Sports Mole brings you live text commentary from the opening day of the new Premier League season as Arsenal host Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium.
By Jack Prescott, Rugby Editor Filed: Saturday, August 18, 2012 at 14:02 UK
Last Updated: Saturday, August 18, 2012 at 17:05 UK
Good afternoon and welcome along to Sports Mole's live text commentary of Arsenal against Sunderland from the Emirates Stadium.
The new Premier League season is here and the Gunners are already looking a different outfit following their movement in the transfer market.
Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud are all in, while there will be no Robin van Persie lining up at the Emirates this afternoon after he completed a £24m move to Manchester United.
Meanwhile, Sunderland's form tailed off at the end of last season, but they will be hoping to get off to a solid start in the capital today.
However, it has been 30 years since the Black Cats picked up a league win at Arsenal.
Please note that kickoff is at 3pm.
4.57pmRight, that's it from us here at Sports Mole this afternoon. We hope you enjoyed our live text commentary, just a shame that there weren't any goals. Maybe next time. Anyway, thanks for your company and we hope that you enjoy the rest of the weekend. Make sure to follow us on the site for all the news, reports and reaction during this new Premier League season!
4.55pmNot quite boos from the Arsenal fans but they seem disappointed with that. They saw their side dominate against Sunderland from start to finish but fail to find the net. The best chance fell to Olivier Giroud, but he somehow fired wide with just the goalkeeper to beat.
90 minWe'll have four minutes of injury time here at the Emirates...
87 minThe Black Cats hunting in numbers there as they close down Giroud faster than you can say "bore draw".
85 minSunderland have a rare chance with a free kick out wide but Arsenal clear the danger.
82 minWhat a miss! Giroud is played through on goal by Cazorla, shoots first time from about eight yards with just Mignolet to beat but fluffs his shot wide. That was Arsenal's best chance of the game.
80 minThe home fans groan in disappointment again. This time Ramsey picks up the ball 20 yards from goal but can only shoot high and wide.
79 minMeanwhile, Sunderland make their final substitution of the afternoon as David Myler comes on for Seb Larsson.
77 minGreat defending from Richardson there. He tracks Gervinho after the Ivorian plays a one-two with Ramsey but the defender is there to clear the danger.
76 minThe Gunners make their third and final change as Theo Walcott is replaced by Andriy Arshavin. Can the pint-sized Russian conjure something up?
74 minSunderland can count themselves lucky there. The ball falls to Giroud in the box but his turn and shot/cross evades all of his teammates.
72 minJust under 20 minutes of normal time to play here at the Emirates...
70 minRamsey tries his lukc straight away but he sees his effort tamely roll into the arms of Mignolet. You certainly can't accuse Arsenal of not having a go this afternoon. I think pretty much every player bar Szczesny has had a crack at goal.
68 minChange for Sunderland now as Ahmed Elmohamady comes on for Frazer Campbell. Meanwhile, Abou Diaby is off and Aaron Ramsey is on for Arsenal.
66 minCan the Frenchman make the breakthrough on his debut?
65 minHere we go then, Olivier Giroud comes on to huge applause and he replaces Lukas Podolski.
62 minThis is getting ridiculous now. Sunderland's defence is all over the shop and when the ball falls to Walcott all he can do is hit it into the sidenetting. How many chances do Arsenal want?!
60 minArsenal go close again! This time it's Cazorla who whacks it on the half volley from the edge of the area only to see his shot flash inches wide of a diving Mignolet.
58 minOoh! Podolski goes for goal but his curled effort goes over. I think Mignolet had that one covered but it was a decent drive.
57 minWalcott is fouled now and this free kick is certainly within shooting range.
56 minOlivier Giroud is warming up on the touchline for Arsenal. Are we going to see the French striker soon?
54 minArsenal play around with on the edge of the Sunderland box but it comes to nothing. Sound familiar? Cazorla tries to cut through the Sunderland defence but is not allowed.
51 minOpportunity for Larsson to get in a good cross out on the left, but his delivery is beyond poor and dealt with by Mertesacker.
49 minThe Black Cats have started this second half brightly. The get a free kick out wide which is whipped into the box but Arsenal clear.
47 minEarly opportunity for Sunderland as Campbell gets free down the right, but Gervinho of all people is back there to help clear up the danger. The Arsenal fans don't let his effort go unnoticed and give him loud applause.
45 minThe players are back out at the Emirates and it will be Sunderland to kick off this second half...
3.57pmPremier League half-time scores: Fulham 2-0 Norwich QPR 0-1 Swansea Reading 0-1 Stoke West Brom 1-0 Liverpool West Ham 1-0 Aston Villa
3.55pmRight, I'm going to put up the rest of the half-time scores from the Premier League, so if you don't want to see them you know what to do...
3.52pmOut of the two new signings for the Gunners it was Santi Cazorla who looked the most threatening in that half. The Spaniard went close with two efforts, the first of which was kept out with a good save from Simon Mignolet.
3.49pmThat was an entertaining half from the new-look Arsenal, but they just lacked the finishing touch in front of goal. Sunderland had to defend for most of the opening 45 minutes but showed flashes of danger on the break.
43 minChance for Podolski! A typically incisive Arsenal move sees Walcott slide in a low cross for the German. He gets to the near post but his shot is smothered by the Sunderland defence. Arsenal have a corner but it comes to nothing.
