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Summary

  1. Arsenal XI: Cech, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Ramsey, Flamini, Campbell, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud.
  2. Sunderland XI: Pantilimon, Coates, O'Shea, Kaboul, Yedlin, M'Vila, Toivonen, Van Aanholt, Watmore, Fletcher, Borini.

Live Reporting

By Stephan Shemilt

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Post update

    That's all from this live text. I'm off to sum it all up in a  report. Keep your eyes on our main live text for all the reaction. Bye for now.

  2. FULL-TIME

    Arsenal 3-1 Sunderland

    That's the whistle. Arsenal win 3-1, but that's only half a story. Sunderland can feel aggrieved.

  3. GOAL - Arsenal 3-1 Sunderland

    Aaron Ramsey

    Aaron Ramsey

    That's yer lot. Aaron Ramsey gets in quickest to poke in from a goalmouth scramble. Arsenal have three goals and three points. The Emirates can breathe easily, but it's been hard work.  

  4. CLOSE!

    Arsenal 2-1 Sunderland

    Is that Sunderland's last chance? Patrick van Aanholt in acres of space on the left of the Arsenal box, blazing over.

  5. Arsenal 2-1 Sunderland

    Very, very flat at the Emirates. Rumours of five minutes added time.

  6. Post update

    John Motson

    BBC Match of the Day commentator

    Arsene Wenger

    "You can see the anxiety on Arsene Wenger's face as they enter the last few minutes."

  7. SUBSTITUTION

    Arsenal 2-1 Sunderland

    Now Giroud comes off in place of Calum Chambers. Another attacker for a defender. Wenger probably has Olympiakos in mind too.

  8. Arsenal 2-1 Sunderland

    Kieran Gibbs in on for Arsenal, replacing Joel Campbell. Gibbs at left wing. A sign of Arsenal's injuries, or where Wenger sees this game going? Maybe a bit of both?

  9. Arsenal 2-1 Sunderland

    Sunderland are not beaten, you know, while Arsenal still look as though they might wobble. The Black Cats come down the right, Duncan Watmore has loads of room, but scuffs his shot straight at Cech.

  10. Arsenal 2-1 Sunderland

    At the right end for Oliver Giroud this time, finishing a second wonderful Arsenal move. Both have led to goals. They are the only real moments of quality the Gunners have produced.

    Arsenal goal
  11. SUBSTITUTION

    Arsenal 2-1 Sunderland

    Borini off, Johnson on for Sunderland.

  12. CLOSE!

    Arsenal 2-1 Sunderland

    Off the line! Giroud's header from a corner is nodded away at the back post. Finally, Arsenal are showing something. The Emirates sings its approval.

  13. SUBSTITUTION

    Arsenal 2-1 Sunderland

    In the aftermath, Theo Walcott returns for Arsenal, replacing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

  14. Post update

    Arsenal 2-1 Sunderland

    Garth Crooks

    Former Spurs striker on Final Score

    "What a good goal. Olivier Giroud's movement is great - he times his run in parallel with Aaron Ramsey so well - and the finish on the head is beautiful."

  15. GOAL - Arsenal 2-1 Sunderland

    Olivier Giroud

    Olivier Giroud scores

    He's scored at both ends (sort of, because it's actually the same end, pretty much exactly the same spot)! Olivier Giroud puts Arsenal ahead, finishing a lovely move with a stooping header. Arsenal have been well below par, but surely they won't give this up now?

  16. SUBSTITUTION

    Arsenal 1-1 Sunderland

    Sunderland withdraw the impressive Ola Toivonen in favour of Jack Rodwell. Remember him?

  17. Post update

    John Motson

    BBC Match of the Day commentator

    "Arsenal really do look like they are missing key components here."

  18. Arsenal 1-1 Sunderland

    Fletcher clattered his shin against the post. He's off the field, but he looks like he'll be OK. As for Arsenal, they are all over the shop.

  19. CLOSE!

    Arsenal 1-1 Sunderland

    Arsenal really are living dangerously. First Petr Cech has to save from distance, then the resulting corner is almost turned in by Steven Fletcher. Cech has to be there again for another belter, while Flecther is hurt...

  20. Arsenal 1-1 Sunderland

    Part of Arsenal's problem in breaking Sunderland down is their lack of width. Look at their attacking players (on the left). There's six in there, honest. You could throw a blanket over them.

