It was a slightly strange first half, with both sides needing to win you might have expected an open game but even though the home side’s need was greater they seemed content to soak up pressure. Maybe it was the nerves though, as after a totally dominant opening 10 minutes from Arsenal they did start to come forward a bit more.
We had chances to score the early goal to settle us down, with Iwobi shooting just wide and Mertesacker heading straight at Mannone with a free header from a corner. The next 20 minutes were more even and the Black Cats had chances of their own, the best being when they hit the woodwork from a free kick.
And either side could have been ahead at the break and both could have had penalties for handball but Mike Dean gave neither. Alexis Sanchez had a great free kick saved and our former keeper was quick and alert to stop Iwobi scoring the rebound. Giroud also saw a powerful header blocked on the line and after a scramble in the box the ball was hoofed clear.
The second half started with the same sort of intensity but now it was Sunderland that looked the most likely and they had three good shotsd on target withing the first 10 minutes, but Petr Cech was alert to stop them. The home crowd was energised though and their tails were up but we really should have silenced them when Giroud did very well to set up Iwobi who made a terrible hash of his shot.
That seemed to be the order of the day from Arsenal and thankfully the same was true of Defoe after he skinned Mertesacker. Walcott and Welbeck came on with 20 minutes left and then we saw the first appearance of Jack Wilshere around 10 minutes later.
Mannone had got away with a mistake which could have seen Kaboul red carded for a push on Welbeck and he made a good late save to stop a well struck Alexis shot with just minutes to play. There was also some late pressure from a desperate home team but the game ended without a goal and our chances of a top three spot took another hit.