Playing without Cesc Fabregas and Robin van Persie, Arsene Wenger's Arsenal squad and Sunderland have played to a scoreless 45 minutes.
Off a broken play in the 10th minute, Bacary Sagna easily found Samir Nasri who curled a left-footed ball that went directly to Simon Mignolet.
Nasri, as he usually does, has picked up the slack for the Gunners with Farbregas and van Persie inactive.
Nasri made a dazzling run in the 35th minute, weaving through the Sunderland defense and all the way to the goal line, where he earned a corner kick.
Bendtner did a bicycle kick on the ensuing corner kick that went directly at Mignolet.
The Sunderland goalkeeper denied Bendtner in the 40th minute by blocking a powerful shot.
Sunderland midfielder Kieran Richardson picked up a yellow card in the half off a hard tackle on Denilson.
The Black Cats had three corner kicks, but few real opportunities to score. Sessegnon ripped a right-footed shot that Wojciech Szczesny blocked in the 17th minute.
The Gunners are just three points behind Manchester United, who are idle today and play Sunday at Liverpool.
D: Clichy, Koscielny, Djourou, Sagna
M:Denilson, Wilshere, Arshavin, Diaby, Nasri
D: Bardsley, Bramble, Mensah, Ferdinand
M: Malbranque, Muntari, Richardson, Henderson, Sessegnon