SUNDERLAND warmed up for the Capital One Cup final with a performance to forget after going down 4-0 to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Olivier Giroud (2), Tomas Rosicky and Laurent Koscielny scored on a routine afternoon for Arsene Wenger’s side, who consolidated their position behind Chelsea at the top of the table.
Emanuele Giaccherini scored a late consolation for the Black Cats, but Gus Poyet’s men remain in the bottom three going into next Sunday’s final at Wembley.
Poyet made eight changes from the side that knocked Southampton out of the FA Cup, but there was no place in the squad for Lee Cattermole.
With Liam Bridcutt cup-tied for next weekend’s Capital One Cup final at Wembley, it is thought the Black Cats boss wasn’t keen to risk Cattermole picking up an injury or suspension.
In just over a week the Wearsiders will walk out at the home of English football, but it appeared as if Poyet’s men were already there when Olivier Giroud put the Gunners ahead after five minutes.
The Frenchman finished off a lovely move through the middle after some intricate one touch passing from Jack Wilshere and Tomas Rosicky.
Sunderland’s first real break came 16 minutes in when Alonso broke down the left, but his first-time cross wasn’t enough to wrong-foot Wojciech Szczesny.
In the opening stages, Arsenal enjoyed over 90% per cent of possession and that statistic was mirrored by the number of chances coming their way.
Vito Mannone made a finger-tip save to deny Lukas Podolski, but just after the half-hour mark Wenger’s men mad it two.
Their opener had come thanks to Arsenal’s breath-taking play, but this time the Black Cats were the architects of their own downfall when trying to play out from the back.
Mannone passed out to Vergini and after coming under pressure on the far side the defender attempted to pass back to his keeper only for Giroud to pounce on the ball and finish.
Three minutes before half time Arsenal made it three-nil and again it was all too easy down the middle.
Santi Cazorla combined with Giroud on the edge of the area to set Rosicky up to dink it over Mannone.
Poyet spent the entire first half with his arms folded in the technical area and it was no surprise to see a double change for the visitors at half time. Seb Larsson and Emanuele Giaccherini replaced Jozy Altidore and Adam Johnson The Black Cats came out in the second half showing a little more intent, but Vergini almost scored an own goal when trying to clear a Gunners attack.
Laurent Koscielny scored a fourth in the 57th minute when he lost Phil Bardsley to head in from Cazorla’s corner with the Gunners still enjoying a routine afternoon in North London.
The Black Cats did pull back a consolation when Giaccherini scored from long-range, but the damage had already been done.