Arsenal and Olivier Giroud fire blanks at the Stadium of Light
Arsenal and Olivier Giroud fire blanks at the Stadium of Light

Arsenal and Sunderland played out a goalless draw at the Stadium of Light this afternoon.

It was a listless performance from the Gunners who remain in fourth place in the Premier League table.

Arsenal are behind Manchester City on goal difference and five points ahead of fifth placed Manchester United.

The Red Devils have played a game less than the Gunners.

The point takes Sunderland out of the relegation places.

Arsenal made a promising start with Alex Iwobi and Per Mertesacker both going close to an opening goal.

But as the half progressed Sunderland came back into the match. Wahbi Khazri epitomised the Black Cats battling performance. He went past an out-of-sorts Aaron Ramsey at a throw-in but drilled just wide of Petr Cech’s goal.

Patrick van Aanholt was unlucky not to put the Sunderland ahead midway through the first half, crashing a free-kick against the post after Jermain Defoe had been tripped by Laurent Koscielny on the edge of the penalty area.

Vito Mannone came to the home sides rescue when dived low to his right to push away a free-kick from Alexis Sanchez.

Both sides had penalty appeals correctly turned by referee Mike Dean.

Dean waved away clear handball appeals against Mertesacker and then DeAndre Yedlin.

Sunderland made the better start to the second half, with Cech making saves to deny Defoe and Khazri in rapid succession.

The lively Defoe then got on the end of a long from Lee Cattermole’s, he Mertesacker but his went just wide of the goal with Cech beaten.

At the other end, Olivier Giroud  cut the ball back for Iwobi, who sliced his shot well off target.

Both players were withdrawn on 70 minutes as Arsene Wenger sent on Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott, but it was Sunderland finished the match looking the side more likely to score.

Substitute Duncan Watmore almost made the breakthrough with a shot on the turn that brought another save from Cech, while Lamine Kone volleyed over in injury time.

Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck both forced Mannone into late saves, but overall it was another disappointing performance from Arsenal.

The only late cheer for the Gunners was a late substitute appearance from Jack Wilshere after recovering from the fibula injury that has kept him out

Arsenal: Cech 8; Bellerin 5, Mertesacker 5, Koscielny 6, Monreal 5; Ramsey 4, Elneny 7; Sanchez 6, Ozil 4 (Wilshere 84), Iwobi 5 (Walcott 71); Giroud 4 (Welbeck 71).