    Average positions
  21. Arsenal 1-1 Sunderland

    Sunderland have a big-style coat to wrap Big Sam in. He's a vision in blue, drinking a brew from a polystyrene cup. Proper football off the pitch and on it Arsenal tip-tap it through the defence, only for Aaron Ramsey to be offside. 

  22. Arsenal 1-1 Sunderland

    Arsenal face that nine-man defence every time they go forward and they don't look to have the guile to unlock it. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can only shoot from the edge of the box. The resulting corner is dealt with easily.

  23. Arsenal 1-1 Sunderland

    Very, very subdued in north London. Arsenal haven't emerged in the second half with the vim that was missing in the first half.

  24. Post update

    Martin Keown

    Former Arsenal defender on Final Score

    "Very resolute from Sunderland, but Arsenal need to be quicker and make things happen. Everything is very mechanical and a bit routine, but I still feel Arsenal can win this.  

    "The form teams like Leicester and Liverpool are running with a freedom, we are not seeing this from United and Arsenal."

  25. Arsenal 1-1 Sunderland

    Sunderland have barely had a touch so far in the second half. It doesn't matter, Arsenal have hardly got past the halfway line.

  26. KICK-OFF

    Back under way. "Come on you Gunners", shouts one fan. It's quiet enough to hear him over all others...

  27. Post update

    The players trot back out of the tunnel. No signs of any Gunners wriggling a flea from their ears.

  28. Post update

    Arsene Wenger

    I wonder what is being said in the Arsenal dressing room at the moment. How can they change things? Maybe Theo Walcott? Sam Allardyce will be asking for more of the same.

  29. Arsenal 1-1 Sunderland

    It was a decent finish by Olivier Giroud, just at the wrong end. 

    Olivier Giroud own goal
  30. Elsewhere...

    As it stands, Leicester are three points clear at the top of the Premier League. Outrageous.

    Half-time scores
  31. 'Gunners not firing on all cylinders'

    Martin Keown

    Former Arsenal defender on Final Score

    "It's not been the greatest performance from Arsenal, sadly they are missing Sanchez."

  32. HALF-TIME

    Arsenal 1-1 Sunderland

    Straight up the other end, Aaron Ramsey has a clear sight of goal and puts it wide. That signals the whistle, with fans showing some displeasure. Arsenal have been poor, Sunderland the better side and 1-1 is more than fair on the Black Cats. 

  33. GOAL - Arsenal 1-1 Sunderland

    Olivier Giroud own goal

    Own goal by Olivier Giroud

    You can't say Sunderland don't deserve this, while Arsenal have been undone by mistakes of their own making. From the free-kick given away by Koscielny, the ball is whipped in for Olivier Giroud to stick out a leg and guide it past a helpless Petr Cech. Set-piece Sam does it again against Arsenal.  

  34. Arsenal 1-0 Sunderland

    Hello, what's happened here? Koscielny is late on Watmore, who is lying on the turf. Koscielny goes in the book and Sunderland have a free-kick wide left.

  35. Arsenal 1-0 Sunderland

    Sunderland are not flat, though. Especially not the lively Duncan Watmore, who gets down the left and has a shot blocked. From the resulting corner, a bouncing ball is eventually killed by the ref's whistle. Edging towards the break. 

  36. Arsenal 1-0 Sunderland

    I'll keep talking about the goal, because little else is happening. Check out the move from the Gunners in the build-up. Seven passes, then the finish.

    Goal
  37. Arsenal 1-0 Sunderland

    No surprise that the Arsenal goal came down the left - it's where most of their attacks have been forged.

    Attacking areas
  38. Post update

    Arsenal 1-0 Sunderland

    Garth Crooks

    Former Spurs striker on Final Score

    "When Arsenal play at home they play a lot of silky stuff, and sometimes as a forward that can be difficult to adjust to. A good finish by Joel Campbell."  

  39. Arsenal 1-0 Sunderland

    Do you even need to ask who put the ball through for Campbell to get that goal? Mesut Ozil, who other than the assist master? Mini fist pumps for fantasy football managers everywhere.

