The FA Cup - Third Round
ArsenalArsenal3SunderlandSunderland1

Arsenal 3-1 Sunderland

By Gary RoseBBC Sport
Highlights: Arsenal 3-1 Sunderland

FA Cup holders Arsenal came from behind to record a comfortable third-round win against Premier League strugglers Sunderland at Emirates Stadium.

The visitors took a surprise lead when Jeremain Lens struck inside the box.

Arsenal equalised through Joel Campbell's half-volley, before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hit the woodwork.

Substitute Aaron Ramsey tapped in late on to put Arsenal ahead before Olivier Giroud's close-range finish wrapped up a 13th consecutive win in the FA Cup.

Reaction to Saturday's FA Cup third-round games

Wenger has his eye on the prize

Arsene Wenger

Arsenal, who beat Aston Villa 4-0 in last season's final, have won the FA Cup 12 times - more than any other side.

Six of those have come under Arsene Wenger, who will become the competition's most successful manager with one more victory.

Arsenal may be top of the Premier League, but Wenger underlined his intention to take the FA Cup seriously by naming a strong side, with first-team regulars Petr Cech, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud and Theo Walcott all included.

It was a decision that paid off. After Sunderland's unexpected opener, Walcott provided the assist for Arsenal's equaliser and Hector Bellerin played a key role in their next two goals as the hosts' experienced men carried them forward while the visitors' mix of fringe and youth players wilted.

A defeat, but some positives for Sunderland

Sunderland
Sunderland's heatmap shows how much more willing they were to attack in the first half (left) compared to the second (right)

Sunderland's priority is clear - Premier League survival - and that was reflected in Sam Allardyce's team selection, with the Black Cats showing seven changes.

After five successive defeats, Sunderland secured a morale-boosting 3-1 win against Aston Villa last time out.

They looked to have continued their momentum when they stunned Arsenal to take the lead, Lens taking advantage of some uncharacteristic hesitancy in the Gunners' defence to score.

That was only Lens' third goal in 17 appearances for Sunderland, but his overall play will have been encouraging for Black Cats fans as his pace and physical presence caused the hosts a number of problems.

He possesses the ability to be an important player for Sunderland in their battle against relegation. The question is, can he perform like he did against Arsenal on a consistent basis?

Man of the match - Hector Bellerin

Hector Bellerin
Hector Bellerin provided two crucial assists, setting up Aaron Ramsey to score Arsenal's second before his ball gave Olivier Giroud a simple tap-in to make it 3-1 and give the Gunners breathing space

What they said

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "It was a test for us to come from behind. There was a great mental response and there is a special solidarity in the team.

"You always worry because, no matter how long you are in this job, you never know what is next. The experience we had up front today helped. I am very happy overall."

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce: "In the end they had better finishers than we had today. We were fine for 70 minutes and I am just a little sad at the goals we allowed Arsenal to score. We made it easy for them in the end.

"We move on. The squad has shown they can play at this level. Lens is strong on the ball as well as talented. Hopefully we can push on and see a bit more from him."

The stats you need to know

  • Arsenal have not lost an FA Cup tie in 13 games since Blackburn beat them 1-0 in February 2013 at the Emirates in the fifth round.
  • No manager has won the FA Cup more times than Arsene Wenger (six). His first game in the competition was against Sunderland in the third round in 1997.
  • Arsenal have not been defeated in the third round since losing a replay to Sheffield United 1-0 at Bramall Lane in January 1996 (W18 D5).

What next?

Arsenal travel to Liverpool in the Premier League on Wednesday, while Sunderland are at Swansea on the same day.

The FA Cup fourth-round draw takes place on Monday and is live on The One Show on BBC One from 19:00 GMT.

Line-ups

Arsenal

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 33Cech
  • 24Bellerín
  • 5Gabriel
  • 6Koscielny
  • 3Gibbs
  • 15Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 21ChambersSubstituted forArtetaat 67'minutes
  • 28CampbellSubstituted forReine Adelaideat 81'minutes
  • 45IwobiSubstituted forRamseyat 67'minutes
  • 14Walcott
  • 12Giroud

Substitutes

  • 2Debuchy
  • 8Arteta
  • 16Ramsey
  • 18Monreal
  • 49Macey
  • 54Reine Adelaide
  • 59Willock

Sunderland

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 13Pickford
  • 24Yedlin
  • 22Coates
  • 16O'SheaSubstituted forJonesat 65'minutes
  • 3van Aanholt
  • 6CattermoleSubstituted forM'Vilaat 57'minutes
  • 20Toivonen
  • 41Watmore
  • 17Lens
  • 19Graham
  • 26FletcherSubstituted forMavriasat 76'minutes

Substitutes

  • 2Jones
  • 9Borini
  • 18Defoe
  • 21M'Vila
  • 25Mannone
  • 28Mavrias
  • 31Beadling
Referee:
Martin Atkinson
Attendance:
59,349

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamSunderland
Possession
Home63%
Away37%
Shots
Home25
Away11
Shots on Target
Home13
Away3
Corners
Home11
Away6
Fouls
Home13
Away6

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Arsenal 3, Sunderland 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Arsenal 3, Sunderland 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Patrick van Aanholt (Sunderland) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

  4. Booking

    Gabriel Paulista (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Gabriel Paulista (Arsenal).

  6. Post update

    Duncan Watmore (Sunderland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  7. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Jordan Pickford.

  8. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jeff Reine Adelaide (Arsenal) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

  9. Post update

    Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Laurent Koscielny.

  10. Post update

    Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Theo Walcott.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Olivier Giroud.

  12. Post update

    Gabriel Paulista (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Danny Graham (Sunderland).

  14. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Jordan Pickford.

  15. Post update

    Attempt saved. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Kieran Gibbs with a cross.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Jeff Reine Adelaide replaces Joel Campbell.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Sunderland. Conceded by Petr Cech.

  18. Post update

    Attempt saved. Danny Graham (Sunderland) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jeremain Lens.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Sunderland. Charalampos Mavrias replaces Steven Fletcher.

  20. Goal!

    Goal! Arsenal 3, Sunderland 1. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) left footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Héctor Bellerín with a through ball.