Fourth placed Arsenal FC were forced out to a 1-1 draw against North London rivals, Tottenham Hotspurs at the Wembley Stadium in an entertaining early kick off match on Saturday. Goals at either half from Aaron Ramsey and a penalty from Harry Kane were enough to settle the derby.
Arsenal, with a chance to close down the gap on third placed Spurs to a single point were left to rue their missed chances as Gunner’s talisman, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang missed a 12 yard spotkick in the closing stages of the match.
In a day when both Spurs manager and player, Mauricio Pochettino and Toby Alderweireld were celebrating their birthdays, the hosts looked forward to avoid a third straight league defeat since 2012, a record that was set by the same team they were about to face, Arsenal FC.
Kenyan captain Victor Wanyama made a comeback to the Spurs starting lineup as Ben Davies fell to the bench. It was however a surprise to see Pierre Emerick Aubameyang on the Arsenal bench as Alex Iwobi gained a starting role.
The visitors were up and running from kick off as Alexander Lacazette volleyed the ball wide after a great interplay from Alex Iwobi down the left in the third minute. Characteristic of a derby, high tempo football was displayed within the first ten minutes as both teams enjoyed a fair share of possession.
The moment for Arsenal would later come as Gunners midfielder Aaron Ramsey controlled Lacazette’s pass to run from the halfway line, past and round Spurs shotstopper Hugo Lloris to slot in the opener. What a great counter attack display from the visitors on the backdrop of a Harry Kane dangerous attack!
The home team looked to have bagged a sweet equalizer as Harry Kane rose highest to head in an inswinging free kick from right back Keiran Trippier, only for the goal to be ruled offside as three Spurs players were well ahead of Arsenal’s back line. Tottenham Hotspurs looked to be the team to score the next goal but impressive Bernd Leno produced superb saves to keep his side up at the halftime break.
The second half would later see a calm Spurs side as they reduced their long range shots and high balls, a move that saw the team operate quite effectively. It would take the hosts up to the 73rd minute as they were awarded a penalty courtesy of Harry Kane, who was barged behind by Arsenal’s Shkordan Mustafi. The result would be a well executed penalty from Harry Kane as Leno was sent to the wrong direction.
From then on, the two sides looked to be heading to a 1 all draw until the visitors were awarded a penalty in the 90th minute after Pierre Emerick Aubameyang was brought down in the area by Davidson Sanchez. The resulting penalty by Aubameyang was however poor as Hugo Lloris pushed it wide for Tobby Alderweireld to clear the danger. What a miss!
Things would move from bad to worse for the Gunners as Lucas Torreira was sent off after a rash challenge on Danny Rose. What a way to close out an entertaining game!
The result meant that Spurs got their first draw of the season and it might have as well felt as a victory for the hosts as they remained in contention for a third place finish. For Arsenal, a point meant that fifth placed Manchester United would leapfrog them to fourth with a win against Southampton later in the day. That was indeed a hot North London derby!