Two goals from both Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud have earned Arsenal a 4-1 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Jermain Defoe’s penalty cancelled out an early header from Sanchez but two quick-fire goals from Giroud – both netted within three minutes of being introduced to the action – made the difference before Sanchez scored a fourth soon afterwards to move the Gunners to the top of the Premier League table.
As for Sunderland, David Moyes watched on as his team went 10 games without a win and this result has only heaped further pressure on the Scot as the Black Cats remain rooted to the bottom of the standings.
Arsenal began strongly at the Stadium of Light but all they had to show for their work in the opening 15 minutes was a header from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain which cleared the crossbar and Mesut Ozil’s scuffed effort from 14 yards.
However, they eventually went in front after 19 minutes after Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross from the right found Sanchez, who got ahead of Lamina Kone to glance a header into the far corner of the net.
Sunderland almost found an immediate response when Patrick van Aanholt’s free kick just missed the corner from 25 yards but it was largely one-way traffic for the remainder of the first half as Arsenal pushed for a second.
Alex Iwobi should perhaps have done better with a shot from 20 yards out while Sanchez sent a free kick a couple of yards over the crossbar but it was an opportunity for Ozil which should have doubled his side’s advantage.
The German playmaker was picked out by the impressive Oxlade-Chamberlain but despite having plenty of room to lob Jordan Pickford, he put his shot to the side of the goalkeeper who was able to make a comfortable save.
Chances were few and far between after the restart with only Oxlade-Chamberlain firing wide after being played through by Ozil but Sunderland managed to find a way back into the game on 64 minutes when they were awarded a penalty.
Petr Cech was adjudged to have hauled down Duncan Whatmore in the penalty area and it gave Defoe the chance to step up and send the goalkeeper the wrong way from 12 yards.
However, they were on level terms for just six minutes as Giroud made his first impact in a Gunners shirt this season by sending a volley into the bottom corner after meeting a cross from Kieran Gibbs.
Moments later, the Frenchman had his second of the afternoon after running to the front post to meet Ozil’s corner, with his header looping over Pickford and into the far corner.
Sunderland were all at sea at the back and Arsenal scored a third goal in seven minutes when Sanchez converted from inside the six-yard box after Gibbs had struck the post and Aaron Ramsey had seen the rebound blocked by a defender.
Arsenal continued to push for a fifth but despite both Sanchez and Giroud missing out on hat-tricks, Arsene Wenger will take a lot of confidence from the manner in which his team went up a gear at the decisive moments.

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