Sunderland 1-4 Arsenal: Gunners battle back to go top

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  • Giroud scores twice
  • Sanchez opened scoring
  • Defoe equalized with PK
  • Arsenal go top
  • No wins in 10 for Sunderland 

Arsenal powered past a woeful Sunderland to win 4-1 at the Stadium of Light on Saturday and momentarily move top of the Premier League table.

The brilliant Alexis Sanchez headed them into the lead and despite Jermain Defoe equalizing for the Black Cats to give them hope, two quickfire goals from substitute Olivier Giroud (with his first two touches) and another from Sanchez piled on the misery for David Moyes.

With the win Arsenal moves on to 23 points for the season as they’ve now gone eight games unbeaten, while Sunderland remains without a win in any of their opening 10 games of the season and has just two points.

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Arsenal dominated the early proceedings and deservedly took the lead after 19 minutes. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain‘s fantastic right wing cross was met by Sanchez as he headed home his fifth PL goal of the season.

Sunderland responded well with Patrick Van Aanholt whipping a free kick just wide and Defoe having a goal disallowed for offside but Arsenal always looked the more comfortable.

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Alex Iwobi curled an effort just over and a long ball forward found Ozil before the break but he couldn’t get his lob right and Jordan Pickford plucked the ball out of the air. Wenger’s men were controlling the game and led 1-0 at the break.

Sunderland started the second half with plenty of promise as Wahbi Khazri, Defoe and Duncan Watmore made more in-roads going forward.

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Then came a few minutes which changed the outcome of the game. First Kone looked to have hauled back Sanchez in the box but no penalty kick was awarded and moments later Sunderland were awarded a spot kick as Watmore raced through and Petr Cech took him down with Laurent Koscielny covering. Defoe stroked the spot kick home for his fifth PL goal of the season and made it 1-1. Game well and truly on.

The mood shifted after that equalizer for Sunderland but it was soon 2-1 to Arsenal as Sanchez played in Kieran Gibbs down the left and his cross was volleyed home by substitute Giroud who made an instant impact.

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Giroud added another five minutes later as he glanced home a header at the near post from a corner to make it 3-1. Then Sanchez tapped home from close range after some shocking Sunderland defending as Wenger’s men ran riot in a seven-minute purple patch and ran out comfortable 4-1 winners at the Stadium of Light.

VIDEO: Lo Celso escapes red card via VAR after horror challenge

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Giovani Lo Celso can count himself a lucky man after his horror challenge on Cesar Azpilicueta wasn’t deemed worthy of a red card by VAR.

What on earth is going on.

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Lo Celso stamped on Azpilicueta’s leg as the Chelsea skipper slid in to get the ball and even though the Spanish defender was on the floor, Spurs’ Argentine playmaker had enough time to pull out of the challenge.

After a lengthy VAR check no red card was given as Chelsea’s fans, players and coaches looked on in bemusement after Olivier Giroud’s early goal gave them the lead.

Check out the video of the incident below and let us know what you think in the comments section below.


VIDEO: Giroud delivers for Chelsea v. Spurs

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Olivier Giroud delivered a stunning finish to put Chelsea ahead against Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge.

Giroud, starting for the first time since November, used all of his experience to run the Spurs defense ragged and provide a threatening focal point for the Chelsea attack.

The Frenchman, 33, jumped off the bench and had a goal disallowed by VAR in the 2-0 defeat against Man United on Monday but even after a VAR check for offside against Spurs, this time his goal stood.

Click play on the video above to watch the clinical finish.

It was a good job Giroud didn’t leave Chelsea in the January transfer window (as a move to Spurs seemed highly likely) after all.

Watch Live: Chelsea v. Tottenham

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Chelsea host Tottenham Hotspur in a massive London derby on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) at Stamford Bridge.

With Frank Lampard‘s slumping Chelsea in fourth and just one point ahead of Jose Mourinho’s fifth-place Tottenham, this is a massive game in the battle for Champions League qualification.

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Injuries are piling up for both sides but Chelsea’s lack of clinical finishing has hurt them for several months as they’ve won just four of their last 14 Premier League games. Mourinho knows this is a good time for him to take his team to Stamford Bridge, even with his own injury crisis to deal with.

Not only does the Mourinho storyline carry significant weight ahead of Saturday’s showdown at the Bridge, so too does the two sides’ increasingly tight battle for a top-four finish. As recently as Jan. 17, Chelsea enjoyed a nine-point lead on Tottenham, but the Blues’ current run of just one win from their last six PL games has seen that advantage shrink to a single point with the very real possibility of flipping two points in the opposite direction once the full-time whistle blows.

On the other hand, Spurs would already be miles clear if not for dropping a combined seven points from three games against the current 12th-, 19th- and 20th-place sides in recent weeks.

In team news Chelsea are without N’Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi who are all out injured. Olivier Giroud starts up front with Tammy Abraham only fit enough for the bench, while Chelsea have three center backs and Ross Barkley and Mason Mount come into the starting lineup.

Tottenham must do without Heung-Min Son for potentially the rest of the season after he suffered a broken arm. Mourinho must turn to other attacking options with Harry Kane also out until April. Dele Alli has been left on the bench as Spurs go with what also looks like a back five.


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Hodgson vows to sign new Crystal Palace contract

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Roy Hodgson has revealed that he has been offered a contract extension to remain at Crystal Palace beyond the 2020-21 Premier League season, and also hinted that he is highly likely to accept it.

[ MORE: Mourinho: Top-four without Kane, Son would be “something incredible” ]

Following a period of turmoil and instability which saw them drop dangerously close to the relegation zone prior to his arrival in 2017, Hodgson has steadied the ship and guided the Eagles to 11th- and 12th-place finishes in his first two seasons and has them sitting just a point out of 12th with a dozen games to go this season. At no point in his tenure has Palace flirted with relegation, and that’s apparently enough to earn a new deal to remain in charge — quotes from Sky Sports:

“The club have presented me with a contract and although the chairman has been away this week I’ve had a cursory glance through it. It all looks fine to me so I am pretty certain that at some point soon we’ll sit down and get it signed.

“If I am going to stay, it will be because I believe funds will be made available because we’ve had the intention to improve the squad and the team for a while now.

“We all realize you can’t make improvements to the actual team without spending some money. But I would never make those type of demands, because you can’t make any guarantees in the transfer market.

“All you can do is have good intention and if I signed for another year, I would sign because I believed the intentions are true and that something will happen going into the next season.”

As for the transfer situation, that’s something that’ll need to be sorted out in very short order if Palace plan to maintain their current place in the PL’s hierarchy, otherwise they’ll learn a harsh — and quick — lesson about standing still while everyone else is moving forward.