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West Ham United
16 October 2011
• Emirates Stadium, London
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 60078
R. van Persie 1', 83'
S. Larsson 31'
That was a much needed win for Arsenal, who finally get back into the top-half of the Premier League and now sit tenth. Sunderland meanwhile in the end put in a valiant performance to push the Gunners all the way, but no one can deny Van Persie’s contributions this afternoon, the Dutch striker has really been the heartbeat of Arsenal today and has continued to show his importance to the side with two great goals to give his team all the spoils. That’s it from Goal.com’s coverage of this match, we hope to see you soon, but for now, goodbye.
Well that’s it as Howard Webb calls the game to an end and Arsenal can relax as they take all the points thanks to captain-fantastic Robin van Persie.
90' + 4'
Sunderland are provoking Arsenal’s defence in these late moments of the game, but just can’t break down their barrier of bodies as the Gunners get near enough ten men behind the ball.
90' + 1'
Five minutes of stoppage-time to come, making it a nervous end for these two outfits. Wenger can’t seem to calm himself down on the touchline and looks on the edge with his team narrowly in the lead.
Arsenal attack again with Walcott racing to the by-line and pops in a great ball along the ground, but no one had arrived in the Sunderland area in time to meet it and is cleared.
Sunderland attempt to strike back immediately and look to have equalised straight away, but Ji Dong-Won’s effort is deemed offside and Arsenal can take stock of their lead and try to calm the game down in order to settle on the ball once more.
Yellow Card Robin van Persie
Goal Robin van Persie
Gooooooaaaaallll!!!!!! Arsenal take the lead again through a stunning Van Persie free-kick!! The Dutchman calmly steps up to a free-kick on the right and bends it perfectly into Mignolet’s top corner. The hosts take the initiative as we come into the final moments, which will no doubt put Sunderland on the edge now.
It’s going to be a tense final ten minutes at the Emirates for both sides as they look to grab the winner in the dying moments of this frenzied second-half.
Arsenal are pressing more and more now as Van Persie is denied again, this time Brown heading out a cross towards the Dutchman at the back post that would have been simple for the striker to nod past Mignolet.
Mignolet makes a great save to deny Van Persie his second. The striker collects the ball inside the Sunderland area and cracks off a shot towards the front-post of the Belgian’s net, but the ‘keeper makes himself big and deflects the ball clear.
Yellow Card Laurent Koscielny
Tackles flying in all over the Emirates in this half as Koscielny finds himself the latest to go into Howard Webb’s book and is the fifth since the restart.
Yellow Card Wes Brown
Walcott fancies his chances this time as Arsenal get another free-kick awarded on the edge of the Sunderland area, but the England international’s effort goes the same way as Arteta’s before him and the Black Cats can regroup.
Arteta tries a free-kick not unlike Larsson’s from the first-half, but the former Everton man can’t replicate his opposition’s accuracy on goal and the ball sails into the stand behind Mignolet’s goal.
Yellow Card Alex Song
Arsenal on the attack again down the right and Walcott floats in the ball into the middle of the box, but Sunderland clear unopposed. The game has turned into quite a furious affair, with both bookings and attacks arriving hand-in-hand.
Yellow Card Sebastian Larsson
Santos has been introduced to the game, coming on for Gibbs and the Brazilian gets involved straight away with a free-kick from distance which sails high and wide.
Yellow Card David Vaughan
Almost an affair of calamity standard as Walcott almost gets Arsenal’s second, but Mignolet just gets a hand to the winger’s shot as the Belgian slips, the following clearance then proceeds to ricochet off of a Sunderland defender’s head and out of play.
A tentative and somewhat clumsy start to the half by Arsenal, as Gervinho lets the ball slip and Elmohamody nearly breaks down the right-side for Sunderland.
And we’re off again, as Arsenal get us underway once more.
Colback had a great chance to put the Black Cats in the lead just before the break and shows the visitors’ intent with how the second-half might go and Arsenal will need to get their groove back, up-top as well as at the back, if they want to take all the spoils this afternoon.
And that’s half-time. Arsenal started brightly enough, but need to up their game come the restart to get back on top of this fixture. Meanwhile, Sunderland’s confidence has grown and grown since their equaliser and their recent chances have shown they’re not looking for just the one point here today.
Larsson with a free-kick again for Sunderland, albeit this time from a bit further back and encourages one of his colleagues to get on the end of it, but Mertesacker clears well.
Arsenal holding onto the ball well right now, but Sunderland are staying strong at the back now and are forcing their opponents’ patience as they tighten up across the back-four. The Gunners won’t be too disheartened from their first-half display, but will realise they need to recapture the spirit they began the game with.
