Wenger riled by 'block' Cats

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger bemoaned Sunderland’s defensive approach after seeing Cesc Fabregas snatch a point at the Stadium of Light.

The Spaniard headed home an injury-time equaliser in a dramatic conclusion to the game after substitute Grant Leadbitter looked to have condemned the visitors to back-to-back Barclays Premier League defeats for the first time since March last year.

Wenger admitted his side had not been at their best a week after the shock 2-1 home defeat by Hull, and revealed his frustration at the tactics employed by opposite number Roy Keane during the 1-1 draw.

Asked if the result was a fair one, the Frenchman said: “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 the sharpness to get them out of position.

“They gave us the ball and said, ’Listen, we are happy with 0-0, do what you want’, and the story of the game was they didn’t only almost get the 0-0, they almost won the game.

“We needed character to come back and at least get a point.

“Is it a good point or a bad point? I don’t know, but it was a frustrating day for us because we didn’t create the chances we usually do and I must say, Sunderland defended very well.”

Keane, however, launched a robust defence of his team after they came within seconds of snatching a famous victory.

He said: “I can only focus on my own team, and I am sure Arsene will have to do the same.

“I am pretty sure if I had different players available, we might have been a bit more attack-minded.

“But I have to look at the squad of players I have available to me and for today, that was a good option for us. Next time we play them, it might be different.

“We played Arsenal a number of times last year, we played Chelsea, we played United – we played United here and went 4-4-2 and we lost 4-0, and it could have been seven.

“We have to get the balance right with our own team and maybe Arsene Wenger should focus on his own team.

“The bottom line for any of these top teams, they will tell you, part of the game is breaking down the opposition.”

Leadbitter’s 86th-minute strike seemed to have given the Black Cats all three points, but Fabregas rescued the visitors three minutes into injury-time.

It might have been different, however, had a 56th-minute Robin van Persie strike been allowed to stand, with television replays suggesting that a decision to disallow it because the ball had gone out of play before Theo Walcott crossed was questionable.

Wenger said: “From the bench, my neck is not tall enough to see was the ball was out or not.

“Theo Walcott says that the ball was in. I have to believe him, but anyway, it doesn’t change anything now. There has been nothing given.

“It’s just another appeal for video. If a manager had two appeals per game on video, with this one, I would have used it, of course.”

Meanwhile, Keane insisted he was mystified by reports that he will attempt to lure former adversary Patrick Vieira to Wearside in January.

He said: “I haven’t got a clue where it has come from. It’s not fair on the club or Patrick Vieira.

“He’s at a club, he is under contract and good luck to him. I am sure if you asked him, he has got no intentions of leaving Inter Milan or wherever he is at.

“If he was going to leave there, I am not sure Sunderland would be at the top of his list.”

More on this topic

Rooney sees Red Devils growing in confidence

Rovers fail to cope with Ferguson's men

Mowbray: We believe we can stay in Premier League

West Brom secure second win in a row

More in this Section

Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers reveals he had coronavirusLeicester boss Brendan Rodgers reveals he had coronavirus

Brighton considering possibility of friendlies before Premier League restartBrighton considering possibility of friendlies before Premier League restart

Ian Maguire: Cork's league campaign not for nothing, even if declared null and voidIan Maguire: Cork's league campaign not for nothing, even if declared null and void

Puspure: Ireland could lose Olympic prospects to retirement if 5km restriction not easedPuspure: Ireland could lose Olympic prospects to retirement if 5km restriction not eased


A whiff of new normality is in the air, writes Des O'SullivanAntiques: How to put a post-lockdown world in the frame

Another week, another fiendishly fun test of your arts and showbiz knowledge from Irish Examiner Arts Editor Des O'DriscollScene & Heard: Fun culture quiz

The story of how the Cork-based executive head chef faced her “demons” and turned around her life just before her 30th birthday.This is me: Trisha Lewis transforms her body and mindset

A star-studded finale from the Late Late Show and a classic Brazil v France encounter feature among today's top tips.Friday's TV Highlights: A star-studded finale from the Late Late Show and a classic Brazil v France encounter

More From The Irish Examiner