Arsene Wenger admitted shot-shy Arsenal were "nervous" after they failed to score in the Barclays Premier League for a third successive game - but maintained the Gunners can still force their way back into the top four.

Even an impressive debut for Russian playmaker Andrei Arshavin could not help break down a determined Sunderland side, as Arsenal were not able to conjure a crucial goal to kick-start their stuttering league campaign after hitting four in the FA Cup against Cardiff at Emirates Stadium on Monday night.

"They tried to frustrate us and did that. We missed chances early and late in the game and we became nervous in front of goal," said the Arsenal manager.

However, despite having plenty of chances, a Kolo Toure header cleared off the line in the first half was a close as they got, with substitute Carlos Vela twice firing wide when well placed during the closing stages.

Wenger added: "The attitude is very good among the players but in the final third we are not as efficient as we could be.

"Our passing is sometimes not incisive enough. Maybe the strikers are not alerted quickly enough.

"Teams come here and play just one colossus up front and we have got to learn to cope with that."

Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia admitted his side had been somewhat fortunate to come away with a point. The visitors defended in numbers when needed but also had chances of their own, especially in the first half when Anton Ferdinand and captain Dean Whitehead got clear on the counter.

"We had a game plan but also we had a lot of luck, but sometimes you need that when you come to places like this," said Sbragia, his side now unbeaten in their last four Premier League games.

"They missed some chances and maybe were not clinical enough, perhaps a bit wild with their finishing, and on another day they could have won by four or five.

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Topics:
Arsenal
Sunderland
Football
Anton Ferdinand
Premier League
Cardiff City
Kolo Toure
Dean Whitehead
FA Cup