Sunderland have put themselves right back into this game since the goal and have started to push their hosts at the back more and more as they gain confidence in their attacks. Arsenal are still making their own moves forward, but haven’t shown the conviction in their play that they started so well with.
And what a save from Szczesny to keep out a Cattermole header! Sessegnon patiently waits for back-up in the Arsenal box and finds the midfielder at the back post, but the former Wigan man’s effort is kept out brilliantly by the Gunners’ ‘keeper.
Well what a way to bring things all square once more, the former Arsenal player made no hesitation that he would strike on goal and did so with such a sweet strike of the ball, leaving the hosts rather stunned this time round.
Goal Sebastian Larsson
Gooooooaaallll!!!! Sunderland equalise!!! Larsson steps-up to a free-kick from 25-yards out and bends it over the Arsenal wall and superbly into the far corner, putting his side right back in the game.
Sunderland nearly make a break for it as Sessegnon catches out Szczesny on the edge of the Arsenal area, with the ‘keeper rushing out to stop the attacker, but the Sunderland man passes back into the box after rounding the shot-stopper and Song has to intervene and stop the move.
David Vaughan has taken a nasty knock to the head and has to take some treatment to the wound on the sidelines. Meanwhile, with Sunderland down to ten-men, Arsenal attack once more and nearly penetrate the defence of Steve Bruce’s side, but this time the away outfit can clear.
Gervinho is the latest to have a crack at Mignolet’s goal as the attacker darts past O’Shea after receiving a fantastic ball from Koscielny, but his shot flies over the bar. Regardless, the move definitely showed up Sunderland’s holes in defence, the Black Cats need to tighten up at the back as they look very vulnerable and susceptible to Arsenal’s attacks.
Arsenal try a training ground move, as Van Persie plays a free-kick short to Arteta, with the ball coming back to the striker from the Spaniard inside the box, but the Dutchman’s marker keeps him away from the return ball.
Arsenal are holding onto the ball well, with their visitors rarely having a turn in possession. Richardson tries an ambitious effort from distance, but the Sunderland man’s shot goes wide.
And Van Persie goes so close to doubling his and Arsenal’s tally. Arteta lays a wonderful ball for the striker in the area and the Dutchman twirls delightfully on the ball and follows up with a lobbed effort over Mignolet that seems to be in the air forever, but the shot bounces off the far post and away from the mouth of the goal. Stunning stuff.
Walcott gets a head to the eventual cross into the area, but Mignolet catches easily and the Black Cats get their own corner at the other end, to which Elmohamady attempts an effort on goal, but goes out for a ‘keeper kick.
Arteta swings in a free-kick from the right, but it misses everybody and Sunderland clear, but the ball is back in their danger zone just as soon as it’s cleared. And now the Gunners have a corner.
Arsenal have had most of the say in these early moments as Song nearly latches onto a through ball on goal, but Mignolet is there collect the loose ball. Sunderland need to calm themselves after that shock early goal, but the Gunners are forbidding them from possession for the time being.
Our man Josh Clarke is at the Emirates and this is what he had to say on Arsenal’s opener: Well that didn’t take long. One minute gone and Robin Van Persie rifles one into the bottom corner. Sunderland haven’t looked too convincing recently. Is it justifiable to say that this one could be over already?
Goal Robin van Persie
Goooooaaaaalll!!!! Arsenal take just 27 seconds from the kick-off to take the lead! Gervinho races forward into space and knocks the ball square for Van Persie on the edge of the area and the Dutchman blasts past Mignolet who makes no effort to stop the effort.
And we’re off as Sunderland start the game.
Sunderland Mignolet; O’Shea, Brown, Turner, Richardson; Larsson, Colback, Vaughan, Cattermole, Elmohamady; Sessegnon, Subs: Gardner, Wickham, Dong-Won, Meyler, Westwood, McClean, Laing
Here are today’s squads, starting with the hosts: Szczesny; Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs; Rosicky, Arteta, Song; Walcott, Van Persie, Gervinho Subs: Park, Santos, Djourou, Fabianski, Arshavin, Frimpong, Benayoun
Hello and welcome to Goal.com’s live coverage of this live Premier League fixture between Arsenal and Sunderland. Both sides will be hoping for a positive result this afternoon to please their ailing fans, with the Steve Bruce possibly the more anxious of the two managers in need of some points, but an away tie at the Emirates probably isn’t likely to be a place the former Birmingham chief will be expecting to grab some of the spoils. The Gunners meanwhile will be looking to rid any memory of the loss to rivals Tottenham before the international break with a victory today and ease some of the pain from what has so far been a painful season for the north London outfit.
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