Sunderland 0-2 Arsenal: Sanchez stars as Gunners triumph

The Chile international capitalised on two errors from the hosts to take his tally to five goals in eight Premier League appearances this season

Alexis Sanchez’s double handed Arsenal a 2-0 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.

Arsene Wenger’s men have now recorded three wins in the Premier League this season and move into fifth place, eight points behind leaders Chelsea who travel to Manchester United on Sunday.

Sunderland headed into the fixture off the back of an 8-0 hammering at the hands of Southampton last Saturday and another two lapses in defence were responsible for their third league defeat of the campaign.

In the 30th minute, Wes Brown attempted to control a lofted ball forward from Per Mertesacker but his back-pass to Vito Mannone was under-hit and it allowed Alexis to steal in and easily finish.

The Chile international netted his second in injury time after Mannone failed to control Patrick van Aanholt’s back-pass, which presented the Arsenal winger with an empty goal.

More to follow…

Poyet wants Sunderland redemption against Arsenal

The Uruguayan believes the Black Cats owe their supporters a reaction after last Saturday’s 8-0 capitulation against Southampton when the struggling Gunners visit

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet is backing his side to quickly win back the respect of their supporters when Arsenal visit on Saturday.

Poyet admits it took him several days to recover from last Saturday’s humiliating 8-0 loss at Southampton, but he feels there will be no hangover from that debacle at the Stadium of Light.

“I want 45,000 people behind me and I know they are going to be there and they will support the team if they see what we are all expecting – which is a proper reaction,” the Uruguayan told reporters.

“As soon as you do a few things right, you put your effort in with a shot, a goal, a tackle or even a corner, it’s going to bring the stadium alive and make you feel a proper football player again.

“So I would prefer to play at home and against one of the biggest teams you can have.”

Sunderland are unbeaten at the Stadium of Light in the Premier League this season, drawing with Manchester United, Tottenham and Swansea City before beating Stoke City 3-1.

And former Chelsea and Spurs midfielder Poyet insists he would relish the challenge of extending that record and exorcising the demons of the Southampton capitulation.

“I would love to be playing,” he continued. “It’s the perfect game to show that whatever happened happened and now we are moving on.”

I miss working with Wenger at Arsenal – Dein

The former vice-president left the club in 2007 having overseen an unprecedented era of success, and has now admitted that he is missing working with the Frenchman

Former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein admits he misses working with Arsene Wenger, and has hinted that he could return to the Emirates Stadium in the future.

Dein assisted Wenger in the transfer market as he set about building his ‘Invincibles’ squad, with the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires and Sol Campbell all thriving as the club won the Premier League without losing a single game in 2003-04.

Dein left the Gunners in 2007 having overseen a period of unprecedented success in north London, with Wenger expressing his ”huge disappointment”.

And, on the 10th anniversary of the Londoners sealing their title success, the 71-year-old has revealed that he is missing the day-to-day relationship that he used to share with the Frenchman.

“Do I miss it? The truth is, yes. I miss it on a daily basis,” he told the London Evening Standard. “I miss the jousting, the daily relationship with Arsene. Of course I do. But I enjoy watching the team. I want them to do well. I am an Arsenal fan.

“I am a devoted Arsenal fan and attend every game I can. I love the club. It is in my bones. Would I ever go back? Who knows? I am at a stage in my life now where I am doing other things.”

Wenger signed a three-year contract extension on the back of Arsenal’s FA Cup victory at the end of last season – their first trophy success in nine years – and Dein admits there is no succession plan in place for when the 65-year-old finally departs, because it is so difficult to look to the future in football.

“It is very difficult to talk about succession planning when a manager has just been given a contract for three years,” he added.

“In the modern game, no sooner has a manager signed a contract than within a year they will probably be out of a job! Who knows what will happen in three years’ time?

“It is very difficult when you have got someone with such a big personality as Arsene, it is very difficult to think about replacing him.

“I’ve always said that Arsene won’t be a difficult act to follow, he will be an impossible act to follow. For what he has achieved, he has left his mark on Arsenal forever.”

Walcott & Koscielny not ready to return for Arsenal – Wenger

The winger began training earlier this month but Saturday’s trip to the Stadium of Light will come to soon after initial hopes of a place in the first-team squad

Arsene Wenger has revealed Theo Walcott is not ready to make his Arsenal return against Sunderland.

The England international as been out of action since rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in a 2-0 FA Cup win over north London rivals Tottenham back in January.

Walcott returned training earlier this month and was thought to be in contention for this Saturday’s visit to the Stadium of Light, but Wenger is more confident of the forward facing Burnley next week.

“He has to get used to contact again,” Wenger told reporters. “He has been out nine months, he needs to get used to being kicked again.

“He needs to feel completely confident but he is not far. Fitness-wise he is there. Contact front he needs a bit more time.”

There is less positive news on defender Laurent Koscielny, though, with the France defender set to remain on the sidelines until after next month’s international break due to an Achilles problem.

“I cannot give you any date,” Wenger added. “I hope he [Koscielny] will be available after the next international break.”

Wenger hits back at Mertesacker criticism: We train very hard

The Germany international criticised the club’s start to the season after Wednesday’s narrow win over Anderlecht and admitted he and his team-mates need to work harder

Arsene Wenger has hit back at criticism from Per Mertesacker after the defender insisted Arsenal need to “train harder”.

The Germany international hit out at Arsenal’s start to the campaign after Wednesday’s narrow 2-1 win over Anderlecht in the Champions League and admitted that the team’s style of football is not giving teams enough problems.

But Wenger has refuted Mertesacker’s observations, although he concedes Arsenal have not been “efficient enough” this term.

“I don’t know what he meant by that. But you have to be careful with statements after the game. I think we train very hard, the attitude is right and the spirit is there,” Wenger told reporters.

“Until now we have been relatively consistent in our attitude but not efficient enough offensively or defensively.

“We lost only two games but we have not made enough points.”

Late goals from Kieran Gibbs and Lukas Podolski handed Arsenal victory over the Belgian champions but the sub-par display sparked Mertesacker’s scathing analysis of the team’s approach this season.

“We are not at our best. Football-wise we lack a few things. We have to be honest to ourselves and train harder,” said the 30-year-old.
“Everyone knows that it is a difficult start to the season for us and confidence is not how we want it.

“I think we have to do better with our own possession, to put more pressure on them [opponents], not to lose so many balls in the middle of the park, to play more in wide areas.

“I think it is better to expose them there, instead of playing one-twos through the middle. It doesn’t work as much as last season, so we have to work on that. The passing game is not as efficient as last year. But all of a sudden we lose players week-by-week.”