  40. Post update

    John Motson

    BBC Match of the Day commentator

    Joel Campbell celebrates

    "It's the first time that Arsenal have been that penetrative in attack. The switch of Campbell to the left has been profitable."

  41. GOAL - Arsenal 1-0 Sunderland

    Joel Campbell

    Joel Campbell

    Well where has that come from? From nothing, Arsenal have a lead they barely deserve. Joel Campbell is the man, running on to a through ball and slotting it underneath Costel Pantilimon. Relief in the Emirates, a celebratory dummy in the mouth for Campbell. How odd. 

  42. Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

    The graphic below tells us that Arsenal have had 71% of possession. They've done nothing with it.

    Possession
  43. Post update

    John Motson

    BBC Match of the Day commentator

    Sam Allardyce

    "Arsenal are playing very flat and very square at the moment. It's because Sunderland have those five at the back."

  44. Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

    It's just opening up a touch more for the Gunners, with Mesut Ozil at the heart of everything. He's like the kid on the playground that's miles better than everyone else. Can Sunderland defend this way for the 90? 

  45. Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

    Arsenal try a switcheroo. Joel Campbell to the left, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to the right. When they go forward, they hit that green barrier. Arsenal, by the way, are behind Tottenham as things stand.

  46. Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

    Arsene Wenger

    Arsene Wenger is standing in the technical area, hands in pockets, no sign of his famous coat. With his suit, he looks like a dad who has come straight from the office to watch his son's school team. Arsenal have all the cohesiveness of a school team at the moment.

  47. Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

    The start of this game has seen Sunderland partly abandon their park-the-bus plan. They are happier to be drawn out more often. Perversely, that might actually help Arsenal.

  48. Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

    The Emirates crowd grows restless, quite rightly, when the men in red try to play tiki-taka on the edge of their own box. When they finally get hold of it, they spend some sustained time around the Sunderland box.

  49. Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

    Patrick van Aanholt

    Arsenal are a little all over the show here, Sunderland looking more likely when they go forward. There's more movement from the men in green, more incision with the passing. Arsenal's front four are playing like strangers.

  50. GREAT SAVE!

    Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

    And again! Too much space for Watmore, a cross, Mathieu Flamini pushing the ball towards his own net. Good save from Cech. Arsenal wobbly.

  51. Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

    I tell you what, Sunderland have shown enough to suggest they might trouble Arsenal here. A free-kick on the right, some head-tennis, then Duncan Watmore nodding over. Good game so far.

  52. Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is holding the back of his head. It might not be serious, but the way things are going for Arsenal he could be out for the rest of the season.

  53. Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

    Ooofff. First effort of note for Arsenal. Aaron Ramsey finds space in the middle of the park, gets to the edge of the D and pulls the trigger. Well wide, but Sunderland defence AWOL.

  54. Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

    It's very much a 5-4-1 in defence for Sunderland, with Borini and Watmore dropping in. Those two will have to put the yards in on the counter.

  55. Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

    Early on, Sunderland have got plenty behind the ball. Arsenal will have to get through a wall of green. They're quick on the counter, though, Fabio Borini gets through on the right for a clear sight of goal. He can only hit the ball straight at Petr Cech.

  56. Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

    Arsenal are playing left to right, traditional red and white. Sunderland are in a lime green - think of the Pakistan cricket team. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain tries some trickery down the left, but only runs the ball out.

  57. Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

    Lots, and I mean lots, of empty seats. Problems on the tube? 

  58. KICK-OFF

    Arsenal 0-0 Sunderland

    Under way, ever so slightly early too.

  59. Post update

    Players out. Shakey hands. 'Nice to see you'. Right Here, Right Now by Fatboy Slim. Frenzy whipped. 

  60. Post update

    The players are in the tunnel. Rousing hip hop music is playing. Must be close to kick-off...

  61. 'Pitches to blame for injuries'

    Why do Arsenal struggle with so many injuries? It's one of the Premier League's biggest mysteries. BBC Sport pundit Pat Nevin reckons he has the answer...

    “The pitches are the problem. They are far too hard – they are like concrete," he tells 5 live Sport.

    "When I play on them now, as an ex-pro in charities matches, I think they are horrible. It is like playing on a green concrete playground. No wonder everyone is getting injured. You can’t twist and turn because your feet  just give way.”

