SUNDERLAND secured a valuable point at the Emirates this afternoon in a game which they were often second best.
However, with the lack of activity in the transfer market and disappointing elements to pre-season, a goalless draw at the hands of the new-look Arsenal will go down as a good way to start the 2012/13 campaign.
Martin O`Neill started with Craig Gardner at right-back as mooted during the week, leaving John O`Shea free to partner debutant Carlos Cuellar at the heart of the defence. Kieran Richardson started at left-back with Phil Bardsley injured and Frazier Campbell was selected ahead of new boy Louis Saha.
Arsene Wenger was without a number of players due to injury, meaning Carl Jenkinson and Per Mertesacker were selected at the back, whilst Alex Song was left out with Abou Diaby in his place. Lukasz Podolski was selected as the lone striker with new-boy Santi Cazorla, Gervinho and Theo Walcott supporting him.
Arsenal: Arsenal: Szczesny; Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen (C), Gibbs; Diaby (Ramsey), Arteta, Walcott (Arshavin), Cazorla, Gervinho; Podolski (Giroud).
Subs not used: Santos, Djourou, Coquelin & Mannone (GK).
Sunderland: Mignolet; Gardner, O’Shea, Cuellar, Richardson; Larsson (Meyler), Cattermole (c), Colback, McClean; Sessegnon (Saha); Campbell (Elmohamady).
Subs not used: Wickham, Kilgallon, Bramble & Westwood (GK).
Attendance: 60 078.
Referee: Mr C Foy.