Arsenal 0 Sunderland 0 Observed: what Barca couldn’t, we could

For the second successive week, The Observer caught our Pete Sixsmith on his way out of an away game. He was in a lot happier mood this time, and with good reason. But as usual, we start with the opposition view …


This was really disappointing, especially after United lost in the week. We had a chance to close the gap on them but Sunderland played well, harried us and gave us no space to play our football. We looked jaded and were far from our best. We missed Fábregas, Van Persie and Walcott, as well as Song. There was no creativity today and it’s so cruel that we are going to Barcelona with nowhere near our best side for the second year running. The second half today was a bit better than the first, but without Van Persie we don’t have any options up front. I prefer Chamakh to Bendtner, but it didn’t happen for him today.

Szczesny 7; Sagna 6, Djourou 6, Koscielny 6, Clichy 7; Diaby 5 (Rosicky 77 6), Denílson 6 (Chamakh 61 6); Nasri 8, Wilshere 7, Arshavin 7; Bendtner 7


We did what Barcelona couldn’t and thwarted Arsenal by keeping a solid shape throughout and hanging on at the end. We even had our own chances. Arsenal weaved pretty patterns but if you concentrate you can stop them – and that’s what we did. Mignolet made two exceptional saves, while Henderson looked the equal of Jack Wilshere. Danny Welbeck almost scored but Arsenal’s keeper Szczesny pulled off the save of the game. So in the end it was a good day out for our loyal fans and for David Miliband, a former Arsenal fan and now Sunderland vice-chairman.


Mignolet 9; Ferdinand 8, Mensah 8, Bramble 7, Bardsley 8; Muntari 8; Sessègnon 7, Henderson 8 (Colback 87 n/a), Richardson 6, Malbranque 7 (Welbeck 68 8); Gyan 8 (Elmohamady 78 6)

11 thoughts on “Arsenal 0 Sunderland 0 Observed: what Barca couldn’t, we could”

  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Mignolet will be (if he already isn’t) a much better keeper than Gordon. His work on dealing with crosses during his absence from the first team paid dividends. I genuinely believe that SM will become the best keeper that we have ever had. Of course he is still learning but within the next couple of years I think that Mignolet will be become genuinely world class. I rate him higher than Gordon right now, although I am probably in a minority, it’s a growing one!

  2. Might have had some sympathy about their penalty shout if they hadn’t spent as much time throwing themselves to ground especially Bendtner. Yes we had some luck but looked controlled and could have pinched it late on.

  3. Mignolet v Gordon? Both have produced top drawer performances this season and yet both have also looked shaky at times. Having said that I am more than happy with both contesting the starting spot – name a keeper that doesn’t have a dodgy performance now and again.

    As for the penalty incident. It might well have been given on another day but having seen Hanson’s analysis on MOTD can someone explain to me why he highlighted the pull back outside the box as well as the falling push and decided it should have been a penalty and not a free kick for the first contact?

    And as I don’t ever seem to understand football professionals why does AF think that Shrek’s elbow off the ball was OK and that his poor player shouldn’t be criticised for that, then lambasts a different ref and the FA for what he perceived to be an off the ball incident against him?

  4. I was really looking forward to my first visit to the Emirates and I wasn’t disappointed, the stadium is fantastic, better than Wembley.
    The game was enjoyable and I think we just about deserved the point. Pleased Mingolet was in goal and adding to his impressive tally of clean sheets. We probably defend a little too deep at times but thats the way it goes when you’re up against a team with fantastic pace, movement and passing.
    Arsenal are pretty on the eye but they spoil themselves as yesterday shows their manager and players winge non-stop on and off the pitch.
    Seen the two incidents on TV. The penalty I’ve seen them given but it would have been soft considering the amount of pushing and pulling that goes on in the box week-in week-out. The off-side its so tight that you can’t blame the officials and no commentators did at the time!

  5. Glad to see Mignolet getting a game and doing so well. I think a few matches on the bench could do Craig World a world of good. Also great that Welbeck came back so strongly.
    What are there, 9 games to go? Sixth place is still within reach, especially if we can do the business next Sunday.

  6. You are right, Andy; Sessegnon deserved an 8 along with the other two, who did exactly what the coaching staff expected of them. It is interesting to look at the highlights and see how many times Muntari picks the ball up and moves it on and how many times Henderson is there to close down the opposition.
    As for being outplayed – I suspect that Wenger would be delighted if Arsenal could turn in a performance as disciplined as ours was on Tuesday night in Barcelona. Good defending is an art and never at any time did we resort to unpleasant tactics. I thought Arsenal lacked imagination and looked tired.

  7. Agree with everything in this blog put think you saw a different game from me if you think Sessengon was behind Munt and Hendo in the ratings. Mignolet was the biz, kid needs to have a good run and make Gordon hungry for it

  8. Shame Sunderland had to rely on a terrible linesman (Arshavin not offside) and referee (Arshavin pushed in the back when shooting) and a MOTM goal keeping performance to scrape a 0-0 draw. This doesn’t really highlight they “deserved” much other than they clung on by their fingernails while being outplayed by a far superior team. and teh ref and lino had sympathy for them.

  9. Great team performance and deserved point. Interesting to hear that Mingolet had another good game, putting more pressure on Gordon. I like Gordon when he plays well, but he has too many poor games and is certainly too easily intimidated by any physical challenges on him, unlike Mart Poom who took everything in front him inlcuding the kitchen sink. Clough used to say that Shilton was worth 12 points a season and the North Stand, and I guess Given was at Newcastle and Jaskelinen is at Bolton. Which of our two keepers has won us the most points this season?

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