The Gunners had the opportunity to move top of the Premier League table and bounce back from their surprise loss versus Hull City with success on Wearside, but they struggled to create throughout the encounter.

After toiling for much of the game, Arsene Wenger's men had a goal disallowed in the second half after the linesman deemed that the ball had gone out of play prior to Theo Walcott's cross to Robin van Persie.

The Black Cats then sent the home supporters delirious when Grant Leadbitter came off the substitutes' bench to hit a screamer in off the bar with four minutes remaining.

But Arsenal dug deep, and, with only seconds remaining, Fabregas capitalised on indecision from goalkeeper Craig Gordon to head in his first goal of the season.