored. Unfortunately that didn't last too long as our set piece misery came back to bite our Arses. Sunderland's freekick on our right side into the near post made Giroud scored an equalising own goal and Sunderland continued to create more chances than us.
To be fair, Sunderland did play better for 3/4 of the game, but what we have, fortunately, were world class players. Ozil was absolutely brilliant throughout the game, playmaking and skillfully getting pass opposing players like a genius. He was involved in the winning goal which he created with a small triangle of passes between himself, Campbell and Nacho Monreal who saw the opening and penetrates towards the box and passes to Ramsey who crosses the ball diagonally from the edge of the box to the near post where Giroud ran towards and headed the ball in for redemption. What a fantastic team goal this was! This gave the team massive confidence and completely turned the game into a fancy all-Arsenal exhibition.
And there we have it, our first league win since October and the title race is back on against guess who, Leicester City, as both Manchester clubs dropped points this weekend, leaving the unlikely side to top the table and us right behind them trailing by 2 points. Next up, the must-win away game against Olympiakos to qualify into the knockout stages of the Champions League before another away game against Aston Villa on the weekend. With the odds that the bookies are setting, it doesn't seem like they believe Arsenal could win against Olympiakos. Well, fingers crossed.
Posted by Hafiz Mistar on Saturday, 5 December 2015
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