Arsenal could not find a way past a resolute Sunderland defence as they began life without Robin van Persie with a goalless draw.

Van Persie's replacements Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud failed to score on their debuts with substitute Giroud off target from 12 yards.

Abou Diaby also had a fine first-half shot saved by Simon Mignolet.

But other than an impressive debut for Santi Cazorla, it was a frustrating afternoon for the Gunners.

Too early to worry - Arsene Wenger

As profligate as Arsenal were, credit must also go to Sunderland, who were tireless in closing down space on a sweltering afternoon in north London.

First-half opportunities for Podolski, Cazorla, Diaby and Theo Walcott must have left the watching supporters wondering what might have been had their top scorer from last season been on the pitch.

However, other than their inaccuracy, there were signs that the new signings could prove astute purchases given more time to integrate into the side.

Sunderland threatened before the break when first James McClean and then Jack Colback went close to spoiling Arsenal's new dawn even further, but boss Martin O'Neill will be pleased with a point as his team stuck to a strict game plan.

Arsenal's wastefulness

Arsenal attempted 23 shots (including blocked shots) without scoring, the first time they've had as many without scoring in the Premier League since 7 April 2007 against West Ham

The Black Cats played with just Stephane Sessegnon up front, and once McClean had given Wojciech Szczesny an early wake-up call, they were quick to retreat with Lee Cattermole typically tigerish in midfield.

Despite the Sunderland skipper's attentions, it was clear Cazorla was having no trouble in getting up to Premier League speed as he foraged behind fellow debutant Podolski.

The former Malaga midfielder shot wide early on, and showed his full repertoire of skills when he threaded a pass to Walcott but Podolski could not turn in the winger's cut-back as Kieran Richardson closed in.

Martin O'Neill praises 'terrific effort' by Sunderland

Diaby shot from the edge of the box as Arsenal pushed Sunderland further back, and only isolated efforts from Colback gave the Gunners defence anything to concern them.

On the day agreement with Barcelona for the sale of Alex Song was confirmed, the midfield trio of Diaby, Cazorla and Mikel Arteta linked well and showed there is plenty of depth in that department, given Aaron Ramsey only started on the bench and Jack Wilshere is still to return from injury.

Try as they might, though, they could not fashion many clear-cut openings after the break, with the Sunderland defence quick to close any gaps on the edge of the penalty area.

Podolski was replaced by fellow new signing Giroud after the hour mark, with Ramsey and the returning Andrey Arshavin also introduced.

Then just when it appeared the Gunners might finally make a breakthrough, Cazorla set up former Montpellier forward Giroud but his shot wide summed up the hosts' afternoon.

Lineup, Bookings (0) & Substitutions (6)

Arsenal

  • 01 Szczesny
  • 04 Mertesacker
  • 05 Vermaelen
  • 25 Jenkinson
  • 28 Gibbs
  • 02 Diaby (Ramsey - 69' )
  • 08 Arteta
  • 14 Walcott (Arshavin - 77' )
  • 19 Cazorla
  • 09 Podolski (Giroud - 64' )
  • 27 Gervinho

Substitutes

  • 24 Mannone
  • 11 Santos
  • 20 Djourou
  • 16 Ramsey
  • 22 Coquelin
  • 23 Arshavin
  • 12 Giroud

Sunderland

  • 22 Mignolet
  • 11 Richardson
  • 16 O'Shea
  • 24 Cuellar
  • 06 Cattermole
  • 07 Larsson (Meyler - 78' )
  • 08 Gardner
  • 14 Colback
  • 23 McClean
  • 28 Sessegnon (Saha - 63' )
  • 09 Campbell (Elmohamady - 68' )

Substitutes

  • 20 Westwood
  • 12 Kilgallon
  • 19 Bramble
  • 18 Meyler
  • 27 Elmohamady
  • 10 Wickham
  • 25 Saha
Ref: Foy
Att: 60,078

Match Stats

Shots

14 3

On target

4 2

Corners

7 0

Fouls

12 8

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +4:10 Full time

Full Time The referee blows his whistle to end the game.

90:00 +3:33

Inswinging corner taken by Andrey Arshavin, save made by Simon Mignolet.

90:00 +1:01

Corner taken by Santi Cazorla from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance by John O'Shea.

86:37

Foul by Andrey Arshavin on Louis Saha, free kick awarded. David Meyler restarts play with the free kick.

84:35

Olivier Giroud gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on David Meyler. James McClean delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from left wing, Kieran Gibbs makes a clearance.

