A lively Arshavin came close to scoring on his Arsenal debut
An impressive debut from Andrey Arshavin failed to lift Arsenal to victory over a stubborn Sunderland.
The Russian almost scored twice in the first 15 minutes, shooting just wide and then seeing a drive well saved.
Robin van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner also went close, while Dean Whitehead and Anton Ferdinand had shots kept out.
Carlos Vela, William Gallas and Van Persie all missed late chances, as Arsenal's hopes of a Champions League spot were dealt another blow.
The Gunners went into the game looking to close the gap on fourth-placed Aston Villa, who lost to Chelsea earlier in the day.
And they started brightly, with new signing Arshavin creating an immediate impression.
He took only five minutes to show why Arsenal had pursued him so doggedly, as he picked up a loose ball and smashed a vicious, low drive only inches wide.
Wenger frustrated by lack of goals
The little Russian was at it again shortly after, this time cutting in from the right and hitting a left-foot shot that forced Marton Fulop into a smart save. In between those chances, Van Persie had clipped the ball over Fulop but wide of the goal after he had been put though by Denilson.
Sunderland were struggling to get on the ball, while Arsenal looked in the mood to close on the gap on the top four.
But in their eagerness to make their early advantage tell, the Gunners began to leave themselves vulnerable to the counter-attack.
The visitors worked the ball quickly to Ferdinand, whose drive was punched away by Manuel Almunia - and it set the trend for the next 10 minutes.
Arshavin debut spoiled by poor result
Unfortunately for Sunderland their fluid approach play was not quite matched by their finishing, with Andy Reid shooting over and Whitehead denied by Almunia.
Arsenal fared no better in front of goal as they came up against an in-form Fulop, who did superbly to tip Bendtner's header round the post.
And when Fulop was beaten by Kolo Toure's header, Sunderland's defenders were on hand to clear the ball off the line.
Back at the other end, Kenwyne Jones was robbed by a backtracking Bacary Sagna just as he was about to shoot.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.