Rowell Report: Inconsistency cost us in end

Gary Rowell, former Sunderland player and now Echo columnist
Gary Rowell, former Sunderland player and now Echo columnist
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SUNDERLAND’S game against Arsenal was one of those games that could have ended with any result.

For the first hour, Arsenal were dominant, controlling the game, and but for Simon Mignolet they could – and should – have been three or four up.

Amazingingly, though, in the end they were the team hanging on as Sunderland produced a barn-storming finish, creating loads of chances with Arsenal mightily relieved to hear the final whistle.

In so many ways, it was typical Sunderland – the inconsistencies which have plagued us all season there for all to see in one game.

And if there was one player who epitomised that inconsistency, I would nominate Stephane Sessegnon.

In the first half, he was on the periphery of the game, almost looking uninterested and moody yet in the second half he was like a man on a mission – causing Arsenal numerous problems and the foul on him which resulted in Carl Jenkinson’s sending off and Arsenal going down to 10 men changed the game.

With the introduction of Danny Graham, Sunderland suddenly had more than one player in the opposition box and Arsenal’s back-four, for the first time in the game, looked uncomfortable.

Chances came and went and I was probably out of my seat more times in the last 20 minutes than I have been all season, but we just couldn’t force the ball over the line.

It was a stirring finish and weirdly I think many fans went home happier after that defeat than they did after our last home game when we drew with Swansea.

But that good finish shouldn’t disguise the fact that Arsenal were the better side over 90 minutes and I don’t think we can really argue too strongly that we were unlucky not to get something out of the game.

Sunderland need to work on being consistently good over 90 minutes rather than just doing it in bursts, as they seem to have done in some of these recent games.

I know it is Arsenal and you are never going to dominate for 90 minutes, but we have to look to improve in certain areas over the course of games.