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Barclays Premier League

Emirates Stadium (ATT 60,078) 16th October 2011 - Kick off 13:30 Ref: H Webb

Arsenal Arsenal vs Sunderland S'land

Arsenal 2

R van Persie (1, 82)


S'land 1

S Larsson (31)

Sky Sports 1 HD

Live Commentary

Last Updated at 3:24 pm, October 16th 2011

  1. Van Persie underlines his commitment to Arsenal in the ideal manner as his two goals earn a 2-1 victory over Sunderland and increases the pressure on Steve Bruce at Emirates Stadium. Stay with us for all the post-match reaction.

  2. 90 + 5


  3. 90 + 4

    Santos cuts into the Sunderland box. However, he runs out of options and then it is a foul for Sunderland.

  4. 90 +3

    Composed stuff from Brown, as he ducks under a long ball from Szczesny to allow it to roll through to Mignolet.

  5. 90 + 2

    Free-kick to Sunderland close to the touchline. It is played short to Richardson, who chips the ball into the box, where Turner and Brown are waiting. But Song can clear.

  6. 90 + 1

    Sunderland are struggling to get a touch. But Walcott then naively runs the ball out of play. He is a frustrating player.

  7. 90

    ADDED TIME: There will be a minimum of five minutes added time before the final whistle.

  8. 89

    Walcott is then in action at a more familiar end of the field and his cross-shot deflects for a corner.

  9. 88

    There are hearts in mouths at Emirates Stadium, as Colback goes down in the Arsenal box under a challenge from Walcott. It was scruffy, but Walcott got a toe to the ball.

  10. 87

    Arsenal are furiously claiming for a penalty for handball. But, again, Webb is not interested. Gardner comes on in place of Cattermole.

  11. 86

    It looks like Bruce might be getting ready to bring on Gardner.

  12. 85

    Sunderland will be devastated. They will have thought they had done enough for a share of the points. But Van Persie's brilliance looks set to prove the difference.

  13. 84

    Ji thinks he has scored an immediate equaliser. But the effort is ruled out for offside.

  14. Van Persie shows anything Larsson can do, he can do the same. The Arsenal captain sends an effort curling into the top left corner of the Sunderland goal. Sublime free-kick. Van Persie, though, is booked for taking his shirt off in his celebration.

  15. 83

    GOAL VAN PERSIE (2-1)!!!

  16. 82

    Brown fouls Van Persie on the left corner of the Sunderland box. The Dutchman will fancy this free-kick.

  17. 81

    Arshavin sets off on another run in the direction of the Sunderland box. The Russian overcooks it and is disposed by Turner.

  18. 80

    Sunderland, again, survive the corner. But Arsenal are camped on the edge of their visitor's box, albeit without really applying any serious pressure.

  19. 79

    Sessegnon slowly makes his way off to be replaced by Wickham

  20. 79

    Arteta takes short corner to Arshavin. Brown does very well to head the cross away from Van Persie at the back post. It is another corner to Arsenal.

  21. 78

    Vaughan gets to the byline under pressure from Song. He is always off balance and can only scoop the ball out for a goal-kick.

  22. 77

    Arsenal bring on Benayoun in place of Rosicky, who can hold his head up as one of the better players today.

  23. 76

    Cattermole gives his all for the cause as he flings his body in the way of a Rosicky shot from 20 yards.

  24. 75

    This is one of the slowest paced Premier League matches you are likely to see. With both sides so short on confidence, they seem happy to take the draw.

  25. 73

    A rare moment of brilliance in a dull second half. Arshavin wriggles into the box when beating O'Shea and Cattermole with a silky jink. He toe-pokes towards goal, but the ball rolls wide.

  26. 72

    Groans around the Emirates. Van Persie chips a cross to the back post, however, there is no-one there apart from four Sunderland defenders.

  27. 71

    Szczesny is not entirely convincing when coming a long way to get a fingertip on the corner. Turner is then adjudged to have strayed offside.

  28. 70

    Sunderland look like they would be more than happy with a point. They take their time when attacking. But Elmohamady wins a corner.

