Dutchman hits brace as Wenger's side earn victory to climb into the top half of the table, while Wearsiders hover above the relegation zone
Arsenal claimed their third win of the season as they beat Sunderland 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium thanks to a brace from captain Robin van Persie, while former player Sebastian Larsson netted for the visitors.
The Gunners got off to a great start, scoring after just 29 seconds when Gervinho was put clear of the Black Cats defence by Tomas Rosicky, and slid the ball across to Van Persie who made no mistake firing past Simon Mignolet.
Arsenal should have doubled their lead through Van Persie, who was on top form, as he controlled the ball and skinned Kieran Richardson before chipping a delightful effort at goal which looped over Mignolet, but struck the inside of the post and was cleared to safety.
Sunderland, however, equalised against the run of play through former Arsenal man Larsson, as his spectacular 25-yard free-kick soared into the top corner leaving Szczesny with no chance.
Indeed, the visitors should have taken the lead as the half neared its end. Sessegnon was put through again behind the Gunners defence and the Benin international then crossed for Cattermole whose header was fantastically saved by Szczesny at close range.
The Gunners came out in the second half and began to dominate possession. Mignolet was forced into an early save as a Theo Walcott effort was deflected towards goal but the Belgian was equal to it.
Gunners substitute Andrei Arshavin nearly found a way through the stubborn Black Cats defence as he jinked between John O’Shea and Wes Brown, but he fired just wide with Mignolet beaten.
Wenger’s men finally got their second goal in the 83rd minute through Van Persie, whose sublime free-kick sailed over the Sunderland wall and into the top corner of the net leaving Mignolet with no chance.
From them on, Arsenal were able to hold onto the points as they climbed into the top half of the table to ease the pressure on their French boss, while Sunderland are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference, increasing the strain on Steve Bruce.