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11 February 2012
• Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Referee: N. Swarbrick
• Attendance: 40312
That's it Arsenal have won here thanks to a late winner from Thierry Henry, in what could be his last game for Arsenal. The result is a tad harsh on the home side who deserved a point from the game but the Gunners took their chances late on and got the three points to move them back into contention for a spot in the top four.
90' + 1'
Assist Andrey Arshavin
90' + 1'
Goal Thierry Henry
GOALLLL!!!!! Thierry Henry surely gets the winning goal for Arsenal with potentially his last touch as a Gunner player. He gets inbetween O'Shea and Turner and pokes the ball past Mignolet from Arshavin's pinpoint cross to send the visiting supporters into raptures.
Arsenal produced excellent football to create an opening for Van Persie but he heads the ball straight at Mignolet, when he should have done much better as he was unmarked in the area.
Arsenal are continuing to press the Sunderland defence, however they've been met with severe resistance particularly from the Black Cats midfield who've forced them back several times. Can anyone produce the quality to win this game?
This game's on a knife edge now as both teams look like they can score. Whoever can hold their nerve the best will prevail in this one. Sunderland are beginning to look slightly jaded after their exploits in the FA Cup this week, Arsenal are looking to take advantage of that by moving the ball around effectively.
Sunderland threaten again and should have gone back in front as they win free-kick on the edge of the area, the ball is cleared only as far as O'Shea who misses his kick from six-yards and Arsenal manage to hack the ball clear. This game is heating up now.
Yellow Card Tomas Rosicky
Goal Aaron Ramsey
GOALLL!!! Arsenal are back in it and it's Aaron Ramsey whose got the goal with a sublime strike from the edge of the area. The Welshman hit a first time volley and it crashed off the inside of the post, hit the post on the other side and rolled in. 1-1 at the Stadium of Light, Game On!!
Goal James McClean
GOALLLLLL!!! Sunderland have scored and it's James McClean who gets the goal. It's unfortunate for Arsenal as Per Mertesacker had the ball and turned but injured himself on the way down, the Irishman got the ball drove into the box and lashed it past Szczesny.
Arsenal are trying to turn the screw again but their passing has been off in the second not a statement you would usually associate with the Gunners. They need to improve if they want to get three points out of this game as they don't look like breaking the Black Cats down as this stage.
Excellent save from Szczesny again to deny Gardner as this time he strikes the ball with his left-foot on the edge of the area and the Pole is again at full-stretch to to parry the ball round the post, as Campbell closed in on the rebound.
Sunderland go up the field and nearly get the lead as Szczesny makes a great save at full stretch to deny Gardner whose volley looked to be creeping into the bottom corner. Frazier Campbell was ruled offside so the effort wouldn't have counted anyway despite him not getting a touch to the ball.
It's all Arsenal at the minute as Sunderland can't get out of their own half as the Gunners are upping the pressure on the Black Cats goal. There's been some great last-ditch defending from O'Shea and Turner, as Rosicky and Van Persie threatened.
After a fast-start to the second-half the game has settled down as both teams are moving the ball around nicely but again are lacking that final bit of quality on the final third, to force chances.
Chance for Sunderland as they win a free-kick outside the Arsenal area, Craig Gardner hits it and the ball goes through the wall and lands at the feet of O'Shea but he shoots over from 12 yards.
Arsenal press again and this time it's Van Persie who forces his way through the defence and shoots. Simon Mignolet gets a hand to the ball and pushes the ball away from goal before it's cleared for a corner. From the resulting corner the Black Cats manage to get the ball away.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain runs at the Sunderland defence and nearly forces his way through Phil Bardsley and Sebastian Larsson before the ball is cleared by John O'Shea.
We're back underway at the Stadium of Light.
That's it for the first-half at the Stadium of Light. Arsenal have perhaps been the better of the two sides but Sunderland have had their moments, as it remains goal-less. Both teams need to improve their final balls into the area as the standard so far has been poor. Here's hoping for a better second-half .
Yellow Card Fraizer Campbell
Sunderland give away a free-kick on the edge of the area after Campbell fouled Van Persie. Arteta took it upon himself to take the kick and smashed it straight into the wall and the Black Cats hacked the ball clear.
