Arsenal vs Sunderland: Gunners take the top four race to the final day

Match Report

At some point in the game against Sunderland, I wasn’t sure if we were actually playing The Black Cats or maybe Wenger told the boys to practise their attacking drills in a less crowded Emirates stadium. Isn’t it the typical Arsenal way to leave things till the very end and play amazing football when it least matters? I couldn’t hide my envy, seeing Chelsea lift the English Premier League trophy.

The Gunners continued their march for a top four spot, and while it may seem almost impossible for the Gunners to achieve this feat, like they always have in successive seasons, not qualifying for Europe’s elite competition next season might seem like a blessing in disguise – at least it’d help reshape the club’s objectives.

With 36 attempts for the Gunners in this match, one can easily see why Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is being mentioned in the media. An incredible young English goalkeeper that has the sky as his starting point was perhaps the only positive to be taken from the relegated Sunderland.

The young goalie was on deck in the first half of the encounter to keep the scoreline goalless at the Emirates. For most of the first half, the majority of the Gunners tested Jordan Pickford from attacking areas but could only watch their attempts get parried away by the young goalie, or go off target.

Though the ball did manage to go in, the resulting goal was correctly ruled out as an Alexis Sanchez shot met the hand of Oliver Giroud who was avoiding, not interfering with the ball. Pickford seems well equipped to be a top goalkeeper for both club and country. Arsene Wenger got asked if he’d be going for the young English man in the summer, but he rebuffed saying “we have Cech, Ospina, we have Wojciech Szczęsny who has had an exceptional season. We have Martinez”.

Frustration looked to creep slowly into the players in the second half, watching their numerous attempts on goal not get converted. Mesut Ozil was instrumental in this win, he continued linking up passes in the final third but his efforts would be greatly rewarded with an assist to Alexis Sanchez in the 72nd minute.

An over the top pass from Granit Xhaka was read by Mesut Ozil who timed his run to perfection, with a lay-off pass to Alexis Sanchez who had an easy tap-in in front of goal. Mesut Ozil created 12 chances in the match, the most a player has created in a single match since the Premier League began.

I can’t comprehend how Alexis Sanchez wasn’t included in the English Premier League Team of the season. The Chilean brought his tally to 23 goals, with his second on the night when he had to head the ball into an empty net, thanks to an Oliver Giroud effort that was parried by Jordan Pickford.

Alexis Sanchez might’ve scored two goals on the night, but it was Mesut Ozil who got hold of the MOTM award and it was thoroughly deserved by the German. At the end of the match, Ozil gave a young fan, Charlie, a tour of the Emirates and he is also going to Wembley to watch the FA Cup final against Chelsea courtesy of Mesut Ozil. Seems the German loves assisting on and off the pitch.

The race for top four would be determined on the last day, and while I think the Gunners left it too late in their pursuit, I believe in miracles and know Gooners around the globe would be hoping for one come matchday 38.