Sunderland fell to a 5-1 defeat at Arsenal yesterday night, but whilst the scoreline suggests that the Black Cats were beaten rather convincingly, the League One outfit certainly caused their Premier League opponents a bunch of problems.
An Eddie Nketiah hat-trick, and goals from Nicolas Pepe and Charlie Patino ensured that the Gunners earned a place in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup.
Nathan Broadhead did score for the League One club, halving the deficit when the score was 2-0, however, Arsenal displayed a clinical side to their game as the match progressed.
Quiz: Have Sunderland signed a player from each of these 20 clubs in the last 5 seasons?
One player who shone for the Black Cats during the 90 minutes was attacking midfielder Alex Pritchard.
The 28-year-old was a constant thorn in Arsenal’s side with his ability on the ball, vision and attacking intelligence all combined to threaten the Gunners’ defence.
Pritchard’s influence has grown during this season, and it will be no surprise if he is the star man as Sunderland continue to push for a promotion place.
His performance last night makes it seem absurd that he is currently a League One player, with the Black Cats hoping for a continuation of this form.
Here, we take a look at how Sunderland fans on Twitter have reacted to his performance last night…
Alex Pritchard brilliant tonight. He’s showing the quality that means he can be the main man behind our push for promotion. A good phase of recruitment in January essential and we push on together. #SAFC
— @SunderrlandAFC (@SAFCFANSVIEW) December 21, 2021
Can’t fault that Sunderland performance at all tonight , Alex Pritchard absolutely outstanding throughout tonight , really calm and comfortable on the ball. So many positives on the ball and going forward , played some great stuff. Full focus now on the league starting now #SAFC
— Josh Bunting (@Buntingfootball) December 21, 2021
This guy was brilliant again
Alex Pritchard 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/2RhZ1ldEyq
— Mando❤🤍 (@KINGMAGUIRE_) December 21, 2021
I’ve been one of Alex Pritchard’s harshest critics since he signed but in the last month or so he’s been nothing short of brilliant. Really showing why he has Premier League experience under his belt.
— Adam 🔱 (@SunlunAdam) December 22, 2021
Pritchard is ridiculous and doesn’t get the credit he deserves
— Bradley Fearnley (@braddfearnleyy) December 21, 2021
What a player Pritchard is mind gunna be a massive player for us.
— newby18 🏴 (@newby08) December 21, 2021
Pritchard is top notch, as I said at half time if we are looking at players from champ who aren’t getting game time and if they have similar quality to him then I’m all for it
— Nick (@nicholaswilso11) December 21, 2021
Pritchard is a fantastic player. Now he's found his groove he's going to be unplayable in league one
— Jamie (@JamieSAFC_) December 21, 2021