Olivier Giroud, a summer signing from Montpellier, has to make do with a spot on the bench.
With Bacary Sagna still recovering from a broken leg, Carl Jenkinson starts the season as first choice right-back.
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For the visitors, new signing Louis Saha starts his Sunderland career on the bench, as Stephane Sessegnon plays just off lone front man Frazier Campbell.
Carlos Cuellar – snapped up from Aston Villa – goes straight into the starting lineup, as Martin O’Neill otherwise sticks with a familiar squad from last term.
Arsenal starting XI: Szczesny; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Diaby, Arteta; Cazorla, Walcott, Gervinho; Podolski.
Subs: Mannone, Djourou, Coquelin, Santos, Ramsey, Arshavin, Giroud.
Sunderland starting XI: Mignolet; Colback, O'Shea, Cuellar, Richardson; Larsson, Cattermole, Gardner, McClean; Sessegnon; Campbell.
Subs: Wickham, Kilgallon, Meyler, Bramble, Saha, Elmohamady, Westwood.