Sunderland youngster Jack Colback believed Arsenal proved a tougher test than Andre Villas-Boas' Chelsea.
Steve Bruce's out-of-form Black Cats suffered a 2-1 defeat at Emirates Stadium on Sunday after Robin van Persie struck either side of Sebastian Larsson's equaliser.
It could have been a different story had Colback and Lee Cattermole not both wasted excellent chances and the 21-year-old was disappointed with his miss.
But having already played in the 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at the Stadium of Light in September, the midfielder thought a less-than-convincing Arsenal were the best team he has faced this season.
"Obviously we played Chelsea at home but I don't think they move it around as quick as Arsenal," Colback told Sunderland's official website.
"They make the pitch really big and they're constantly rotating so you don't really get a chance to have a breather.
"But while it's hard work and tough, these are the games you want to play in and it's great experience for me to play and start the game."
After conceding the opening goal in just 29 seconds, when Van Persie scored his first, Colback was pleased with Sunderland's attitude in their response.
"It was the worst start we could have asked for," he said. "The gaffer said that they're going through a tricky time at the moment and told us to try and quiet the crowd down and we didn't do that.
"But I think we showed the fighting spirit again that we have in the team and got back into it, but it's just a massive disappointment that we got nothing after all that effort."