|Arsene Wenger was buffeted by an icy wind as Arsenal’s week went from bad to worse at the|
Stadium of Light.
The Arsenal manager’s hopes of an FA Cup run to save the club’s season following the 4-0 Champions League capitulation in Milan were dashed by Kieran Richardson’s 40th minute opener and a 78th-minute own-goal from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as Sunderland gained revenge for last week’s Premier League defeat by the Gunners.
Barring a Champions League miracle in the return leg against their Italian opponents, the Gunners
have only a top four Premier League place to play for in a season of disappointments.
From bad to worse: Arsenal players are disconsolate as they crash out of the FA Cup to Sunderland
Horror show: Kieran Richardson fires Sunderland ahead against Arsenal at the Stadium of Light
On their way: Sunderland celebrate Richardson's opener against Arsenal
Then it took a terrific save from Simon Mignolet to deny Gervinho as he pushed the Ivorian’s powerful
right-foot shot around for a corner after he was put through by Van Persie.
Wenger was appealing for a penalty in the 32nd minute when Van Persie went down under a challenge by John O’Shea, but a television replay quickly backed up Howard Webb’s decision that the Irishman took the ball cleanly before the Dutchman went down.
The Arsenal boss disagreed. ‘There was a 100 per cent penalty for us that Mr Webb missed,’ he insisted.
Sealed: Sunderland's Sebastien Larsson's shot was turned into his own net by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Gutted: Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored an own goal to seal Arsenal's fate
Richardson put Sunderland ahead in spectacular fashion. Johan Djourou’s unnecessarily dragged
back Gardner 10 yards outside the penalty area. The Swiss defender, switched to left-back after Francis Coquelin’s substitution, was shown a yellow card but that was nothing compared with the punishment meted out by the Sunderland defender.
Blow: Arsenal lost Francis Coquelin to injury in the first half at the Stadium of Light
Sebastian Larsson’s outswinging free-kick was headed clear by Thomas Vermaelen but Richardson’s
25-yard left-foot shot took a deflection off Sebastien Squillaci and flashed low into the bottom of
It could have been worse for the visitors. A minute before the interval, Larsson hooked a ball back into Arsenal’s crowded goalmouth and James McClean shot into the sidenetting.
But Arsenal were caught on the break 12 minutes from the end.
Bad night: Not even Robin van Persie could inspire Arsenal to victory against Sunderland
On the brink? Arsene Wenger is under serious pressure at Arsenal after another poor season