SUNDERLAND WERE left pointless again after a stunning Robin Van Persie brace handed Arsenal a much-needed win.
Van Persie handed the Gunners the lead inside 30 seconds before Arsenal old-boy, Seb Larsson levelled. Van Persie handed his side all three points with a sublime free-kick.
With Nicklas Bendtner ineligible thanks to Premier League rules, Stephane Sessegnon was selected as the lone-forward allowing Jack Colback to come back into midfield.
Arsene Wenger re-called young right-back Carl Jenkinson with Francis Coquelin dropping out altogether from the side that was beaten at Spurs.
Sunderland made the worst possible start after less than 30 seconds when they allowed Van Persie to rifle home from 20 yards after Gervinho`s penetrative run down the left-hand side. The goal was Arsenal`s quickest in the Premier League era.
Van Persie nearly doubled the lead shortly after when Gervinho again made hay down the left firing in a low cross for Simon Mignolet to block.
Mignolet had the post to thank for preventing an inch-perfect Van Persie lob as Arsenal cranked up the pressure. Allowed to turn Kieran Richardson all too easy, the Gunners skipper floated a deft chip over the Belgian and against the inside of the far-post.
Clearly on a one-man mission, Van Persie came close yet again for the third time in 14 minutes as he lashed a left-footed effort just wide of the right-hand post from 20 yards.
Lee Cattermole could`ve levelled when Sessegnon drew Wojiech Szczesney off his line but the Benin international`s pull-back was poor.
Sunderland did equalised after 31 minutes when former Arsenal winger Larsson whipped an inch-perfect free kick beyond the Pole and straight into the top right-hand corner.
Sczcesny spared any Arsenal blushes shortly after when he blocked a point-black-range header from Larsson at the far post.
Following a Wes Brown foul just outside the penalty area, Van Persie planted a free-kick to rival Larsson`s into the left-hand corner of Mignolet`s net to re-establish the home side`s lead.
Sunderland briefly thought they`d levelled when sub Ji Don Won turned home bu the South Korean had been flagged offside from fellow substitute Connor Wickham`s pass.
Arsenal: Szczesny; Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs (Santos); Song, Arteta, Rosicky (Benayoun); Walcott, van Persie, Gervinho (Arshavin).
Subs not used: Fabianski, Park, Djourou & Frimpong.
Sunderland: Mignolet; O’Shea, Turner, Brown, Richardson; Elmohamady, Vaughan, Colback, Cattermole (c) (Gardner), Larsson (Ji); Sessegnon (Wickham).
Subs not used: Westwood (gk); Meyler, McClean & Laing.
Referee:Mr H Webb
Attendance: 60 078