• Date: Sat 20 February 2010
  • Venue: Emirates Stadium
  • Ref: Bennett, S
  • Attendance: 60,083


Bendtner (27)

Fabregas (90) P

2 - 0

Arsenal vs Sunderland

Team Lineups


Manuel Almunia
Thomas Vermaelen
Mikael Silvestre
Gael Clichy
Cesc Fabregas
Samir Nasri (Tomas Rosicky, 73)
Theo Walcott (Bacary Sagna, 78)
Aaron Ramsey
Alexandre Song
Emmanuel Eboue (Pereira Neves Denilson, 90)
Nicklas Bendtner


Craig Gordon
George McCartney (Phil Bardsley, 85)
Michael Turner
Anton Ferdinand
Alan Hutton
John Mensah
Kieran Richardson (Boudewijn Zenden, 76)
Lorik Cana
Fraizer Campbell
Darren Bent
Kenwyne Jones (Mwaruwari Benjani, 79)

Match Report
A hard-fought 2-0 win over Sunderland allowed Arsenal to move back into the title race. Goals from Nicklas Bendtner and a stoppage-time penalty from Cesc Fabregas were enough to secure the points but the Gunners had to sweat for every one of them. The opening exchanges were dominated by the Gunners and they should really have been several goals ahead but for a series of last-ditch interventions from Sunderland defenders and the woodwork. Samir Nasri, Fabregas and Theo Walcott were all denied by some desperate but effective defending. A deflected shot from Bendtner hit the top of the bar before bouncing away to safety. Walcott in particular was causing the visitors and, in particular, George McCartney some intense problems with his searing pace. The Gunners' flying winger could not quite manage a finish when he was twice put through on the right flank to leave McCartney in his wake. McCartney was moved to mark Fabregas man for man and Anton Ferdinand was switched to left-back. Sunderland absorbed the pressure well and were set up for the counter-attack, like so many teams that have enjoyed success against the Gunners of late. With Kenwyne Jones as the spearhead and Fraizier Campbell and Darren Bent in support the potential was there for an upset. Campbell failed to pull the trigger when free in the Arsenal box, allowing himself to be crowded out of a good opportunity. The Gunners did eventually take the lead through Bendtner in the 27th minute after a jinking run on the right side of the area by Emmanuel Eboue. The Ivorian's shot cum-cross across the face of the goal was not cut out and Bendtner nipped in to fire into the net from close range. Some sloppy play in midfield by Aaron Ramsey in the 38th minute allowed Kieran Richardson to seize possession. He then slipped in Jones with a delightful ball that left the Arsenal defence flat-footed but the Sunderland striker dragged his shot wide of the left post. The Gunners began brightly after the interval with Thomas Vermaelen coming within millimetres of connecting with a ball across goal as the Belgian defender slid in on 50 minutes and then Walcott had a shot from the right well saved by Craig Gordon. The Sunderland keeper also denied Vermaelen with a flying save from the centre-back's 20-yard free-kick. Arsenal had a fright in the 65th minute when Bent seemed to get away from Mikael Silvestre. The visitors alleged that he was being held back in the area, but the referee said no and Manuel Almunia was able to pounce to secure the ball. At the other end the Gunners were queuing up to score a much-needed second, but they were again denied by Sunderland bodies and a series of saves by Gordon. The Gunners wrapped up the game and took all the points with a stoppage-time penalty. Fabregas was upended by Campbell on the left side of the area and the linesman flagged for a penalty, eventually given by referee Steve Bennett.
Live Text Commentary
Full time

The whistle goes and Arsenal keep up the pressure at the top of the table.


Cesc Fabregas converts the penalty to the relief of the Emirates crowd.

Yellow Card

Anton Ferdinand is booked for dissent.


Arsenal win a penalty as Cesc Fabregas goes down in the area after a shove in the back from Fraizer Campbell.


Phil Bardsley takes a free-kick which is cleared by Cesc Fabregas as Sunderland end the game strongly.


There are four minutes of added time.


Emmanuel Eboue goes off to a standing ovation and is replaced by Denilson.


Boudewijn Zenden takes the free-kick which cannons off the wall and Arsenal break but Cesc Fabregas gives the ball away.


Darren Bent wins a free-kick on the edge of the box after a challenge from Thomas Vermaelen.


Aaron Ramsey miscues his shot from the edge of the area as another chance goes begging.


Nicklas Bendtner goes down after a challenge from John Mensah and Tomas Rosicky puts the ball out so he can receive treatment.


George McCartney is replaced by Phil Bardsley.


Emmanuel Eboue is caught offside.


A lull in the play as the assistant referee has damaged his finger and has received treatment but looks okay to continue.


Cesc Fabregas has an effort from long range which cannons off Emmanuel Eboue and Sunderland manage to clear.


Benjani Mwaruwari comes on for Kenwyne Jones.


Theo Walcott is replaced by Bacary Sagna.


Lorik Cana has a shot from 35 yards out which is saved by Manuel Almunia.


Emmanuel Eboue, a contender for man of the match, has a shot saved by Craig Gordon.


Boudewijn Zenden is on for Kieran Richardson.


John Mensah is challenged by Cesc Fabregas and Sunderland have a free-kick, Kenwyne Jones finds Fraizer Campbell who is offside.


Samir Nasri is replaced by Tomas Rosicky.