  62. Post update

    The Clash's London Calling is playing inside the ground. I wonder if they spun the same track on the Sunderland supporters' coaches that must have left the north east very early this morning.

    The air hostesses that are a permanent fixture at Arsenal home games are also in position. Are they always the same? Are there some select members of cabin crew who never actually fly anywhere? Ceremonial staff, if you will.

  63. Post update

  64. Post update

    Petr Cech, by the way, is after a 169th clean sheet today. That would equal David James' Premier League record.

  65. Play our Premier League predictor

    Arsenal v Sunderland (15:00 GMT)

    Arsenal v Sunderland is a mid-table battle today. Not in the Premier League of course, but in the BBC Sport Predictor league. Gunners fans are ninth in our table, a place below Sunderland supporters. You can change all that now by predicting the outcome of this match and the rest of the weekend’s fixtures here.

    Arsenal v Sunderland
  66. Lawro's prediction

    Arsenal v Sunderland

    See how Mark Lawrenson and The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess, his opponent this week, reckon the rest of this weekend's Premier League games will pan out.

  67. Post update

    John Motson

    BBC Match of the Day commentator

    "These matches Arsenal and Sunderland have got a history. Four of the last seven have ended in goalless draws."

  68. Post update

  69. Post update

    The players are warming up at a very lush-looking Emirates.

    The stands are pretty empty, so the concourse cafes must still be selling plenty of wild boar burgers.

    There are two young Sunderland fans running around on the front row. One is called Luke. He's got that written on the back of his shirt...

  70. 'Tight at the back'

    If you're expecting an exciting spectacle at the Emirates this afternoon - forget it. Former Republic of Ireland captain Andy Townsend says new Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce will not turn up with an adventurous approach. 

    "Sam is not going to make any excuses about his gameplan – they will be hard to break down, be resilient, and if the game isn’t a spectacle he will have no complaints," Townsend told 5 live Sport on Friday.

    "His mantra to his new squad is ‘let’s stop conceding goals. Then we can win matches’.”

  71. Post update

    Arsenal v Sunderland
  72. Post update

    John Motson

    BBC Match of the Day commentator

    "In any other season, especially given Sunderland's record at Arsenal, this would seem like a straightforward home win.

    "But it's now three league games without a win for the stumbling Gunners, while the improving Black Cats are aiming to make it three wins in a row.

    "Sam Allardyce will be especially pleased by Sunderland's recent defensive record - three clean sheets in five matches is a firm basis on which to launch a relegation fight.

    "And it could be a good time for his side to face Arsenal, who have an injury crisis and a Champions League group decider on Wednesday. Arsene Wenger faces some tricky selection decisions but one thing is clear: the Gunners need to turn their form around - and fast."

  73. Team news

    With Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla the latest men sidelined, Arsene Wenger will be relived to give Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain starting for the first time since October. Theo Walcott returns to the bench and Laurent Koscielny has shaken off a hip injury.

    Arsenal team

    Without the injured Jermain Defoe, Sam Allardyce gives a second Premier League start to Duncan Watmore. Billy Jones is available after suspension, but doesn't get back in the side.

    Sunderland team
  74. Post update

    Which brings us to the Emirates, and the opportunity for Arsenal to get back on track, or for Sunderland to pull further away from the bottom three.

    Incidentally, I can't think of a festive name for Arsene Wenger (though I've often thought he has a passing resemblance to the Grinch), so if you've got one, tweet #bbcfootball or text 81111.

    The Grinch
  75. Post update

    For Arsenal, advent comes on the back of a traditional dodgy November - there's been no league win in three games since October for the Gunners.

    This Christmas, the red bit of north London is asking Arsene Wenger for a sustained title push and his physio elves for some fit players back from the treatment room. 

    A big win against Olympiakos on Wednesday would be quite welcome too.

  76. Post update

    In the north east, Sunderland have already been delivered something of an early Christmas present. Back-to-back wins - and two clean sheets - have lifted the Black Cats out of the relegation zone.

    Now, the Wearsiders are asking Big Samta Claus for a continued recovery that will see them avoid the drop.

  77. Post update

    It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas - trees, decorations and advent calendars. Shops are starting to play Fairytale of Old New York on a continuous loop.

    At opposite ends of the Premier League (and, indeed, the country), two sets of fans have very different Christmas wishes.

    Christmas