Wembley stages the North London Derby
Written By: Robert Halter
Wembley stadium was the scene of the 198th North London derby as Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal clashed in an early afternoon kick off, beginning of March, with the Lilywhites bridging a four points advantage in the table over the Gunners. In the second minute, Alex Iwobi’s ball spun off Victor Wanyama, before Alexandre Lacazette scuffed his strike wide to the right. But in the sixteenth minute, the Gunners opened the scoring, when Lacazette set free Aaron Ramsey, and despite Davinson Sanchez tracking back, he was left helpless as Ramsey rounded Hugo Lloris, before tucking the ball away into the middle of the net. Midway through the first half, Christian Eriksen was tugged on the shirt by Granit Xhaka, and as Harry Kane headed in Kieran Trippier’s free kick, into the top right corner, the goal was ruled out for offside. In the twenty eighth minute, from a Matteo Guendouzi assist, a cross on the right by Ramsey, curled over the crossbar. On thirty one minutes, Danny Rose found Eriksen on the left, who turned the ball past the left post. Referee Anthony Taylor, had a word with the Gunners captain, Laurent Koscielny, to warn his keeper, Bernd Leno, for time wasting. After Guendouzi gave the ball away, Jan Vertonghen bent his shot past the frame of the goal, in the thirty ninth minute. In the proceeding minute, Sokratis Papastathopoulos made a vital interception to a cross by Trippier, with Kane lurking in the area behind him. But Arsenal responded instantly, after a pass from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and a curling shot by Iwobi, as Lloris sprawled to his left to make the save. But Leno went to the Gunners rescue in the forty fourth minute, when Kane’s chip went to Eriksen, whose strike was blocked with Leno’s bent leg, and as the ball went back out to Moussa Sissoko, it required Leno to flip the shot over with his hand. Before the second half resumed, Lucas Torreira replaced Guendouzi. In the fifty third minute, from a low cross on the left by Nacho Monreal, the ball was sliced wide over to the right from Lacazette, who was in range of the target. After Xhaka brought down Sissoko, a free kick by Eriksen was miss placed from a header by Shkodran Mustafi, who fell to the floor, as Toby Alderweireld, found the outside netting on the right side of the goal. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang then took the place of Lacazette. The first caution went to Mkhitaryan for pushing over Kane. The Lilywhites first change was Wanyama replacing Erik Lamela, who soon got booked for a clumsy challenge on Xhaka. In the sixty sixth minute, Sissoko brought the ball back to Lamela, whose low drive from distance curled behind the back of the left post. Two minutes later, from Lamela’s cross, as Mkhitaryan missed the ball, Rose’s foot went into Leno, and he was cautioned for dangerous play. After Sissoko made an important stop to Mkhirtaryan’s through ball, it kept away the threat of Aubamyeang, Arsenal then switched Ramsey with Mesut Ozil. But following Sokratis man handling Lamela, from the proceeding free kick by Eirksen, after Kane got caught up with Mustafi in the area, Spurs were awarded a penalty, and Kane sent Leno the wrong way to put his spot kick, into the bottom right corner, in the seventy fourth minute. Tottenham made another change of Fernando Llorente for Heung-Min Son, and Llorente later got a yellow card for falling on top of Koscielny. But in the eight ninth minute, from Mkhitaryan’s incisive pass, Sanchez pushed over Aubameyang in the area, but the penalty from Aubameyang was saved by Lloris at the bottom left corner, and as Iwobi put the rebound back in, Vertonghen turned the ball over while under pressure from Aubameyang. After Kane was appended by Mustafi, a curling free kick by Eriksen went past the far post, with Sanchez unable to get the final touch. In stoppage time Arsenal were reduced to ten men, after Torreira got a straight red for a double footed lunge into Rose, as the game ended a 1-1 draw.