Sunderland's Ola Toivonen enjoying role given to him by Sam Allardyce

Sunderland Gates

Ola Toivonen started in a defensive midfield role for Sunderland against Arsenal.

Ola Toivonen has told the Chronicle that he enjoys playing alongside Yann M’Vila in Sunderland’s midfield.

Toivonen was handed a defensive midfield role in Sunderland’s latest outing against Arsenal, and he put in a very impressive performance.

Although the Swedish international was not able to help his side pick up a victory - with the Black Cats eventually falling to a 3-1 defeat – he still enjoyed the role he was given by Sam Allardyce.

“I felt good, I enjoyed it,” he said. “We tried to be solid at the back, with Yann and I in the middle, five behind us, and the rest a little more further forward.

“I think it worked well for us but we didn’t score.

“The defence are tight, they work well together, that’s working for us at the moment and it’s the biggest change.”

Toivonen put in arguably his best performance in a Sunderland shirt at the Emirates Stadium, and he will hope to remain in their starting line-up.

The 29-year-old has missed much of Allardyce’s time at the Stadium of Light with injury, but he seems to be back to full fitness now.

Sunderland will benefit from having Toivonen back available for selection, as they look to build on some impressive performances of late.

Although the Wearsiders could not get a result against Arsenal, they still showed signs of encouragement, and they will be eager to move away from trouble in the coming weeks.

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