FT: Sunderland 0 Arsenal 1

The final whistle goes and Arsenal have held on for a hard-fought 1-0 victory despite a spirited performance from Sunderland in the second half. The Gunners had to withstand some severe pressure in the final half hour following the dismissal of Jenkinson, but had been excellent in the first half and it was Cazorla who grabbed the decisive goal.

Arsenal launch a swift counter-attack and have a numerical advantage, but Giroud goes for goal himself when he really should play in Cazorla, and ends up blazing high and wide.

Sessegnon gets round the outside of Ramsey and delivers a dangerous low cross, but Arsenal manage to scramble it clear.

Szczesny again to the rescue for Arsenal as he dives away to his right to get a strong hand to Johnson's long-range effort.

Sagna makes a superb interception to get to the ball ahead of Fletcher, as the board goes up to signal that there will be four additional minutes.

It is backs to the wall for Arsenal here as the Sunderland onslaught continues, but there are so many bodies in defence now it will be difficult for the home side.

Wenger makes a defensive change as he brings on Miquel for Walcott for the closing stages.

Szczesny pulls off another good save from the resulting corner but Bramble really should score as the ball falls for him from the rebound. However, the Sunderland defender can only succeed in slicing his shot horribly wide.

Szczesny produces a magnificent save as he leaps high to his left to tip a powerful Fletcher header over the crossbar. It looked for all tehw orld like the net was about to bulge. Outstanding from Szczesny.

It looks as though the ball will break for Graham in the Arsenal box, but Sagna steps in to boot the ball clear.

Walcott receives a yellow card for a trip on Sessegnon just outside the Arsenal area, on the left-hand side for the attacking team.

Sunderland are finally able to make their substitution as Vaughan comes on to replace the injured Rose.

Sunderland are laying siege to the Arsenal goal in an effort to equalise, but Wenger's men are holding firm at the moment.

It is 10 v 10 just at the moment as Rose pulls up with a hamstring injury and immediately trudges off the pitch.

Szczesny pulls off an important stop to keep out Fletcher as he rushes off his line and makes himself big to smother a shot by the striker.

Colback is the latest player to go into the book following a late challenge on Giroud.

Arsenal are denied by the width of the post as Walcott dinks a shot past Mignolet after being played in by a sublime Cazorla pass, only to see the ball rebound off the woodwork and back to the feet of a grateful Sunderland defender.

Arsenal break the shackles and spring forward, but Cazorla's volley is poor and flies over Mignolet's goal.

Sessegnon has been a constant menace today and he torments Arsenal's defence with a fast run before delivering a cross from the left. The ball comes back in from the other side and Szczesny grasps at thin air as he comes out to try and claim the cross, but the Gunners cling on.

Arsenal still look a threat on the break and Diaby has a chance to make it 2-0 after a flowing move, but his shot along the floor is safely held by Mignolet.

O'Neill clearly thinks Sunderland have a chance here as he brings on Graham for N'Diaye to bolster his side's attack.

Sunderland have competed much better during the second half, even before Jenkinson's red card, and will now be fancying their chances of salvaging a point from this game.

Giroud lets fly with an ambitious attempt from the edge of the area. He is trying to curl the ball into the top corner but does not connect properly and the ball flies high into the stands.

Larsson is booked for kicking the ball away following a foul by Bramble on Cazorla in midfield.

SKY BET: Can the Black Cats make the most of the extra man? They are now 11/4 to secure a draw and 10/1 to go on and win.

RED CARD: Jenkinson only has himself to blame for this as he slides in with a rash challenge on Sessegnon down Arsenal's right. He never looked like winning the ball and it is an easy decision for referee Taylor to brandish the red card.

Cazorla tries his luck with a shot from distance following a clever piece of skill, but his effort flies narrowly off target.

Giroud holds off N'Diaye with a neat spin but his ball forward towards Walcott is cut out by Bramble.

Sessegnon steals the ball from Ramsey in midfield and sprints forward before setting up Fletcher for a glorious chance, but the striker uncharacteristically slices his shot wide.

Sunderland earn a corner and O'Shea wins the aerial duel, but he cannot direct his header down and Szczesny remains untested.

Giroud crashes a powerful low strike wide of Mignolet's left-hand post from 20 yards, after appearing to use his arm to bring the ball under control.

Ramsey and Arteta are both left nursing knocks within moments of each other following heavy challenges in midfield, but look to be fine to carry on.

