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Sunderland crashed out of the Quarter Final of the League Cup after losing 5-1 to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night. Lee Johnson’s side put in a spirited showing and held their own for periods of the game but ultimately Arsenal’s pedigree eventually told and Mikel Arteta’s side ran out comfortable winners. Arsenal raced into an early two goal lead through Eddie Nketiah and Pepe before Nathan Broadhead pulled a goal back for the lads. However, Nketiah grabbed his hattrick with two goals in the second half before Charlie Patino scored the fifth in injury time.

Lee Johnson made two changes to the side that drew with Ipswich at the weekend for the visit to the capital. Lee Burge started in goal in place of Thorben Hoffman whilst the injured Leon Dakaju was replaced by Elliot Embleton.

The home side got the game underway, but it was the lads who had the first effort on target when Alex Pritchard picked up the ball on the edge of the box after Arsenal failed to clear a cross from Lynden Gooch. Pritchard created a bit of space for himself and looked to clip a shot into the top left-hand corner, but the keeper held his effort. A couple of minutes later Sunderland had a shout for a penalty waved away when Ross Stewart tumbled in the box under pressure from Elneny.

Arsenal almost took the lead with what would have been a freak own goal by Elliot Embleton. Tavares drove into the left-hand side of the box and whipped in a cross in which Embleton tried to intercept but in doing so clipped the top of the cross bar with Lee Burge well beaten.

The visitors did take the lead just after 15 minutes through Eddie Nketiah from close range. Arsenal had won a corner on the left which was swung in towards Rob Holding who had lost Bailey Wright too easily. Holding headed goal wards which was cleared off the line by Burge diving to his right but only into the path of Nketiah who stabbed the ball into the back of the net.

Lynden Gooch picked up a yellow card for a rash tackle on Pepe before Arsenal should have doubled their lead. Pepe and Cedric combined on the right with the latter crossing for Balogun who headed well wide under no pressure at all. The home side went close a minute later when Smith-Rowe found Balogun again in space in the box, but he fired a low shot straight at Burge.

The Gunners did double their lead soon after with the lads unable to deal with Arsenal’s pace and slick play down the right-hand side. Pepe and Cedric played a neat one-two before Pepe fired past Burge into the roof of the net aided by a slight deflection off Calum Doyle.

Lee Johnson’s side pulled a goal back after half an hour with a fantastically well worked goal which was finished off superbly by Nathan Broadhead. Alex Pritchard did well in the middle of the park before finding Dan Neil who released Elliot Embleton bombing forward. Embleton then played a perfectly weighted ball behind the Arsenal backline which Broadhead ran onto before dinking the ball over Leno into the back of the net.

The goal saw Sunderland have a decent spell of possession with the lads knocking the ball about comfortably and going close to an equaliser through Carl Winchester. Winchester cut in from the right and drilled a low left footed shot towards the bottom corner which Leno had to tip behind.

On the stroke of half time Lee Burge was forced into action to parry away a well struck volley from Smith-Rowe on the edge of the box before Lee Johnson was forced into an early change. A minute or so before Smith-Rowe’s shot Broadhead had gone down and stayed down after an innocuous looking challenge. However, he was unable to continue and had to be replaced by Denver Hume before the ref brought the first half to a close.

There were no further changes at the break and there was also an early scare for Sunderland when Ross Stewart needed treatment after landing awkwardly but he was able to continue.

Arsenal scored a third five minutes into the second half with Nketiah notching his second of the game. Tavares skipped past Embleton down the left before whipping a cross into the near post where Nketiah’s clever movement saw him get in front of his man and flick the ball past Burge.

Five minutes later Sunderland almost pulled a goal back with Elliot Embleton unlucky to see his spectacular strike hit the woodwork. Embleton picked up the ball on the right-hand side of the pitch and cut inside and curled a left footed shot which had Leno beat but clipped the outside of the post.

Two minutes later though Arsenal killed the tie with the home side’s class telling once again with Nketiah finding the net again for his hattrick. Pepe beat Hume easily on the left before playing a low cross into Nketiah who backheeled the ball past Burge into the back of the net.

Denver Hume then picked up a yellow card for a foul on Pepe who was causing the defender all sorts of problems. Five minutes after going into the book Pepe skinned Hume again in the box with a nutmeg before cutting the ball back to Odegaard who was denied by Burge.

With 15 minutes left to play Alex Pritchard forced Leno into a save with a well struck free kick before Bailey Wright picked up a yellow card for a late lunge on Martinelli. Lee Johnson then made a double change for the final stages of the game with Aiden O’Brien and Corry Evans replacing Lynden Gooch and Elliot Embleton.

Arsenal thought they had been awarded a penalty when Nketiah tumbled in the box under a challenge from Doyle, but the ref had pointed for a goal kick. Tavares then got past Wright but blazed a left footed shot over before Arsenal added a fifth at the death. Pepe played a low cross into the box which young substitute Charlie Patino slid onto and stabbed past Burge.

Final Score: Arsenal 5 Sunderland 1

ALS Man of the Match: Alex Pritchard