Arsenal’s run of 19 straight Champions League appearances came to an end on a Premier League Super Sunday that was loaded with goals but very little drama. Early goals from both Manchester City and Arsenal put a little pressure on Liverpool, but Georginio Wijnaldum, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana scored three goals in a ten-minute span bridging halftime to put the Reds into the 2017-18 Champions League playoff round at the expense of the Gunners.
If any other goalkeeper was in between the Sunderland posts, Arsenal would have walked away from this match with a 6-0 victory. Super-human Jordan Pickford carried the guts of three men, hurling himself at any shot and chance the Gunners created. The 23-year-old had 11 outstanding saves to keep Sunderland's fighting spirit alive.
Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford can only do so much for this team. After making save after save, Arsenal were bound to score their second goal. Olivier Giroud's high-flying karate kick was stopped by Pickford, only to be gobbled up by goal hungry Alexis Sanchez.
The two players who could depart from Arsene Wenger's side this summer linked up to score a perfectly orchestrated goal against Sunderland today, keeping their top four hopes alive.
Alexis Sanchez 22nd PL goal of the season, 27th all competitions.
Honurable mentions to Xhaka & Ozil assistingpic.twitter.com/cDw24YydEs— Poor First Touch (@InvertdWhinger) May 16, 2017
As I followed the fortunes of both Arsenal and the New York Knicks this season, I realized I had seen this movie before. The two organizations struggled through campaigns that mirrored each other. Fans of each team have experienced similar trauma over the past decade and the similarities became uncanny this year.
Alexis Sanchez doubled down on his message of hope to fans today after he scored in Arsenal's 4-1 thrashing of Stoke City. After hooking up with Mesut Özil in the first half to provide an assist, Sanchez scored easily himself in the second half before asking to be subbed off due to a thigh injury. But not before celebrating his goal with this cryptic message for fans:
The race for he third and fourth places in the Premier League has been more exciting to watch than the race for first and second places this season. Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal fans alike watch nervously each weekend in hopes that their team takes home three points. Today, Arsenal traveled to St Mary's Stadium to face Southampton and earned a crucial three points.
After being on the pitch for nearly three minutes, Olivier Giroud secured Arsenal's over Southampton. A perfect string of passes found their way to an open Giroud who buried the free header.
— ArsenalGoals (@ArsenalGoaIs) May 10, 2017