Arsenal 1-1 Spurs
Report from the Emirates
27 September 2014|Tottenham Hotspur
Nacer Chadli's goal earned a point in a typically fiercely-contested North London derby at the Emirates on Saturday.
The Belgian international finished clinically from Erik Lamela's pass to send the visitors' section into raptures on 56 minutes.
Arsenal hit back with a scrappy leveller from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on 74 minutes and the Gunners put us under pressure in the final stages, Hugo Lloris making a fine save from Per Mertesacker.
However, led by a fine defensive display from skipper Younes Kaboul and Jan Vertonghen - who headed cross after cross away, we held on for a point.
Mauricio Pochettino handed a full Premier League debut to Ryan Mason following his Capital One Cup exploits in midweek, while there were also returns to League duty for Kyle Naughton and Vertonghen.
The first minor scare came five minutes in when Jack Wilshere slipped in Aaron Ramsey to the right of the area. The Wales international got his shot away and it was duly fielded by Lloris.
Towards the end of the first third of the half a foothold was being established in the game with a few hints of causing the home side problems, but this was nearly undone by a swift counter from Danny Welbeck, who surged forward on a solo run and was only stopped in his tracks by a timely challenge from Kaboul.
Lamela looked like he could pose a threat on the break and a through ball in the direction of Christian Eriksen came close to dissecting the Arsenal rearguard. Lloris saved again from Welbeck after the England man executed a fine take from a deep cross from Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Wilshere then scythed through Mason and was lucky to escape with a booking, with the resulting free-kick landing on the head of Adebayor, but not troubling Wojciech Szczesny.
Lloris was forced to save a thumping drive from Wilshere after a slick passage of home play, but the containment was pretty effective in the first half an hour. The full-backs were doing a good job in keeping in line with their defensive teammates, rather than pushing on at every opportunity, with the bank of four making Arsenal work hard for their openings.
On one sortie forward, Danny Rose did measure a ball into the path of Mason, but the midfieler drifted a little wide and was not able to trouble Szczesny.
Emmanuel Adebayor had a glorious chance to score on 39 minutes after being played in in front of goal by Lamela. Sadly he was forced a yard and was unable to get a shot away, but pressure was building and tension was creeping in around the stadium.
Per Mertesacker then tested his own goalkeeper with a header from a devilish Lamela corner, but the save failed to compare to Lloris diving to deny a fine shot from Chamberlain.
The lead could have been snatched at the other end when Chadli homed in on goal, but his finish was weak and stalemate continued.
Adebayor forced Szczesny into a save at full stretch in first half stoppage time after a Lamela chip found him inside the area.
Mason led a sharp counter at the beginning of the second half, sweeping the ball across goal in the direction of Lamela, prompting Calum Chambers into a diving header to divert for a corner.
Kaboul was forced to clear his lines to prevent Santi Cazorla - a first half change for the injured Ramsey - exploiting space inside the area. Lloris then saved smartly from Ozil as Arsenal cranked up the pressure early in the half.
Mathieu Flamini, another first half midfield sub who took over early from Mikel Arteta, shot narrowly wide as the team struggled to stem the tide in the first 10 minutes of the half. Aaron Lennon appeared to be readying himself for an early entry as Eriksen fired in a free-kick - and drama was to follow.
Eriksen won the ball as Arsenal stepped out and managed to find Lamela, who was not without company. The Argentine brilliantly picked out the run of Chadli, who calmly slotted past Szczesny on 56 minutes, sending the Spurs travelling support into delirium.
Lloris produced a stunning save from a Mertesacker header on 58 minutes, the keeper somehow stooping to prevent a goal that the home crowd suspected was a foregone conclusion.
Lennon did replace Eriksen four minutes later, with Arsenal then making their final change with the introduction of Alexis Sanchez.
It was a tidal wave of pressure after the goal as Arsenal sought to enliven a quickly quietening crowd, roused a little by a superb shot from Chambers that swung just over.
With 16 minutes left some penalty area pinball after a miscue from Lamela allowed Oxlade-Chamberlain a free hit on goal that he took with glee.
It was a case of having to regroup speedily after this misfortune, with the home side being urged forward by an awakened crowd.
Chadli was replaced by Nabil Bentaleb with 11 minutes left on the clock with the Belgian appearing to be struggling with injury and there was a similar problem for Rose, replaced by Eric Dier for his first taste of the North London derby on 83 minutes.
The remaining moments were very much focused around defending, as we kept Arsenal at bay. Vertonghen also broke free late on and surged into Arsenal territory, but he was dispossessed and the points were shared.
Mauricio Pochettino said
“The players did well with the strategy we prepared and congratulations to them, they were very compact, aggressive and showed the personality to go forward as well,” said Mauricio, who handed Ryan Mason a Premier League debut on the biggest domestic stage, the young midfielder responding superbly.
“Our attitude and our energy was good from the first moment on the pitch. This is important to carry on now. I’m looking forward.
“Every player did well, all of them. This is important. We showed good energy, good attitude and today was a very good game for us to start to build and carry on our philosophy.”
It was Mauricio’s first North London derby. Did he enjoy it? “I enjoyed it, I suffered, I worked a lot and now I’m very tired!”
Arsenal: Szczesny; Chambers, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs; Arteta (C) (Flamini, 29); Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey (Cazorla, 45+1), Wilshere (Sanchez, 63), Ozil; Welbeck. Substitutes (not used): Ospina, Coquelin, Podolski, Rosicky.
Spurs: Lloris; Naughton, Kaboul (C), Vertonghen, Rose (Dier, 83); Capoue, Mason; Lamela, Eriksen (Lennon, 62), Chadli (Bentaleb, 80); Adebayor. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Fazio, Townsend, Soldado.
Yellow cards: Arsenal - Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere, Chambers. Spurs - Lamela, Chadli, Lennon, Adebayor, Mason, Rose.
Goals: Arsenal - Oxlade-Chamberlain (74). Spurs - Chadli (56).
Referee: Mr M Oliver.