  29. 69

    Arshavin marauds forwards. But Turner tackles superbly on the edge of the box when down on one knee. Let's not get carried away, but there were shades of Bobby Moore on Pele. Great defending.

  30. 68

    Ji is involved immediately. But he is disposed by Jenkinson.

  31. 67

    Bruce decides to replace goalscorer Larsson with Dong-Won Ji, while Arsenal bring on Arshavin in place of Gervinho.

  32. 66

    The game is being played in the Sunderland half at the moment. Arsenal are increasing the pressure.

  33. 65

    Van Persie is played through the inside left channel by Rosicky. The Arsenal captain tries to beat Mignolet at his near post, but the Sunderland goalkeeper reads the effort.

  34. 64

    Koscielny is the latest player to be booked for bringing down Sessegnon.

  35. 63

    Van Persie leads an Arsenal attack. He plays it to Arteta and the Spaniard's initially clever touch is then stopped by Vaughan.

  36. 62

    Waclott gets up to take the set-piece. It is his turn this time, but he follows Arteta, Van Persie and Santos is producing a poor effort which sails over the crossbar.

  37. 61

    Walcott has far too much pace for Brown and is clobbered on the edge of the box. Webb will never give a more obvious yellow card.

  38. 60

    The game is very scrappy at the moment, as Cattermole fouls Song.

  39. 59

    Arteta takes the free-kick, but curls well over the bar with his right foot.

  40. 58

    Good chance for Arsenal, as O'Shea gives away a free-kick not far from the edge of the box following a foul on Rosicky.

  41. 57

    Song is the third play to be shown a yellow card in a burst of bookings. He took Sessegnon's legs from behind.

  42. 56

    Shouts for handball in the Sunderland box. But referee Webb is not interested. Walcott hit the ball at Richardson.

  43. 55

    Van Persie attempts to break forward, but is hauled back by Larsson, who knew what he was doing. Yellow card is the correct decision from referee Webb.

  44. 55

    Sessegnon is Sunderland's improvement personified. He wins another foul from a second foolish challenge from Mertesacker.

  45. 54

    Santos' defending is better than his free-kicks, as he superbly tackles back on Elmohamady when the Sunderland man was breaking down the right.

  46. 53

    Santos takes the free-kick and hits the ball miles over the crossbar. One to forget.

  47. 52

    Vaughan is the first player to be booked today after scything down Rosicky, who had used an uncharacteristic burst of pace to charge forward from midfield.

  48. 51

    At the break in play, Arsenal replace the injured Gibbs with Santos. Sunderland comfortably clear the corner.

  49. 50

    A rare decent cross from Jenkinson causes pinball in the Sunderland box, before Cattermole cannons the ball off Brown for a corner.

  50. 49

    Koscielny brings the ball out of defence before unleashing a fine pass to Van Persie. Turner challenges on the touchline and Arsenal are not happy a goal-kick is awarded instead of a corner.

  51. 48

    Skilful lay-off from Rosicky in the direction of Song on the edge of the Sunderland box. But Song was not expecting the pass.

  52. 47

    Sunderland make a mess of clearing the free-kick and Song has the chance to shoot from the edge of the box. But he cannot guide the ball through a crowded box.

  53. 46

    Jenkinson is very nearly caught in possession from the re-start. Arsenal then win a free-kick, as Richardson clatters Van Persie.

  54. WE'RE BACK: Arsenal get the second half under way.

  55. Sky Bet say: "Arsenal's fine start has been cancelled out by Larsson's free-kick, but we still make the Gooners 4/6 to pick up the win with Van Persie 7/2 favourite to score the next goal. The draw is available at 7/4, with the 1-1 priced at 7/2; an unlikely Sunderland win is 6/1."

  56. Let me have your thoughts on the first half at or via twitter @SkySportsPeteF.

  57. A bizarre half comes to a close. There is an almost eerie atmosphere at Emirates Stadium and Arsenal's confidence is clearly destroyed by even the slightest setback. Wenger's men were cruising after Van Persie's 29th second opener. But Larsson's stunning free-kick against his former club rattled the Gunners. Sunderland improved and could have gone in front had Cattermole and Colback not wasted good chances.

