Jermain Defoe says Sunderland were “100 per cent” denied a clear-cut penalty in the stalemate against Arsenal.
Sunderland moved out of the relegation zone on goal difference after the draw against the Gunners, yet there was a window of opportunity for Sam Allardyce’s men to take maximum points and create clear daylight with relegation rivals Norwich and Newcastle.
Top scorer Defoe saw boisterous first half penalty appeals waved away by referee Mike Dean after his shot was blocked by the outstretched arms of Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker.
Dean at least proved to be consistent with his decisions after similarly ignoring claims for a spot-kick at the other end when DeAndre Yedlin blocked Alex Iwobi’s shot with his arm.
But Sunderland striker Defoe was in no doubt that the Black Cats deserved the chance to go ahead from the penalty spot.
“Yes, 100 per cent (it was a penalty)” said Defoe.
“I said it to the referee and he had a look at it at half-time and said he agreed.
“I said if he didn’t stop that with his hand, then it goes in because it was so close to the goal.
“It would have been difficult for Petr Cech to react because I hit it so clean.”
Defoe saw a half-volley saved by Cech as Sunderland pushed for victory in the second half, yet the Black Cats camp were still satisfied to come away with a point against the third placed Gunners.
“The manager has always said that if you can’t win, the point’s are important because they add up at the end of the season,” he added to Sky Sports.
“Arsenal are obviously a good team with their movement and the way they keep the ball.
“It was important we were disciplined and compact, and try to hit them on the counter-attack.
“We got the point in the end and we were happy with that.”