Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal were 'a bit lucky' after Jozy Altidore 'goal' for Sunderland was ruled out

The referee failed to give the advantage before sending off Paulo Di Canio

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The Independent Football

Arsene Wenger admitted Arsenal had enjoyed a slice of fortune as they went to the top of the Barclays Premier League with a 3-1 win at Sunderland.

For opposite number Paulo Di Canio, the game ended on a sour note when he was sent off after protesting to the referee at the length of time it took Olivier Giroud to leave the pitch as he was substituted.

That followed the contentious disallowing of a goal by Jozy Altidore when the Black Cats were 2-1 down, Altidore shooting past goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny only for referee Martin Atkinson to call play back for a foul on the United States frontman.

Wenger told the BBC: "They came back to 1-1 and we were a bit lucky at 2-1, maybe, but we found the mental resources again to win the game and were much more clinical in the second half."

Di Canio acknowledged he talked himself into his sending-off.

"My mistake was that I invited him," the Italian said. "I said, 'If you want to complete a perfect job today, you have to only send me off'. He said, 'Go off'. They were the words."

Tottenham showed life goes on without Gareth Bale when they moved second with a 2-0 win over Norwich.

Gylfi Sigurdsson scored twice and striker Roberto Soldado believes such victories are crucial as they bid to finish in the top four.

"We know that it's important to get three points at home, that will be clear at the end of the season," the Spaniard said.

Liverpool can go back to the top with a point against Swansea on Monday but still lie third with Manchester City failing to take advantage of the Reds' inactivity, drawing 0-0 at Stoke.

City centre-back Matija Nastasic said: "For every team it is difficult to play here, for us as well. After the national team it is difficult because players are very tired."

Robin van Persie scored a contentious penalty and Wayne Rooney was on target as Manchester United drew level on points with City with a 2-0 win against 10-man Crystal Palace.

Referee Jon Moss dismissed Kagisho Dikgacoi for bundling down Ashley Young just before the break although TV replays showed any contact was outside the box and there were defenders to cover.

United boss David Moyes said: "I don't want my players diving.

"The boy (Dikgacoi) definitely throws his leg out but I think Ashley has put his leg into his leg. It is not what I want."

Steven Naismith's goal on the stroke of half-time saw Everton beat Chelsea 1-0 to give Roberto Martinez his first victory in charge of the Toffees.

Jose Mourinho bemoaned Chelsea's lack of cutting edge, saying: "Perhaps there was not the killer instinct: one chance, one goal. Maybe one day we will have three chances and score three goals and win 3-0."

Martinez enjoyed the victory, saying: "As a manager you couldn't be prouder. It gives you a great platform to carry on working and get better."

Elsewhere, Newcastle won 2-1 at Aston Villa, Hull drew 1-1 with Cardiff and Fulham and West Brom shared a 2-2 draw.