Alexis Sanchez scored a brace for Arsenal as the Gunners defeated relegation Sunderland 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Gunners had the first attempt on goal after just three minutes, as Alexis Sanchez fired an effort well over the bar from long-range. Arsenal looked to have taken the lead on eight minutes.
Sanchez’s effort on goal deflected off Olivier Giroud’s arm and found the bottom corner of Jordan Pickford’s net. However, the referee spotted the infringement and disallowed the effort.
Sunderland threatened on ten minutes, as Petr Cech dived out at the feet at Petr Cech. The Gunners then threaten at the other end of the soon afterwards. Aaron Ramsey played Giroud in on goal in the middle of the box, only for the Frenchman’s low effort to be superbly saved Pickford.
On 12 minutes Arsenal wing-back Hector Bellerin cut in from the right and fired an effort a few yards over the Sunderland bar. The home side continued to look dangerous going forward and Grant Xhaka hit an effort straight down the throat of Pickford. The Swiss star was at it again soon afterwards, as he dragged a half-volley wide of the post.
Black Cats defender Lamine Kone was lucky to not to concede a penalty as the defender appeared to manhandle Giroud in the penalty box. Sunderland then enjoyed some better possession and forced Cech into a save.
Midfielder Ndong played a one-two with Defoe before firing towards goal and seeing his effort at the near post saved well by Cech. The Arsenal goal was in action once again, as Ndong returned the favour for Defoe, but the Gunners goalkeeper got down well to tip the ball away.
With just a few minutes remaining in the first half, Bellerin had a superb chance to give the Gunners the lead but only fired into the side-netting when Sanchez was well placed in the area.
On the stroke of half-time, Ramsey saw a snap-shot saved by Pickford. Arsenal kept the pressure on and Rob Holding headed straight at Pickford from just eight yards out.
Sunderland made a bright start to the second half without having a real attempt on goal. In fact, Arsenal had the first chance of the second period, as Ramsey saw a tame effort from the edge of the area easily dealt with by Pickford.
The Gunners kept the pressure on the Sunderland goal and Shkodran Mustafi saw an effort cleared off the line by the Black Cats defence. On hour mark Sanchez saw a free-kick deflect wide of Pickford’s goal.
Arsenal continued to threaten and Giroud headed just wide of goal, while at the other end of the pitch Ndong’s low long-range effort was easily dealt with by Cech.
Pickford was called into action by a low effort from substitute Danny Welbeck, as the highly rated keeper parried the effort wide. The Gunners finally made the breakthrough with just over a quarter of an hour to go.
Ozil squared the ball to Sanchez for a close-range tap-in after Ozil was found superbly by Granit Xhaka. Sanchez attempted to chip Pickford from 10 yards out, only to see his effort chipped the bar and head over for a goal kick.
Pickford was called into action again with 12 minutes left on the clock, as the youngster produced good low saves first from Xhaka and then from substitute Alex Iwobi. Arsenal and Sanchez doubled their tally with nine minutes remaining. Pickford kept out a Giroud effort only for Sanchez to head home from close-range.
Sunderland ‘keeper Pickford had to be alive again to come out and save at the feet of Welbeck after the forward found some space in the penalty area. With just four minutes left on the clock, Mustafi bulleted a header against the bar.
Sunderland substitute Adnan Januzaj produced a good solo run before his effort on goal deflected wide of goal. In the final minute Arsenal full-back, Nacho Monreal fired well off target with an effort from long-range.
The Gunners made hard work of it, but Alexis Sanchez popped up to keep the Gunners challenge for a top-four spot this season going until next weekend. Arsene Wenger’s side are three points behind third-place Manchester City and just a point behind fourth-place Liverpool.
Was Alexis Sanchez Arsenal’s man of the match against Sunderland?