A much needed win for the players yesterday, and it was a hard fought one as well for the Gunners. Although the eventual result seems comfortable enough, there were times in the game when were completely exposed by Sunderland and only a few individual heroics kept us on course. Petr Cech and Mesut Ozil in particular stand out, as the two players showed their world-class pedigree with strong individual performances. The rest of the team, while not quite up to the mark, did enough to get past the Black Cats; and that is all you can ask for at the moment.
The game got off to a great start, with Joel Campbell scoring a very well taken opener. The Costa Rican seems to do better on the left flank, and was certainly a good threat when he was on the pitch. Our defence looked rather shaky though, with all of the players having horror moments. Laurent Koscielny was responsible for conceding the free kick that led to the Sunderland goal, in which Olivier Giroud produced a good finish but at the wrong end of the field.
The Frenchman made amends in the second half, as he scored in the right goal this time with a diving header past the keeper, and Aaron Ramsey rounded off the game with a late goal to seal the win. There were certainly jitters however, as Patrick van Aanholt tested Petr Cech in the dying moments. Overall, not the most comfortable of wins, but a solid result considering the current state of the team.
Here are our player ratings for yesterday:
Petr Cech – 8.0
Once again saved us a few points, as he was responsible for a couple of massive saves. The goal line stop from the corner and the late save were both crucial moments, and it is so comforting for the team to have someone dependable between the sticks to call upon. There seem to be some communication problems between him and the defence however, that should be worked on as soon as possible.
Hector Bellerin – 5.5
Not the best game for the young Spaniard, as he struggled with the pace of Watmore and was unable to contribute going forward. Maybe he is still suffering the effects of the groin injury? Hopefully, he returns to full pace soon.
Laurent Koscielny – 6.5
Had a slow start to the game, making several mistakes and conceding the free kick that led to Sunderland’s goal. Later on, he improved noticeably.
Per Mertesacker – 6.5
Had a fairly solid game, although it is scary whenever Per is exposed to a fast attack.
Nacho Monreal – 7.0
Another solid performance from the left back. He was good defensively and made some smart runs on the attack, eventually delivering the cross for our second goal.
Mathieu Flamini – 6.0
Good, but not great. He is a short term solution, and doesn’t seem to be capable of doing much more.
Aaron Ramsey – 7.5
The Welshman was finally allowed to play in central midfield, and made a strong impact on the game. He was involved in several of our best attacking moves and his positioning was also much better compared to when he starts out wide. Bagged a well deserved goal for his efforts, although he could have had more.
Mesut Ozil – 8.0
MotM. Notched up yet another assist, taking his tally to 11 for the season. Needless to say, was our chief creator and had a hand in all of our attacking moves.
Joel Campbell – 7.0
A good showing from Campbell, and a well taken goal to cap it off. The Costa Rican seems to prefer playing on the left, and was certainly a lot more involved. Made a much better impression than the Ox.
Olivier Giroud – 7.0
Scored at both ends and missed a few as well, typical game from Giroud. It is all for nothing from the Frenchman at the moment. He struggled to have any meaningful impact in the first half, but improved drastically in the second half and got into some good positions.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 5.5
Forgettable game for the Englishman, as he did little despite running around so much. He needs to improve a lot if he wants to secure a long term starting place.