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Arsenal - Sunderland
Premier League - 18 August 2012
Premier League – Follow the Football match between Arsenal and Sunderland live with Eurosport. The match starts at 22:00 on 18 August 2012. Our live coverage lets you follow all the key moments as they happen.
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The corner is cleared and the final whistle blows! Arsenal are held to an opening-day draw for the third year in a row after Sunderland's determined defending and Giroud's big miss.
Gervinho surges into the box fromt he right and Richardson denies him the chance to shoot with a great tackle. Meyler concedes a corner and this is surely Arsenal's last chance...
Arsenal have a corner. Cazorla's delivery is again headed away with ease.
Four minutes of added time are signalled by the fourth official.
Two of the last four Premier League fixtures between the clubs at the Emirates Stadium have ended 0-0.
Elmohamady leaps for the free-kick but the delivery is just over his head. Arsenal soon have control of the possession again, but can they create another chance?
Meyler is brought down by Jenkinson near the corner flag. They send their big men up for the set piece.
Cazorla has his head in his hands! What a crucial chance that could prove to be. Had it gone in, it would have been a case of 'Robin who?'. But it didn't.
BIG MISS FROM GIROUD!! The Frenchman timed his run well to meet Cazorla's reverse pass but he fired wide from 12 yards out with only Mignolet to beat!
Arshavin instigates a move forward and receives the ball inside the box. He turns and tees up Ramsey for a shot that flies well over the bar.
Sunderland substitution: David Meyler replaces Larsson.
Arsenal substitution: Andrei Arshavin replaces Walcott.
Giroud turns inside the area but is crowded out as he tries to get his shot away. Jenkinson sends the ball back into the box and Guiroud sidefoots a volley over the bar! A difficult chance to take, but a chance nonetheless.
A bit of tension in the air at the Emirates as Arsenal fans contemplate starting a third season in a row with a draw.
Cuellar goes down and initially it looks like he's got cramp, but now the defender hobbles away. Wenger is furious at all the time the Sunderland man is taking.
Cazorla sends in Arsenal's fifth corner - Sunderland are yet to have one - but it's headed clear.
Early chance for Ramsey, but he low shot from range is an easy save and hold for Mignolet.
Arsenal substitution: Aaron Ramsey replaces Diaby.
Sunderland substitution: Ahmed Elmohamady replaces Campbell.
Great control from Gervinho as he simultaneously takes a long ball down with a deft touch and manages to shield it from his marker.
Another searing run into the box from Gervinho. Another shot from the Ivorian blocked.
Arsenal substitution: Olivier Giroud replaces Podolski.
Sunderland substitution: Louis Saha replaces Sessegnon.
Cross into the Sunderland box fromt he left. It's just too high for Podolski and Walcott charges in at the far post to fire into the side netting!
Arsenal failed to score in their opening league match last season (0-0 at Newcastle) and also their opening home match (2-0 defeat to Liverpool).
Gervinho's run into the box sees his shot blocked but the rebound falls for Cazorla... Volleyed wide!
It is Podolski who strikes, but his effort is a yard or so over the bar.
Walcott is cynically tripped by Richardson as the winger burst forward through the centre. Arteta will fancy a shot from this position, and Podolski is lurking around the dead ball too...
Olivier Giroud is one of the Arsenal substitutes going for a jog up the touchline now. Will Wenger stick or twist?
Gervinho with another dangerous run down the wing but again he just carries the ball out of play.
Podolski is nipping at the heels of Lee Cattemrole, but the Sunderland captain turns skilfully and helps his team keep possession and slow the tempo.
Cazorla has a shot from distance but it canons off a defender.
Lovely play again from Cazorla as he sends Arteta away through the middle. The pass out wide to Gibbs is good but the left-back's control lets him down and the chance is gone.
Larsson's delivery is poor and Arsenal can break quickly. The ball is played up for Podolski to latch onto but Richardson is there to cover and does just enough to stop the ball reaching the striker.
Arteta clips Larsson's ankle and concedes a free-kick deep on the left wing.
Podolski takes a cross into the box on his chest but he is tightly marked. The Germany striker does well to hold off two defenders and lay the ball off.
Great defensive work from Gervinho, who tracks back to rob Campbell of the ball as the Sunderland striker was headed down the wing.
