Arsenal v Sunderland: Tears, goals galore and defensive howlers in recent encounters

Dick Advocaat in tears at Arsenal last season

Dick Advocaat in tears at Arsenal last season

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As Sunderland face Arsenal on Saturday, we take a look at the last three Premier League clashes between the sides.

Arsenal 0 – 0 Sunderland Wednesday 20th May 2015

The Black Cats, led by Dick Advocaat, secured their Premier League survival in a familiar, last-gasp dash to safety.

Sunderland headed to the Emirates knowing one point would ensure their top-flight safety, whilst sending Hull and Newcastle into a last-ditch battle for the final safety spot.

Advocaat’s side displayed a determined defensive performance, particularly in the opening period as much of the play was condensed into the Wearside team’s own half.

The Gunners and Arsene Wenger grew frustrated; having picked up just one win in their last four games.

Steven Fletcher and Patrick van Aanholt toyed with the Sunderland fans’ emotions, both forcing fine saves from Arsenal ‘keeper David Ospina, keeping the tense atmosphere alive.

Arsenal asked their own questions of goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon, as the Romanian pulled off some heroic saves to round off his assured performance.

Nerves were heightened in the closing minutes, as Billy Jones headed an Aaron Ramsey cross against his own cross-bar, in what was a slow-motion second of near-agony for Sunderland supporters.

The final-whistle was blown, prompting jubilation from the travelling supporters and tears from manager Advocaat.

Sunderland 0 – 2 Arsenal Saturday 25th October 2014

Sunderland took their tally of goals conceded to ten in two games following their first clash after their 8-0 Southampton embarrassment.

Though a more convincing performance than the previous week, the Black Cats gifted the visitor’s two sloppy goals after facing an unimpressive Arsenal side.

Defender Wes Brown, who was hauled off after the Saints’ third the earlier week, received the ball at the edge of the centre circle and, facing pressure from Alexis Sanchez, attempted to drive the ball back to 'keeper Vito Mannone.

The former Manchester United man didn’t get the desired connection however, as the Chilean forward capitalised on the mistake, sending the ball past a helpless Mannone on the half-hour mark.

Though both Jack Rodwell and Seb Larsson tested Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny with a threatening header and shot respectively, Sunderland couldn't find a method to make their second-half dominance pay.

Instead, Sanchez was gifted another chance in the dying seconds, as Mannone received the ball from Santiago Vergini but couldn't get his feet around it before the Chilean pounced to double his own and Arsenal’s tally.

Arsenal 4 – 1 Sunderland Saturday 22nd February 2014

The Gunners fired back after their mid-week Champions League defeat against Bayern Munich to sweep away a Gus Poyet led Sunderland.

The Wearside team looked uninterested, with one eye on their Capital One Cup final appearance scheduled in just ten days time.

Arsenal took the lead with only five minutes on the clock after Olivier Giroud stroked the ball past Vito Mannone to end his own baron run of four games without a goal.

The Frenchman, who’d waited four fixtures to see his name on the scoresheet, doubled his tally after Santiago Vergini failed to notice him in the box before passing back to ‘keeper Mannone. Giroud pounced on the ball and slid home his own and Arsenal’s second after the half-hour mark.

Mannone’s miserable day back at his old club was worsened as a slick Arsenal passing move was sealed off with a Tomas Rosicky close range finish moments before half-time.

Vergini, who was making his first Premier League start for the Black Cats, was spared more embarrassment after slicing a Bacary Sagna cross just past his own post.

However, Arsenal were to seal their victory from the ensuing corner, after Laurent Koscielny got away from Phil Bardsley and slotted his free header into the net from eight-yards out.

A late consolation from Emmanuel Giaccherini was all the Black Cats could muster to please the visiting fans.