Search

Giroud hits double as Arsenal beat Sunderland and keep up pursuit of Chelsea

PUBLISHED: 16:56 22 February 2014 | UPDATED: 19:46 22 February 2014

Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates after scoring against Sunderland. Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates after scoring against Sunderland. Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

2014 Getty Images

Premier League: Arsenal 4 Sunderland 1

Olivier Giroud scored twice on his return to the side as Arsenal demolished Sunderland to maintain the pressure on league leaders Chelsea.

The Gunners’ top scorer, surprisingly omitted in favour of Yaya Sanogo for their midweek defeat by Bayern Munich, netted a first-half brace before Tomas Rosicky made it 3-0 at half-time.

Sunderland, who appeared to have one eye on their Wembley appearance next weekend, improved after the break but conceded a fourth goal to Laurent Koscielny before Emmanuele Giaccherini hit a late consolation.

Giroud marked his comeback with a goal after just five minutes as Jack Wilshere played a one-two with Rosicky and set up the Frenchman to stroke home a first-time finish.

Apart from a rare break, when Ki Sung-Yeung set up Marcos Alonso for a cross-shot that almost caught Wojciech Szczesny out, Sunderland never looked like getting into the game.

The Gunners dominated possession without extending the lead as their former goalkeeper Vito Mannone denied Rosicky and Santi Cazorla and also leapt to push a 25-yard bullet from Lukas Podolski over the bar.

When the second goal finally did arrive, just after the half-hour mark, it came courtesy of a Sunderland error as Santiago Vergini, attempting to return the ball to Mannone, instead presented it to Giroud, who tucked it beyond the bemused keeper.

Bacary Sagna and Podolski both went close with efforts from distance, but it was Rosicky who notched Arsenal’s third, applying the finishing touch to an exquisite attacking move three minutes before half-time.

Wilshere and Cazorla laid the foundations with their one-touch passing before Giroud’s flick found Rosicky racing through to dink the ball neatly over the advancing Mannone.

The Black Cats briefly upped their game at the start of the second half and Fabio Borini might have pulled a goal back, firing a shot on the turn that Szczesny beat away.

But normal service was resumed on 58 minutes as the hapless Vergini sliced Sagna’s cross behind and, from Cazorla’s corner, Koscielny rose to send a powerful header into the net.

The Gunners defender went off injured soon afterwards, forcing the home side into a reshuffle of the back four as Sagna moved across to the centre and Mathieu Flamini rolled back the years as left-back.

Ki and Seb Larsson both went close for Sunderland, but the new-look defence was finally breached with nine minutes remaining as Szczesny punched out a Larsson free-kick to substitute Giaccherini, who rifled it back past him and into the bottom corner.

Arsenal substitute Serge Gnabry might also have added his name to the scoresheet after Wilshere teed him up, but fired the chance straight at Mannone.

Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny (Flamini 68), Monreal (Jenkinson 45); Wilshere, Arteta; Cazorla, Rosicky, Podolski; Giroud.

0 comments

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Sports News

Yesterday, 09:56

And so we arrive at our last stop of a rather bumpy season, the FA Cup Final. Wembley will once again see the Gunners grace its hallowed turf, but this time with a weight of questions hanging over just about everybody and everything at the club.

Yesterday, 08:33

Our Friday Fanzone Q&A returns ahead of the FA Cup Final. This week we have huge old school fan and loyal Gooner ‘Geoff Arsenal’. Read on for his views...

Yesterday, 07:38

On Monday it dawned on me it was the FA Cup Final this Saturday. As a long-standing Arsenal season ticket holder who will be at Wembley I started to get excited about the game after a long season, and was already reliving the high and lows of every final in the competition that I’ve been to.

Thu, 17:30

Hosts to be led by three-man team on pitch this summer

Thu, 14:39

Read former Gunners legend Manu Petit’s view on all things Arsenal and the FA Cup Final as he talks to online betting, poker and casino site bwin...

Thu, 13:00

A look at how Mauricio Pochettino’s team ended their Premier League campaign and which winger they should target this summer

Thu, 12:15

Spurs man in 25-man squad to face Scotland and France next month

PROMOTED CONTENT

Often one of the most daunting parts of going through a divorce or separation is knowing what steps to take first and how to deal with financial issues which arise. Here, Jessica Palmer of Streathers Solicitors in Hampstead, offers answers to commonly asked questions

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read Hampstead & Highgate sport

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now