Sunderland win a free-kick in a promising position and Larsson sends over a dangerous delivery, which Mertesacker manes to head behind for a corner after leaping high and using every inch of his giant frame to flick it on.

Wilshere's departure could offer Sunderland a route back into this match as he had been one of the most influential players for Arsenal in the first half.

Diaby comes on to replace Wilshere, who does not look to be in too much distress as he takes his place on the Arsenal dugout.

Wilshere goes down after a seemingly innocuous collision with N'Diaye and the physio has to come on to administer treatment, with Wenger ready to make a change.

A couple of stray passes from Arsenal let Sunderland gain a foothold in midfield in the early stages of this second half.

There are appeals for a penalty as Sessegnon goes down under pressure from Monreal after the Sunderland man had again gone past the Arsenal full-back. The referee waves play on, much to the annoyance of the fans, and replays suggest they may have had a good case.

The second half gets started and Sunderland have made a change, with Larsson on for Cattermole, who had been booked and also appeared to be limping towards the end of the first half.

Jack says: "Disgrace that Cattermole is still on the pitch. It is obovious that Sunderland are trying to take the Arsenal players out of it. The ref needs to step up and deal with them."

The half-time whistle goes and Wenger must be a very happy man following an impressive performance by his team so far. Arsenal lead 1-0 thanks to Cazorla's strike and have barely been tested by Sunderland at their own end, although the Black cats are not out of it yet and now have the chance to regroup.

Mignolet rushes off his line and stands up tall to make a wonderful save from point-blank range to deny Ramsey, who had been played in by Giroud.

The Stadium of Light faithful hold their breath as Cattermole throws himself in for another challenge, but this one is perfectly timed and breaks up play for Sunderland.

Arsenal quickly regain control and Walcott goes close to adding a second with a shot from 20 yards which is dragged just wide, following good play by Giroud.

Sunderland relieve the pressure with a spell of possession which ends with Rose digging out a cross from the left which is just too high for Fletcher and allows Szczesny to pluck the ball out of the air.

Arsenal are rampant and nearly make it 2-0 as Wilshere stretches out a leg to flick a pass towards Walcott at the far post. It would be a simple finish for Walcott but Rose does brilliantly to get back and turn the ball behind for a corner.

Arsenal look full of confidence now and Cazorla and Wilshere are really enjoying themselves in midfield, with their movement causing problems for the home side.

GOAL! The deadlock is finally broken as Cazorla arrows in a low shot from the edge of the area which leaves Mignolet with no chance as it fizzes through a sea of defenders. Credit must also go to Walcott for setting up the Spaniard after another neat move from Arsenal.

Arsenal are stepping up their efforts now in a bid to open the scoring before half-time, but Sunderland still look solid at the back and are working very hard.

SKY BET: Who can get the breakthrough? Giroud and Walcott are the 9/2 favourites to score first followed by Cazorla and Fletcher (both 7/1).

Mignolet pulls off a superb stop diving away to his left to parry a fierce shot from Ramsey which, after a slight deflection, had appeared to be flying into the top corner from 20 yards.

Sunderland seem to be lacking somewhat in adventure when they have a chance to counter-attack, as they do not throw enough bodies forward.

Arsenal threaten to work their way through Sunderland's defence with some intricate one-touch passing but Wilshere runs into Colback after being fed by Cazorla on the edge of the box.

Ramsey combines nicely with Monreal down the Arsenal left but his final ball is poor and Sunderland clear their lines.

Johnson bursts clear of his defender down the left wing but is too quick even for his own team-mates as he delivers a cross into the area and there is nobody there to pounce.

The game is just getting bogged down in midfield at the moment, with little space available for either side to build up momentum.

Colback hunts down Ramsey until he forces a mistake and wins the ball, but the Welshman recovers well to tackle Fletcher and avert a difficult situation for Arsenal.

Wilshere, who earned rave reviews for his performance in an England shirt against Brazil on Wednesday, has impressed during the early stages here, not just with his touch and vision but also his willingness to battle.

Sessegnon is giving Monreal a tough time down Arsenal's left just at the moment, and the new Spanish signing could probably do with a bit of help from his midfielders.

Giroud is released following a slick Arsenal move but just pokes his shot wide of the far post and Sunderland survive.

Fletcher tries to catch Szczesny out with an ambitious effort from at least 40 yards. It is well struck but the Arsenal keeper jumps up to make a routine save.

