Gary Rowell column - Sunderland turned back the clock against Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez scores his second.
Alexis Sanchez scores his second.
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GUS POYET must think he has come full circle now as his team is looking more and more like the one he inherited from Paolo Di Canio.

The own goals and defensive blunders which plagued Sunderland in Poyet’s early days are back and no team can afford such generosity to the opposition as we’ve done in the last two games.

Arsenal were the better team on Saturday, there’s no doubt about that, but what must annoy Poyet most is the Gunners didn’t have to work too hard for their goals, as Sunderland’s defensive frailties did that for them.

For all Arsenal’s superiority in every department, the fact is they didn’t score without a helping hand from the home team, which frustrated another huge Stadium of Light crowd.

A lack of confidence is becoming a real problem, with individual mistakes being a result of this lack of belief, and Poyet has a huge job trying to turn this around.

Sunderland never really forced a serious save from the Arsenal keeper, as a good, but not great, Gunners team controlled the game and dominated possession.

On the plus side, I thought Patrick van Aanholt was Sunderland’s best player and at times was the main attacking threat, always willing to get forward and try to make things happen.

Given time, the young left-back could become a big asset for Sunderland.

He looks hungry, is lightning quick and, at his age, can only improve with the more experience he gains. But Sunderland needed more on Saturday from the others and with a lack of goal threat at one end, and defensive errors at the other, it just made their downfall inevitable.