The Arsenal Vs Sunderland game was a must win game for the Gunners to keep their hopes for a Top 4 finish alive. Alexis Sanchez was the star of the show once more for the Gunners, as they kept the pressure on Liverpool ahead of the last game of the Premier League season.
Sanchez scored a brilliant brace, and bailed his team out when the match looked to be heading towards a 0-0 draw. Sanchez has been the silver lining in an otherwise disappointing season for Arsene Wenger’s men, and proved his class once more.
Arsene Wenger would be hoping Liverpool slip in their final game, and give his team a chance to qualify for the Champions League. Sunderland on the other hand continued their disappointing season, and the scoreline could have been much worse if not for goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Both Pickford and Sanchez have been stars for their respective clubs and have not let their forms dip even as their teams have struggled. Both are under intense speculation from a host of European clubs, and their clubs need to make sure they keep away any potential suitors.
Let us take a look at 5 things we learned from the game –
1) Alexis Sanchez is a warrior, and Arsenal need him to stay
Sometimes when you look at Alexis Sanchez’s rants and his frustration with his teammates, you start wondering whether the Gunners would be better off without him. But the answer is no. Sanchez is one of the very few world class players in the Premier League, and more often than not delivers for his team. His continuous running and brilliant work rate is matched by almost no one in the Arsenal team, and he has almost single handedly kept the Gunners in the race for top 4. Sanchez is widely expected to leave Arsenal at the end of the season, but Arsene Wenger needs to be make sure his talisman stays put at the Emirates as there are very few players who could replace the influential Chilean.
2) Jordan Pickford is a class act, and has a bright future
Sunderland have had an extremely disappointing season under David Moyes, but their goalkeeper has been the silver lining. 23 year old Jordan Pickford has been absolutely brilliant for the Black Cats this season,and showcased his ability against Arsenal as he made a no. of brilliant saves to deny Arsenal from running riot. Pickford’s save to deny Danny Welbeck in the second half was wonderful, and he has established himself as one of the best keepers in the league at a tender age.
The youngster is too good a keeper to be playing in the Championship, and would be surely leaving the Black Cats in the summer. With Liverpool, Manchester City and Everton all needing a new keeper in the summer, Pickford looks destined for a big summer move.
3) Granit Xhaka thriving in the new formation :
The Swiss star was snapped up for a hefty amount in the summer,and a lot was expected of him. But Xhaka has struggled to adapt to the Premier League and his disciplinary record has been a real concern for Arsene Wenger. Xhaka has been sent of three times so far in his small Arsenal career, and has been criticized by fans and experts alike.
But the former a Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder has improved in recent weeks, and has thrived in Arsene Wenger’s new formation. Xhaka is clearly not a good tackler, but has got terrific passing range, and can also score long range goals. While his first season cannot be termed as a success, he has shown signs of promise in the latter part of the campaign and might play a major part next season.
4) David Moyes let down by his players :
David Moyes is not a bad manager by any means, but is under intense criticism as he failed to prevent Sunderland from getting relegated. But the truth is that the former Manchester United manager has not been as responsible for the drop as has been made out. Sunderland players have been horrible this season, and were clueless in this game as well and Arsenal never looked in any trouble whatsoever.Former Newcastle striker Alan Shearer, now a pundit with BBC television’s Match of the Day, slammed Sunderland’s effort in front of their own supporters as “disgraceful”, “pathetic” and “lazy”.
Moyes did not disagree with Shearer, who spent a large part of his career with Sunderland’s northeast rivals Newcastle United, and that says a lot about how much he has been let down by his players. He needs to look for better opportunities elsewhere next season.
5) Sead Kolasinac would be a welcome addition:
It has been widely reported that Arsenal have agreed a deal with Schalke for left back Sead Kolasinac, and the Bosnian would be a welcome addition to the side . Kolasinac has been one of the best left backs in the Bundesliga, and is good in both defence and attack.
Nacho Monreal has been Arsenal’s first choice left back for quite some time now, but provides very little in attack. Kieran Gibbs too has not been in the best of forms, and a new left back would be a welcome addition .
Kolasinac would definitely be an upgrade on the two.
Player Ratings :
Cech 7; Holding 6,Mustafi 7 , Monreal 6; Bellerin 7, Xhaka 8, Ramsey 7 , Gibbs 6 ; Ozil 8, Sanchez 9 ; Giroud 7
Pickford 9 ; Jones 6, O’Shea 6, Kone 7 Manquillo 6, Cattermole 6, Larsson 6, Oviedo 6; N’Dong 6 , Borini 6; Defoe 6