Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore has revealed he was left stunned by Martin Atkinson’s decision to deny him a first Premier League goal for the Black Cats.
The summer signing from AZ Alkmaar looked to have drawn the two sides level on Saturday after shrugging off the intentions of Bacary Sagna and slotting the ball under the Gunners’ keeper. However as the ball trickled over the line, celebrations were dramatically cut short by referee Atkinson as he pulled the play back for Sagna’s foul -- choosing to only book the Frenchman for what appeared to be a sending-off offense.
Speaking afterwards, Altidore told the Sunderland Echo: "Of course I thought that was my first goal in the Premier League. You don't get chances like that in this league very often and I thought I had my goal. It was very disappointing. I didn't hear the whistle or anything. I don't think Sagna heard anything because he kept going and I think it was (Kieran) Gibbs who tried to get it out of the goal so he obviously didn't hear anything either. The keeper came out and played the ball like it was live. It crossed the line OK as well, so it's disappointing."
With Sunderland now inhabiting last place in the Premier League, talk has already surfaced about the threat of relegation. Yet to register a win, Altidore confirmed that the squad is remaining calm, that is despite a tough run of fixtures coming up including Liverpool and Manchester United.
"You don't get time in the Premier League before people are talking about relegation and stuff," Altidore said. "But everybody is calm still. We still have plenty of time, but we understand that we have to start getting points. I thought the second half was good, but we can’t wait for teams. You can't wait in this league, there’s too much quality.
"You have to start the game like we did in the second half. Arsenal had a lot of chances in the first half, but we put them on edge in the second half. If we had started the game like that, I think we would have got something. We need that intensity because that's how we're going to get more chances. We're not going to tap the ball around teams like Barcelona. We're going to get chances by being aggressive, by being tenacious and we have to keep doing that."