Faltering Arsenal stay fourth after stalemate at Sunderland

PUBLISHED: 16:03 24 April 2016 | UPDATED: 16:03 24 April 2016

Sunderland's DeAndre Yedlin (left) battles for the ball with Arsenal's Alex Iwobi

Sunderland's DeAndre Yedlin (left) battles for the ball with Arsenal's Alex Iwobi

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Sunderland 0 Arsenal 0

Arsenal missed their chance to regain third place in the Premier League table as they were held to a scoreless draw at relegation-threatened Sunderland.

Arsene Wenger’s side remain fourth, behind Manchester City on goal difference, following the Stadium of Light stalemate – and they could also face pressure from Manchester United for a Champions League spot.

Sunderland looked uneasy in the first quarter of an hour and the visitors might have taken advantage as Alex Iwobi and Per Mertesacker both went close.

However, the Black Cats responded well, with the lively Wahbi Khazri a particular threat as he motored away from Aaron Ramsey at a throw-in but drilled just wide of Petr Cech’s goal.

Patrick van Aanholt was unlucky not to put the home side ahead midway through the first half, cracking a free-kick against the woodwork after the evergreen Jermain Defoe had been tripped by Laurent Koscielny.

At the other end, former Arsenal goalkeeper Vito Mannone was called into action, flinging himself low to his right to push away a curling free-kick from Alexis Sanchez.

Both sides had penalty appeals correctly turned down before half-time, with referee Mike Dean rejecting claims of handball against Mertesacker and then DeAndre Yedlin.

The game remained scoreless at the break – and Arsenal were indebted to Cech for keeping it that way early in the second half as he pulled off vital stops to foil Defoe and Khazri in rapid succession.

However, the keeper could only look on helplessly – and breathe a sigh of relief – as Defoe sped on to Lee Cattermole’s through ball, outpaced Mertesacker and sent a lob drifting just wide of the unguarded goal.

The Gunners’ only opportunity came when Olivier Giroud stole in behind Sunderland’s defence and cut the ball back for Iwobi, who skewed it well off target.

Both players were withdrawn with 20 minutes remaining as Wenger rang the changes, but it was Sunderland who looked the stronger of the sides as the game wore on.

Black Cats substitute Duncan Watmore almost broke the deadlock with a shot on the turn that brought another save from Cech, while Lamine Kone volleyed over in injury time.

And, although Sanchez and Danny Welbeck both tested Mannone before the end, few could have argued that the Gunners – who ushered Jack Wilshere back into the first-team fold late on – deserved a winner.

Arsenal: Cech; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Ramsey, Elneny; Sanchez, Ozil (Wilshere 84), Iwobi (Walcott 71); Giroud (Welbeck 71).

Latest Islington Sports News

Yesterday, 22:31

Former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has been discussing various topics with Layth Yousif during his exclusive interview this week. The talented 26-year-old invited Layth to his house for an in-depth discussion on a wide-ranging number of issues as the star prepares to launch his first soccer school at the end of this month. Read on for more...

Yesterday, 13:00

Islington’s John Ryder faces the biggest night of his life at the Copper Box Arena on October 27.

Yesterday, 08:00

New York Knicks Frank Ntilikina is excited about playing a match in London as it will give his family and friends a chance to watch him play.

Yesterday, 01:00

Jack Wilshere has called on Arsenal to make Aaron Ramsey captain of the club rather than allow the Welsh international to leave on a free transfer.

Former Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has been discussing various topics with Layth Yousif during his exclusive interview this week.

Wed, 16:00

Cumberland Netball Club maintained their winning form in Premier League 2 with a 48-41 success against The Downs.

Wed, 16:00

Teenager in squad alongside some of country’s brightest talents

Wed, 13:00

Boston Arms maintained their best start to a season with a 12-3 home mauling of British Legion.


Fostering older teenagers means giving them the skills for life as an adult. Here, a supportive lodgings carer with Islington Council and young adult who has left care share their stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Islington Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read sport

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now