No changes from either side at the break. Sunderland get the second half underway!
@NicklasBendtne1: "Cazorla playing to deep, needs to push up, great attacking threat."
Wayne Moore (@wanay12): "Santi Cazorla looking good but perhaps just trying that little bit too much to make that defining pass. Needs to settle down."
Ben James (@The_Real_Chin): "I think the new Arsenal team could be in the top 3 this season. But they are so sloppy. Pull it together."
There's the whistle, and it's all square at the break. Let me know what you thought of that first half via Twitter @tony_mabert.
Just the one minute to be added at the end of a half that Arsenal have controlled but have failed to make the most of that advantage.
Again Arsenal retain possession after the corner is cleared. Gervinho has two Sunderland players spellbound beofre racing past them to the byline, but the ball goes out of play.
Arteta snuffs out a Sunderland attack with a well-timed tackle. He passes to Cazorla who feeds Walcott's run into the area. The ball is pulled across for Podolski but he is challenged at the key moment for a corner!
Campbell with a clever pass into the box for Colback, who fires into the side-netting on the turn! It was always going to be difficult to beat Szczesny from that angle.
Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 11 opening day matches.
Larsson plays a pass back to Cuellar but Gervinho intercepts! He tries to put it into Podolski's path first time but the ball runs behind the striker. Larsson got away with that one.
Sessegnon is showing excellent work rate to track back and help Sunderland's defensive efforts, but they are missing him as an outlet when they do win the ball back off Arsenal.
It seems that McClean had to replace the tape on his socks because it was not the same colour as his socks, a new FIFA directive apparently.
Instead, Arteta goes for goal but gets it all wrong. The shot sails way over the target.
Gervinho is obstructed by Cuellar on the right this time, and gets the free-kick. It's in a good area for Mikel Arteta to put it on someone's head.
McClean jogs to the touchline to have some tape put around one his socks, seemingly at the behest of the officials. The game continues without him for a few moments. Odd.
Tenacious play from Cazorla whose pressure wins him the ball in the final third. He sneaks a reverse pass through to Walcott, who had just strayed offside.
Sunderland clear the Arsenal corner but remain pegged back in their own half.
Diaby drags a low shot from the edge of the 'D' on target but Mignolet is down well to turn it around the post!
Cazorla turns onto his right foot and puts in a good cross from the left that Walcott heads well over the bar! That has to go down as a great chance.
Gervinho goes on a solo run, cutting in from the left again. His low shot from distance canons off Walcott's feet as the winger tried to get out of the way.
Cazorla's second corner fails to have the same impact. Mertesacker heads the second ball into the box and Walcott scuffs his shot from Podolski's lay-off wide.
The corner lands right at the feet of Diaby, who can;t generate enough power on his shot to trouble Mignolet. Sunderland have to put behind for another corner.
Walcott's low cross causing panic in the Sunderland area and the ball pings off some shins and goes behind for a corner.
Gervinho deserves credit for making that chance. He deftly knocked the ball past Craig Gardner and even after he was obstructed still managed to hot-foot it down the wing.
Cazorla sends Gervinho away down the left and continues his run forward. Gervinho gets into the box and pulls it back. Podolski and Cazorla get in each other's way and it is the latter who hits a low shot just the wrong side of the foot of the far post!
Great control from former Arsenal midfielder Sebastian Larsson, who juggles the ball to shield it from Diaby before laying it off to a team-mate.
Good spell of possession from Sunderland. Colback is played down the right channel and he pulls the ball back for Sessegnon on the corner of the box. The ball is taken off his toe by Thomas Vermaelen.
Sunderland build a promising attack, but Colback is caught in two minds and he is dispossessed.
Arsenal have won none of their last three Premier League games at home (D2 L1). Sunderland have won none of their last seven away matches in the division (D3 L4).
The ball is rolled across the final third for Jack Colback to have a strike from range, but it's a regulation stop for Szczesny.
Celebrity Arsenal fan and professional windbag Piers Morgan is already over Van Persie, it seems. He has just tweeted: "LOVE him already #Cazorla."
Abou Diaby pounces on a stray pass from Sunderland in midfield. He gallops forward and skips past two players, but his cross from the byline is right at Mignolet.
