Sunderland 0 Arsenal 3: Three easy points in second gear

Last updated : 02 May 2006 By Brian Dawes
Clichy gets stuck in
Fourth place has pretty well gone and as much as I'd love to see the Shammers reserves give the Scum a game next week, and more importantly get a result, I can't see it happening. Unless nerves set in for the Totts having reached such rare giddy heights in the Premiership they should do it. So with three games coming up in just seven days changes were bound to be made to the Arsenal line-up. Wenger rightly wants to keep everyone sharp and get everyone fit so Campbell and Clichy started this one and Cole was on the bench. Song and the ever-improving Diaby played in central midfield with Cesc right, or at least rightish and Rob was on the left.

In truth we played the game pretty well from start to finish in second gear against a Sunderland team who tried but who had very little to offer. They did well to make the Premiership but without the financial firepower they were never likely to stay up. Much was made today of Niall Quinn's consortium who look to be taking over the Club very soon but once they've paid off the debts they appear to have a lot of players to buy if they ever want a Premiership team capable of staying up.

From the start the match was scrappy, disjointed and not all that. Sunderland were not capable and Arsenal thought that the inevitable win would happen eventually and so it did. But quite how it did was more down to Sunderland's ineptitude than anything much we did. When we scored our opener Diaby was well placed for a header but Danny Collins got the wrong side of him and tried to pull him back. Instead he scored an own goal and at this point we hadn't even had a shot and were 0-1 up. Cesc made a great play being very persistent in their box. Sol played Kyle onside but he shot wide. We were in control with loads of passes but we were no way as fluid as we can be.

About ten minutes after our opener Rob found Thierry in a right side channel and he slotted through a killer ball to Cesc on a delightfully timed run and he slipped a toe-poke into the corner of the net while being tackled. 0-2 Arsenal and the game was now sown up. We were now in a phase where we passed Sunderland to death. From a free kick near the corner of their box on our left Henry hit the perfect shot over a wall that failed to jump and low into the corner of Davis' net. 0-3 Arsenal and no way were Sunderland going to win 4-3 as their fans suggested.

Half time arrived a couple of minutes after our third goal.

Sol: Not entirely convincing
Campbell showed his lack of pace and dysfunctional play with a tumbling stumble that preceded a good cross that found Kyle whose header required a great save by Jens to keep it out. Le Tallec could have done better after beating our offside trap and following up with a wasted lob. A nasty tackle by Kyle on Kolo got a yellow card and a few well chosen words from Toure. Brown gave Lehmann an unnecessary whack from an arm and more words were exchanged about the pettiness of the unwarranted foul. Sunderland fans booed Jens for the remainder of the game but he needed waking up in any case.

Cole and Van Persie replaced Pires and Adebayor. A Henry solo saw a sweet exchange with Cesc before a shot was kept out by a great save which was pushed onto the post. When Henry was replaced by Bergkamp he received a standing ovation from most fans in the stadium. Heavy rain fell to greet Dennis as someone sang ‘Always look on the bright side of life'. A series of niggly and sometimes dangerous fouls by McCartney on Cesc were met with more words. None of which came from the nominal referee Dermot Gallagher, the man who wears a long sleeved shirts as a result of the Manchester United tattoo on his arm.

Dennis to Robin and he was through for a one on one with the keeper, but dragged his right foot shot wide. Three fouls in quick succession on Cesc finally resulted in a yellow card for McCartney. The hacking continued into added time when the worst foul of the game was committed by a little shit called Dan Smith who went into the side of Diaby with a well aimed foot full of studs and broke his ankle.

Thierry celebrates his goal
There was no attempt to play the ball by this gung-ho, worthless, filthy little twat who deliberately intended to injure the ankle and yet got no more than a yellow card in a match that was already been a long time lost by his side. This was nasty premeditated tackle that should have seen a straight red card and a six match ban. Smith had been on the field for thirty minutes and clearly wanted to make a name for him self and indeed he has – the name is count, give or take an 'o'. Ball their manager claimed it wasn't deliberate. Bollocks. Neither I suppose then were any of the other numerous hacks from behind throughout the match by his team every one of them was all too obviously a total fecking accident.

In his day the caretaker manager Kevin Ball was little more than an enthusiastic midfield hacker so his pious and pathetic ramblings in defence of Smith should be dismissed for what they are; total shit. Dermot Gallagher positively encouraged the situation by not dealing with any of the previous attacks on Arsenal men in an unwarranted manner. The referee's prime mission is to protect the welfare of the players on the field of play and he failed miserably in this regard.

What the feck does that say to any footballing artist thinking of joining the Premiership? The sooner we in England apply the European raised foot interpretation of the Laws the better.