Arsenal vs. Sunderland: Final score 4-1, Gunners unstoppable

Michael Regan

No Mesut Özil? No problem. Arsenal were at their best at home against Sunderland.

Arsenal have kept pace with their rivals in the Premier League title race, and done so in spectacular fashion. Mesut Özil was rested after he looked tired midweek against Bayern Munich, but the Gunners didn't skip a beat. They conceded a goal late, but that was well after they'd sealed the result, and they coasted to a 4-1 win over Sunderland.

It was clear early on what kind of match this contest was going to be. Olivier Giroud -- who was rested in favor of Yaya Sanogo on Wednesday -- scored just five minutes into the game. Some great passing led to Jack Wilshere poking the ball into Giroud's path, and he applied an easy finish from 12 yards. Sunderland held on for then next 25 minutes, but fell apart completely before halftime.

Giroud's second came in the 31st minute, inadvertently assisted by Sunderland defender Santiago Vergini with a horrible backpass. Arsenal scored their best goal of the afternoon 11 minutes later, with Tomas Rosicky applying the finish. He played a fantastic one-two exchange with Santi Cazorla, then another with Giroud before chipping over Vito Mannone to finish off the move.

Any hope that Sunderland fans had of clawing back into the match was destroyed for good in the 57th minute, when Laurent Koscielny got free on a corner and hit a simple header into the back of the net. Emmanuele Giaccherini pulled a goal back for Sunderland with a pretty strike from the edge of the box, but it was merely consolation for Sunderland, and not much of it.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Monreal (Jenkinson 45'), Koscielny (Flamini 67'), Mertesacker, Sagna, Arteta, Wilshere, Podolski, Rosicky (Gnabry 73'), Cazorla, Giroud

Goals: Giroud (5', 31'), Rosicky (42'), Koscielny (57')

Sunderland: Mannone, Alonso, O'Shea, Vergini, Bardsley, Colback, Ki (Scocco 73'), Bridcutt, Johnson (Larsson 45'), Borini, Altidore (Giaccherini 45')

Goals: Giaccherini (81')

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