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2016/2017 English Premier League
  • Jermain Defoe (65' PEN)
  • Alexis Sánchez (19', 78')
  • Olivier Giroud (71', 76')

Sanchez, Giroud braces inspire Arsenal to win over Sunderland

Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud both hit braces as Arsenal moved to the top of the Premier League table with a 4-1 victory over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Sanchez and Giroud's goals mean the Gunners edge three points ahead of Manchester City -- who play West Brom later on Saturday -- at the division's summit and have stretched their unbeaten run in all competitions to 14 matches.

In contrast, the defeat for Sunderland leaves them rooted to the bottom of the table, while they have now had the joint-worst start to a season in Premier League history over the first 10 games, with their tally of two points equalling Manchester City's haul in the 1995-96 campaign.

Arsenal started Saturday's game on the front foot and created the first chance early on as Sanchez played in Mesut Ozil, but the Germany international was unable to beat Jordan Pickford from a tight angle.

Arsenal were soon rewarded for their early pressure, however, as they took the lead inside the 19th minute, with Sanchez losing his marker in the box before heading an excellent Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain cross into the far corner.

Sunderland almost responded immediately, winning a free kick down the other end in a dangerous position, only for Patrick van Aanholt to bend his effort just wide of the target.

The hosts did have the ball in the back of the net moments later through Jermain Defoe, but the flag had already gone up for offside against the striker and teammate Wahbi Khazri.

Arsenal pushed in search of a second as the first half wore on with Alex Iwobi and Sanchez seeing efforts sail just over the bar, while Oxlade-Chamberlain had a strike saved at the near post by Pickford.

They had a better chance to double their lead shortly before the break as Ozil raced onto a ball over the top, but his lobbed effort as Pickford burst off the line was palmed away by the goalkeeper.

Sunderland showed some improvement after the restart as Arsenal struggled to keep up the rhythm displayed in the first half, although the home side were still missing the final ball.

Arsenal did show their class on the hour-mark as a wonderful Ozil ball over the top of the Sunderland defence played in Oxlade-Chamberlain, only for the England international to get his strike at goal all wrong as it sailed wide.

A mistake at the back from the Gunners by Shkodran Mustafi, however, allowed Duncan Watmore in on goal, with Petr Cech bringing him down in the area.

Defoe stepped up to take the 65th-minute spot kick, sending Cech the wrong way, meaning Sunderland were able to equalise with their first shot on target.

The Blacks Cats were only level, however, for six minutes as Arsenal moved back into the lead through Giroud, who scored with his first touch after coming on as a substitute, directing Kieran Gibbs' delivery into the corner.

And Giroud scored his second of the afternoon just five minutes later, sending a looping header from a corner over the stranded Pickford.

A third goal inside just seven minutes for Arsenal then arrived as Sanchez converted from close range to make sure of the result after Gibbs' strike had come back off the post.