Jack Colback makes a brilliant block to deny Tomas Rosicky from finding the net. Sunderland cleared a corner away only as far as Rosicky on the edge of the area, he raced onto the ball and stuck it sweetly but the Black Cats midfielder make an excellent stop with his feet to stop the ball.
Sunderland have a shout for a penalty turned down as Per Mertesacker looked like he handled the ball in the area as he slipped whilst trying to clear a corner. How referee Neil Swarbrick waves play-on, that was a close call for the Gunners.
Arsenal put the ball into the area and yet again there's no-one on the end of it as Vermaelen's cross beats O'Shea at the near post and is knocked out wide to Sagna whose follow-up effort is cleared away by Kieran Richardson.
The final ball has been the problem for both teams so far again Rosicky wastes a good opportunity for Arsenal as he over-hits a pass to Van Persie which goes out for a free-kick. Both sides need to show much more of a clinical edge if they're to break the deadlock.
Robin Van Persie nearly gets free in the area but he's denied by great defensive work by Michael Turner who sticks a foot in ans stops the Dutchman from getting his shot away and dispossess him. Close for Arsenal but excellent defending from Turner.
Arsenal are beginning to get a grip on the game and Mikel Arteta and Song are starting to move the ball around nicely. They're starting to get Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain into the game and they're starting to stretch the Black Cats.
The Black Cats were getting the ball into the Arsenal half at will in the opening 15 minutes but the Gunners have responded by pressing the Sunderland midfielders forcing them to play long balls which are easlily dealt with by Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscienly against Campbell.
Arsenal finally have a spell of pressure on the Sunderland goal but the Black Cats are resilient in defence as balls into the box from Van Persie and Vermaelen are cleared after landing in the area. The Gunners need to find that bit of magic to break the Wearsiders down.
Yellow Card Kieran Richardson
Arsenal yet to get going in this game as the majority of the match is being played in their half. Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain and Theo Walcott have not seen much of the ball, while Van Persie has been isolated up-front so far.
There's been patient build-up from both sides so far, Sunderland have seen more of the ball but can't find that final bit of quality needed to threaten the Arsenal goal. The Gunners have been solid in defence so far but only two Premier League teams have conceded more goals away from home than they have.
Nearly an opening for the Gunners as Alexandre Song tries to thread Robin Van Persie through, John O'Shea gets a knick on the ball which finds its way through to the Dutchman but he's flagged offside after getting his shot away.
Sunderland hit back at Arsenal with pressure of their own as Frazier Campbell breaks down the right and forces a corner. Colback's delivery was good but no Black Cats player was anywhere near the ball and was claimed on the goal-line by Szczesny.
Early pressure from Arsenal as they force two corners which are cleared by the Sunderland defence after a scamble in the area. Good start so far by the Gunners as they look to control possession.
We're underway at the Stadium of Light.
Arsenal ended their streak of four games without a win with their victory over Blackburn last weekend. A win today could lift the Gunners into fifth however they've not won at the Stadium of Light since 2008.
Sunderland are the form side in the Premier League at the moment taking 22 points from a possible 30 in their last 10 games under Martin O'Neill. This form has seen them move from 16th to 8th under the Northern Irishman.
Arsenal have made one change to the beat that thrashed Blackburn 7-1 last week with Bacary Sagna returning to the starting line-up replacing Francis Coquelin after recovering from a broken leg which has kept him out of action since October.
Sunderland remain unchanged from the team that beat Middlesbrough 2-1 in the FA Cup on Wednesday. The Black Cats are without Nicklas Bendtner who is injured and ineligible to play against his parent club. Skipper Lee Cattermole is also still out as is Wes Brown.
Team News: Arsenal (4-3-2-1): Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen; Song, Arteta, Rosicky; Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Van Persie Subs: Henry, Ramsey, Arshavin, Gibbs, Benayoun, Coquelin, Fabianski
Team News: Sunderland (4-4-1-1): Mignolet; Bardsley, O'Shea, Turner, Richardson; Larsson, Colback, Gardner, McClean; Sessegnon; Campbell Subs: Bridge, Wickham, Dong-won, Meyler Kyrgiakos, Elmohamady, Westwood
Welcome to Goal.com's LIVE! Commentary of the Premier League clash between Sunderland and Arsenal at the Stadium of Light. I'm Simon Sinclair and I'll be taking you through all the action as it happens on Wearside.
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