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 Barclays Premier League: Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal

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Registration date : 2008-07-24

KomentarNaslov komentara: Barclays Premier League: Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal   Sun Oct 05, 2008 1:05 am

Barclays Premier League, Stadium of Light
Saturday, October 04, 2008, 15:00

Sunderland: Leadbitter 85

Arsenal FC: Fabregas 90

Cesc Fabregas headed home deep into injury-time to salvage a 1-1 draw for Arsenal at the Stadium of Light after Sunderland looked to be heading for a shock three points.

The Gunners had the opportunity to move top of the Premier League table and bounce back from their surprise loss versus Hull City with success on Wearside, but they struggled to create throughout the encounter.

After toiling for much of the game, Arsene Wenger's men had a goal disallowed in the second half after the linesman deemed that the ball had gone out of play prior to Theo Walcott's cross to Robin van Persie.

The Black Cats then sent the home supporters delirious when Grant Leadbitter came off the substitutes' bench to hit a screamer in off the bar with four minutes remaining.

But Arsenal dug deep, and, with only seconds remaining, Fabregas capitalised on indecision from goalkeeper Craig Gordon to head in his first goal of the season.

The Black Cats had to play second fiddle for long periods and found themselves defending deep and in numbers as the visitors dominated possession without creating too many clear-cut chances.

Alex Song, back in the side after a hip injury, perhaps should have done better with a 12th-minute header, and Denilson whipped a shot across Gordon and just wide of the post on the stroke of half-time.

But it was opposite number Manuel Almunia who had to make the more telling interventions as he and Sunderland striker Djibril Cisse found themselves engaged in a duel.

Twice within as many minutes, only the Spaniard stood in Cisse's way with the home fans on their feet.

Walcott's ill-advised back-pass put the Frenchman in on goal with quarter of an hour gone, although the keeper blocked his shot from a tight angle.

Two minutes later, Cisse unleashed a long-range effort which dipped and swerved on the blustery wind and forced Almunia to tip it over the bar at the last moment.

The Gunners failed to make the most of their share of the possession with striker Emmanuel Adebayor doing most of his best work well outside the box.

However, Arsenal returned in determined mood and the Wearsiders found themselves pinned back deep inside their own half.

Adebayor embarrassed full-back George McCartney with a dropped shoulder, but wasted the opening with a poor cross, and Walcott's driven ball was only just too strong for van Persie.

Danny Collins took the ball off Adebayor's toe after the striker's touch let him down with 49 minutes gone, and the striker then headed van Persie's corner just off target.

Cisse wasted a counter-attack when he shot harmlessly wide from a difficult angle with support arriving, but the visitors thought they had taken the lead with 56 minutes gone.

Walcott forced the ball across from the goal-line for van Persie to blast home, but the officials controversially ruled it had gone out of play before the England international had got to it.

Gordon spilled an Adebayor volley and Richardson tested Almunia from distance as the game opened up, but Reid should have done better with a 62nd-minute free-kick which he curled tamely into the keeper's arms.

Wenger replaced the disappointing Walcott and Denilson with Nicklas Bendtner and Samir Nasri, and the Frenchman might have won it 13 minutes from time when he was picked out by Adebayor inside the box.

However, he could only stab his shot weakly at Gordon, who distinguished himself eight minutes from time with a point-blank block from van Persie's volley.

The deadlock was finally broken with four minutes remaining when Leadbitter drilled the ball past Almunia and in off the underside of the bar, although the drama did not end there.

With the game in the third of four minutes of stoppage-time, Fabregas headed van Persie's corner home to snatch a point and rescue his side.

Arsenal:
Manuel Almunia
Bacary Sagna
Kolo Toure
William Gallas
Gael Clichy
Theo Walcott(65)
Alexandre Song(86)
Cesc Fabregas
Denilson(74)
Robin Van Persie
Emmanuel Adebayor

Substitutes:
Lukasz Fabianski
Carlos Vela(86)
Nicklas Bendtner(65)
Johan Djourou
Emmanuel Eboue
Samir Nasri(74)
Mikael Silvestre
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