Black Cats pile misery on Arsenal

PA Sport
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Sunderland

Arsenal are almost certain to end a seventh successive season without a major trophy after crashing out of the FA Cup with a 2-0 defeat in the fifth round at Sunderland.

The match came only three days after the Gunners' crushing 4-0 Champions League defeat against AC Milan and a week after their last-gasp Premier League win at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland took the lead, just as they did last week, as Kieran Richardson volleyed in five minutes before half-time, but this time there was no way back for Arsene Wenger's side and the result was sealed by an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain own goal in the 78th minute.

What Wenger did not need after losing Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker in the past week was more defensive injuries but he was forced into a change after less than 10 minutes when Francis Coquelin appeared to suffer a hamstring problem and Sebastien Squillaci came on.

The Gunners had already gone close through Mikel Arteta's free-kick that curled narrowly wide, while Sunderland forward Stephane Sessegnon also drilled a shot just off target.

Last weekend's loss, inflicted by Thierry Henry's injury-time goal, was Martin O'Neill's first at home, and the Black Cats boss had goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to thank for a smart stop to deny Gervinho in the 28th minute.

Sebastian Larsson's free-kick was then headed away by Thomas Vermaelen but only as far as Richardson, whose well-struck volley arrowed into the corner of the net with the aid of a slight deflection off Squillaci.

And it almost got worse for Arsenal before half-time as Jack Colback did well to keep in a deep cross from Larsson but James McClean could only poke his effort wide from close range under pressure from Lukasz Fabianski.

Vermaelen headed a free-kick from Arteta straight into the hands of Mignolet but the tie was decided in the 78th minute when Sunderland got their second.

Sessegnon created the goal with a run from inside his own half to the edge of the Arsenal area after more great Black Cats pressure had set up the break. The Benin forward played in Larsson on the right and his shot rebounded off the inside of the near post onto to Oxlade-Chamberlain, who got his feet in a muddle and could only help the ball over the line.

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