Are we a one man team? Alexis Sanchez really has helped us out so much this season and you can’t help but think where we would be without him!
Without his goals and assists this season we wouldn’t have had any chance of making the top four and could have been even worse than 5th. Getting him to stay in the summer has to be our main priority before even thinking about signing more players.
So Sanchez’s goals were once again crucial and the difference for us as we eventually overcame an already relegated Sunderland side. Sunderland have to give a lot of thanks to their keeper Jordan Pickford who really kept them in the game and surely has to be bought by a premier league team this summer. Is he also going to be England’s future number 1 keeper?
After the big win away at Stoke, Wenger made two changes to the side with Koscielny once again missing out through his recurring Achilles injury which is worrying for us as he is so important for us but he misses a lot of games.
So Gibbs went to LWB in the place of Koscielny and Monreal went back to left centre back. The other change was Ramsey for Coquelin as we could afford to be more attacking. Sanchez was crucially fit enough to play after going off injured against Stoke.
Alexis thought he had opened the scoring for us early on after his long range strike went in but it was rightfully disallowed as it deflected off Giroud’s arm. Giroud then had a great chance to open the scoring after his shot was well saved by Pickford. Every save he made must have upped his price tag!
The home support (it was one of worst I have ever seen it) weren’t rewarded in the first half as it annoyingly ended 0-0 after many chances but Sunderland somehow managed to stay in the game. They even had some chances but Cech carried on his recent form to deny us any embarrassment.
The second half almost started catastrophically as Monreal’s long backpass nearly caught Cech out and went in but the keeper put it out for a corner which turned out to be a dangerous indirect free kick as he had touched it. We fortunately got away with it but this was a massive wake up call for us.
After this we really pushed for the opener with Giroud coming close again and Pickford saved substitute Welbeck’s shot before we finally got the goal we were looking for and desperately needed.
The goal came with just under 20 minutes left and it was Alexis Sanchez who tapped in an Özil pass across goal (where have we heard that before?). Özil created 12 chances which is the most in a single game by a Premier League player since records began. He also recorded another assist which takes him even higher up in the all time assist records. You could really sense the relief in the home fans who actually turned up!
Arsenal them wrapped up the 3 points with just under 10 minutes to go as Sanchez got his second of the game. It came after the fanstastic Pickford saved Giroud’s close range volley but it fortunately fell to Sanchez (who looked just offside) who headed it into an empty net once again. He has now been directly involved in more Premier League goals than any other player this season (23 goals, 10 assists).
Sanchez has also now scored 23 Premier League goals this season which is one behind top scorer Lukaku who we will face on Sunday. Will either of them score and who will finish the top scorer and get the golden boot?
Pickford then kept the score line down again (what would have the score been if it wasn’t for him?) as he pushed a late Mustafi header onto the bar but he couldn’t stop us from getting a vital 3 points. We should have really scored a lot more (36 shots which is the most in any of our Premier League games since records began) to up our goal difference but Pickford denied us this chance (11 saves which is the most he has ever made in a Premier League game) and we now have to hope on Sunday.
Ahead of the last day of the season on Sunday we are just one point behind 4th placed Liverpool and 3 points behind Man City in 3rd. Liverpool should really beat already relegated Middlesbrough at home (although who knows with them) and Man City should definitely be ok even if they lose as their goal difference is a lot better than us.
We face Everton at home which I will be going to and they won’t be an easy team to beat at all as they have had a great season and are finishing in an Europa League spot in 7th. Will they help us out though if their rivals Liverpool are the team we need to overtake?
We really need loanee Calum Chambers and Boro to do us a massive favour and hope Liverpool slip up again (Gerrard!) Will there be a repeat of last season where we somehow overtook Spurs who were playing against an already relegated Newcastle side?
So what will happen on the final day of the season? Will we get our annual top four trophy? If we don’t, what will be the reaction from Arsenal and the fans?