Ferdinand is expected to be handed a defensive midfield role with Mensah and Michael Turner the centre-backs.
Kieran Richardson returns to the side with Fraizer Campbell also restored the starting line-up as Bruce adds pace to his midfield.
Manuel Almunia has recovered from a finger injury and replaces Lukasz Fabianski in goal.
ARSENAL (4-4-2): Almunia; Eboue, Vermaelen Silvestre, Clichy; Ramsey, Fabregas,Song, Nasri;Bendtner, Walcott. Subs: Fabianski (gk), Rosicky, Vela, Traore, Campbell, Denilson, Sagna.
SUNDERLAND (4-4-2): Gordon;Hutton,Turner,Mensah,McCartney;Campbell,Cana, Ferdinand, Richardson; Jones, Bent. Subs: Carson (gk), Bardsley, Da Silva, Kilgallon, Malbranque, Benjani, Zenden.