BBC Sport football

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Saturday, 20 February 2010

Arsenal   2 - 0   Sunderland

Nicklas Bendtner celebrates after putting Arsenal ahead
Craig Gordon appeals in vain for offside after Bendtner puts Arsenal ahead

By Chris Bevan

Arsenal bounced back from their midweek defeat by Porto but made heavy weather of what should have been a comfortable win over struggling Sunderland.

The Gunners wasted a series of chances before Nicklas Bendtner met Emmanuel Eboue's cross to break the deadlock.

Sunderland created little but should have levelled when Kenwyne Jones ran clear, only to scuff his shot wide.

Arsenal sealed their win in injury time when Cesc Fabregas scored from the spot after he was fouled in the area.

The winning margin should have been far greater, but the result means the Gunners' title hopes are still very much alive despite losing to both the teams above them in recent weeks.

Wenger stays realistic on title challenge

Manchester United's surprise defeat by Everton earlier in the day meant the third-placed Gunners are now only two points behind the Old Trafford side, with leaders Chelsea a further four points clear.

With 11 games left, much has been made of how Arsenal's run-in looks less challenging than their Premier League title rivals but, against a Sunderland side that is badly out of form, their shortcomings as title contenders were evident here.

Forget the defensive lapses that cost them so dearly in their Champions League defeat in Portugal, it was a lack of cutting edge that again was cause of most frustration for the home fans at the Emirates.

Arsenal were completely dominant from the start and created their first opening in the fourth minute when Theo Walcott outpaced George McCartney down the right and fired across the face of goal from a tight angle.

606: DEBATE
phar_fetched

The chances kept coming and Nasri saw a shot loop off McCartney and on to the roof of the net before Bendtner fired wide after Walcott escaped the same defender again down his flank.

Walcott may have been in unconvincing form of late but he gave the Northern Ireland international a torrid time all game and Anton Ferdinand, initially employed in midfield, had to drop back to offer extra cover on that flank.

Sunderland were chasing shadows and were lucky to escape again when, at the end of a flowing move, Bendtner's shot was deflected onto the bar by McCartney's desperate challenge.

But despite all the pressure, Sunderland almost found themselves ahead when Fraizer Campbell ran clear but was denied by Manuel Almunia, back in goal after Lukasz Fabianski's midweek horror show in Portugal.

Bruce questions refereeing at Arsenal

The Gunners survived and soon went in front when Eboue burst forward into the box and his cross found its way to Bendtner at the back post.

There was still time for Arsenal to be caught out at the back once more before the break, with Jones running on to Kieran Richardson's through ball but scuffing his shot horribly wide.

After the interval, the home side resumed control but they could find no way past Craig Gordon, with Walcott, Thomas Vermaelen, Nasri and Aaron Ramsey all having efforts saved.

Sunderland, who have not won a league game in 13 attempts since 21 November, almost took full advantage of Arsenal's inability to finish the game off when Bent broke clear and forced a smart stop from Almunia.

But Fabregas belatedly made sure of victory, drawing Campbell into a clumsy challenge before stepping up to slot the resulting penalty into the bottom corner of the net.


Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on the Premier League title race:
"The only thing we can do is win our games and hope the others drop points.

"The top two will drop points because they play against each other.

"Everton have beaten them both and there are plenty of other teams where you can drop points.

"We have two fights, one is to get away as far as possible from the teams in fourth, fifth and sixth and the other is to get as close as possible to the top."

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce:
"We had to ride our luck in the first 15 or 20 minutes in particular. But once we got a foothold we had some excellent chances of our own.

"We needed to take one to give us a little bit of confidence but overall I was delighted with the performance.

"It bodes well for the weeks ahead. We have stuck at it and we were right up for the fight."

