Sunderland’s surge almost caught us out, admits Arsenal boss Wenger

Adam Johnson is brought down by Laurent Koscielny to win a penalty for Sunderland
Adam Johnson is brought down by Laurent Koscielny to win a penalty for Sunderland
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ARSENE Wenger admitted Arsenal were almost caught out by Sunderland’s second-half surge at the Stadium of Light.

The Black Cats pulled the scores level thanks to Craig Gardner’s 48th minute penalty, which cancelled out Olivier Giroud’s 10th-minute opener for the Gunners.

And they would have equalised a second time had woeful refereeing from Martin Atkinson not chalked off Jozy Altidore’s 71st-minute ‘goal’ – with Wenger conceding his side got “lucky” with that decision.

He said: “We had an outstanding first half with plenty of chances but only went in at half-time 1-0 up and the break came at the right time for Sunderland.

“They came back strongly and got it to 1-1.

“But I was pleased that we had the mental resources to get back ahead and see the game out.

“Sunderland’s disallowed goal is one of those things that happen.

“It is controversial because the referee had blown for the foul before the ball went over the line.

“If Sunderland’s player had not scored, the fans might have complained that they didn’t get the foul.

“It’s difficult, but it was fortunate for us. We were a bit lucky with that because the situation went in our favour.”

Arsene Wenger was handed an immediate return on his £42million investment in Mesut Ozil after he left his sickbed to inspire Arsenal to victory.

Wenger said: “He was like the team - he had an outstanding first half and dropped physically in the second half.

“He was sick on Thursday night and I decided only today to play him, this morning. He had a stomach bug and didn’t feel well.

“He dropped a bit physically in the second half, but his first half was outstanding.”

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