Yellow Card

Cesc Fabregas goes down under the challenge of John Mensah and the Sunderland man goes into the book.


Samir Nasri sends an effort wide of the left-hand post as Arsenal turn the screw.


Samir Nasri has a low shot which is blocked and Craig Gordon makes a save from Theo Walcott.


Aaron Ramsey has a shot which is blocked and the resultant corner is cleared.


Aaron Ramsey sends an effort over the bar.


Darren Bent is through on goal but Manuel Almunia is equal to it and Sunderland again have fluffed the chance to equalise.


Thomas Vermaelen takes the free-kick which is on target and well parried by Craig Gordon.


John Mensah brings down Theo Walcott just outside the area and Arsenal have a dangerous free-kick.


Emmanuel Eboue wins a corner which is cleared by the visitors.


Cesc Fabregas sends the ball across the area and Sunderland clear but Arsenal soon win the ball back.

Yellow Card

Kieran Richardson is booked for charging into Manuel Almunia following a rare Sunderland attack.


Sunderland relieve the pressure with a free-kick which is sent straight into the arms of Manuel Almunia by Kieran Richardson.


It's wave after wave of Arsenal pressure with Sunderland playing nine men behind the ball with just Kenwyne Jones up front.


Theo Walcott forces a good save from Craig Gordon and heads wide from the resultant corner.


Aaron Ramsey goes past a couple of Sunderland players but plays the ball wide instead of having a shot and the momentum is lost.

Yellow Card

Cesc Fabregas is booked for a foul on John Mensah.


Alan Hutton concedes a free-kick which is whipped in by Cesc Fabregas but there's no-one there to make contact at the far post.


Samir Nasri squares the ball across the area but Anton Ferdinand is there to head away.


The game has continued in the same vein with Arsenal on the attack.

Second half

The second half gets underway.

Half time

The referee blows for half-time.


There are three minutes of added time.


The free-kick is cleared for an Arsenal throw.


Emmanuel Eboue and Kieran Richardson are having words after an incident off the ball and the referee has awarded Arsenal a free-kick.

Yellow Card

Michael Turner is booked for deliberate handball.


Sunderland win a corner but it's cleared by the goalscorer Nicklas Bendtner.


Samir Nasri has a great run and finds Aaron Ramsey who cuts the ball inside but Nicklas Bendtner can't make contact.


Emmanuel Eboue is back on the pitch and looks okay.


Darren Bent threads the ball through to Kenwyne Jones and splits the Arsenal defence but the Sunderland striker misses the target when he should have scored.


Referee Steve Bennett has a word with Lorik Cana after he puts in another strong challenge.

Yellow Card

Lorik Cana is booked for that challenge and Emmanuel Eboue is down receiving treatment.


Lorik Cana goes through Emmanuel Eboue with a two-footed challenge but the referee plays advantage.


Arsenal are knocking the ball around confidently now and Sunderland have an uphill task to get anything out of this game.


Nicklas Bendtner tries to find Theo Walcott in the box but John Mensah is able to make the interception.


Nicklas Bendtner has a shot from just inside the area which goes over the bar.


Emmanuel Eboue runs into the box and finds the unmarked Nicklas Bendtner who has the simplest of finishes from close range.


Nicklas Bendtner and Thomas Vermaelen get up for the free-kick but the ball goes wide of the right-hand post.


Emmanuel Eboue is fouled to the right of the area by Darren Bent and Arsenal have another free-kick.


Cesc Fabregas delivers the free-kick and Aaron Ramsey shoots but the ball goes well wide.


Samir Nasri wins a free-kick about 10 yards outside the area.


Arsenal break straight from Fraizer Campbell's chance and get the ball in the danger area but take one pass too many and the chance is gone.


Fraizer Campbell has a shot from inside the area but doesn't find the target as the Arsenal defence is all over the place.


Cesc Fabregas is getting forward at will now and finds Theo Walcott whose effort goes wide.


Nicklas Bendtner's shot takes a wicked deflection and hits the crossbar.


Theo Walcott uses his pace to cut out George McCartney and has a shot which is well saved by Craig Gordon, Nicklas Bendtner on the follow-up sends the ball wide.


Cesc Fabregas goes down on the edge of the area but no free-kick is given.


Sunderland clear the corner and break quickly but don't test Manuel Almunia.


Samir Nasri has a low shot after a quick corner which deflects behind for another corner.


Nicklas Bendtner latches onto a long throughball and wins a corner off John Mensah.


Samir Nasri sends in a dangerous cross from the left but Craig Gordon plucks the ball out of the air.


Cesc Fabregas runs into a promising postion in the area but Craig Gordon is quickly off his line to clear the ball.


Arsenal have started well and have settled into their passing game.


The pitch looks perfect at the Emirates on a sunny winter's day.


Sunderland win a free-kick as Cesc Fabregas unfairly halts an attack.


Theo Walcott has an effort from inside the area which goes wide.


Cesc Fabregas squares the ball to Aaron Ramsey but Sunderland manage to clear the danger.


The game gets underway at a sunny Emirates Stadium.

Awaiting Kickoff

Sunderland are struggling with injuries and have Anton Ferdinand in midfield, while John Mensah, Fraizer Campbell and Kieran Richardson all come in.

Awaiting Kickoff

Arsene Wenger makes six changes from the Porto game, with Manuel Almunia, Emmanuel Eboue, Mikael Silvestre, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Alex Song all returning.