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Barclays Premier League

Stadium of Light (ATT 46,402) 9th February 2013 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: A Taylor

S'land Sunderland vs Arsenal Arsenal

S'land 0

ft

Arsenal 1

S Cazorla (35)
C Jenkinson (S/O 62)

Premier League: Santi Cazorla nets winner as Arsenal hold on for Sunderland win

Last Updated: 19/02/13 11:15pm

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Santi Cazorla grabbed the crucial goal as Arsenal held on for a 1-0 victory at Sunderland despite playing most of the second half with 10 men.

The Gunners were terrific in the first half and were rewarded when Cazorla struck on 35 minutes following a flowing move.

Best of the Match

  • Man of the match: Santi Cazorla. The Spaniard pulled the strings for Arsenal in midfield and scored the decisive goal with a fine strike.
  • Save of the match: Both keepers excelled but Wojciech Szczesny made the most important stop with an acrobatic leap away to his left to keep out Steven Fletcher's header.
  • Moment of the match: Carl Jenkinson's sending-off turned the momentum of the game in Sunderland's favour. It was a foolish challenge from the right-back that landed him a second booking as he scythed down Stephane Sessegnon.
  • Talking point: The main concern for Arsenal fans will be the fitness of Jack Wilshere after he went off injured early in the second half. Should Sunderland show more adventure and start Danny Graham alongside Steven Fletcher?

Jack Wilshere had to be replaced just after the interval due to injury and Carl Jenkinson's dismissal allowed Sunderland to start dominating, but Wojciech Szczesny and Bacary Sagna led a magnificent rearguard effort as Arsenal boosted their hopes of a top-four finish.

Sunderland battled hard in the early stages to try and stop Arsenal finding any fluency, but it did not take Wilshere and Cazorla long to start dictating play with their expert touch and vibrant movement.

Simon Mignolet had to pull off a series of saves to keep Sunderland on level terms, with one particularly athletic dive to his left to parry away Aaron Ramsey's strike from 20 yards.

The Gunners were not to be denied, though, and Cazorla opened the scoring with 10 minutes remaining of the first half when he arrowed a low shot through a crowded area after being fed by Theo Walcott.

Ramsey should have made it 2-0 just before the interval after being played in by Olivier Giroud, but Mignolet rushed off his line to make another wonderful stop from point-blank range.

Wilshere's 50th-minute departure after he was fouled by Alfred N'Diaye removed one threat for the home side, but added Abou Diaby's physicality to the mix.

Sunderland should have been back on terms just before the hour mark when Ramsey was caught in possession on the halfway line to allow Stephane Sessegnon to race upfield and lay the ball into Steven Fletcher's path. The Scotland international looked odds-on to take his tally to the season to 11, but uncharacteristically sliced his left-foot effort wide of the post.

Sunderland received a boost in the 62nd minute when Jenkinson, who had been booked for a ninth-minute foul on Jack Colback, scythed Sessegnon down and received a second yellow card.

Black Cats boss Martin O'Neill went for broke with 22 minutes remaining when he sent on Danny Graham, but Arsenal continued to pose a threat as Diaby and Cazorla went close and Walcott hit the post after chipping an effort over the advancing Mignolet.

Per Mertesacker's 78th-minute blunder handed Fletcher another golden opportunity, but Szczesny was equal to the task, and the Poland international produced another excellent save five minutes from time to keep out the Scot's goalbound header.

Defender Titus Bramble could have snatched a point seconds later, but he could not direct his close-range effort at goal and Szczesny kept out Adam Johnson's injury-time effort with another good save.

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Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Chelsea 32 76
2 Arsenal 32 66
3 Manchester United 33 65
4 Manchester City 32 61
5 Liverpool 32 57
6 Southampton 33 56
7 Tottenham Hotspur 32 54
8 Swansea City 33 47
9 Stoke City 33 46
10 West Ham United 32 43
11 Crystal Palace 33 42
12 Everton 33 41
13 West Bromwich Albion 33 36
14 Newcastle United 32 35
15 Aston Villa 33 32
16 Sunderland 32 29
17 Hull City 32 28
18 Leicester City 32 28
19 Queens Park Rangers 33 26
20 Burnley 33 26

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