Sunderland 0—Arsenal 0
Arsenal’s inability to immediately bounce back from their Carling Cup defeat augers for months of disappointment, frustration, and anger.
The 5-0 defeat of Leyton Orient at home is not a convincing reversal of fortune. It is important, in the sense that it is not a defeat and exit from the only tournament in which Arsenal have a credible chance to win. This is not to discredit the possibility of Arsenal defeating Barcelona in Spain and advancing to the Champions League quarterfinals where they would likely meet another club considered stronger than they are, but to acknowledge the greater chance of winning a trophy in the much deflated, far less prestigious, and exercise in the experience serving/character building FA Cup. The calculation serves the need for Arsenal to win any trophy other than the Emirates Cup.
The return to league play against Sunderland exposed nerves and play became overwrought and precious. A decisive win could have been restorative going into the biggest match of the season; instead, an anemic draw against a severely slumping Sunderland squad allows for doubt and lack of confidence to swell in one direction and take root in the other.