  58. 45 + 2


  59. 45 + 1

    Great move from Sunderland. Sessegnon crosses from the right. Larsson heads down for Colback. But the youngster volleys just over the bar.

  60. 45

    ADDED TIME: There will be a minimum of two minutes of added time before half-time.

  61. 45

    Mertesacker gives away a needless free-kick for a clumsy challenge on the back of Colback. Van Persie heads away Larsson's set-piece.

  62. 44

    Sunderland are in no rush with the ball as half-time approaches, with Brown passing the ball around the back four. They have improved significantly since conceding the early goal and are not allowing Arsenal as much room in midfield.

  63. 43

    Another corner to Arsenal. Song heads on Van Persie's set-piece, but it is a comfortable catch for Mignolet.

  64. 42

    Not sure why Jenkinson persists with crosses when he is attacking from right-back. Van Persie does not stand a chance in aerial challenges with Turner and Brown.

  65. 41

    There is a very flat atmosphere at the Emirates at present and quite a few empty seats.

  66. 40

    Song commits a foul in the Sunderland box, which allows the visitors to take a breather.

  67. 39

    Cattermole fouls Rosicky. Arteta sprays the ball wide to Mertesacker and the cross is headed clear.

  68. 38

    Jenkinson remains very naive at times. He attempts an optimistic pass down the line to Gervinho, who has swapped to the right, with Walcott on the left, when he would have done better to keep possession.

  69. 37

    Sunderland's equaliser has really knocked the stuffing out of Arsenal. Gervinho, who had been excellent, gives the ball away and Mertesacker has to clear up.

  70. 35

    Brilliant save from Szczesny, but it is a terrible miss from Cattermole after Sunderland broke from the corner. Larsson robbed Jenkinson of possession. Sessegnon dinked the ball to the back post from the byline. But an unmarked Cattermole on the goal-line gives Szczesny a chance and the pole dives full length the save.

  71. 34

    Van Persie's corner is tame and is headed away at the near post.

  72. 33

    Jenkinson wins a corner off Larsson. There is an atmosphere of shock around the Emirates since the equaliser.

  73. 32

    Sunderland are immediately boosted by the equaliser and are charging after the ball with renewed energy. Larsson's free-kick is a major sucker-punch for Arsenal, who had dominated.

  74. What a goal! It is a wonder strike from former Arsenal man Larsson, as he curls the free-kick with furious speed into Szczesny's top right corner. That was almost unstoppable. Goal of the weekend.

  75. 31

    GOAL LARSSON (1-1)!!!

  76. 29

    Arsenal make a real mess of defending a Larsson free-kick and Arteta is then guilty of handball within shooting range of his team's goal. Free-kick to Sunderland.

  77. 28

    Shocking play from Szczesny, who charges from his goal and is beaten by about 10 metres in a foot race with Sessegnon. Unfortunately for Sunderland, Sessegnon has no support and the ball is eventually back with Szczesny, who did run the risk of a back-pass when collecting the ball.

  78. 27

    Vaughan is back on the field after being patched up on the sidelines.

  79. 26

    Rosicky tees up Song on the edge of the box. But the midfielder attempts a pass rather than a shot and the Arsenal move breaks down before referee Webb eventually whistles for offside.

  80. 25

    This is going to be a long afternoon for Sessegnon. The Sunderland forward again fails to hold the ball up when under pressure from Koscielny.

  81. 24

    More problems for Bruce. Vaughan has a nasty cut on his forehead and has to go off to receive treatment.

  82. 23

    Another corner to Arsenal courtesy of Gervinho tormenting O'Shea. Gervinho meets Arteta's deep set-piece, but Mignolet can gather.

  83. 22

    Gervinho cuts in from the left, with Gibbs' run on the outside distracting O'Shea. Gervinho then hits a right-foot effort over the bar. His final ball can at times be a frustration.

  84. 21

    Arteta goes down in a challenge with Larsson. There did not seem to be much in it, but Arsenal have free-kick inside their own half.

