By Alan Duffy
Sunderland 2-0 Arsenal – FA Cup – 18th February 2012
After seeing his side all but go out of the Champions League on Wednesday in Milan, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger witnessed another appalling performance from his beleaguered side at Sunderland on Saturday.
Facing a home team desperate for revenge after Arsenal’s recent 2-1 win in the league at the Stadium of Light, the Black Cats were simply too fast and too organised for the visitors.
An injury to makeshift left-back Francis Coquelin after just 10 minutes interrupted what had been a decent start by the Gunners, but soon they started to struggle against a Sunderland side who were quicker to every ball.
Eventually the first-goal came after the shaky Johan Djourou conceded a foul on the the Gunners left. Former Arsenal man Seb Larsson’s subsequent free-kick eventually came to Kieron Richardson who saw his strike deflect in off Sebastian Squillaci and past Lukas Fabianski.
After the break, Theo Walcott and Thomas Rosicky came in, but both were ineffective as the visitors continued to tread water.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had been one of Arsenal’s brighter sparks throughout the game, but it was the young winger who would secure the win for the Black Cats on 78 minutes, after he inadvertently put through his own net after a Larsson effort had come back off the post.
Sunderland fully deserved the victory, while for the Gunners, once again their season has collapsed in February. However, with a squad full of what can only be described as mediocre talent, failure to win any silverware for yet another season shouldn’t really come as that much of a surprise.