Sunderland 1 Arsenal 4
Defoe 65 pen, Alexis 19, 78 Giroud 71, 76

Arsenal thrashed Sunderland 4-1 in the lunchtime kick-off at the stadium of Light. The Gunners took the lead through Alexis Sanchez’s thumping header from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s precision cross. The visitors could have gone into the break with more than the solitary goal lead. Without a Premier League win all season, the Black Cats however drew level from a Jermaine Defoe penalty awarded when Petr Cech stumbled into the path of Duncan Whatmore. Two minutes after coming on from the substitutes bench for Alex Iwobi, Olivier Giroud restored the Gunners lead, clinically finished off from Kieran Gibbs cross after 71 minutes. It was Giroud’s first touch of the ball and his second would also yield a goal. Mesut Özil’s corner was met by Giroud with a looping header to give Arsenal a two goal cushion. Two minutes later and Alexis finished off with a deft finish to finally finish off Sunderland, consigning them to their tenth loss of the Premier League season, while going top of the table for a few hours at least.

Arsenal started with Gibbs in for Nacho Monreal, and Francis Coquelin partnering Mohamed Elneny ahead of the defence with Santi Cazorla still sidelined. Oxlade-Chamberlain started in place of the injured Theo Walcott. Aaron Ramsey was on the bench for his first taste of action since the opening day of the season.

Sunderland knew they’d be in for a tough ask and their tactic to sit back and try to stifle the Gunners was to be undone. Playing fluently and passing with ease, Hector Bellerin slipped the ball to Oxlade-Chamberlain. A pacy run and cross and Alexis got his head to the ball ahead of the startled Lamine Kone to thump his header past Jordan Pickford.

Despite missing the intricacies Cazorla, Arsenal were being given time to pass and move as Sunderland tried to avert a potential hiding. Özil should have netted from a chip which Pickford saved. The home side were given hope when Defoe sent Cech the wrong way from 12 yards, after the break, but the leveller failed to spark any Sunderland revival. Instead, the Gunners just changed up gears. Alexis was denied a penalty when he appeared to be held back by Kone, but then Arsene Wenger called on Giroud for his first taste of Premier League action since the win over Chelsea in late September.

The game was perfect for Giroud’s direct, style and immediately vindicated Wenger’s substitution. Gibbs was lively on the left to cross for the France striker to stretch our a long left leg to beat Pickford and to restore Arsenal’s lead on 71 minutes. It would start a blistering seven minute Gunners’ burst which would blow away the home side. Ozil’s corner was met by Giroud to power his looping header beyond Pickford, and despite the 22 year old Sunderland keeper getting his palm to the ball.

Sunderland were reeling and we’re finally finished off when Alexis netted his second of the game. Again, Gibbs persistence and for a shot coming back off the post via a Ramsey touch enabled Alexis to smartly get hold of the ball. The Sunderland defence knew they couldn’t get near him, as the Chile striker deftly deceived Pickford before flicking in with a reverse right footed touch.

It was a comprehensive Arsenal win and continues their nine game Premier League unbeaten run, and excellent form to take into the away Champions League return tie against Ludogorets and then next Sunday’s North London derby when Spurs visit the Emirates.