Arsenal vs. Sunderland: 5 Positives for the Gunners in 0-0 Draw

Max TowleAnalyst IAugust 18, 2012

Arsenal vs. Sunderland: 5 Positives for the Gunners in 0-0 Draw

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    Oh, to be an Arsenal fan.

    Yet again, Arsene Wenger's side kicked off their Premier League campaign with a disappointing draw, this time against Sunderland.

    But do not despair yet, Gunners fans; throughout Saturday's showing, there were still a number of positives to take away from the 0-0 result.

    Five, to be precise—five positives that shouldn't lead anyone to yet write off what remains a very talented squad.

    We are, after all, only one game into the season...

Santi Cazorla

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    Arsenal's new signing, Santi Cazorla, already looks settled and raring to go in his new surroundings.

    The Spanish attacking midfielder was, at times, able to cut the Sunderland defence to ribbons.

    Cazorla's most notable contribution, and what looked to be a certain goal, was a through ball to Olivier Giroud in the second half—a chance that should've put his team 1-0 up.

    Cazorla was the creative spark in the Arsenal midfield and not once looked afraid to get involved in the hurly-burly of a packed final third of the pitch. He already is looking like the Gunners' most important attacking player.

Control of Possession

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    In a mostly one-sided game, Sunderland rarely looked threatening to Arsenal's goal.

    Although it's a given that goals win matches, Wenger can be pleased with the fact that Arsenal were permanently camped in the opposition's half, controlling and dictating the flow of the game with ease.

    The departing Alex Song wasn't missed in this respect; Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby did a fine job in holding midfield roles in his stead.

    And whilst the Gunners have often in the past been accused of trying to score the "perfect goal," Saturday's game just didn't go their way in the final third.

    And whether you chalk that up to bad luck or just poor finishing, really depends on whether or not you're an optimist or a pessimist.


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    Whilst the "Bambi on Ice" nickname may still be applicable, Ivorian Gervinho still managed to look like one of his team's most dangerous players during the game, even if he spent a lot of it on the floor.

    The zippy winger always looked eager to take on retreating defenders, and his skill and agility often were enough to take him past his unfortunate opponents.

    The only reservation I have about Gervinho is his lack of an end product. Both his crossing and finishing still need work, but if he can develop both, he is sure to become one of the Premier League's most dangerous players.

Solid Defence

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    With an opening day clean-sheet to their name, Arsenal were solid, sturdy and reliable on defence.

    Credit must be given to new captain Thomas Vermaelen for leading a back-four that included youngsters Carl Jenkinson and Kieran Gibbs. Both full-backs looked reliable and untroubled, something neither could say at certain points last season.

    Per Mertesacker also was impressive. The big German central defender proved a worthy partner for Vermaelen in the middle.

    Wenger will be hoping that his team can back up this clean-sheet with more assured performances at the back in the near future.

At Least You're Not Liverpool!

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    If Arsenal fans were thinking their team had a bad afternoon, take a look at the result of the  Liverpool vs. West Brom match.

    Sunderland are arguably better opposition than the Midlands club, who managed to thrash Brendan Rodgers' team 3-0 in a merciless display and exploited Liverpool's naivety on defence.

    Granted, these are early days in the Premier League season—there are 37 games still to play in Arsenal's calendar

    But on the face of it, 0-0 is by no means a catastrophic result.

    But 3-0? Now that just might be!