Tottenham 2-2 Arsenal: Points shared in intense North London Derby.

Tottenham 2-2 Arsenal: Points shared in intense North London Derby.
Mar 5, 2016

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Tottenham came into this game knowing it was the biggest North London derby they will play in some time. A chance to go six points clear of Arsenal and to go top of the Premier League on goal difference. An outcome which produced a variety of emotions from the Spurs fans, a 2-2 draw. Spurs let a slender 2-1 lead slip to a resilient 10-men-side of Arsenal, goals from Toby Alderweireld and Harry Kane were able to claw Spurs back into the driving position after Aaron Ramsey put Arsenal ahead. The game saw Mousa Dembélé return from injury to make a start in the game, as well as Danny Rose and Kyle Walker being rotated back into the side to replace Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies. As for the visitors, Arsenal, due to injuries David Ospina and Gabriel replaced the injured Petr Čech and Laurent Koscielny, which was a huge blow to the side.

Open game early on.

The game started fairly open for a massive stature of a game like this. Everything on the line, for both clubs. The first twenty minutes of the game was fairly end-to-end with possession being lost carelessly. But as the game settled down, Spurs began to find themselves more and more on top, dominating possession like they usually do at home. Arsenal, struggling to hold on to the ball and trouble Hugo Lloris’ goal.

Arsenal strike first.

After hitting on the counter, Arsenal broke in full force with Danny Welbeck playing an open Hector Bellerin. Bellerin’s intended pass to Aaron Ramsey was slightly behind the Welshman, where he produced a creative back heel finish past Lloris into the net. It took 38 minutes for the game’s first goal, and Tottenham had found themselves down 1-0 again, and the goal had shaken Tottenham up and seemed to have an effect on the side, seeing them mentally collapse on the stroke of halftime, the whistle could have come quicker.

Coquelin see’s red.

Out came the sides after halftime, neither deciding to make any changes at the break. However, Spurs’ mentality seemed to sharpen up and they began to play the fluent style they are used to, forcing Arsenal to throw men behind the ball. The main talking point of the game came in the 55th minute, as Harry Kane mad a bursting run down the left-hand side of the touchline, he was going nowhere dangerous, with Francis Coquelin fast on his tracks. Coquelin’s mind seemed to lose him for a split-second, as he went flying in and taking Kane down with him. Instant guilt and realisation filled his face, as he was shown a second yellow card by the referee meaning Arsenal had a mountain to climb to hold on to them all important three points.

Spurs capitalise with two quick-fire goals.

It wasn’t long before Spurs capitalised on Arsenal having ten men. As in the 59th minute, four minutes after the red card, Christian Eriksen whipped in a corner, where Erik Lamela was able to tap it into the path of Toby Alderweireld. Alderweireld was able to slot the ball into the far corner with an outstanding finish for a centre-half. It got the Spurs fans singing and shouting down the Lane and spurred the side on to get another goal. Arsenal was yet to make a defensive-minded substitution and they could do nothing about what was about to happen. As Per Mertesacker failed to clear the ball in the Arsenal corner flag, the ball fell to Kane at an awkward angle just outside the box. Kane casually bulleted a shot around Gabriel, like it was on the training ground, and found the far post, leaving Ospina stranded in net. Kane ran off to the opposite corner where in this exact game last year he was celebrating Spurs’ second goal in a 2-1 win. Coincidence?

Arsenal grab an equalizer.

Unfortunately, it was not to be a coincidence. Arsenal were forced to come out and get something from the game and it forced Spurs to backtrack and invite pressure on the defence. Spurs, who could easily have been 3-1 up, would go on to find themselves level again in the snap of a finger. Alexis Sanchez was able to grab his first league goal since October, in what can be the most vital point of Arsenal’s title hopes, and equalise the game at 2-2, a rainy White Hart Lane saw Sanchez played through and a bobbling shot to the far post was enough to put off and beat the reliant Hugo Lloris. A huge goal for the visitors and the final goal in the game as they went on to share the points apiece. This means that Tottenham maintains their three-point advantage on rivals Arsenal, and two points behind league leaders Leicester City, who have the chance to go five points clear with a win over Watford later.

What is next for the clubs?

This means that the two London clubs are still within fighting distance for that all important Premier League title. Tottenham’s next league game is away to doomed Aston Villa, in a game in which they will be expected, and need to, take all three points form to close the gap. Whereas Arsenal will welcome West Bromwich Albion to the Emirates in a game which they need to win, not only for the title but to take some pressure of manager Arsène Wenger. That game will not be easy, though, as the previous midweek fixture saw West Brom hold league leaders Leicester to a point on the road.

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