Gardner on target but Black Cats defeated.
Craig Gardner scored his first goal of the season as the Black Cats lost out to Arsenal at the Stadium of Light.
Welsh international Aaron Ramsey scored twice for the Gunners after Olivier Giroud had given the visitors an 11th-minute lead.
Gardner had made it 1-1 from the penalty spot for Paolo Di Canio’s side, who saw a second-half effort from Jozy Altidore ruled out.
Di Canio made five changes to his starting team with Ki Sung-Yueng making his Black Cats debut and Charis Mavrias starting his first game for Sunderland.
Valentin Roberge returned in place of the suspended John O’Shea, whilst Steven Fletcher replaced Ji Dong-won after his goal in the defeat at Crystal Palace and Jozy Altidore came back in for Connor Wickham.
Arsenal handed a debut to £42.5m transfer deadline-day signing Mesut Ozil with Santi Cazorla out injured.
The visitors took the lead after 11 minutes as Ozil fed the in-form Giroud and the French international slid the ball home inside the near post.
Modibo Diakite went close to equalising for the hosts soon afterwards as he headed Mavrias’ corner against the bar.
Sunderland were thankful to Irish stopper Keiren Westwood who produced a number of fine saves to prevent the Gunners doubling their advantage in the first half.
Westwood saved on three occasions from Theo Walcott with the England international’s blistering pace affording him space in behind the Black Cats defence.
Gardner replaced David Vaughan at half time and made an instant impact as Johnson was felled by Laurent Koscielny inside the area and the former Birmingham City man stepped up to send Wojciech Szczesny the wrong way from the spot.
Johnson and Gardner went close to putting the hosts ahead before Ramsey dealt Di Canio’s side a cruel blow on 67 minutes, drilling Carl Jenkinson’s cross beyond Westwood from just inside the area.
Altidore thought he had levelled for Sunderland minutes later but, after the USA international shot towards goal, referee Martin Atkinson pulled play back for a foul by Bacary Sagna on the edge of the box before booking the French international.
Gardner, who impressed on his returned to the side, drove an angled shot just wide as the Black Cats searched for an equaliser before Ramsey grabbed his second goal 14 minutes from time. A neat one-two with Giroud opened up space for the midfielder and he calmly curled past Westwood from eight yards.
Subs Fabio Borini and Connor Wickham went close to a late goal for the hosts, but Arsenal held firm to go top of the Barclays Premier League.
- Vaughan (Gardner)
- Mavrias (Borini)
- Fletcher (Wickham)
- Sagna Yellow
- Flamini Yellow
- Özil (Vermaelen)
- Walcott (Monreal)
- Giroud (Akpom)
- Yellow Gardner