There was little he could do about the two Arsenal goals.
The Scottish international looked to have the measure of Oxlade-Chamberlain, even if he needed help from his midfelders to keep him in check.
It seems laughable now that Steve Bruce once touted him as a future England left-back and that he was recently linked to Arsenal, because he looks uncomfortable in defence.
The Sunderland skipper led by example at the heart of the Black Cats defence to frustrate the Gunners until things unravelled at the end.
After a shaky start he rose to the challenge of stifling the Arsenal attack with a stubborn display until he let in Henry at the end.
He was deemed surplus to requirements at Arsenal but the Swede looks vital to Sunderland thanks to his set-piece prowess and work-rate.
He was always a willing outlet in the midfield trenches and used limited possession well.
Sunderland's leading scorer was starved of possession but worked his socks off.
He has been complaining of homesickness but the Midlander seems to be finally settling down under Martin O'Neill and would have scored but for a superb save by by Szczesny.
There has been an outcry on Wearside over his exclusion from the Republic of Ireland squad and he strengthened his international credentials with an opportunist's strike.
He deserves credit for his non-stop running as an auxiliary defender.
He looked unbeatable until Mertesacker's slip let in McClean, whose finish gave the Pole no chance.
The Frenchman showed signs that when he is back to full fitness he will the best right-back in the Premier League.
Little went right for the German, who was stretchered off after his slip allowed in McClean for the Sunderland goal. Was lucky not to give away a first-half penalty for handball.
The Belgian looks the part as a left-back but could have done better in attack as Sunderland dropped deeper and deeper.
He maintained his concentration despite being an onlooker for the vast majority of the game.
He was head and shoulders above the Sunderland midfielders but lacked creativity.
There can be no doubt that he has plenty of guile but he lacked the verve necessary to overcome a 10-man defence.
He looked menacing on the ball but too often he found himself facing two opponents and was stifled.
The England winger saw a first-half chance fizz just wide but did not offer enough penetration down the right wing despite seeing plenty of the ball.
R. van Persie
The skipper looked a constant threat but failed to make the most of an early chance that could have put the Gunners in the driving seat, rather than chasing a late winner.