Welcome to my Arsenal blog for the 2015/16 season; here you can check out my thoughts on the current goings on at the club.
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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Giroud returns to form as Arsenal cruise to victory

Arsenal returned to winning ways in the League as they comfortably beat Sunderland 4-1 on Saturday afternoon. After a troubled period recently against the likes of Liverpool, United and Bayern, it was a relief to be playing a weaker side in the form of Sunderland. It was vitally important to pick up a morale boosting win and that's certainly what we did. Goals from Olivier Giroud, Tomas Rosicky and Laurent Koscielny sealed the win as we moved to within a point of Chelsea once more. The game saw five changes from the defeat to Bayern. Monreal replaced the injured Gibbs whilst Giroud regained his place from Yaya Sanogo. Podolski came in for Ozil who wasn't included in the squad whilst Arteta and Rosicky started as Flamini and Chamberlain dropped to the bench.
Giroud and Rosicky were both on the score sheet as Arsenal beat Sunderland
The game against Sunderland saw us play some of the best attacking football we've played all season, and that was without Ozil. He hasn't been in the best of form recently but its freighting that we scored four without him in the team. He supposedly missed the game with a dead leg but truth be told Wenger was just giving him a rest and giving him a chance to recover from the penalty miss against Bayern. The quality of goals that the Gunners scored were brilliant though.

The first goal was brilliantly worked as Jack Wilshere drove into the penalty area before playing a lovely reverse ball into Giroud who couldn't miss. It was brilliant to see the Frenchman back on the score sheet after a tough couple of weeks. It was a well taken finish too, a type of chance he'd been snatching at of late though. Meanwhile his second was a precise finish also. Giroud pounced on a stray back pass from Vergini to slide the ball under former Gunner, Vito Mannone to double the lead.

The third goal brought back memories of that amazing team goal against Norwich. Cazorla, Wilshere and Giroud all played a string of one touch passes before Rosicky dinked the ball beautifully over Mannone. It's difficult to appreciate the pure beauty of it by just reading a description but it really was one hell of a goal. The fourth meanwhile came via the head of Laurent Koscielny who bagged his first goal of the season. He rose unmarked from a Cazorla corner to wrap up all three points.

It was disappointing to see us concede though. It was the first league goal we had let in since the beginning of December against Everton. The ball was whipped in and Szczesny opted to punch the ball clear rather than catching it. The ball fell to Giaccherini who let fly through a crowd of bodies for a consolation goal for Sunderland. Up to then the visitors hadn't really been in the game at all. After the tough game against Bayern we could've done with an easy game and that's exactly what they offered us. They rarely closed us down and that's what let to their downfall as we were able to string our passes together with relative ease.

There were only a few negatives from the game though, but they weren't in terms of the way we played. Nacho Monreal and Laurent Koscielny both went off injured leading to a shortage at the back as Sagna had to play at right back, left back and center back throughout the game! Wenger did confirm after the match that the pair should be fit for next week though. That's a relief considering both Gibbs and Vermaelen remain out injured.

Giroud, Rosicky and Wilshere were all contenders for the man of the match award. It was great to see Giroud get a brace to answer all of his recent critics whilst Rosicky showed exactly why he should be getting a new contract in the not too distant future. Wilshere's link-up play meanwhile was brilliant and that awarded him with an assist for the first goal.

Next up is a tough trip to Stoke City, plenty of the top teams have gone there and slipped up so we need to be careful of that and put in another great performance that warrants three points. It may be an idea to keep Ozil out of the team again due to the physicality of Stoke but we'll have to wait and see.

The teams line-ups:

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny(67), Monreal(45), Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla, Rosicky(73), Podolski, Giroud.
Subs: Fabianski, Jenkinson(45), Flamini(67), Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gnabry(73), Sanogo, Bendtner.

Sunderland: Mannone, Bardsley, Vergini, O'Shea, Alonso, Bridcutt, Ki(73), Colback, Johnson(45), Altidore(45), Borini. 
Subs: Ustari, Cuellar, Celutska, Gardner, Larsson(45), Giaccherini(45), Scocco(73).

My man of the match: Olivier Giroud.

Referee: Andre Marriner. 
Attendance: 60,012. 

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