JUST like it did when Liverpool arrived on Wearside, a Darren Bent goal proved the difference when Arsenal appeared at the Stadium of Light.
This time, though, there was not a single beach ball in sight, as Bent put last week's England frustration behind him by powering Sunderland to within a point of the top four.
But this time around, unlike when Liverpool were defeated in mid-October, Sunderland's victory was made all the more impressive by the Gunners' recent form.
Arsenal had managed to score in every Premier League fixture this season but, even if they were without the injured Robin van Persie, they rarely looked like finding a way past Marton Fulop.
There were nervous moments after Sunderland had taken the lead in the 71st minute, but in the end Bent's ninth goal since his £10.5m move from Tottenham sufficed.
Steve Bruce, the Sunderland manager, had witnessed his players waste a few decent opportunities, but Bent made up for them when there was little time for Arsenal to pull level.
The England man's winner arrived with a touch of fortune. He glanced a header from Andy Reid's corner that bounced off Fraizer Campbell, which fell nicely for Bent to slide in and power high into Manuel Almunia's net.
Arsenal substitute Andrey Arshavin found the side netting late on after meeting Alex Song's delivery, but Arsene Wenger cut a frustrated figure as Chelsea moved eight points clear at the top of the Premier League.
SUNDERLAND (4-4-1-1): Fulop; Bardsley, Mensah (Ferdinand 82), Da Silva, McCartney; Malbranque (Campbell 66), Henderson, Cana, Reid (Zenden 78); Richardson, Bent. Subs: Carson, Healy, Murphy, Nosworthy.
ARSENAL (4-3-2-1): Almunia; Sagna, Vermaelen, Gallas, Traore; Ramsey (Arshavin 5), Song, Fabregas; Rosicky (Walcott 72), Nasri; Eduardo (Vela 72). Subs: Walcott, Denilson, Silvestre, Mannone, Eboue.