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Arsenal 2-0 Sunderland FT
(HT 1-0)
  • Bendtner 27
  • Fabregas (pen) 90+3

    Arsenal

    Substitutes

    Sunderland

    Substitutes

    Ref: BennettAtt: 60,083
    ARSENAL
    SUNDERLAND

    Possession

    • Arsenal 64%
    • Sunderland 36%

    Attempts on target

    • Arsenal 10
    • Sunderland 4

    Attempts off target

    • Arsenal 7
    • Sunderland 2

    Corners

    • Arsenal 7
    • Sunderland 1

    Fouls

    • Arsenal 9
    • Sunderland 10
    • Final Result
    • Full Time
    • 90:00+4:48 The match has reached full-time.
    • 90:00+4:10 Shot from 35 yards by John Mensah missed to the right of the goal.
    • 90:00+2:24 GOAL - Francesc FabregasArsenal 2 - 0 Sunderland Francesc Fabregas scores a placed penalty. Arsenal 2-0 Sunderland.
    • 90:00+1:59 Booking The referee shows Anton Ferdinand a yellow card.
    • 90:00+1:18 Fraizer Campbell concedes a Penalty for a foul on Francesc Fabregas.
    • 89:58 Alex Song concedes a free kick for a foul on Alan Hutton. Phillip Bardsley takes the free kick.
    • 88:51 Substitution Emmanuel Eboue leaves the field to be replaced by Neves Denilson.
    • 87:00 Foul by Thomas Vermaelen on Darren Bent, free kick awarded. Boudewijn Zenden produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick.
    • 86:14 Aaron Ramsey has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide right of the goal.
    • 83:52 Free kick taken by Craig Gordon.
    • 83:52 Substitution Phillip Bardsley joins the action as a substitute, replacing George McCartney.
    • 83:52 The assistant referee signals for offside against Emmanuel Eboue.
    • 77:58 Substitution Benjani Mwaruwari on for Kenwyne Jones.
    • 77:28 Substitution Bacary Sagna replaces Theo Walcott.
    • 77:08 Lorik Cana has an effort at goal from 35 yards. Manuel Almunia makes a save.
    • 75:59 Alex Song challenges Kenwyne Jones unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is swung in left-footed by Boudewijn Zenden, Alex Song makes a clearance.
    • 75:43 Emmanuel Eboue takes a shot. Save by Craig Gordon.
    • 75:01 Substitution Boudewijn Zenden replaces Kieran Richardson.
    • 73:08 Free kick awarded for a foul by Francesc Fabregas on John Mensah. Lorik Cana takes the direct free kick.
    • 71:37 Substitution Samir Nasri goes off and Tomas Rosicky comes on.
    • 71:01 Inswinging corner taken by Francesc Fabregas from the left by-line.
    • 70:15 Direct free kick taken by Aaron Ramsey.
    • 70:15 Booking Booking for John Mensah.
    • 70:12 Unfair challenge on Francesc Fabregas by John Mensah results in a free kick.
    • 68:08 Effort from inside the area by Samir Nasri misses to the left of the goal.
    • 67:47 Samir Nasri takes a shot. Craig Gordon makes a save.
    • 66:23 Aaron Ramsey takes a shot. Blocked by Anton Ferdinand. Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Francesc Fabregas from the right by-line.
    • 65:37 Fraizer Campbell is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Manuel Almunia takes the indirect free kick.
    • 65:00 Aaron Ramsey produces a right-footed shot from just outside the area that goes harmlessly over the bar.
    • 64:04 Darren Bent takes a shot. Save by Manuel Almunia.
    • 61:40 Theo Walcott fouled by John Mensah, the ref awards a free kick. Thomas Vermaelen produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick, save made by Craig Gordon.
    • 60:20 Corner taken by Francesc Fabregas from the right by-line to the near post, Darren Bent makes a clearance.
    • 57:48 Manuel Almunia restarts play with the free kick.
    • 57:48 Booking Kieran Richardson booked for unsporting behaviour.
    • 57:43 Manuel Almunia fouled by Kieran Richardson, the ref awards a free kick.
    • 55:34 Darren Bent is ruled offside. Mikael Silvestre takes the indirect free kick.
    • 55:23 Francesc Fabregas is caught offside. Free kick taken by George McCartney.
    • 54:30 Mikael Silvestre concedes a free kick for a foul on Kenwyne Jones. Kieran Richardson crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right channel, save by Manuel Almunia.
    • 51:31 Theo Walcott takes a shot. Craig Gordon makes a save. Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Francesc Fabregas from the right by-line to the near post.
    • 49:31 Craig Gordon takes the direct free kick.
    • 49:31 Booking Francesc Fabregas receives a yellow card.
