Gus Poyet opted against taking any chances with Lee Cattermole for the trip to Arsenal, with the former skipper not involved at all ahead of next week's Captial One Cup final. After a return to traning this week, Steven Fletcher also failed to make the squad.
There was a degree of familiarity about the starting lineup. It is basically the same side that battered Newcastle and started the next game against Hull with Santiago Vergini continuing to deputised for Wes Brown, who completes his suspension today.
Sunderland (4-1-4-1): Vito Mannone; Phil Bardsley, Santiago Vergini, John O'Shea, Marcos Alonso; Liam Bridcutt; Adam Johnson, Ki Sung-Yueng, Jack Colback, Fabio Borini; Jozy Altidore
Substitutes: Oscar Ustari, Ondrej Celustka, Carlos Cuellar, Craig Gardner, Seb Larsson, Emanuele Giaccherini, Nacho Scocco
The big news for Arsenal was that Mesut Ozil was 'rested' after a poor run of form and Arsene Wenger admitting the German to be a bit mentally broken by his midweek penalty gaffe.
The Gunners still have a strong squad on show, though, with Olivier Giroud and and Lukas Podolski both returning to the lineup.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Wojciech Szczesny; Bacary Sagna, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Nacho Monreal; Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta; Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski; Olivier Giroud
Substitutes: Lukasz Fabianski, Carl Jenkinson, Mathieu Flamini, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Serge Gnabry, Yaya Sanogo, Nicklas Bendtner
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