Jordan Pickford was handed his Sunderland debut for the FA Cup third round tie at Arsenal.
Goalkeeper Pickford - back from his loan spell at Championship Preston - took his place in the starting XI as one of seven changes to the side by Sam Allardyce.
Fringe figures DeAndre Yedlin, Ola Toivonen, Jeremain Lens and Danny Graham all got their opportunities, with Allardyce shuffling his pack ahead of Wednesday's crucial Premier League clash against fellow strugglers Swansea.
Yet the Sunderland line-up was still perhaps stronger than some had expected, with the likes of Lee Cattermole, John O'Shea and Duncan Watmore all keeping their places.
Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Gabriel, Koscielny, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chambers, Iwobi, Walcott, Campbell, Giroud. Subs: Macey, Debuchy, Arteta, Ramsey, Monreal, Reine-Adelaide, Willock.
Sunderland: Pickford, Yedlin, Coates, O'Shea, van Aanholt, Cattermole, Lens, Toivonen, Watmore, Graham, Fletcher. Subs: Mannone, Jones, Borini, Defoe, M'Vila, Mavrias, Beadling.