Arsenal could not close the gap with Manchester United at the top after their frustrating goalless draw with Sunderland at the Emirates on Saturday. They created some scoring chances, even came as close as to hit the cross bar, but they did not get what could have earned them 3 points from the match: a goal.
It was not the same Arsenal that outclassed Barcelona, and literally so as there was no Fabregas, no Walcott and Robin van Persie. At least the one player they sorely missed on Saturday is their in-form striker Robin van Persie.
Nicklas Bendtner may have got a hat-trick against Orient in the FA Cup, but then Sunderland is not Orient; they are a Premier League side looking for a Europa League place. Bendtner missed a number of good chances, while second half substitute Chamakh’s header hit the cross bar.
It is true that Arsenal were better side in the match, but the way they played would definitely make Barcelona happy ahead of their return leg fixture of Champions League. Arsenal’s link up play was sorely absent against Sunderland. Except some individual good runs from Nasri and Arshavin, it was a display of sloppy passing by the Gunners.
In the absence of Fabregas, Nasri was the mainstay in Arsenal attack and the Frenchman was pretty much successful in creating Arsenal’s chances. However, the problem was that there was no top class finisher like Van Persie, and the players like Abou Diaby, Denilson who did not play a lot in the recent weeks were not up to the mark.
However, center back Johan Djourou was perhaps the best player for Arsenal. The Ivory Coast international defended excellently throughout the match and sometimes pushed forward too.
Well, Arsenal is still very much in the title race and they are now active in three tournaments. Now, whether the Gunners would be able to end their title drought this season largely depends on how quickly their injured stars could return in action and how well they avoid any further injury crisis in the rest of the season.