Sunderland midfielder Larsson eyes final chance

Arsenal's Mikel Arteta (left) and Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson.
Arsenal's Mikel Arteta (left) and Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson.
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SEB LARSSON hopes Gus Poyet’s re-drawn plans for the Capital One Cup final will enable him to play his part in a second Wembley triumph.

Sunderland boss Poyet insisted after Saturday’s 4-1 rout at Arsenal that he had ripped up his blueprint for next weekend’s showdown against Manchester City, following a desperately lacklustre first half from the Black Cats at the Emirates.

Larsson, along with fellow half-time substitute Emanuele Giaccherini, helped Sunderland improve markedly after the break, to at least prevent the title-chasing Gunners registering a cricket score.

And the Swedish international, part of the Birmingham side who lifted the League Cup in 2011, is keeping his fingers crossed that he has caught his manager’s eye sufficiently to be recalled to the starting XI at Wembley.

Larsson told the Echo: “I would be lying if I said I didn’t care. I’m desperate to play.

“If I don’t, it will obviously be a massive disappointment.

“In a sense, it’s the biggest game of the season for us.

“Although we have to make sure we stay in the league.

“It’s a massive occasion and I’ve been lucky enough to go there before and win it.

“First of all, you always want to do well for yourself, but you need to do well for the team and the club too. That’s something I’ve always had in me.

“I do my best for the team and the club, and whenever I’m on the pitch, I’ll do my best.”

Larsson stayed clear of being too critical of Sunderland’s first half performance after he was sat watching from the bench as the Black Cats fell behind within the opening five minutes.

Olivier Giroud pounced on Santiago Vergini’s woeful back pass to double the advantage before Tomas Rosicky capped a stunning move of one-touch football to add a third before the break.

The unmarked Laurent Koscielny added a fourth early in the second half, before Sunderland – who remain third bottom – at least salvaged a dash of pride in the final 10 minutes when Giaccherini netted his first goal since September.

“Obviously I wasn’t on the pitch in the first half, but when you concede a goal early, you make it difficult,” added Larsson.

“As soon as the game kicked off, they got comfortable possession and it was one of those games when we didn’t start well. You’ve got to do that away at a team like Arsenal.

“I thought we started the second half well, although we conceded another sloppy goal. But at that stage, you’re playing for pride and you don’t want to get too embarrassed.

“I suppose the second half was better, but in the big picture, it doesn’t make a massive difference.”