Writer: Michael Briggs
Date:Saturday February 20 2010
Sunderland`s turbulent season continues after they suffered their 12 defeat of the season when they lost to Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium.
Nicklas Bendtner scored his first goal since retuning from a three-month injury lay off while Cesc Fabregas converted an injury time penalty to make it 15 goals for the season.
Sunderland did have a good penalty shout turned down after Mikael Silvestre appeared to tug on Darren Bent`s shirt as he progressed through on goal.
Steve Bruce will now be wondering what else he can do as his side now float dangerously towards the relegation zone with more games to be players tomorrow.
Arsene Wenger would of wanted his side to kill the game off in the first half and they almost did when Theo Walcott driving shot his effort just past the left post just after three minutes.
Frenchmen Sami Nasri then had a 20-yard effort blocked by George McCartney ten minutes later.
Arsenal then should have took the lead on the 15 minute mark, Walcott again with a vicious shot was well saved by Craig Gordon and left Bendtner to score but he drilled his effort wide of the mark.
The home side continued to press and a goal looked to be coming, and it came in the 26th minute.
A great run from Emmanuel Eboue caused havoc in the Sunderland penalty area and his low cross-found Bendtner, who was left to tap from all but two yards.
Captain Lorik Cana then received his 9th yellow card of the season for unsporting behaviour.
Kenwyne Jones then had Sunderland`s best effort to equalise but could only put his shot just wide after he was put through superbly by the returning Kieron Richardson just after 36 minutes.
In the second half arsenal picked up from then left off, Walcott forcing Gordon into a fine save after 51 minutes.
Bent then seemed to be in the mood to claw a point for the black cats when his shot went straight into the arms of Manuel Almunia.
Its been 12 games since the black cats have won a game, and it looked to continue as Wales youngster Aaron Ramsey had his scorching shot sail just over bar on the 65 minute mark.
Gordon never got the chance to rest during the game and was called back into action, this time saving Nasri`s shot.
As time pressed on, so did Arsenal, this time man of the match Eboue`s rifling shot saved once again by the fantastic Gordon in the 75 minute.
Then finally The Lad`s game was finally put to bed went Frazier Campbell brought down Fabregas in the box and conceded a controversial penalty in which the skipper put away.
Boss Steve Bruce praised the 3,000 fans after the game, and believes his side are starting to show signs of progression.
He said, 'First of all I would like to say thank you to the fans for the support they've given us today.
'They've seen their team go down fighting - we've come here and had three or four really good chances.
'We put our bodies on the line and showed a bit of quality in certain areas.
'We just needed to take one of those chances because you have to do that when you come here to play a fantastic football team.
'Things aren't going our way. We must stick at it and things will change sooner or later.
'The players gave everything today. It's been tough over the last few weeks and I must say well done to the players because they were terrific today.
'If we put in performances like that week in, week out until the end of the season, we'll be fine.'
Sunderland now face Fulham at home next week and the Wearside faithful will yet again pray to the football Gods that their dismal run ends with a victory at the Stadium of Light.
Date:Saturday February 20 2010
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