Arsenal 1-1 Spurs
Report from the Emirates
08 November 2015|Tottenham Hotspur
Harry Kane marked his first appearance at the Emirates with a goal but we were hauled back by Arsenal as a high-energy clash ended all-square at 1-1 on Sunday.
It was a typical blood and thunder North London derby with Kane hitting the target as we had the better of the first half – stats showed eight shots to one in our favour – but Arsenal responded after the break and struck the woodwork.
We appeared to have weathered that storm and created chances of our own as we sought to make it 2-0, only for the home side to hit back again and finally equalise through Kieran Gibbs on 77 minutes.
That’s how it stayed and after a spell of three games in six days, we enter the international break fifth in the Premier League with our unbeaten domestic run stretched to 11 matches.
Given the form guide and recent results, Mauricio Pochettino opted for an unchanged side from the one that was victorious over Aston Villa on Monday evening.
Prior to kick-off there was a service to mark Remembrance Sunday, with servicemen carrying a joint commemorative wreath onto the pitch before a reading of Ode of Remembrance and a sounding of the Last Post on the bugle. The showing of respect was impeccably observed by all inside the Emirates with both teams wearing shirts embroidered with poppies for the occasion also.
The game got underway at a frenetic pace with both sides enjoying early counter-attacks, meaning you simply could not take your eyes off of the action. Kane led the charge from the front, hassling and harrying the Arsenal back four at every opportunity, while at the other end Jan Vertonghen got to grips with Olivier Giroud.
Despite the blistering start, chances remained at a premium in the early stages as the game was poised on a knife edge.
Slowly but surely the home side started to enjoy more of the possession but we had our first chance with 22 minutes gone when Mousa Dembele saw his shot deflected behind for a corner and from the resulting set play, Christian Eriksen lashed a dangerous ball across the face of goal which eventually bounced behind for a goal-kick.
The passage of play seemed to give us more of a footing in the game as we retained the ball better and pushed the Gunners back towards their own goal.
Soon afterwards we almost broke the deadlock but Eric Dier headed wide after escaping his marker from an Eriksen free-kick.
We were winning the midfield battle with Dembele in particular impressing with his power and anticipation.
It’s an old cliché that you need to score when you are on top and sure enough Kane fired us in front on 32 minutes. The impressive Danny Rose picked him out on the angle as he beat the off-side trap and rolled the ball past Petr Cech to give us a deserved lead.
We might have doubled our advantage shortly afterwards when Dele Alli galloped down the right but he squandered a great opportunity to slip either Kane or Erik Lamela in on goal.
Lamela was another who was in fine form in the opening 45 minutes, regularly seizing possession in key areas and leading the charge going forwards.
We remained in control and Kane brought a good save out of Cech in the closing stages of the half with a low drive on the angle after good work from Eriksen.
We carried our lead into the interval and Pochettino would have been delighted with what he had seen in the opening period.
Arsenal started the second half much like they did the first and Joel Campbell brought the best out of Hugo Lloris in the opening three minutes of the half with a curling effort from the corner of the box.
We responded well, though, and Eriksen wriggled through soon afterwards and was a whisker away from doubling our lead, but his shot was deflected behind for a corner.
Back came Arsene Wenger’s side, Giroud rattling the crossbar with a header as the game swung from end to end.
Cech rode his luck when he hesitated in possession allowing Lamela to pick his pocket but the ball spun loose with Kane lurking.
Arsenal were getting closer and looked a threat from set-plays as Giroud again squandered a great opportunity from a Mesut Ozil corner when he headed wide on the hour mark.
The momentum seemed to be back with the home team who started to enjoy more of the ball but chances continued to come our way as first Eriksen brought the best out of Cech before Kane dragged a shot wide that he would have been disappointed not to score with.
Alli was a thorn in the Gunners’ defence as the game progressed, running in behind and turning them around time after time with his trickery.
Cech made his best save with 20 minutes to go when he showed lightning fast reactions to palm away a firm header from Toby Alderweireld. Again we were in the ascendency and poured forward in search of a second goal as Kane fired narrowly wide from distance.
Lamela made way for Heung-Min Son with 15 minutes to go and the Argentine received a super ovation for his tireless performance.
The game was far from finished though as Arsenal grabbed a leveller. Substitute Kieran Gibbs wriggled behind Kyle Walker at the back post and prodded the ball past Lloris.
Our French international stopper was in the thick of the action in the closing stages, notably turning away Giroud's header down to his right with 83 minutes gone.
We continued to battle right up until the final whistle, though, with Kane's shot deflecting through to Cech deep into stoppage time as a high-octane encounter came to a close.
Mauricio Pochettino said
“I have different thoughts,” said Mauricio. “First of all, I’m proud of the players in the way we played, the character we showed. The effort was brilliant. So first, I congratulate them.
“It’s always difficult, especially when you opponent has one day more to recover. It’s sometimes crazy, but it’s football and we need to understand it’s a business, there are schedules and we just need to work hard.
“Our supporters were also brilliant and I say thank-you to them as well. My feeling is happy but at the end, I think we lost the chance to win this game.
“The period in the second half where we created chances and dominated the game was the moment to kill the game.
“But we need to be proud of our players. We need to follow this, to continue working hard and try to win the next games ahead.”
Arsenal (4-3-3): Cech, Debuchy (Arteta 77), Mertesacker (c), Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin, Ozil, Cazorla (Flamini 45); Campbell (Gibbs 74), Giroud, Sanchez. Substitutes (not used): Gabriel, Ospina, Chambers, Iwobi.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Walker, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Rose; Dier, Alli (Mason 81); Dembele, Eriksen (Onomah 90+1), Lamela (Son 76); Kane. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Trippier, Davies, Carroll.
Goals: Arsenal – Gibbs 77. Spurs – Kane 32.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Lamela 56.
Referee: Martin Atkinson.