North London derby ends in stalemate as Arsenal and Spurs fail to take chances
Tottenham come from behind to draw at Emirates Stadium
06 November, 2016 — By Dan Carrier
ARSENAL and Spurs shared the spoils in a battling one-all draw this afternoon at the Emirates – and the result left both teams rueing a lack of composure up front.
An Arsenal victory would have sent them top but they were pegged back after Harry Kane, returning from seven weeks on the sidelines, fired home a second-half penalty after the Gunners had taken the lead through a Kevin Wimmer own goal.
Spurs, who remain unbeaten in the league, welcomed back Harry Kane to the attack for the first time since mid-September and he offered a focal point that has sorely been lacking recently..
The two sides stalked each other nervously in the opening half-hour, with neither keeper truly troubled. Kane went closest for Spurs with a glancing header inches wide of Petr Cech’s post, while a Hector Bellerin cross caused danger in the Spurs defence but no Arsenal player could reach it. Alex Owobi had the clearest sight of goal but his shot lacked power, while Theo Walcott smacked one against the post as the game opened up towards the end of the first period. Arsenal took the lead soon after, when Wimmer directed a free-kick into his own net. Spurs were unhappy as it looked like two oncoming Arsenal players were offside when the cross came over.
Things were evened up on 50 after Kane converted a penalty won by Mousa Demebele. The midfielder’s mazy run was halted when he was bundled to the ground by a triangle of Arsenal defenders. Kane made no mistake from 12 yards.
On 60, Christian Eriksen forced Cech into a sprawling save when he had the goal at his mercy, while up the other end Arsenal created half chances that failed to genuinely test Hugo Lloris.
For Spurs, Heung-Min Son will regret that he didn’t put his body on the line after Cech slipped – Son leapt out of the way instead of seizing on a loose ball that would have put him through with a clear run on an empty goal.
The visitors’ other big opportunity came on 80 when a looping free-kick saw the ball strike a post and substitute Vincent Janssen was unable to turn home the rebound. Arsenal will point to substitute Olivier Giroud and say he should have done better when he leapt highest to meet a cross but could only head tamely into Lloris’s hands from six yards.
Honours even, then – and a point you would expect Spurs to be happier with, considering both sides’ form at the moment.
ARSENE WENGER’S VERDICT
Speaking after the game, the Arsenal manager said he felt it was two points dropped, adding: “It was a game of high intensity, and I felt in the first half we were always likely to score whenever we crossed the halfway line, but in the second half we did not have the physicality nor the creativity needed around the box.”
He added that he felt the penalty decision was “harsh” and that he thought Tottenham’s Wanyama was fortunate not see a red card. He said: “Wanyama was lucky to be on the pitch. He elbowed Theo Walcott. I also felt the penalty was harsh – it was not a deliberate foul.”
MAURICIO POCHETTINO’S VERDICT
The Spurs manager praised his players’ “flexibility” after he asked them to play with three at the back. He said: “We needed to adopt the system to find a solution to a situation we had. It meant Danny Rose and Kyle Walker could be more offensive and we worked hard to prepare. The players showed they knew what they needed to do.”
He claimed not to have yet seen the Arsenal goal and therefore would not comment on two Arsenal players arguably being in offside posiitons – but added he felt a point was the right result.
He said: “We showed a strong performance in a competitive game – it is difficult to come here. I felt the game was open and we both could have scored more.”