EPL 2015: Arsenal vs. Sunderland.

olivier-giroud-header-arsenal-sunderland
Olivier Giroud made amends for an earlier own goal with a header against Sunderland. | Photo by BBC Sport.

Arsenal’s sketchy performances almost continued after an own goal was scored to Sunderland’s advantage. Many of the Arsenal fans want the club players to stop scoring for the opposition. We want to be scoring for our own team and our own progress, not for the benefit of others and contributing to their progress! Arsene Wenger was understood to be relieved and at ease after the match because (thankfully!) we won.

This was what happened on the Saturday night when the Black Cats travelled to the Emirates Stadium:

I didn’t get to watch the match as I was having dinner out with some friends before leaving for my annual book shopping at the Big Bad Wolf biggest ever book fair at the MINES International Exhibition Convention Centre (MIECC). My husband, my cousin and I did a midnight book run and only got home at 4:30am. Staying up and out so late until the wee hours of the morning really took the mickey out of us. But we made it. We went, we saw and we conquered. We got what we wanted and left. That was the most important part of the night.

I caught up with Arsenal’s progress yesterday and this morning, and the goals I saw were scored in a typical Arsenal fashion. Joel Campbell’s touch on the ball for the match’s first goal and his second goal as a regular first-team player was effortless. Campbell was fed with a brilliant through-ball by Mest Ozil, who added another assist to his already growing record of assists, and the Costa Rican prodded the ball between and under the legs of Sunderland’s goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon.

But the celebrations were short-lived as Arsenal’s French striker Olivier Giroud scored an unlikely and unwanted own goal after a free kick was taken by Sunderland. I suspect that Giroud was trying to clear the ball but it was unfortunate as the ball deflected off his shin and past Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech. Judging from the looks of the match replay, the ball was heading for Cech, and if it wasn’t for the Frenchman’s leg sticking out, Cech would have stopped it from going anywhere else.

The first half was sluggish and a boring stroll in the park as neither side was showing any dazzling displays of performances. Also, brought on by an Arsenal own goal, Wenger must have been wondering where he went wrong in his term as a manager. First it was Mikel Arteta, now it’s Olivier Giroud. Will his string of bad luck ever end?

The second half improved with more reasons to cheer. Giroud restored faith in the fans and made amends by scoring the Gunners’ second goal with a header. This time, the assist came from Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey who returned from injury and is able to make some contributions of his own as Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanchez were now sidelined with injury. Ramsey’s effort was met by Giroud who had just enough time to head the ball into the back of the net. With that, all was forgiven. Although, we’d have preferred it if he didn’t score an own goal in the first place.

Five minutes were added but Ramsey missed a great chance to make the game safe. His attempt went straight into Pantilimon, despite a pass by Ozil. Three minutes from time, Ramsey made no mistake in bundling home Arsenal’s third goal of the game with some help from Calum Chambers. The match ended 3-1 with all three points for the Gunners, and leapfrogged Manchester City and Manchester United into second place.

Full match report at Arsenal.com.

ELSEWHERE IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE…

LEICESTER CITY won 3-0 over Swansea City with a hattrick from Riyadh Mahrez. It was Mahrez’s first hattrick for the club, and the highlight of the match with ‘Man of the Moment’ Jamie Vardy taking a back seat as his flurry of goals came to an end. Having overtaken Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in ten successive games, Vardy can take a break now.

MANCHESTER UNITED were held to a goalless draw by West Ham. This left them in fourth place.

MANCHESTER CITY lost 2-0 to Stoke City, causing them to tumble down to third place after Arsenal’s victory leapfrogged them into second place.

CHELSEA went down 1-0 to newly-promoted Bournemouth. This left them stuck in 14th place, their worst ever start to a new season, worst performance ever for a top-four club, and worst ever progress for a title-defending Premier League champions from last season.

LIVERPOOL‘s exciting run came to a grounding halt when Newcastle scored two goals past them in a late match last night. Klopp’s team dropped down one spot to seventh place.

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