41 minWe have a rare chance for Sunderland as Colback sneaks in down the right of the Arsenal defence but opts to shoot instead of cutting it back and it finds the sidenetting.
40 minWe've just five minutes left in this opening half...
38 minThat's a huge let off for Sunderland. Larsson gives a dangerous passback to his defence which Gervinho intercepts. However, the forward gets in a mix up with Cazorla and the attack comes to nothing.
36 minArteta has another chance to deliver a free kick into the area, but Sunderland defend well. You just get a sense that the Arsenal fans are getting the tiniest bit frustrated now. After 36 minutes of the new season.
33 minOh dear. The Spaniard instead goes for goal but it flies high and wide, much to the mirth of the Sunderland fans. That has to go down as a waster after Mertesacker and Vermaelen had both got forward.
31 minIt's a free kick to Arsenal now as Gervinho is blocked by Cuellar. Looks like it'll be Arteta to deliver...
29 minIn contrast to their opponents, Sunderland are enjoying no luck in the final third. James McClean is plugging awa tirelessly as only he can but they're looking toothless in attack.
27 minGreat save from Mignolet! Diaby is given time to run at the Sunderland defence, but his low shot is pushed away by the keeper. That one was creeping in. It seems like when and not if for Arsenal at the moment.
25 minWalcott goes in again, this time to head Cazorla's cross. The Gunners enjoy some patient play down the left but the winger can't make any decent contact on the ball when it comes in.
22 minWalcott has another opportunity now but his weak left-footed effort floats harmlessly wide of Mignolet's goal.
20 minConfusion in the Sunderland area! Jenkinson is found out wide and delivers a low cross. Walcott goes to attack it at the near post but Cuellar and Mignolet just about deal with it between them. Arsenal cranking up the pressure.
19 minJust as I say that Cazorla goes extremely close for the hosts. Gervinho initially does well down the left hand side. His cutback finds the Spaniard, but his left-footed drive on the turn flies just wide of Mignolet's goal. Great technique from Cazorla, but just an inch or two wide of where he wanted it.
16 minApart from those two early chances, there's been little to shout about from both teams in an attacking sense. Sunderland have packed the midfield, while the Gunners are happy to keep possession.
14 minArsene Wenger isn't looking too flustered down on the touchline yet. There's also a new face on the Gunners bench in the form of Steve Bould, who has taken over from Pat Rice as the Frenchman's assistant.
12 minGroans from the Arsenal fans now as Mertesacker makes a marauding run forward but gets it all wrong when his pass goes yards in front of Walcott and out for a throw.
9 minArsenal are very much dominating this one now. Mikel Arteta is hustling well in the midfield and Cazorla and Podolski are looking very dangerous.
7 minThat was a great effort from Cazorla after what was a very dynamic run from the summer signing. The Arsenal fans will certainly like to see a bit more of that. He's looking lively.
5 minEarly chance for Sunderland. Arsenal are appealing for offside, but Szczesny has to pull off the save from Campbell. Meanwhile, Podolski goes right up the other end and has his effort parried away by Mignolet. This one's opening up a bit now...
3 minNo real chances as of yet for either team as they both get a feel for the ball.
1 minAs expected it's the Gunners who are enjoying the early possession.
1 minHere we go then and it'll be Arsenal to get us underway on what is a gloriously sunny day at the Emirates Stadium.
2.58pmThomas Vermaelen heads the Arsenal lineup having been named as the new club captain following Robin van Persie's departure. The players exit the tunnel and the crowd, as expected, goes bonkers.
2.56pmThe Emirates is looking packed as the players get ready to walk onto the pitch. Some very dramatic music is being pumped out of the speakers.
2.52pmManager Arsene Wenger is clearly hoping for a few more appearances from the 23-year-old after he revealed that he was trying to get the winger to pen a new deal at the Emirates Stadium.
2.51pmA small nugget of information for you here as Theo Walcott lines up to make his 150th Premier League appearance for the Gunners. Doesn't time fly?
2.48pmRight, we are just under 10 minutes to kickoff...
2.44pmThese two teams met three times last season, with Arsenal coming out on top in both league encounters 2-1. However, Sunderland ended the Gunners' dreams of lifting the FA Cup with a 2-0 win at the Stadium of Light in the middle of February.
2.38pmWhat O'Neill has done though is trim his squad down by getting rid of six players including Asamoah Gyan and Michael Turner.
2.36pmToday marks the start of manager Martin O'Neill's first full campaign in charge and the Irishman has been unusually quiet in the transfer market over the summer with the only addition to his squad being Carlos Cuellar from Aston Villa.
2.34pmAnd how about Sunderland? Well, a 13th-placed finish last season was solid from the Black Cats, but they could have found themselves further up the table were in not for a slump towards the end of the campaign.
2.30pmHowever, the fortunes of the two new additions couldn't have been more contrasting as Podolski was relegated from the German Bundesliga with Cologne, while Giroud helped Montpellier secure their maiden Ligue 1 title.
2.28pmBetween them, the new pair scored 40 goals in all competitions last season.
2.26pmHow are the Gunners likely to cope without last season's top scorer? Well, the good news is that manager Arsene Wenger has thrown Lukas Podolski straight into the mix, while Olivier Giroud is lurking on the bench.
2.24pmAnd of course this is the first glimpse of Arsenal post-RVP.
2.22pmOne glaring omission from the Arsenal squad for today is Alex Song as rumours of a �17m move to Barcelona grow...