Theo Walcott tries to head to the byline but Carlos Cuellar slides in with a good tackle. Still all Arsenal as far as the possession goes.
Arsenal scored more goals in the opening 15 minutes than any other team in the 2011-12 Premier League (12).
CHANCES AT BOTH ENDS!! James McClean is played into the Arsenal box and his shot from an angle is blocked by Szczesny! Arsenal counter and Cazorla gallops forward before firing a strike from 20 yards that Mignolet parries with an outstretched arm!
Stephane Sessegnon comes forward down the right for Sunderland, but his cross for Fraizer Campbell is too close to Wojciech Szczesny, who catches comfortably.
All the early possession is Arsenal's, with some neat early touches from Cazorla.
Lukas Podolski fair sprints at Simon Mignolet as the Sunderland keeper prepares to boot a backpass up the field. The Belgian clears just in time.
Referee Chris Foy blows his whistle and Arsenal kick off!
The teams emerge from the tunnel on a gloriously sunny and hot summer's day, with Thomas Vermaelen wearing the captain's armband for Arsenal. We'll be underway shortly. You can share your thoughts during the game with me via Twitter @tony_mabert.
Some quick facts about Arsenal's new boys: Lukas Podolski enjoyed his most prolific league season last season, with 18 goals for Cologne in the Bundesliga. Santi Cazorla scored nine goals for Malaga in La Liga last season, and also provided four assists in the division. Olivier Giroud finished joint-top scorer of Ligue 1 last season with 21 goals for Montpellier. PSG’s Nene also netted 21.
It's hard to believe that the new season is almost upon us. Sunderland will be looking to improve on the 13th position they finished last term after replacing Steve Bruce with O'Neill, but retaining third place would probably seen as a success for Arsenal. If the Gunners win today it will be their 50th league win over the Black Cats, and it would certainly settle a few nerves around north London.
Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill is well aware of the tough prospect his team is likely to face today: “Training has been good this week and we will look to do a few things better than we have done so far in pre-season. It’s going to be a difficult game but playing Arsenal is always a difficult game. I don’t think the departure of Robin van Persie puts any more pressure on Arsenal but that’s not my concern anyway, there is enough pressure on us without worrying about the position."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is still coming to terms with the loss of last season's top scorer Robin van Persie: "We regret that we have lost a great player and for one simple reason – he only had one year left on his contract. He wanted to go. "We live in a job where we have to live with reality. We wanted to keep Robin van Persie, we could not extend his contract, and when there is only one year to go and the player wants to go. I am surprised that people find that situation not realistic."
Head-to-head: Last season Arsenal won 2-1 won both and away against Sunderland in the league. However, they lost 2-0 to them in an FA Cup fifth-round match in February. Arsenal are unbeaten in their last five league matches against Sunderland, since a 1-0 defeat at the Stadium of Light in November 2009 when Darren Bent scored the only goal. Sunderland have not won in their last 13 league visits to Arsenal, since a 2-1 victory in old Division One in November 1983.
Carlos Cuellar makes his Sunderland debut against the Gunners, while Louis Saha is on the bench after the striker signed for the club earlier in the week. Stephane Sessegnon is over the ankle problem which made him a doubt for this game but Wes Brown (knee ligaments), Phil Bardsley (ankle) and David Vaughan (surgery) all miss out.
The first Arsenal side of the post-Van Persie era sees starts for Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski, while fellow summer recruit Olivier Giroud starts on the bench. Abou Diabystarting in central midfield instead of Alex Song is sure to fuel speculation about the Cameroonian's future at the club. Theo Walcott has recovered from the thigh injury which ruled him out of Wednesday England friendly against Italy. Jack Wilshere (ankle) and Bacary Sagna (broken leg) are both still some way from fitness.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Diaby, Arteta, Cazorla, Walcott, Gervinho, Podolski. Subs: Mannone, Djourou, Coquelin, Santos, Ramsey, Arshavin, Giroud /// Sunderland: Mignolet, Gardner, Richardson, O'Shea, Cuellar, Larsson, McClean, Cattermole (C), Colback, Sessegnon, Campbell. Subs: Wickham, Kilgallon, Meyler, Bramble, Saha, Elmohamady, Westwood.
Welcome to Eurosport's live coverage of the clash between Arsenal and Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium as the 2012/13 Premier League gets underway!