83:40

Santi Cazorla gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on David Meyler. Direct free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.

81:18

Effort on goal by Olivier Giroud from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.

79:35

Effort from just outside the area by Aaron Ramsey goes over the bar.

77:53 Substitution

Substitution David Meyler on for Sebastian Larsson.

75:44 Substitution

Substitution Andrey Arshavin joins the action as a substitute, replacing Theo Walcott.

75:44

Effort from deep inside the area by Olivier Giroud clears the bar.

74:37

Louis Saha concedes a free kick for a foul on Kieran Gibbs. Direct free kick taken by Thomas Vermaelen.

72:42

Unfair challenge on Mikel Arteta by Ahmed Elmohamady results in a free kick. Thomas Vermaelen takes the free kick.

70:57

Mikel Arteta concedes a free kick for a foul on Louis Saha. Direct free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.

70:19

Santi Cazorla takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Craig Gardner.

69:06

Aaron Ramsey takes a shot. Save by Simon Mignolet.

67:57 Substitution

Substitution Aaron Ramsey comes on in place of Vassiriki Diaby.

67:57 Substitution

Substitution Ahmed Elmohamady joins the action as a substitute, replacing Fraizer Campbell.

64:59

Yao Gervinho takes a shot. Blocked by Carlos Cuellar. Vassiriki Diaby challenges Lee Cattermole unfairly and gives away a free kick. Simon Mignolet restarts play with the free kick. Louis Saha is caught offside. Free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.

62:37 Substitution

Substitution Olivier Giroud replaces Lukas Podolski.

62:37 Substitution

Substitution (Sunderland) makes a substitution, with Louis Saha coming on for Stephane Sessegnon.

62:37

Theo Walcott produces a volleyed right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.

62:05

Lee Cattermole gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Santi Cazorla. Vassiriki Diaby takes the free kick.

59:40

Santi Cazorla produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide left of the goal.

57:04

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Theo Walcott by Kieran Richardson. Lukas Podolski shoots direct from the free kick.

52:08

Vassiriki Diaby challenges Sebastian Larsson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Craig Gardner restarts play with the free kick.

47:53

Unfair challenge on Sebastian Larsson by Mikel Arteta results in a free kick. Sebastian Larsson delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from left wing, clearance by Carl Jenkinson.

46:04

Fraizer Campbell concedes a free kick for a foul on Kieran Gibbs. Kieran Gibbs takes the direct free kick.

45:04

Per Mertesacker gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stephane Sessegnon. Stephane Sessegnon takes the direct free kick.

45:01

The second half kicks off.

45:00 +1:08 Half time

Half Time The referee calls an end to the first half.

45:00 +0:02

Unfair challenge on Stephane Sessegnon by Mikel Arteta results in a free kick. Lee Cattermole restarts play with the free kick.

41:48

Corner taken by Santi Cazorla from the right by-line, clearance made by Fraizer Campbell.

40:22

Effort on goal by Jack Colback from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the target.

37:34

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Fraizer Campbell by Theo Walcott. Simon Mignolet takes the free kick.

34:58

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Thomas Vermaelen by Sebastian Larsson. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Mikel Arteta from right channel, clearance by Craig Gardner. The referee blows for offside. Direct free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.

33:36

Foul by Lukas Podolski on John O'Shea, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.

31:50

Kieran Richardson concedes a free kick for a foul on Yao Gervinho. Mikel Arteta has an effort direct from the free kick.

29:37

The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.

27:07

Vassiriki Diaby takes a shot. Simon Mignolet makes a save. Corner taken by Santi Cazorla played to the near post, Craig Gardner manages to make a clearance.

26:35

Handball decision goes against Lee Cattermole. Direct free kick taken by Mikel Arteta.

25:22

Theo Walcott produces a header from inside the area that goes over the crossbar.

21:25

Corner from the right by-line taken by Santi Cazorla, clearance made by Kieran Richardson. Inswinging corner taken by Santi Cazorla from the right by-line. Theo Walcott has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.

18:58

Unfair challenge on Fraizer Campbell by Vassiriki Diaby results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Craig Gardner.

17:53

Shot by Santi Cazorla from deep inside the penalty area misses wide to the left of the target.

13:12

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Theo Walcott by James McClean. Carl Jenkinson takes the free kick.

10:39

Shot by Jack Colback. Save made by Wojciech Szczesny.

4:32

Shot by Santi Cazorla. Simon Mignolet makes a save.

4:04

James McClean takes a shot. Wojciech Szczesny makes a save.

0:00

The referee gets the game underway.

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