    • 49:17 Francesc Fabregas challenges John Mensah unfairly and gives away a free kick.
    • 48:28 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Francesc Fabregas, John Mensah makes a clearance.
    • 48:02 Foul by Alan Hutton on Nicklas Bendtner, free kick awarded. Free kick crossed right-footed by Francesc Fabregas, Michael Turner manages to make a clearance.
    • 47:50 Samir Nasri delivers the ball, clearance made by Anton Ferdinand.
    • 45:51 George McCartney challenges Francesc Fabregas unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
    • 45:01 The second half kicks off.
    • Half Time
    • 45:00+3:13 The half-time whistle blows.
    • 45:00+1:56 The offside flag is raised against Kenwyne Jones. Emmanuel Eboue restarts play with the free kick.
    • 43:04 Manuel Almunia restarts play with the free kick.
    • 43:04 Booking Michael Turner goes into the book.
    • 42:57 Michael Turner is adjudged to have handled the ball.
    • 41:52 Corner taken by Kieran Richardson from the left by-line, clearance by Nicklas Bendtner.
    • 38:26 Kenwyne Jones has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
    • 38:06 The referee gives a free kick against Kieran Richardson for handball. Theo Walcott restarts play with the free kick.
    • 33:52 Booking Lorik Cana is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
    • 27:28 Nicklas Bendtner takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the bar.
    • 26:12 Assist by Emmanuel Eboue.
    • 26:12 GOAL - Nicklas BendtnerArsenal 1 - 0 Sunderland Nicklas Bendtner scores a goal from close in low into the middle of the goal. Arsenal 1-0 Sunderland.
    • 23:48 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Emmanuel Eboue by Darren Bent. Francesc Fabregas crosses the ball in from the free kick.
    • 21:53 Shot by Aaron Ramsey from just outside the area goes over the net.
    • 20:27 Samir Nasri fouled by Alan Hutton, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed by Francesc Fabregas, clearance made by Kenwyne Jones.
    • 19:38 Francesc Fabregas gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Lorik Cana. Craig Gordon takes the direct free kick.
    • 19:21 Fraizer Campbell takes a shot from 6 yards. Save made by Manuel Almunia.
    • 18:34 John Mensah fouled by Emmanuel Eboue, the ref awards a free kick. Craig Gordon takes the free kick.
    • 17:59 Theo Walcott takes a shot. Blocked by George McCartney.
    • 16:47 Nicklas Bendtner takes a shot. George McCartney gets a block in.
    • 15:14 Theo Walcott takes a shot. Save by Craig Gordon. Nicklas Bendtner produces a drilled right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
    • 12:31 Effort on goal by Samir Nasri from 20 yards. George McCartney gets a block in. Corner taken right-footed by Samir Nasri to the near post, clearance made by Darren Bent.
    • 12:04 Short corner worked by Samir Nasri.
    • 10:52 Samir Nasri crosses the ball, save by Craig Gordon.
    • 6:41 Unfair challenge on Theo Walcott by George McCartney results in a free kick. Francesc Fabregas takes the free kick.
    • 3:20 Theo Walcott has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.
    • 2:40 Francesc Fabregas concedes a free kick for a foul on Lorik Cana. Free kick crossed by Kieran Richardson.
    • 2:08 Anton Ferdinand concedes a free kick for a foul on Aaron Ramsey. Direct free kick taken by Aaron Ramsey.
    • 0:00 The referee gets the game underway.

    Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



    Print Sponsor



    Premier League table snapshot

    As it stood on 20 Feb 2010 23:59 UK

    Position Team P GD PTS
    1 Chelsea 27 41 61
    2 Man Utd 27 39 57
    3 Arsenal 27 33 55
    4 Man City 25 15 45
    5 Liverpool 26 16 44
    6 Tottenham 26 19 43
    7 Aston Villa 25 13 42
    8 Everton 26 1 38
    9 Birmingham 25 -2 37
    10 Fulham 26 2 34
    11 Stoke 26 -3 34
    12 Blackburn 26 -17 31
    13 West Ham 26 -5 27
    14 Sunderland 26 -12 26
    15 Wigan 25 -23 25
    16 Wolves 26 -23 24
    17 Hull 27 -29 24
    18 Bolton 25 -17 23
    19 Burnley 25 -25 23
    20 Portsmouth 26 -23 16

    see also
    Saturday football as it happened
    20 Feb 10 |  Football
    Saturday's football photos
    20 Feb 10 |  Football


    BBC navigation

    BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

    This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.