Craig Gordon was here as a spectator and must realize his Sunderland days are numbered because his Belgian colleague is a formidable last line of defense and pulled off a fine save to deny Gervinho.
The aggressive Scotland international brings a bite to defending that Arsenal could do with.
He may no longer be captain now Lee Cattermole is back in action, but he still led by example at the heart of the Sunderland defense.
He is not the most stylish of center backs but he was certainly the sort of player that Arsenal could do thanks to his no-nonsense style.
The arrival of Wayne Bridge seems to have brought the best out of the left-back who tamed Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and struck a fine opening goal to put his team in command.
He seldom wasted possession and closed down his opponents as if his life depended on it and was always a willing outlet.
The combative midfielder will get into the England side at this rate because his ball-winning, harrying and use of possession were all excellent.
He might not be up to much in open play but he remains a constant menace at set pieces and it was his free-kick that paved the way for Richardson's goal.
He is best known as a goal scorer but the midfielder showed that he is no one-trick pony with a display that put the emphasis on work rate.
The former Paris St Germain attacker has been linked with Arsenal and he showed why because he was a handful throughout with his searing turn of pace that set up the killer second goal. The standing ovation when he went off late on said it all.
The Irishman seems to get better by the game and gave Sagna a torrid time with his powerful running and willingness to take on his marker.
This was only his sixth appearance of the season and he justified his inclusion with a tidy display but he could do nothing about the goals as his defense disintegrated.
Arsene Wenger's heart must be in his mouth every time the ball goes anywhere near the hapless Swiss defender who looked as shaky as ever. An accident waiting to happen and he was indirectly responsible for Sunderland's opener.
He was not given a moment's rest by James McClean and struggled to get to grips with one of the most talked about young wingers.
The versatile Belgian makes defending look so easy and ensured Gunners old boy Seb Larsson hardly got a look in in open play but his team missed him when he moved from center back to left back.
It was a frustrating evening for the young winger as little went right for him but he deserves credit for never giving up and his own goal was cruel reward for his never-say-die attitude..
He was unable to really hurt Sunderland because he played too deeply and was knocked out of his stride by Lee Cattermole on a regular basis.
The French defender looked comfortable at left back in the opening exchanges so it was a shame the 20-year-old limped off early through injury.
He struggled to impose himself in the overcrowded midfield trenches and was a peripheral figure and hardly got into the game.
R. van Persie
The skipper was starved off service and ran into trouble too often as Sunderland defended in numbers.
A welcome return to club duties for the live wire Ivory Coast striker who looked threatening whenever he picked up possession but faded because he hardly saw the ball.
- W. Szczęsny
He was rushed into action early on and looked fairly steady compared to Djourou but that is not saying much and he suffered the ignominy of being substituted.
- Y. Benayoun
He struggled to make an impact and was shrugged off far too easily by Sessegnon ahead of the crucial second goal.
- A. Arshavin
- T. Walcott
- M. Chamakh