  85. 20

    Van Persie plays the free-kick short to Arteta before sprinting into the box. Arteta tries to chip a return pass to his team-mate. But there is too much on the ball and it is a goal-kick to Sunderland.

  86. 19

    Free-kick to Arsenal 35 yards from goal. Van Persie and Arteta are over the ball.

  87. 18

    More sublime skill from Van Persie, as he leaves Brown on his backside with a jinked flick. Arsenal's captain is eventually crowded out.

  88. 17

    Richardson tries his luck from all of 35 yards. It is well wide and Szczesny can watch the ball go out for a goal-kick. Seventy per cent possession for Arsenal so far this afternoon.

  89. 16

    Sessegnon strays offside this time. Arsenal have suddenly clicked into gear.

  90. 15

    Sunderland are all over the place. Their passing is stuttering and they cannot get any service to lone makeshift striker Sessegnon.

  91. 14

    What did I say? Van Persie sets his sights from 25 yards and smashes a left-foot pile-driver just wide of the post. A second is surely not far away for Arsenal.

  92. 13

    Arsenal look a threat everytime they go forward and Van Persie is in the mood.

  93. 12

    Brilliant piece of skill from Van Persie! He turns Richardson with a beautiful piroet on the edge of the box before chipping a lob over Mignolet. The Dutchman is terribly unlucky to see the ball bounce back off the post. Stunning stuff.

  94. 11

    Sunderland move up field and win their own corner. Elmohamady meets the set-piece at the near post, but heads over the bar. He put too much power on the header, when a flick might have been better.

  95. 10

    Corner to Arsenal, as Brown has to slide a challenge to clear a Gervinho cross. The first corner is cleared. But Arteta's return is flicked towards goal off the head of Walcott and Mignolet has to save. It was a tame header.

  96. 9

    Arteta crosses the free-kick into the box from the right. But Mertesacker seems to duck out fo the header and Sunderland can clear.

  97. 8

    Walcott is blocked off by Richardson when attempting to play a give-and-go and it is a free-kick to Arsenal within range of the Sunderland box.

  98. 7

    It is not difficult to see why both these teams have struggled so far. There is a very quick turnover of possession, with both sides looking nervous.

  99. 6

    Terrible clearance from Mignolet, who was looking for Sessegnon but only hit the ball out for an Arsenal throw-in.

  100. 5

    Rosicky also did well in the build-up to the goal, taking advantage of an unkind bounce off O'Shea.

  101. 4

    Former Arsenal player Larsson hits the set-piece towards Turner, but Koscielny heads clear.

  102. 3

    Free-kick for Sunderland just inside the Arsenal half, as Koscielny brings down Sessegnon.

  103. Dream start for Arsenal and self-destruct from Sunderland. After 29 seconds, Gervinho squares a pass across the edge of the box to Van Persie, who shoots low into the bottom corner from 18 yards with his weaker right foot. Shocking defending from Sunderland. Bruce will be in a state of despair.

  104. 1

    GOAL VAN PERSIE (1-0)!!!

  105. KICK-OFF: Sunderland get the game going

  106. 13.27

    As the teams emerge from the tunnel at Emirates Stadium, thanks for all your emails and tweets so far. Sorry if I have not been able to publish them all. You can continue to get in touch via or via twitter @SkySportsPeteF.

  107. 13.23

    With kick-off just under 10 minutes away, here's an overview of the team news. Koscielny returns to the Arsenal defence as the Gunners look to bounce back from their north London derby defeat with a win over Sunderland. Carl Jenkinson replaces the injured Bacary Sagna at right-back and Tomas Rosicky comes in for Aaron Ramsey, who is ruled out with a minor muscle injury, while there was no place among the substitutes for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain despite his recent good form. David Vaughan takes Nicklas Bendtner's place in Sunderland's starting line-up and Jack Colback comes in for Craig Gardner.

  108. 13.18

    Have to say, I think it would really be 'crisis' time for Wenger if Arsenal lost this match. Sunderland have yet to win away from home this season and, considering the lack of attacking threat in their line-up, I can see the visitors struggling.

