Arsenal were especially keen to start this campaign with a win, given that talisman Robin Van Persie had just joined the enemy for £24 million.
It became evident early on that Sunderland were content to defend, hoping to catch their opponents on the break or force a goal at set pieces.
Predictably Arsenal dominated the ball with 71% possession but with only 3 shots on target in 95 minutes, this was like a visit to the dentist.
The Gunners found the Black Cat's wall of blue, hard to penetrate. Sunderland's defensive play was outstanding with Carlos Cuéllar and John O'Shea acting as super-human shields. Larsson performed well, showing guile and vision in his play but his teammates were not on the same wavelength.
James McClean and Jack Colback both managed to breach the Arsenal back line but failed to capitalise. Cattermole was however fortunate to escape a booking for a deliberate handball, in a first half devoid of fizz.
Sunderland had to work hard to keep the Gunners at bay and they unsurprisingly seemed to tire and as the second half unfolded and play began to open up.
Arsenal new boy Cazorla was anxious to impress and produced some neat touches. He had been identified as the danger and was marshalled efficiently. He escaped his shackles a couple of times and did show glimpses of magic.
It was Cazorla on 81 minutes who created the one outstanding opening of the game when he played a beautiful reverse pass to Giroud on the edge of the area.
Giroud shot wide, perhaps not realising that he had the time and space to do far better.
Would Van Persie have scored? Probably, but Wenger rightfully pointed out in the Sky Sports post match interview that Van Persie could miss too.
The new Arsenal signings would do well to get their scoring boots on sooner rather than later, or else suffer continuous comparisons to the new darling of Manchester United.
Both sides were rusty but Arsenal will need to improve their passing and movement if they wish to make any kind of challenge to the blue and red of Manchester.
Arsenal's Arshavin hardly added to the party by losing the ball 5 times in a disappointing 15 minute cameo. This was possession without penetration and there was always the possibility that Sunderland would nick one at the other end.
Wenger hinted in the post match interview with Sky Sports that he may be bringing in reinforcements. Arsenal fans will be grateful to hear those words, especially as Alex Song is now on his way to Barcelona.
It's worth noting that Arteta and Diaby were both competent in midfield, without ever managing to unlock the eleven-man defence, while Gervinho was a menace on the wing and was willing to take players on.
For O'Neill this was a well-earned point but a frustrating afternoon for Wenger, who must consider both the shape and make-up of his midfield.