An injury plagued Arsenal earned a welcome 3 points after securing a win which was flattering to say the least.
On route to the Grove there was a sense of apprehension given Arsenal’s injury list but there was some hope with the news that Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott were restored in the squad with the former starting.
Fans were arriving early given the rumours of security checks taking place following recent tragic events. Arsenal started the game sloppy and Sunderland were through on goal early but Petr Cech was ever dependable and spared Arsenal’s blushes.
The big Cech stopper was then alert to save a deflected effort and the fans were becoming concerned this would become a long afternoon. They were right and Oliver Giroud was to feel the brunt of the Arsenal supporters frustration. Two elderly Gentleman in the North Bank then started a verbal volley about the Frenchman using very colourful language and calling him everything under the sun. The forward looked very lazy and fans were angered that he was not even doing the basics like holding the ball and bring his teammates into the game.
Arsenal then took the lead and it was that man Mesut Ozil who put a exquisite pass through for Joel Campbell to finish superbly low into the bottom corner.
Then a sucker punch.. Arsenal gave away a needless free kick. Yann M’Vila, who once seemed destined to join Arsenal swung in the free kick and yes.. It was Olivier Giroud who stuck a boot out to divert the goal past his own keeper. The fans in the North Bank were furious and there were calls for him to be substituted for Walcott. The fury amongst the fans was evident to see and with Ramsey missing from close range rift at the end of the half compounded matters.
The second half began with Arsenal on the front foot and Arsenal were rewarded with a goal and the elderly gentlemen who were swearing from the rooftops were left red faced as Olivier Groud scored with an accurate diving header to restore Arsenal’s lead.
The game then became scrappy and the Arsenal fans were left biting their nails and Sunderland had a chance to score but the ball went blazing over the bar. The 3 points were secured when Aaron Ramsey fired home from close range after a breakaway.
So an important win for the Gunners on a day when our closest rivals dropped points.
I would like to finish though by asking this audience to spare a thought.. I wrote this match report with lots of sadness. Ernie Crouch, 90 years old, sadly died today on his way to the game.. Ernie was an Arsenal fanatic and went to every Arsenal home and away game and has been going since 1935.. It is a sad day for Arsenal football club. Ernie was a gentleman and it was always a pleasure to speak to him and had so many great stories. He will be sadly missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends and this difficult time.
RIP Ernie Crouch xxx
Written by Sir A Hussein