Premier League
Arsenal4Sunderland1

Arsenal 4-1 Sunderland

Olivier Giroud marked his return to action with two goals as Arsenal swept aside lowly Sunderland to stay a point behind Premier League leaders Chelsea.

He stroked home an early opener after a deflected Jack Wilshere shot fell to him, and capitalised on a poor Santiago Vergini back-pass for his second.

Tomas Rosicky finished a neat move and Laurent Koscielny headed a fourth.

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Wenger praises Giroud's 'character'

Emanuele Giaccherini produced a stunning late volley to end Arsenal's run of five home league clean sheets.

Giroud had sat out the Gunners' previous two games, with manager Arsene Wenger insisting the French striker needed a rest.

But he looked thoroughly refreshed as he tormented a Sunderland team with one eye on their Capital One Cup final appearance next week.

Even without the injured Mesut Ozil, who shone on his debut in Arsenal's win at the Stadium of Light in September, Arsenal were rarely troubled by Gus Poyet's team.

They produced the perfect response to their midweek Champions League defeat by Bayern Munich and showed few ill effects of playing half of that match with 10 men.

In fact, the Black Cats had barely touched the ball when Arsenal grabbed a fifth-minute lead as Giroud ended a run of four games without a goal.

Lukas Podolski and Rosicky were involved in the build-up, allowing Wilshere to drive into the box, where his shot hit Phil Bardsley. When the ball rolled to Giroud, the Frenchman reacted quickly to drill a low shot past Vito Mannone.

Mannone, back at the Emirates for the first time since his summer move north, was left helpless when Vergini gifted the Gunners a second.

Making his first Premier League start, the Argentine central defender failed to notice Giroud lingering in the box when he attempted to pass back to his keeper and the Gunners striker clinically slid the ball past the exasperated keeper.

There was further pain for Mannone just before half-time as Rosicky sealed a wonderful Arsenal passing move with a close-range finish.

The midfielder took return passes from Wilshere and Santi Cazorla before finding Giroud in the box and running on to the forward's cute pass to clip the ball over the keeper.

Vergini's nightmare day nearly got worse when he sliced a Bacary Sagna cross just past his own post.

But from the resulting corner Koscielny got away from Bardsley and planted home a free header from eight yards out.

With victory assured, Arsenal eased off and Sunderland came into the game.

Ki Sung-Yeung forced a superb save from Wojciech Szczesny, but the Pole could do little to keep out Giaccherini's strike.

Having punched away a corner, the keeper must have thought he had cleared the danger but Giaccherini fired a low volley just inside the post.

It did no more than spoil Arsenal's run of clean sheets though.

For a selection of images from Saturday's matches go to the BBC Sport Facebook page.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:

"After playing for so long with 10 men in a difficult game in midweek against Bayern Munich it was good to win today. The three points are welcome.

"Tomas Rosicky's goal was one of the best [we have scored] and one of the two Olivier Giroud goals is a great goal. That is the way we want to play and when we score it makes you happy because it enforces the way you want to play.

"We are still there in the table. It is down to consistency and our performances. It was important to win the game. We lost to Liverpool and drew with Manchester United. We needed to win this game."

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet:

"The combination of Arsenal playing well and us being poor on the ball made it difficult for us.

"We needed to be organised and see the danger but they punished us. Then we made a mistake for the second goal, which we never make, and that made it tough.

"Wembley could have been on the players' minds but this was a very good wake-up call. If we play like this against Manchester City we could be embarrassed."

Line-ups

Arsenal

  • 1Szczesny
  • 3Sagna
  • 17MonrealSubstituted forJenkinsonat 45'minutes
  • 10Wilshere
  • 4Mertesacker
  • 6KoscielnySubstituted forFlaminiat 67'minutes
  • 19Cazorla
  • 8Arteta
  • 12Giroud
  • 7RosickySubstituted forGnabryat 73'minutes
  • 9Podolski

Substitutes

  • 15Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 20Flamini
  • 21Fabianski
  • 22Sanogo
  • 23Bendtner
  • 25Jenkinson
  • 44Gnabry

Sunderland

  • 25Mannone
  • 2Bardsley
  • 28Alonso
  • 26Bridcutt
  • 27Vergini
  • 16O'Shea
  • 11JohnsonSubstituted forLarssonat 45'minutes
  • 4Ki Sung-yuengSubstituted forScoccoat 73'minutes
  • 17AltidoreSubstituted forGiaccheriniat 45'minutesBooked at 53mins
  • 14Colback
  • 31Borini

Substitutes

  • 7Larsson
  • 8Gardner
  • 12Celustka
  • 23Giaccherini
  • 24Cuéllar
  • 30Scocco
  • 32Ustari
Referee:
Andre Marriner
Attendance:
60,012

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamSunderland
Possession
Home65%
Away35%
Shots
Home12
Away7
Shots on Target
Home9
Away3
Corners
Home7
Away3
Fouls
Home10
Away11

Live Text

Match ends, Arsenal 4, Sunderland 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Arsenal 4, Sunderland 1.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Phil Bardsley.
Foul by Mikel Arteta (Arsenal).
Jack Colback (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Marcos Alonso (Sunderland).
Attempt missed. Ignacio Scocco (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Marcos Alonso.
Attempt saved. Serge Gnabry (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Mikel Arteta.
Mikel Arteta (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Ignacio Scocco (Sunderland).
Offside, Sunderland. Marcos Alonso tries a through ball, but Fabio Borini is caught offside.

Goal!

Goal! Arsenal 4, Sunderland 1. Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner following a set piece situation.
Foul by Olivier Giroud (Arsenal).
Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Attempt missed. Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right from a direct free kick.
Foul by Carl Jenkinson (Arsenal).
Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt blocked. Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.
Attempt saved. Serge Gnabry (Arsenal) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Jack Wilshere with a through ball.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Serge Gnabry replaces Tomas Rosicky.

Substitution

Substitution, Sunderland. Ignacio Scocco replaces Ki Sung-Yueng.
Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland).
Attempt saved. Ki Sung-Yueng (Sunderland) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Sebastian Larsson with a headed pass.
Foul by Olivier Giroud (Arsenal).
Jack Colback (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Substitution

Substitution, Arsenal. Mathieu Flamini replaces Laurent Koscielny because of an injury.
Delay in match Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) because of an injury.
Offside, Sunderland. Marcos Alonso tries a through ball, but Phil Bardsley is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Marcos Alonso (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Sebastian Larsson with a cross following a set piece situation.
Foul by Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal).
Fabio Borini (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by John O'Shea (Sunderland).

Goal!

Goal! Arsenal 4, Sunderland 0. Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Santiago Cazorla with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Santiago Vergini.
Offside, Sunderland. Marcos Alonso tries a through ball, but Fabio Borini is caught offside.

Booking

Emanuele Giaccherini (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Chelsea2718632860
2Arsenal2718542559
3Man City2618354257
4Liverpool2616553453
5Tottenham261556450
6Man Utd2713681245
7Everton2612951045
8Southampton271098639
9Newcastle2611411-637
10West Ham278712-331
11Hull278613-230
12Swansea267712-328
13Aston Villa267712-928
14Stoke276912-1527
15Crystal Palace268216-1826
16West Brom2741310-825
17Norwich266713-2025
18Sunderland266614-1624
19Cardiff275715-2922
20Fulham276318-3221
View full Premier League table

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