Arsenal started the first half with good intent and the incoming Jack Wilshere looked sharp and determined to shine on his first start in some time, with Ramsey and Cazorla in the central midfield positions, Ozil in the number 10 role and Alexis on the left.
We were playing well and creating some really good opportunities but Sunderland were set up to stifle us and defend deep. They did it well but Arsenal also needed to sharpen up with the final ball of the finishing touch.
It was a rare chance but after a quarter of an hour we needed Ospina to be at his sharpest to cut out a through ball which had Defoe going one on one with the keeper and then again with Graham. I did worry that without Coquelin we ran that risk of being caught too far forward.
Our Colombian keeper saved that happening just five minutes after the break with a save thsat would have been played over and over had it been by Courtois or De Gea. And he was called on a few more times even though the Gunners were creating much more.
A host of great chances came and went with the visitor’s goal seeming to have some sort of protective spell cast on it. Alexis had just headed one of many chances wide when Wenger brought Walcott on for Wilshere with 25 minutes left. The onslaught continued but Sunderland still nearly grabbed the opener.
They were saved from an goal by the woodwork but always seemed to be in the right position to block our shots, intercept our crosses and all the rebounds went their way. So with 10 minutes to go Wenger turned to Rosicky in place off the off colour Ozil. Almost immediately the Czech unlocked the door with a great move between him, Alexis and Walcott but Rosicky shot wide.
Pantilimon denied Walcott and he had played a blinder but Arsenal were so unlucky not to score but at least the point ensures third spot. A good game but a disappointing result in the end.