It was everything a derby should be – action, goals, penalties, drama and a red card as Tottenham Hotspur played to a 1-1 Premier League draw yesterday against north London rivals Arsenal.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang could have given Arsenal a late victory, but saw his penalty in the last minute of the game saved by Hugo Lloris.
Aaron Ramsey scored an early lead for the visitors, but Spurs hit back midway through the second half as captain Harry Kane equalised from the spot, before Aubameyang fluffed his penalty.
The Gunners ended the game with 10 men after Lucas Torreira was sent off in injury time.
The first chance of the game fell to Alexandre Lacazette, who was given the striker position in the Arsenal line-up ahead of Aubameyang, who came on in the second half.
The Gunners took the lead in the 16th minute when Lacazette put in through Ramsey with a defence-splitting pass. The Welshman, who was playing in his last derby against Spurs as he will be joining Juventus, went around Lloris and pushed the ball into the empty net.
Spurs thought they had equalised midway through the first half when Kane had the ball in the back of the net, but his header from a Kieran Trippier cross was correctly judged to have been offside.
This was to be their only chance until the dying minutes of the first half, when Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno was called on to make two spectacular saves.
The German first did well to deny Christian Eriksen a goal from a Kane cross, saving with his leg and then miraculously keeping out Moussa Sissoko’s follow-up with his left hand while still on the ground after the first save.
The second half continued very much as the first had started, with Arsenal enjoying most of the possession, but neither side created many chances.
The first chance of the second half again fell to Lacazette, who sent his first-time shot from a pull-back by Nacho Monreal wide.
Spurs equalised from a soft penalty midway through the second half as Shkodran Mustafi nudged Kane in the area and referee Anthony Taylor quite correctly pointed to the spot. However, television replays showed that Kane had been offside when Eriksen’s free kick was played into the area.
Kane, who has now scored nine penalties out of nine against Arsenal, made no mistake, pushing the ball to Leno’s left.
A minute from time, Taylor again pointed to the spot as Davinson Sánchez was harshly adjudged to have brought down Aubameyang, but the Gabonese gifted Lloris a comfortable save with a weak penalty.
More drama was to follow as Torreira was shown a straight red card for a foul on Danny Rose.
The draw sees Spurs maintain their four-point lead in the table over their rivals and keeps them in third place ahead of Arsenal.
The result was a good comeback for Spurs, who went into the match after two disappointing results, having lost their two last league games at Burnley and Chelsea.
Kane told reporters after the game that they came out stronger in the second half and deserved their share of the spoils.
“Good tackles, good aggression, good pressing, and it looked like we were going to go on and get the second,” he said.
“We’d had two disappointing results. It was a perfect game to get back and show the fans we’re ready to fight for the rest of the season. It’s a point. Obviously, we wanted three, but it stops the losing streak. We had to come out fighting and showing what we are made of, and, thankfully, we did.”
Arsenal coach Unai Emery said that, while he thought the referee had done a good job, he was in favour of the video assistant referee (VAR) system in league matches.
“One month ago, I told everybody my opinion – VAR is coming to help the referees. It’s very difficult for the referees. To analyse with the TV is very easy. I think VAR will help them, and maybe today’s match would be different. But I understand it’s difficult for referees. But I like the manner of the referee today.”
He was satisfied with his side’s performance: “For us, I think it’s good. Not the result, because we can win, but because we can be stronger in our mentality for the next matches.”