Sunderland manager Steve Bruce did old friend Sir Alex Ferguson a huge favour at the Emirates today by snapping his side's four-game losing streak and holding Arsenal to a scoreless draw, but luck was very clearly on the Black Cats' side today and played a huge role in keeping the Gunners off the scoresheet. Marouane Chamahk hit the crossbar with an excellent header. Simon Mignolet pulled off a string to great saves to keep Samir Nasri and Nicklas Bentdner from scoring. Andrei Arshavin scored a perfectly legitimate goal that was ruled out for offside, and he also should have earned a penalty when pushed over in the box. That's not to say that Sunderland didn't play well or didn't deserve to get something out of the match, but if there was ever a game to indicate how important luck is in football, this was it.
Sunderland had their chances too, and were unlucky (there it is again) not to score after excellent shots by Stephane Sessegnon in the first half and Danny Welbeck in the second, which drew equally excellent saves from Wojciech Szczęsny, but I don't think anyone will contest that Arsenal were the dominant force in the match. However, games aren't won by teams simply deserving to win - they have to actually score, and Arsenal simply didn't do it. Gone is the chance to close the gap on Manchester United to one point after the leaders' 2-1 reverse at Stamford Bridge earlier in the week. Arsenal will have to settle for being three points back in second place after wasting a huge, huge opening today.