Saturday, September 18, 2010

Heartbreak for the Gunners at the Stadium of Light

A  95th minute goal by Darren Bent put paid to our chances of extending our winning streak to 5 games in all competitions. It was pure heartbreak for the team who had played the last 30 minutes with 10 men after Alex Song was dismissed for two bookable offences.

Arsenal opened the scoring with Fabregas's third goal in two matches, when the ball he was chasing and being cleared by Anton Ferdinand, hit him and catapult into the goal. Most of the pundits may call it a freak goal but I see it more as the dedication of Cesc in pressuring Anton Ferdinand that resulted in the goal. Ferdinand was also sloppy and slow in getting the ball away.

We didn't really play well after that with Sunderland maintaining most of the possession for the rest of the first half. Cesc injured his hamstring during the run-up to the goal and had to be replaced by Rosicky. It was reported that he had suffered a hamstring injury. We will just have to wait to see how long he will be out.

As with the previous games, we started off with much more pizazz, stroking the ball around and creating chances which Arshavin squandered. The turning point in the match came in the 55th minute when Song was given a red card for his obstruction on Steed Malbranque. After that, we continue to play good counter attacking football and was rewarded with a penalty when Nasri was brought down in the box. Stand-in captain Rosicky stepped up but to the horror of the travelling fans, blasted the ball high. 

We managed to withstand the onslaught by Sunderland until the 95th minute when the penalty miss really came back to bit us. Zenden lofted the ball into the ball and in the melee, the ball fell to Bent who made on mistake from 3 yards out.

It was 2 points dropped considering how close we came to a win but the positives from the match far outweigh the negatives. The central defensive pairing of Squillaci and Koscielny was as solid as anything we have seen since the days of Adams, Keown and Bould. It is something to look forward to in the coming matches as although our profligacy in front of goal cost us in this match, it is a flaw which seems easier to correct than a defensive one.


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