An enormously commanding figure despite largely being a spectator. Showed great authority to claim rare crosses into the box and dealt with the little danger he faced with minimal fuss. Beaten only by a wonder goal.
Both he and Mertesacker had little to worry about in the form of Sunderland attacks but the Frenchman always retained his concentration. Strong in the air and at both ends - it was he who rose unmarked to score Arsenal's fourth goal. Picked up an injury that soured his outing.
The towering German relished his early duel with Altidore, matching the American's brute strength. Largely untested otherwise and never exposed on the break. The leader of defence that continues to dominate at the Emirates.
Never troubled in his 45 minutes on the pitch - and, with Gibbs out, Arsenal will hope he is not seriously injured. Kept dangerman Johnson quiet and contributed offensively.
Played like a winger, bombing forward at every opportunity and stretching the play. His energetic overlaps were a constant nuisance for Sunderland, forcing them backwards. Defended well, even when moved to left-back and then centre-back. Arsenal simply must persuade him to renew his expiring deal.
Typically composed at the base of the Arsenal midfield, providing an outlet, recycling possession and getting stuck in. So rarely rattled and set the tone for the Gunners' early dominance.
Quite unlike many of his peers, the England international is prepared to drive forward and commit bodies. It was his injection of pace that produced the opening goal and Sunderland consistently struggled to thwart his quick feet and dangerous surges.
Overshadowed somewhat by his team-mates but showed touches of class and never conceded possession cheaply. Involved in so much of Arsenal's good work.
A typically classy performance from the little magician. Found space, exploited gaps and kept possession ticking over. Started and finished a stunning goal that will rank among the best this season. Arsenal so often play better when the Czech is in the side. Given a standing ovation when withdrawn.
Returned to the first team and took barely five minutes to give Arsenal the lead, keeping his composure to place the ball beyond Mannone. Calmly notched a second courtesy of some smart anticipation. His inventive hold-up play and first-time flicks were rewarded with a hand in Rosicky's goal. Decisive on the day.
Often looked a threat when shifting the ball onto his explosive left foot, stinging Mannone's palms with a ferocious drive. His movement, dragging defenders around, caused problems, though he might have done more to get on the scoresheet.
Not the return to Arsenal he had hoped for, having to pick the ball out of his net four times. The Italian, though, could hardly been blamed on any occasion and made some solid stops.
Put under huge pressure by Arsenal's adventurous right flank and struggled with the lack of an out-and-out winger ahead of him. Did not follow Rosicky's runs, allowing space between himself and the centre-back, which was ruthlessly punished. Tried to get Sunderland going on the break.
The Irish defender has been a key part of a formidable back-line resurgence under Gus Poyet but was totally undone by Arsenal's fast and flowing football. Allowed too much space to develop between his team-mate and was too slow to thwart the danger that emerged as a result.
Like the entire Sunderland team, the Argentine was totally incapable of containing or disrupting Arsenal. Under-hit a disastrous back-pass to Mannone that found only Giroud, who doubled the hosts' advantage, and almost scored an own goal - from the resulting corner, the Gunners scored their fourth. A day to forget.
Worked hard and fared better than many of his team-mates, with Podolski perhaps the least effective of Arsenal's attackers. Switched off from a set-piece, though, allowing Koscielny to net unchallenged.
Looked shattered after only a few minutes as he chased red shadows from the very first whistle. Culpable of letting runners drift past him and struggled to affect the match in a positive sense.
Outclassed and outgunned in midfield, he was always on the backfoot against Arsenal's dominant and composed use of the ball. His leggy, galloping industry on the break was a useful, if infrequent, outlet, though his surges never amounted to anything.
The most singularly defence-minded of Sunderland's central midfield trio failed to disrupt and affect Arsenal's control of possession and was guilty of failing to pick up Wilshere when he drove forward. A major learning curve as he adapts to the Premier League.
The winger has been in fine form this season, battling for a place in Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad, but failed to turn up at the Emirates. Hid from the ball, never ran at the defence and did little to help Bardsley behind him. Unsurprisingly hauled off at half-time.
Played virtually as a left-back at times to help out his defence, before moving up front. Worked hard, sought to run the channels but was almost entirely devoid of service. Forced Szczesny into a rare save.
The American, as is so often the case, worked hard and tried to cause the Arsenal centre-backs problems, though, given his isolation, his endeavor went largely unrewarded and he never looked a threat. Withdrawn at half-time.
Replaced Monreal, though played at right-back. Less dominant than Sagna, though got forward well on occasion - but left space in behind for Sunderland to break into.
Filled in at left-back after Koscielny was forced off through injury. Not exposed despite being used out of position.
A late introduction for the excellent Rosicky. Could have scored but was denied by Mannone.
Replaced Johnson at half-time, returning to the flank after a stint in midfield. More effective than the man he came on for and almost netted from a free kick.
Introduced in place of Altidore at the break. His attempts to provide bite quickly produced a yellow card but he brought urgency that had been lacking. Rewarded with a fine volleyed goal.
Replaced Ki but did not have much opportunity to show his ability in his brief cameo.