Arsenal Vs. Sunderland: Halftime Score 0-0; Match Exactly What You Thought It Would Be

As someone selling you Red Stripe might say: "Football! Hoooooray, football." Except they wouldn't, because they'd be talking about beer. Anyway, Premier League football's back and everyone's happy apart from Arsenal fans, who've lost Robin van Persie and are apparently about to see Alex Song depart as well. Oh, and they're being held at home by Sunderland through half of their opening fixture.

Unsurprisingly, the hosts dominated possession at the Emirates and generated most of the chances. New signing Santi Cazorla tested Simon Mignolet with a long drive early on then shot just wide after great work from Gervinho on the left side of the Sunderland penalty area. Theo Walcott scuffed the ball wide from a corner. Lukas Podolski somehow failed to score when the ball fell to him in the six yard box. Twice.

But it's not all gone Arsenal's way. I mean, duh, it's still 0-0. But they've had to do some defending too -- some awful play by Per Mertesacker, who completely lost the offside line, allowed James McClean through on goal against Wojciech Szczesny. Fortunately for the Gunners, the young winger's first touch was very poor, forcing him out wide and allowing the goalkeeper to make a stop. Szczesny was called into further action when Jack Colback attempted a dangerous low shot from range with the Arsenal midfield nowhere.

In other words, it's been just about what you'd expect from a van Persie-less Arsenal playing against Martin O'Neill's Sunderland. There's still not much defending to speak of and nothing in the way of a cutting edge so far. We'll see if they can improve in the second half.

We'll have live updates in our Premier League Week 1 StoryStream. You can read more about the Gunners at Arsenal blog The Short Fuse, and you can check out Sunderland blog Roker Report for more on the Black Cats.

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