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  • Bendtner (27), Fabregas (90 pen)
  • Date:2010-02-20
  • Kick-off:15:00
  • Venue:Emirates Stadium
  • Attendance:60083
  • Referee:Bennett, S

Live Commentary

90mins

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

90mins

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

90mins

Anton Ferdinand is booked for dissent.

90mins

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

90mins

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

90mins

There are four minutes of added time.

89mins

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

89mins

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

88mins

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

87mins

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

86mins

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

85mins

George McCartney is replaced by Phil Bardsley.

84mins

Emmanuel Eboue is caught offside.

82mins

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

80mins

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

79mins

Benjani Mwaruwari comes on for Kenwyne Jones.

79mins

Theo Walcott is replaced by Bacary Sagna.

78mins

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

76mins

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

76mins

Boudewijn Zenden is on for Kieran Richardson.

74mins

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

73mins

Samir Nasri is replaced by Tomas Rosicky.

71mins

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

69mins

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

69mins

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

67mins

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

66mins

Aaron Ramsey sends an effort over the bar.

65mins

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

63mins

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

62mins

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

61mins

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

60mins

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

58mins

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

56mins

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

54mins

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

52mins

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

51mins

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

50mins

Cesc Fabregas is booked for a foul on John Mensah.

49mins

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.

48mins

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

47mins

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

46mins

The second half gets underway.

45mins

The referee blows for half-time.

45mins

There are three minutes of added time.

45mins

The free-kick is cleared for an Arsenal throw.

45mins

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

43mins

Michael Turner is booked for deliberate handball.

43mins

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

42mins

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

40mins

Emmanuel Eboue is back on the pitch and looks okay.

39mins

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.

37mins

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

35mins

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

34mins

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

32mins

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

30mins

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

28mins

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

27mins

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

26mins

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

25mins

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

23mins

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

22mins

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

21mins

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.

20mins

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

19mins

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

18mins

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

16mins

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.

16mins

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

14mins

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

14mins

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

13mins

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

12mins

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

10mins

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

8mins

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

6mins

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

4mins

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

3mins

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

2mins

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

1mins

The game gets underway at a sunny Emirates Stadium.

0mins

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

0mins

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.

Match Preview

Arsene Wenger will be looking to build on last weekend's favourable results with a win against Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

The Gunners' 1-0 victory over Liverpool coupled with both Chelsea and Manchester United's failure to win their respective games kept the north Londoners in the title race.

They will come up against a Sunderland side struggling to rediscover their early-season form. Indeed, since beating none other than Arsenal at the Stadium of Light back in November, Steve Bruce's charges have failed to win a league game, a run of 12 games.

That win against a visiting Arsenal side came courtesy of a Darren Bent strike and, despite his side's loss of form, the former Spurs hitman has continued to provide a potent goal threat, netting five times in his last seven league games, including Sunderland's only goal in their 1-1 draw with Portsmouth last week.

Bent has also developed a penchant for netting against the Gunners and has now bagged three in his last five Premier League appearances against Arsenal.

While Bent may well provide Sunderland's biggest goal threat on Saturday, Arsenal's in-form skipper, Cesc Fabregas, will no doubt be central to his team's chances of success.

The Spanish schemer is the leading goalscoring midfielder in the top division this season, with 11 goals so far, while he is also the top creative star with 11 assists to his name. Keeping the former Barca starlet quiet will be vital if the Black Cats are to come away from the capital with any points.

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce is hoping that a change in fortune will soon come the Black Cats' way.

He moaned: "If someone had told me we wouldn't win a game for three months, I'd have found it quite staggering. But we have to get on with it. Since the Arsenal game (at home) we've lost big players, but I wouldn't have thought it possible to be on the run we're on."

Sunderland suffered yet another injury blow during the week when Andy Reid was ruled out for another month following a recurrence of his previous injury at Portsmouth.


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.

Arsenal

Sunderland

Corners

71

Fouls

912

Goal attempts

176

Shots off target

93

Offsides

23

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