  109. 13.15

    Sunderland's clean sheet last season at the Emirates was one of just four in their last 23 Premier League matches. Since the start of February, Sunderland have only once gone two league games without defeat.

  110. 13.13

    Arsenal have won seven and drawn three of their 10 home Premier League matches against Sunderland and the Black Cats have failed to score in their last three visit to the Emirates.

  111. 13.13

    Today's referee is Howard Webb

  112. 13.11

    A bonus, of sorts, for Arsenal is the return of Koscielny, meaning Song can revert to a central midfield position. Rosicky is also back in the starting line-up, while Djourou is on the bench.

  113. 13.07

    The bookies have been in touch. They say: "Sky Bet are backing Wenger in the battle between the under-pressure managers against Bruce's Sunderland. Arsenal are 2/5 to pick up the win at the Emirates, while Sunderland are available at 15/2. The draw is 7/2. Van Persie starts up front for Arsenal and is 11/4 to net first, while Gervinho is available at 9/2. For Sunderland, Sessegnon is rated the best chance of a goal. He is 3/1 to score this afternoon at any time."

  114. 13.05

    Arsenal have conceded 16 goals so far this season, more than in any season since 1963-64 when they had shipped 20 after seven matches.

  115. 13.02

    Are Arsenal fans pleased to have heard Van Persie reiterate his commitment in his programme notes today? He has of course been linked with a move to Manchester City. Get in touch at or via twitter @SkySportsPeteF.

  116. 12.59

    Not exactly an overly ambitious line-up from Bruce. With Nicklas Bendtner ineligible against his parent club, Sunderland have limited options in attack. They could be planning to 'park the bus'. Bruce makes two changes with Vaughan and Colback coming in for Bendtner and Craig Gardner.

  117. 12.57

    Sunderland team: Mignolet, O'Shea, Turner, Brown, Richardson, Elmohamady, Cattermole, Colback, Vaughan, Larsson, Sessegnon. Subs: Gardner, Dong-won, Meyler. Westwood, Wickham, McClean, Laing.

  118. 12.54

    Bruce is also under scrutiny after a run of just one win in eight matches in all competitions after a summer overhaul of his Sunderland squad, which saw 10 new first-team players arrive. Reports have suggested Ellis Short is considering Martin O'Neill as a replacement, but Bruce is adamant he has the backing of the club's owner-chairman and has described criticism of his job as 'unjust and unfair'.

  119. 12.51

    The term 'crisis' has been applied to Wenger's Arsenal on more than one occasion and the Gunners come into this match sitting 15th in the Premier League on the back of defeat to Tottenham in the North London derby prior to the international break. Let's not forget the humiliation at Manchester United earlier in the season as well. Wenger has said earlier in the week he could be prepared to use the January transfer window to attempt to solve his club's problems.

  120. 12.49

    This match sees two Premier League managers facing each other under immense pressure. Both Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger and Sunderland chief Steve Bruce have seen their jobs come under scrutiny following major underachievement in the opening matches of the season.

  121. 12.46

    I'll bring you the Sunderland team news as soon as the word is out. In the meantime, what do you think of the Arsenal line-up? You can get in touch at or via twitter @SkySportsPeteF.

  122. 12.44

    Arsenal team: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Song, Arteta, Rosicky, Walcott, Gervinho, Van Persie. Subs: Fabianski, Andre Santos, Djourou, Frimpong, Arshavin, Benayoun, Park.

  123. 12.42

    Hello and welcome to our live and interactive coverage of the Premier League match between Arsenal and Sunderland at Emirates Stadium.



Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 29 67
2 Manchester City 30 61
3 Arsenal 30 60
4 Manchester United 30 59
5 Liverpool 30 54
6 Southampton 30 53
7 Tottenham Hotspur 30 53
8 Swansea City 30 43
9 West Ham United 30 42
10 Stoke City 30 42
11 Crystal Palace 30 36
12 Newcastle United 30 35
13 Everton 30 34
14 West Bromwich Albion 30 33
15 Hull City 30 28
16 Aston Villa 30 28
17 Sunderland 30 26
18 Burnley 30 25
19 Queens Park Rangers 30 22
20 Leicester City 29 19