Olivier Giroud silenced the vultures circulating around his private life by producing a man of the match performance in a game where Arsenal scored another contender for goal of the season .
Arsenal continued to keep up with Chelsea and Manchester City in the title race by beating relegation threatened Sunderland 4-1 in the easiest manner possible. More worrying for the Gunners was Laurent Koscielny and Jack Wilshere both finishing the game with suspected injuries.
Sunderland looked like they were having an extra week off ahead of the League Cup final against Manchester City next weekend with manager Gus Poyet describing the game as “a possible dress rehearsal', but in the end the Uruguayan couldn't have been more glad when the curtain finally went down.
A statue of Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp was unveiled outside the Emirates before the match. The Dutch international made 423 appearances and scored 120 goals in an illustrious 11 year period. He was part of the Invincibles during the 2003-04 season and scored one of the best ever goals in the Premier League, as he personified the perfect balance between athleticism and quality.
Record signing Mesut Ozil was left out of by manager Arsene Wenger, due to an unspecified injury. In truth, a recent string of poor performances from the German international was the reason behind his unsurprising omission.
Arsenal hadn't scored a goal in the first-half in their last 10 games, but it didn't take them long to correct this. The returning Olivier Giroud, who hadn't started the last two matches, opened the scoring after only five minutes following neat build-up play from Thomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere. The Frenchman had the simple task of placing the ball past the helpless Vito Mannone for his 11th league goal of the season.
Lukas Podolski and Thomas Rosicky had efforts saved by Mannone before Giroud scored his and Arsenal's second - undoubtedly one of easiest goals he will score in his career. Santiago Vergini, deputising for the suspended Wes Brown, left Mannone in no man's land with an unmeasured back-pass that allowed Giroud to nip in and slot the ball under the stranded Italian.
When Arsenal scored their opening goal against Norwich in October it was touted as one of the goals of the season, but their third today was on a parallel level. Rosicky's first goal at the Emirates in over two years finished off a beautifully worked one touch move that involved the ever present Jack Wilshere and Oliver Giroud. The veteran Czech international midfielder ended the move by clipping the ball over the advancing Mannone to put the game to bed after 42 minutes.
Sunderland looked more active after the break with Fabio Borini's effort forcing a decent save from Wojciech Szczescy. But Sunderland's more threatening approach looked in vain when Vergini nearly put through his own net and the resulting corner was powerfully headed in from an unmarked Laurent Koscielny to make it 4-0 after 57 minutes.
Ki Sung-Yueng's effort after 69 minutes was well-saved down by Szczesny after neat build-up play from Sebastian Larsson, before Larsson saw his free-kick fly just past the right hand post.
It took Sunderland 80 minutes to register their account on the day with a stunning effort from half-time substitute Emanuele Giaccherini. The Italian took the ball from a cleared corner and unleashed a shot that flew into the left hand corner of Szczesny's net, but the Polish stopper should have done better.
The game ended with Arsenal comfortable winners and within one point of leaders Chelsea.