Arsenal 3-1 Sunderland: Black Cats' missed chances prove costly as Gunners fire home
Giroud celebrates atoning for his own goal - image via @Arsenal

Sunderland's good run of form was ended as they were defeated 3-1 by the high-flying Arsenal on Saturday afternoon.

The Black Cats started off well as Fabio Borini and Steven Fletcher had good chances but found themselves behind to Joel Campbell’s effort. However, they were level going into the second half thanks to Olivier Giroud’s own goal.

They started the second 45 minutes as they started the first with two good chances from Fletcher but were ultimately defeated with goals from Giroud and Aaron Ramsey bringing their two-game unbeaten run to a close.

Bright start

It was Sunderland who had the first real opportunity of the game four minutes in as they countered quickly, with Duncan Watmore playing Borini clean through but he was denied easily by Petr Cech.

Ramsey then had a half-chance when he dropped a shoulder to get past Ola Toivonen and let rip from 20 yards out, but his effort went just wide of Costel Pantilimon’s post.

Sunderland had another great chance ten minutes in when Fletcher put pressure on Nacho Monreal which forced Mathieu Flamini to intervene, nearly prodding it into his own net but Cech was smart enough to make the save.

Campbell opens the scoring

There were very few opportunities that followed the opening period of pressure until Arsenal took the lead 12 minutes from the end of the half.

It was poor defending on Sunderland’s behalf as DeAndre Yedlin failed to watch the run of Campbell who got onto Mesut Özil’s through ball and did brilliantly to calmly put his first-time effort through the legs of Pantilimon and into an empty net.

Level at the break

Sunderland would have been surprised to find themselves level just before the break as Yann M’Vila’s set piece towards the near post proved too much for Giroud, with his deflection taking it beyond Cech to level up the game.

They could have immediately taken the lead again as Monreal did well to steal the ball before playing it back to Ramsey, but he only found the side-netting.

Sunderland on the march

The Black Cats were playing like they had nothing to lose and had two excellent opportunities to take the lead at the beginning of the second half.

The first came 57 minutes in when Fletcher attempted a shot from long-range which proved difficult for Cech as he had to shovel the skidding shot beyond his post.

He came even closer a minute later when M’Vila’s cross was flicked on by Toivonen to the Scottish international who tried to prod it home at the back post, but Cech scrambled across to keep it out.

Giroud redeems himself

Despite the pressure from the Black Cats it was the home side who took the lead again 63 minutes in.

Monreal, who had been terrific all afternoon, was the catalyst again when he laid it off to Ramsey whose cross was bravely met by Giroud who made up for his earlier mistake, putting his header beyond Pantilimon.

It could have been three when the French striker nodded beyond Pantilimon once again, but Yedlin was there to nod the effort off the line.

Black Cats on the prowl

Sam Allardyce’s side didn’t let the second goal affect them as they came close to getting an equaliser on two separate occasions as the game entered its latter stages.

The first came in the 75th minute when Watmore took advantage of the tiring Arsenal defence but his weak shot was easy for Cech to collect.

The second came a minute from the end as Hector Bellerin struggled to keep up with Patrick Van Aanholt who had a crack at the shot but it was just over the crossbar.

Ramsey wraps it up

The victory was sealed as the game drew to a close when Calum Chambers' deflected cross managed to find Ramsey and the Welshman bundled it into the net to claim the three points.