Sessegnon shows nimble footwork to get away from Monreal with a moment of trickery and burst into the box, before delivering a dangerous low cross that causes problems in the Arsenal area.

Mignolet makes a routine save from Giroud's weak long-range effort, before Jenkinson gives away a free-kick in midfield. Like Cattermole, he will have to tread very carefully after an early caution.

It has been a lively start at the Stadium of Light, with Arsenal settling into a fluent rhythm but Sunderland pressing hard to let them know they are in for a tough game.

Arsenal enjoy a period of sustained possession in midfield but cannot find a way through Sunderland's organised back line and must eventually go back to square one by playing the ball back to Szczesny.

More histrionics from Wenger in the dugout as Gardner steps in to dispossess Wilshere with a strong tackle.

Wenger is furious on the touchline as the referee rules that a challenge by Rose on Wilshere is fair, and his mood does not improve when Jenkinson is booked moments later for a foul on Colback.

Johnson threatens down the left with a god run but then gets in a tangle as he loses control of the ball between his feet, allowing Jenkinson to step in and make the tackle.

Cattermole is going to have to be very careful. He gives away a free-kick in midfield with another foul and, having already been booked, he is skating on thin ice.

There is a great atmosphere in the ground and both sides look up for the challenge, determined to go on the attack at every opportunity.

A thrilling start here as Sunderland come forward again but then Arsenal break quickly, with Mignolet called into action again to rush off his line and deny Walcott from a tight angle.

Arsenal respond with a chance of their own as Walcott forces Mignolet to make a fine save low to his right with a shot from the edge of the area. Cattermole had brought down Ramsey with a wild tackle just before Walcott's shot and is shown a yellow card by referee Anthony Taylor when play comes to a halt.

Roared on by their home fans, Sunderland make a quick start and N'Diaye dashes forward to head an early chance over Szczesny's crossbar.

Arsenal get the game started, with Sagna set to slot in at centre-back now after Jenkinson replaced Koscielny in a last-minute change to the team.

There has been a late change to the Arsenal line-up, where Laurent Koscielny is out after picking up an injury in the warm-up and Carl Jenkinson comes in.

Lewis Dunn writes: "Think it will be a tough game today but I have a good feeling about Sunderland, think we might just edge it 2-1 with Gardner to get one and Graham to get his first...just hope I'm right."

Jamie Cull is the first to get in touch, saying: "Should be in for a good game today. Sunderland always give us a difficult game but as always the two key players today have got to be Santi Cazorla and the one and only Sir Jack Wilshere....going for an Arsenal win....2-1 from Jay."

SKY BET: With Arsenal having conceded 62% of their goals in the first half of games, a league high proportion, and conceded fewer in total after the break than any other team (11, Opta), Sunderland HT Arsenal FT could prove a lucrative bet at 25/1 with Sky Bet. Lukas Podolski needs only to add more goals to his game to compliment an impressive tally of assists (10 in last eight league games, Opta) and the Germany international is an 11/2 shot to open the scoring. The Stadium of Light has witnessed fewer goals than any other ground in the top tier, under 2.5 goals at 5/6 promises to be a winner.

Sunderland: Mignolet, Gardner, Bramble, O'Shea, Rose, Sessegnon, Cattermole, N'Diaye, Colback, Johnson, Fletcher. Subs: Westwood, Bardsley, Larsson, Graham, Vaughan, Mangane, Cuellar.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Jenkinson, Monreal, Arteta, Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott, Giroud, Cazorla. Subs: Mannone, Diaby, Rosicky, Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Miquel.

Santi Cazorla is restored to the Arsenal starting XI, alongside Aaron Ramsey, with Abou Diaby and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain making way from the side which won 1-0 at Stoke last weekend. Black Cats boss Martin O'Neill also makes two changes as skipper Lee Cattermole returns from a knee injury and full-back Danny Rose is drafted in, with David Vaughan and Sebastian Larsson dropping out.

Please get in touch with your views and predictions at Lewis.Rutledge@bskyb.com, or via Twitter @SkySportsLewis. Can Sunderland get back to winning ways this afternoon and dent Arsenal's bid for Champions League qualification, or will Arsene Wenger's men prove too strong? The team news will be with you in a moment, but who do you think are likely to be the key players?

Good afternoon and welcome to our minute-by-minute commentary on Sunderland's Premier League game against Arsenal. The Gunners will be looking to boost their hopes of finishing in the top four but face a tough challenge against a Sunderland side desperate to put on a show in front of their own fans and push on from mid-table.

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