MATCH SPY: It's a last gasp escape at Stadium of Light
PUBLISHED: 11:56 08 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:28 07 September 2010
Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal Sat Oct 4 Stadium of Light Att: 40,199 An injury time header by 5ft 8in Cesc Fabregas salavaged a point for the Gunners - but this could prove to be an expensive draw with two more points dropped as inconsistency continues to dog t
Sunderland 1-1 Arsenal
Sat Oct 4
Stadium of Light
An injury time header by 5ft 8in Cesc Fabregas salavaged a point for the Gunners - but this could prove to be an expensive draw with two more points dropped as inconsistency continues to dog their season.
The Spaniard rose to head home Robin van Persie's corner after substitute Grant Leadbitter's stunning 25-yarder looked to have given Roy Keane's side an unexpected three points.
Asked if the result was fair, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger shrugged: "It is a result. It depends what you call fair.
"I believe if you take the possession and the initiative, it was all us. But they defended with great spirit and were resilient for the whole game.
"I like to think usually the team that takes the initiative should be rewarded, but it is not always like that in football.
"We lacked a little bit of the sharpness to get them out of position."
Leadbitter had smashed the ball home, via the underside of the bar, with just three minutes remaining of normal time after Alex Song was caught in possession on the edge of his own area.
It looked to have condemned Arsenal to a second successive Barclays Premier League loss before Fabregas took the initiative in injury time.
"We needed character to come back and at least get a point," added Wenger.
Keane, however, defended his side's lack of attacking ambition - a tactic which nearly earned them the win.
"I can only focus on my own team, and I am sure Arsene will have to do the same," said the Sunderland manager.
"I am pretty sure if I had different players available, we might have been a bit more attack-minded.
"Next time we play them, it might be different... maybe Arsene should focus on his own team."
It could have different, though, if van Persie's 56th-minute effort was allowed to stand. His strike was chalked off after the referee Lee Mason ruled Theo Walcott pulled the ball back after it had crossed the byline. TV cameras suggested otherwise and Wenger added: "From the bench, my neck is not tall enough to see was the ball was out or not.
"Theo says that the ball was in. I have to believe him.. but it changes nothing now.