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05 March 2016|Tottenham Hotspur

It finished all square in a breathless North London derby at the Lane on Saturday afternoon as we fought back from a half-time deficit to take the lead, only for the visitors to salvage a draw late on.

Two goals in two second half minutes from Toby Alderweireld and Harry Kane - a stunner - looked to have given us the spoils against Arsenal, who were ahead at the break after Aaron Ramsey produced a clever flick to beat Hugo Lloris.

The Gunners' cause was hindered when Francis Coquelin was sent off for a second yellow card on 55 minutes and we wasted no time in taking advantage, levelling things up through Alderweireld on the hour mark before Kane sent the Lane into raptures with a magnificent second.

But we couldn’t hold onto the lead and the visitors found an equaliser through Alexis Sanchez with 14 minutes left on the clock.

Both sides had chances to clinch the game during a frantic final few minutes, but the winner just wouldn’t come.

Team news

Mauricio Pochettino made four changes to the team which lost at West Ham United on Wednesday night with full-backs Kyle Walker and Danny Rose replacing Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies while, in midfield, Mousa Dembele and Dele Alli came in for Ryan Mason and Nacer Chadli.

With so much at stake in this particular derby, the atmosphere inside the Lane was even more electric than usual, every tackle and every forward pass greeted with real enthusiasm from the fans.

Key action

We were on top early on and there were two efforts on goal from Kane in the fifth minute. Our England striker’s first shot bobbled through to Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina and, a minute later, he tested the Colombian again from the left but the stopper saved. And Kane was there with yet another drive from distance moments later as he latched onto a loose ball, this one taking a deflection for a corner.

Despite the frenetic nature of the game and the high tempo from both sides, chances on goal were few and far between at that stage, but we had a great opportunity to open the scoring on 26 minutes. Kane was tackled inside the area, the ball ran to Walker who smashed it across goal and Erik Lamela got a good contact on the edge of the six-yard box but Ospina tipped it away.

A minute later, Chrsitian Eriksen’s free-kick wide on the left close to the byline - awarded after Rose was fouled - was whipped in but Ospina gathered.

The visitors were growing into the game as the half went on and they took the lead six minutes before the break. Danny Welbeck collected the ball from a throw-in down the Arsenal left, advanced into the area and played a pass to the edge of the 18-yard box where Hector Bellerin fired goalwards and Ramsey produced a flick from a central position eight yards out which beat Lloris.

The Gunners could have doubled their lead just before the interval when Sanchez sent a deft cross over the head of Kevin Wimmer which found Welbeck, but his flicked header was comfortable for Lloris.

Just four minutes into the second period we were testing Ospina once more, Walker this time advancing into a dangerous area with the ball and letting fly with a swirling shot which the keeper did well to parry away.

Then came the red card on 55 minutes. Coquelin, who had been booked on the half-hour mark, went sliding in to tackle Kane who was bursting down the left, missed the ball and upended our number 10, leaving referee Michael Oliver no option but to show him a second yellow card and subsequent red.

We almost took full advantage straight away, Alli seeing a shot deflected away for a corner and from the set-piece, Alderweireld flicked on and Kane fired goalwards at the back post, only for Ospina to deny him. Goal-line technology revealed that the ball was about an inch from crossing the line!

But there was no doubt on the hour mark! A cross into the middle found Lamela and the ball ran nicely for Alderweireld, who drilled it low into the back of the net from close range to send the Lane crazy.

However, if the noise after that goal was loud, two minutes later our famous old stadium was literally rocking! A long ball down the left flank looked like it was heading out for a goal-kick but Alli chased it down and back-heeled the ball into the path of the supporting Kane, who moved into the area and sent a stunning, curling drive into the far top corner of Ospina’s net from a tight angle.

It was almost 3-1 when Eric Dier sent a fierce volley towards goal but Ospina made a fine save, before the visitors levelled the contest with 14 minutes left. Bellerin picked up the ball in the left channel and sent a pass in behind our defence which saw Sanchez hit the ball first-time past Lloris and into the corner.

The final few minutes were end-to-end, Arsenal still a threat despite being a man down and causing us plenty of nervy moments without really testing Lloris, while Eriksen hit a dipping drive from 25 yards which Ospina tipped over the bar as the game entered its final five minutes.

Lloris was called into action to punch away Sanchez’s 25-yard free-kick and Gabriel almost gave us the winner on a plate when he sliced Eriksen’s low cross just over his own crossbar.

But we were thankful to Wimmer in the second minute of stoppage time as he prevented an almost certain goal by sliding in to get a touch on Ramsey’s shot after the Welsh midfielder had burst through with only Lloris to beat.

Eriksen lashed a shot well wide in the final seconds before the whistle blew, forcing us to settle for a point.

Mauricio Pochettino said

“The feeling at the end is not so good but we have to be proud of our players,” said Mauricio. “The effort was fantastic and it has been from the beginning of the season.”

What were your thoughts on the game?
 “We started really well, dominated and pushed them to play deeper on the counter-attack. We were unlucky to concede a goal with their first attempt. It’s true, it was difficult to come back from there and turn the result around. When we scored the second goal we were in a good position but it is Arsenal in front of us, they have some good players and you can concede.”

It was a match of highs and lows – what’s the feeling overall? 
Mauricio: “You feel a little disappointed because in the last few minutes we wanted to score again yet we (knew we) could concede some chances. It’s always difficult to play against 10 men as well. We need to feel proud and pleased with the effort of the players. Now we need to keep working hard, we’re in a good position, we’ve kept the distance from Arsenal and it’s in our hands.”

It’s another huge week with Borussia Dortmund on the horizon… 
Mauricio: “We move on and now it’s another big game against Dortmund. I repeat what I’ve said in the last few days, we’re not a machine and the effort has been fantastic this season. We need to give the players full credit because of the way they work and behave is fantastic.”

Now we need to keep working hard, we’re in a good position, we’ve kept the distance from Arsenal and it’s in our hands.

Mauricio Pochettino

Match data

Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Walker, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Rose (Davies 78), Dier, Dembele (Son 82), Lamela (Mason 67), Alli, Eriksen, Kane. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Trippier, Carroll, Chadli.

Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker (c), Gabriel, Gibbs, Coquelin, Elneny (Giroud 75), Ramsey, Ozil (Campbell 90), Sanchez, Welbeck (Flamini 84). Substitutes (not used): Macey, Monreal, Chambers, Walcott.

Goals: Spurs – Alderweireld 60, Kane 62; Arsenal – Ramsey 39, Sanchez 76.

Yellow cards: Spurs – Lamela, Dier; Arsenal – Bellerin, Coquelin, Sanchez.

Red card: Arsenal - Coquelin.

Referee: Michael Oliver.

Attendance: 35,763.