Spoils shared in North London Derby
Written By: Robert Halter
Arsenal were winless in their last four Premier League North London derbies but had finished above Tottenham Hotspur in the table for twenty one consecutive seasons as the Gunners met their local rivals Spurs at the Emirates stadium, beginning of November. In the third minute from a left wing cross by Danny Rose, a header was blazed over the crossbar from Kyle Walker. Two minutes later, Heung-Min Son rode a tackle from Shkodran Mustafi, and then cut the ball across from the left side of the area which was just too far over for Harry Kane in the penalty box. Then a horrendous challenge on Francis Coquelin by Kevin Wimmer received a yellow card from referee, Mark Clattenburg. In the twenty first minute, a superb in swinging cross by Christian Eriksen was inviting for Kane, but his diving header went narrowly past the bottom of the left post. There was a short delay in the twenty seventh minute as Walker pulled up injured from a challenge by Alexis Sanchez, but Walker soon returned to action. In the thirty first minute, a ball across from Sanchez was dragged wide of the right post from Mesut Ozil. Then a minute later, Ozil started the build up play, before the ball was put through by Sanchez and an unmarked Alex Iwobi, struck a soft shot straight into the body of Hugo Lloris. On thirty nine minutes, a brilliant move by Arsenal started with Sanchez and as Granit Xhaka found Theo Walcott in space on the right side of the box, Walcott clattered hi shot against the right corner of the crossbar, before Ozil blazed over. Finally in the forty second minute, the Gunners struck the first blow after Hector Bellerin was impeded by Mousa Dembele, and the floating free kick by Ozil was headed into his own net by Wimmer, with both Mustafi and Sanchez deemed not to be interfering with play despite being in an offside position. There was then cause for calm as Wanyama elbowed Walcott, who then squared up to Jan Vertonghen, before referee Clattenburg weathered the storm with no bookings. Mustafi then clashed into his own team mate Coquelin, as the first half tailed off. But in the fiftieth minute, Spurs were handed a lifeline as referee Clattenburg awarded a spot kick for clip by Laurent Koscielny on the foot of Dembele, who fell to the floor. Up stepped Kane to riffle the penalty into the heart of the goal past a stranded Petr Cech. Spurs then went close on fifty five minutes, when an over the top ball by Kane, resulted in a misplaced header from Mustafi while threatened by Son, and then a well struck effort by Eriksen was turned away by a sprawling save to the right by Cech. On the hour, a whipped in delivery by Rose, after Son’s incisive pass, had to be snuffed out by Nacho Monreal, to prevent Kane scoring at the far post. The Gunners responded as a well placed cross from Iwobi flew over Xhaka’s head, before Lloris dealt with the dangerous ball in. The Gunners first switched Coquelin with Aaron Ramsey before Arsenal brought on further re-enforcements with Olivier Giroud for Iwobi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for Walcott. The Gunners then pressed with an incisive pass by Sanchez and as Ozil advanced, Eric Dier blocked his path with Lloris covering, and from Ozil’s resulting corner, a poor header away by Dier, was struck over by Ramsey. Hotspur’s hot shot Kane was then replaced by Vincent Janssen. On seventy four minutes, important covering by Walker protected Lloris as Bellerin tried to carve an opening, from an assist by Oxlade-Chamberlain but soon Walker was unable to continue as the masked man, Kieran Trippier took over. But on eighty three minutes, after Oxlade-Chamberlain tugged Rose, a free kick by Eriksen flew over a packed penalty box, and struck the right side of the woodwork, with Jansen unable to convert the rebound. In a late Lilywhites change Harry Winks took over from Son. In the eight ninth minute, Cech made a save from Janssen’s left footed shot from an Eriksen assist and then within a minute from a Sanchez delivery, a cushioned header by Giroud was caught by Lloris as the game ended a 1-1 draw.