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Sunderland 0-0 Arsenal: nothing to see here

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Soccer was played. I guess.

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Arsenal's "title challenge" is officially over following a 0-0 draw at Sunderland, and Leicester's (thus far) 3-0 lead over Swansea City. With the point, Arsenal are now firmly in 4th place, level on 64 points with Manchester City, who Arsenal play in two weeks in Manchester. The draw extends Arsenal's lead over Manchester United, in 5th place, to 5 points; United have a game in hand.

Perhaps this is a result to get angry about. Arsenal, aside from the first 10 minutes, where they played some fairly enterprising and fluid stuff, were awful. The final ball on show from both sides was fairly substandard, despite some classic Premier League tryhard running.

But in truth, a number of Arsenal's players, particularly Mesut Özil, seemed to be on autopilot. That doesn't seem unfair. Özil has carried this side for the entire season and has gotten very little out of the side, especially over the past few months. He has a European Championship to prepare for; one cannot fault him for not playing at 100%. Olivier Giroud also has a European Championship to prepare for, and if he's careful, Andre-Pierre Gignac or Anthony Martial will start ahead of him, as well as they should: they can actually score. Giroud cannot, and he's not doing much of anything else, either. He's now not scored in the League since January. His only two goals in that time came against Hull City's reserves in the FA Cup.

Mohamed Elneny was bright and energetic, and his partnership with Aaron Ramsey looks like something that should be continued, but it is also hard to draw too many conclusions from this match, or last Thursday, or last Sunday, aside from one: Arsenal are not a very good team. Changing the personnel can, to an extent, mask some more obvious issues (ahem Francis), but Arsenal's football has been poor for 12 months. Over the past 38 Premier League matches, Arsenal have scored 63 goals in 38 games. Over the past 50, it is 90 goals, or 1.8 per match, a little over Arsenal's average of 1.7 per match this campaign. That includes a 5-0 win over Paul Lambert's Aston Villa, who was subsequently sacked. One can point to xG and bad finishing, or unlucky finishing, but this is a trend over 50 matches. This is a team with Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez, and they do not average at least 2 goals a game.

And that is why it is hard to get angry. Today is not something worth getting mad online about. Instead, it is endemic of the current malaise of this Arsenal team. They're not fun to watch. There are only 3 more games this season; one only hopes they're not as much a waste of everyone's time as today was.