Arsenal 0 – 0 Sunderland – Match report
Another home game against struggling opposition and another dull and dreary draw for the Arsenal.
In a match that saw new signing Andrei Arshavin make his début, Arsenal again failed to get on the score sheet, making it 3 scoreless draws in a row and 4 successive draws in the league. Certainly not the form of champions, and enough to drive fans and this blogger to distraction.
Here’s how Arsenal lined up at the start :
Sagna, Gallas, Toure, Clichy,
Nasri, Denilson, Song, Arshavin,
Bendtner, Van Persie
Arsenal started off brightly enough, with Arshavin showing flashes of brilliance on his début and having a couple of shots at goal early on.
Arsenal did create chances on goal, but spurned them, Van Persie getting through 1 on 1 early on but curling his shot just past the post.
Bendtner also had a header saved by the keeper and Toure went close from a corner, but his header was cleared off the line by defender Andy Reid.
Arshavin was substituted by Vela on the hour mark, the Russian clearly not yet up to level of fitness required for the Premiership, having joined Arsenal during the Russian winter break.
Vela had a bit of a nightmare once he came on, having twice got himself in to positions where he had a chance to shoot on goal, but scuffing his shots terribly on both occasions.
And that was it, bar a couple more chances from Gallas and Van Persie, not much else to say about this game. It was a game when lower league opposition came to the Emirates, played tough and packed the defence and midfield with bodies, as they are obliged to to try to get a point from a game against the likes of Arsenal, and Arsenal failed to dominate and break down their opponents and wasted what chances they had to score.
The Arsenal midfield is still a concern, while Arshavin showed a good insight of things to come, he is not close to the the fitness required. Denilson had an average game but is not the issue here, whereas Song was pretty woeful and the midfield lacked the creativity required to open up Sunderland.
Still, Arsenal have plenty of talent to return in the coming months, but at this point it looks like it will be almost certainly too late to get a Champions League spot for next season.
Tomorrow’s match with Roma could be a different prospect, it should hopefully be a more open game, which Arsenal seem more comfortable competing in.