Sunderland fell to a 2-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium last night as Alexis Sanchez scored a second-half brace. Here’s what we learned…
A GOALKEEPING MASTERCLASS
A quiet word and a handshake. Petr Cech had sought out his opposite number near the centre circle, impressed by what he had seen.
Pickford had been simply sensational, his shot-stopping a wonder to watch.
Cech was exceptional, too, in his flawless concentration, delivering in the rare moments he was called upon.
That is an act Pickford will need to master at his next destination.
BASICS FAIL SUNDERLAND AGAIN
Against opponents of this quality, it only takes one lapse.
Borini and Manquillo looked to have the right flank under control when a corner was cleared, but they let Ozil coast between them and a player of his class was always going to deliver the killer ball.
A passage of play that perfectly sums up why Sunderland will finish bottom.
After an acrimonious Swansea defeat, in which player’s physical output and commitment was questioned, Cattermole returned and made a point with his relentless energy.
He, Ndong and Larsson may not have delivered a killer ball or a moment of attacking class, but they put pride and pressing back into the midfield. Getting 90 minutes out of Cattermole will make a major difference next season.
OZIL SHOWS JANUZAJ THE WAY
An acquired taste he may be, but Ozil delivered the killer ball time and time again.
The 3-5-2 suits his instinct and reading of the game perfectly and it was no surprise to see him deliver the crucial first assist.
Once upon a time there were hopes Januzaj could do something similar for Sunderland.
His quiet cameo at the end will be a fitting conclusion to a forgettable time on Wearside.
A STRANGE ATMOSPHERE
Whether it was the weather, the opposition or apathy, it was a bizarre sight to see the Emirates so empty for such a big occasion.
These two clubs are living in different worlds, and given the dearth of attacking quality in the Sunderland team, you wonder whether those Arsenal fans who did attend left grateful for what they had. You would certainly hope so.
DEFOE STRUGGLING TO THE END OF THE SEASON
The 34-year-old will go down as a Sunderland legend, a collection of iconic goals in a red and white shirt never to be forgotten.
It is a shame he hasn’t been able to go out on anything of a scoring run, with just one goal since his brace at Selhurst Park in February.
The paucity of quality behind him has finally had an impact and he has ended his time on Wearside struggling for form.