Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal (Match Report)
A last minute header by Fabregas saved Arsenal’s blushes and earned them a well deserved point.
Wenger dropped Nasri and played three in midfield with Song adding extra muscle, whilst van Persie and Walcott played out wide, leaving Adebayor on his own up front. Sunderland were intent on getting a point and packed the midfield.
Sunderland dropped back allowing Arsenal to play in front of them and inviting Arsenal on. In these situations you need players of trickery and guile, but Nasri was on the bench and Rosicky was still in some hospital ward recovery from his year long injury.
The first half saw little to write home about, except a few poorly placed passes by Arsenal allowed Cisse to shoot but not really to trouble Almunia. The match had nil-nil written all over it, Sunderland were content with this and Arsenal did not have the drive and determination to change the situation.
Arsenal stepped up the tempo in the second half and scored after fifty six minute when Walcott cut the ball from the bye-line for van Persie to open the scoring, except the linesman flagged to indicate the ball had gone out for a goal-kick. Subsequent replays proved the linesman wrong, who saw Theo’s white boots and thought it was the ball.
Nothing much happened after, until the 86th minute and Leadbetter hit a shot from outside the area which came down and into the goal from the underside of the bar. Sunderland’s first piece of sustained attack and they scored.
All guns to the pump as Bendtner, Vela and Nasri joined Arsenal’s attack in search of an equaliser.
Deep into stoppage time, van Persie took a corner only to find Fabregas who equalised.
The game showed our lack of variety in midfield and Wenger’s reluctance to start Bendtner in place of Adebayor who is still labouring to find some sort of form. We now enter the international break and should have Diaby back for the visit of Everton.
Line-up: Almunia; Sagna, Gallas, Toure, Clichy; Walcott (Bendtner), Song (Vela), Fabregas, Denilson (Nasri); Adebayor, van Persie – subs not used Fabianski, Djourou, Eboue, Silvestre