A North London Derby Draw
Written By: Robert Halter
Calum Chambers faced his former Saints manager, Mauricio Pochettino, in his first North London derby with the visit of Tottenham Hotspur to the Emirates Stadium, near the end of September, which saw the return of Lilywhites striker, Emmanuel Adebayor, to his old club. It was Arsenal that kicked off in the 174thmeeting between the two teams of which 151 games had been played in the league. The Gunners were unable to capitalise on a mistake by Etienne Capoue on the halfway line as Jack Wilshere raced clear but the final finish by Aaron Ramsey was comfortably picked up by Hugo Lloris on six minutes. In the twenty first minute, a ball from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain drifted over from the right side but Danny Welbeck could not deliver the sucker punch by poking the ball straight at Lloris. A minute late, Spurs responded with a long dipping free kick from inside the Arsenal half by Erik Lamela but Adebayor could not get a solid connection off his head as Wojciech Szczesny comfortably collected the ball following a fierce challenge by Wilshere on Ryan Mason. The game went toe to toe as within sixty seconds, Lloris had to whip away from under his own crossbar, a deflection off Danny Rose from a rising cross by Oxlade-Chamberlain. But the Gunners reacted again as the ball had to be scooped away by Lloris, as Chambers combined with Ramsey before from a Welbeck layoff, the ball was driven towards goal by Wilshere. During a water break, the Gunners lost their captain Mikel Arteta for Mathieu Flamini. On the half hour mark, Spurs were quick on the counter attack with Nacer Chadli but within sight of the target, Mason shot straight at Szczesny. Towards the end of the first half, an in swinging corner by Lamela, cannoned off the head of Per Mertesacker, when under pressure from Jan Vertonghen but the Gunners shot stopper, Szczesny, prevented an own goal with quick agility on the line. But a minute from normal time, Lloris was at full stretch to force away a low drive by Oxlade-Chamberlain, after a touch by Ramsey. But Spurs went back on the counter attack, but Nacer Chadli could not find the target, after being put clean through by Capoue. The Gunners were dealt anther blow as Ramsey pulled up with a hamstring injury as Santi Cazorla took over. In stoppage time, Adebayor on the turn forced a full length save from Szczesny, after Chadli had paved the way for the opening. Five minutes into the re-start, a strong block by Lloris saved Tottenham as an unmarked Mesut Ozil went close to breaking the deadlock before the Lilywhites captain, Younes Kaboul, hooked the ball away. This was followed up soon after by an Oxlade-Chamberlain corner which Flamini drove wide, after a half hit clearance from Kaboul. But against the run of play, Spurs took the lead, after Flamini was disposed by Christian Eriksen, and from Lamela’s threaded pass, Chadli hit a low shot into the far side of the net, past a stranded Szczesny, eleven minutes into the second half. But Arsenal reacted immediately and a heroic save by Lloris kept out Mertesacker’s goal bound header from an Ozil free kick as goal line technology was used to rule no goal, following a foul on Ozil by Lamela. Spurs made their first change by taking off Eriksen, who was replaced by Aaron Lennon before Arsenal brought on Alexis Sanchez for Wilshere. In the sixty seventh minute, Ozil picked out Chambers at long distance, but he fired over. It took until the seventy fourth minute for Arsenal to get back in the game, when from a Sanchez cross, Lamela miss placed the ball to Cazorla, whose low strike deflected off Ozil and as Welbeck missed the ball, Oxlade-Chamberlain from close range struck the ball into the roof of the net. A further Spurs change was made as Nabil Bentaleb took the place of Chadli, before the Lilywhites had to replace Rose through injury as Eric Dier came on, but the substitutions had no impact on the game as bitter rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur had to settle for a point a piece.