Arsene Wenger hails goalscoring heroes Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud as they strike twice each in Gunners 4-1 win at Sunderland to go top

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez (right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team mate

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez (right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team mates during the Premier League match at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland. - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger hailed his two goalscorers Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud – as his team showed style and no little steel to triumph 4-1 against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in the early Premier League kick off this lunchtime to go top of the table.

The Frenchman, who marked 20 years in the managerial hotseat for the North Londoners this month, saw his team take an early lead with an Alexis Sanchez bullet header on 19 minutes as his team spent the first hour in total control.

The Black Cats equalised to make it 1-1 with a Jermaine Defoe penalty on 63 minutes after an onrushing Duncan Watmore was brought down in the box by Petr Cech.

Conceding a leveller when well in control may have been typical Arsenal on far too many occasions in the past for many supporters’ liking and as the crowd stirred it was time to see what this Gunners’ vintage was made of.

They soon showed they are made of sterner stuff than previous incarnations as substitute Giroud, on for a hard-working but tiring Alex Iwobi put the away team 2-1 up with a neat close range shot. The forward who is still finding his fitness showed good awareness in executing a clinical finish.

He then outjumped his marker Papy Djilobodji from a Mesut Ozil corner to make it 3-1, before Sanchez showed a calm head and quick feet in a crowded box to make it 4-1.

A pleased Wenger said afterwards: “Olivier Giroud has showed fantastic mental strength. I like that.

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“His first two touches were two goals. It shows we have quality in our squad.

“We showed good character and mental ability to win the game after they equalised – and we did.”

Referring to Alexis Sanchez warming to his role as a lone forward in a 4-2-3-1 formation Wenger added: I believe Sanchez enjoys playing [there].

“He is a quality player.

“But I also think we are versatile enough to play 4-4-2 if required.

“It is too early to say if we will challenge for the title – there is a very long way to go but we are in a good position.

“It is always good to win the early game to go top of the league.”

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