EPL 2016/17: Sunderland 1-4 Arsenal - 5 Talking Points
The sight of Alexis Sanchez squeezing the fourth goal was the final nail in the coffin at the Stadium of Light. As the cameras zoomed in on the mass exodus of fans, Moyes was left with more questions than answers. A score line of 4-1 in favour of the Gunners left a familiar sinking feeling among the Black Cat supporters.
Such was the one-sidedness of the game that Olivier Giroud who came on for Alex Iwobi in the 70th minute managed to score a brace (his first touch was the goal to put his side ahead).
Sunderland did show their battling abilities at the start of the second half and managed to pull a goal back through a Jermaine Defoe penalty. However, that was the only flicker of hope on offer for the Sunderland fans on the day.
The match also saw a total of 7 bookings. Sunderland picked up a total of five yellow cards while Arsenal picked up two with goal keeper, Cech receiving one of them. At least, from a statistical perspective, Sunderland were able to beat Arsenal on the yellow card account.
Here are 5 talking points from the game:
#1 Sanchez as the lone striker reposed the faith of Arsene Wenger
Before the game, this author had the chance to read Amy Lawrence’s piece on Alexis Sanchez and the need for Arsene to ration his best player. Given the exuberance that the Chilean possesses, it is often difficult for the Arsenal manager to haul off the player.
Arsene who knows a bit about football is aware that the season is a long one and it is understandable why he would like to protect his prized asset. The recurring theme of injuries hampering the Gunners campaign has made the Frenchman wary this term. With a squad strong enough to challenge for the Premier League this term, it only makes sense for the veteran manager to substitute the Chilean once the game is in the bag.
On Saturday though, Arsene granted Sanchez, the full 90 minutes to terrorize the Black Cats defense. And Sunderland obliged as well, with Sanchez scoring a brace, the first from a lovely diving header before rounding things off, with a poked finish - the fourth and final goal of the game.
As per the evidence offered, it is only going to get difficult for Arsene to convince the Chilean that “resting” is also a necessity.