Sunderland 0-1 Arsenal: As It Happened
Premier League—Sunderland vs. Arsenal
Sunderland 0-1 Arsenal
Sunderland: Mignolet; Gardner, Rose (Vaughan 82'), Bramble, O'Shea; Cattermole (Larsson 46'), N'Diaye (Graham 68'), Colback, Johnson; Sessegnon, Fletcher
Subs: Bardsley, Larsson, Graham, Vaughan, Mangane, Cuellar, Westwood
Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Arteta, Wilshere (Diaby 51'), Ramsey; Cazorla, Walcott (Miquel 87'), Giroud
Subs: Diaby, Rosicky, Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jenkinson, Miquel, Mannone
LIVE BLOG END
That's it for me, and I thank you for joining me this Saturday morning to follow what was a truly gripping, suspenseful match to the end.
I'll be back within a few short hours with ratings for all of Arsenal's players, but stick around in the meantime for analysis of this weekend's Premier League football from Bleacher Report's team of writers.
Until next time, thank you for your company, take an emotional breather from this thriller and enjoy your weekend.
Phew. If you didn't believe that Arsenal are a mentally and physically tough team, I don't know what more they have to do to convince you.
With 10 men after Carl Jenkinson got sent off, the Gunners held on by the ends of their fingernails to resist Sunderland's repeated onslaughts and come away with three points.
Bacary Sagna was a man-mountain today, but the entire team deserves credit for a vintage "1-0 to the Arsenal" victory.
90+5'—Mignolet comes forward.
90+4'—30 more seconds, as Santi Cazorla wastes another chance to seal the game.
90+4'—Arsenal get it away easier than last time and come forward.
Oh dear, the Gunners broke, and Olivier Giroud could have passed the ball to either his left or right to wide open players, but wasted the move by blasting a shot over the bar.
One more minute.
90+2'—Great save Szczesny from a long-range effort, and Sunderland have a corner. Desperate defending from Arsenal, and Sunderland will do it again.
90'—Only four more minutes of stoppage time for Arsenal to hold on. It will be a season-defining result if they do. Talk about mental toughness.
Ignasi Miquel replaces Theo Walcott in a wise defensive move. He'll move into the center of defense and Bacary Sagna will go into his native right back position.
Corner Arsenal, Santi Cazorla to take.
88'—Incredible save by Wojciech Szczesny!
That's one of the best of his career. Fletcher headed the ball at goal from maybe three yards out and Szczesny made an outstanding reflex save to somehow keep the ball out.
And then he made an almost equally extraordinary stop when another ball came into the box, before Titus Bramble somehow put the third attempt wide from point-blank range.
85'—Yellow card for Theo Walcott, as he trips up Sessengon when he goes past him on the left side. Free-kick Sunderland in a very dangerous position parallel to goal on the left side.
Ooh, the second ball into the box is more threatening, though, and Arsenal put it out for a corner after a couple nervous attempts at clearances.
David Vaughan finally replaces Danny Rose.
82'—Less than 10 minutes of normal time for Arsenal to have to hold out. They've repelled everything that Sunderland have thrown at them so far, but can they keep it going?
80'—Ooh, Danny Rose pulls up with a hamstring injury and walks straight off the pitch, ending a Sunderland attack and his day. It's 10 versus 10 temporarily.
79'—Excellent save by Wojciech Szczesny to deny Steven Fletcher when he had stolen the ball and ran into the box. The Pole spread himself wide and made himself big, and Arsenal wriggle away yet again.
This looks to be another intense period of Sunderland pressure, though.
77'—Jack Colback accidentally wraps his leg around Olivier Giroud's ankle, and he receives a yellow card for his transgression. Giroud receives medical treatment, but he looks like he'll be fine.
Arsenal attack again, and threateningly so, but Theo Walcott is offside, and that's the end of that.
76'—Oh, Theo Walcott's hit the post!
Lovely football from Arsenal, who are on the front foot again. Walcott was through on goal with one man behind him, and poked the ball past Simon Mignolet but off the inside of the post.
75'—The Gunners will really have to rely on that record of stability now.
Arsenal have conceded only two goals in the final 15 minutes of Premier League matches this season; a league joint-low figure with Man City.— Orbinho (@Orbinho) February 9, 2013
73'—Chances coming thick and fast now for Sunderland, as Arsenal are scrambling a bit in defense. Sessegnon falls as he rips a powerful shot that misses its target, and a corner goes past everyone in the box (including a flailing Wojciech Szczesny).
We're poised for a thrilling end to this one.
71'—Chance wasted for Arsenal, as Abou Diaby decides that he'd rather pass than shoot, and when presented with a golden opportunity to get a shot on goal, he puts the ball right into the breast of Mignolet.
Still a remarkably even game, considering that the Gunners are a man down.
New signing Danny Graham replaces N'Diaye, who hasn't been very effective today.
68'—Ooh, threatening ball into the six-yard box is dealt with by Bacary Sagna, and the ensuing corner is rather easily defended.
67'—Lukas Podolski getting ready to come on for Arsenal, but Arsene Wenger does not want to add a defender to compensate for the loss of Jenkinson. Poldi can do his share of the defensive work, though.
I hope this is food for thought for the lunatics who think he is ready to displace Sagna. That was madness.— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) February 9, 2013
Arsenal have picked up the fewest yellow cards in the Premier League, but have the joint-most reds (3).— Orbinho (@Orbinho) February 9, 2013
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