SUNDAY TELEGRAPH (James Mossop)
Arsenal were smooth and seductive. They ambled and then they jumped and the football flowed so fluently that the scoreline resembled a nonsense. They could have had 10.
Sunderland rolled up their sleeves and chased elusive shadows. They were a team bereft.
van Persie clubbed the ball home after a long ball from Sol Campbell had the Sunderland back four looking for reinforcements that were not available.
Sunderland defenders could only look at each other and shrug as Henry, all alone at the far post, side-footed his latest past Alnwick.
Sunderland rolled their sleeves a little higher but Arsenal were not keen to vacate their loungers.
THE OBSERVER (Amy Lawrence)
Henry and van Persie both scored. Both left the Sunderland defence bewildered.
The Wearsiders played with spirit, but were unable to halt a four-match losing sequence.
Sunderland squandered a half chance to equalise, Stephen Caldwell getting caught in two minds with a free header – it was neither on target nor a lay-off to Andy Gray.
Sunderland’s appetite for the fight could not be faulted, but they simply lack the quality to be effective at both ends of the pitch.
Stubbs turned Caldwell’s header past Jens Lehmann. Sunderland went route one. Arsenal nerves frayed slightly. But Henry blitzed any anxiety with his second of the match.
THE PEOPLE (Andy Dunn)
Henry – seemingly bored with simple torment of the opposition – now amuses himself trying to find weird and wonderful ways to score.
His second goal halted the briefest of fightbacks from a hugely out-classed Sunderland.
Sunderland’s formation read like something from the numbers game in Countdown. Carol Vorderman would have struggled to work it out.
Sunderland played with spirit … but also with that David Blunkett look. Resigned. There is little point in complicated analysis of where they are going wrong. They are just not good enough.
‘People’ ratings: Alnwick 6 – Nosworthy 5 (Miller, 62mins, 6), Stubbs 5, Caldwell 5, Collins 6 – Breen 5 – Stead 5 (Le Tallec, 45mins, 6), Whitehead 6, Collins 6, *MURPHY 8 – Gray 5 (Elliott, 45mins, 6).
INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY (Ronald Atkin)
The only surprise in the unending procession towards Sunderland’s 18-year-old goalkeeper, Ben Alnwick, was that Sunderland should have pulled a goal back.
For Sunderland to have taken something from this occasion would have been unbelievable.
Alnwick was blameless for the goals and will be delighted that he will not always be required to deal with opposition who perform as devastatingly as this.
Sunderland did their best to construct attacks, which invariably foundered on the rock called Campbell.
Two newcomers for the second half failed to improve Sunderland.
Fabregas slipped a pass to Henry, who cut inside Caldwell so decisively that the Sunderland man fell over; as Henry wheeled away to accept the congratulations Caldwell was still prone on the deck in bewilderment.
SUNDAY SUN (Jeremy Robinson)
Mick McCarthy now needs a footballing miracle to secure Premiership survival; Sunderland have recorded just two Premiership wins in almost three years.
With too many players either playing out of position or suffering from a lack of self-belief, Sunderland had relegation written all over them yesterday.
A complete collapse looked all too likely, but Sunderland stubbornly conjured some resistance from somewhere to avoid being overrun.
With an out-of-sorts Arsenal strangely reluctant to hit top gear and finish the job they’d started, Sunderland even enjoyed some extended spells of possession.
Arsenal were showboating – but they got an almighty shock when Sunderland reduced the deficit.
It took another excellent Alnwick save from Bergkamp to keep the scoreline respectable.