Arsenal staged a stirring comeback to earn a point in a chaotic, thrilling north London derby against Tottenham at Emirates Stadium.
Spurs looked to be in complete control when Christian Eriksen pounced to put them ahead in the 10th minute after Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno pushed out Erik Lamela’s shot.
Leno then saved superbly from Son Heung-min before the South Korean was senselessly hacked down in the area by Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka to allow Harry Kane to score his 10th goal in 11 derby games.
Arsenal started the revival when Alexandre Lacazette pulled one back on the stroke of half-time before they laid siege to Spurs’ goal after the break.
Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris saved superbly from Matteo Guendozi’s low shot and from substitute Dani Ceballos before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang showed the poacher’s instinct to turn home the equaliser with 19 minutes remaining.
Kane struck the inside of the post and Sokratis had a goal ruled out for offside – Spurs also had strong penalty claims rejected when the pair clashed late on – but neither side could make the decisive breakthrough and this entertaining encounter ended with honours even.
The result lifts Arsenal to fifth in the Premier League with seven points from four games, while Tottenham head into September’s international break four places behind their rivals in ninth on five points.
Arsenal show fighting spirit
Arsenal showed real character amid the mood swings of this north London derby to fight back from a precarious position to earn a point.
Unai Emery’s side found themselves in big trouble at two goals down but never felt sorry for themselves, fighting their way back to parity and pinning Spurs back for most of the second half.
The Gunners were guilty of poor defending and moments of carelessness but no-one could question their heart.
Lacazette’s goal with seconds left of the first half was vital, lifting the spirits of Arsenal’s players and supporters and setting the perfect platform for a second half that was low on moments of high class but full of fervour and entertainment.
The action swung from end-to-end but Arsenal looked stronger after the break with 20-year-old Guendouzi performing with great maturity in midfield.
Guendouzi certainly showed greater composure than his captain Xhaka, who was guilty of a moment of crass stupidity when diving into a sliding challenge on Son to concede a penalty.
The young Frenchman almost scored only for Lloris to make a brilliant save and it was his intelligent, probing ball into the box that was diverted in by Aubameyang.
It is already becoming clear the title is a two-horse race between Liverpool and Manchester City but Arsenal will feel they can make a serious top-four challenge – although once again questions must be asked about their defending.
Spurs still looking short
Spurs will be disappointed at only getting a draw after establishing such a position of strength at 2-0 but in the end there was almost a sense they should be grateful for a point.
It continues an indifferent start to the season as they have five points from their first four games, with just one win at home to Aston Villa.
Spurs, to give perspective, have also had tough away assignments at Manchester City and Arsenal and come away with points but they are not yet back to their best.
The experiment of using Davinson Sanchez at right-back was not an unqualified success and on several occasions manager Mauricio Pochettino could be seen showing his exasperation, both at moments of poor defending and also when Spurs were wasteful in attack.
Spurs were grateful for a superb display of shot-stopping by Lloris but Pochettino will be frustrated that his side looked to have Arsenal where they wanted them before the break, then ended hanging on for long periods in the second half.
‘A great job’ – what they said
Arsenal manager Unai Emery, speaking to BBC Sport: “It was an amazing match. We are proud of our work and our supporters. The result isn’t the best for us.
“The key was the first goal to give us confidence and give us more chances in the second half. We deserved it. We did a lot of good things. We made some mistakes in the first half and they have good players.
“Before their first goal we were playing well. Sometimes our heart is more strong than our head.”
Tottenham striker Harry Kane, speaking to BBC Sport: “I feel like were coming off disappointed. We expect to see the game out. The goal hurt us with momentum just before the break. It was an end-to-end game, especially last 10-15 minutes but the players left everything on the pitch.
On his late penalty shout: “As a striker, if it is on halfway it is a definite foul. In the box you don’t always get them. He’s come through the back of me but it is 50/50. VAR would probably have backed the ref in this.”
Man of the match – Matteo Guendouzi (Arsenal)
Spurs continue to stutter on the road – stats
- Tottenham have dropped 42 points from winning positions in the Premier League against Arsenal – 11 more than against any other side in the competition.
- Spurs are winless in their last eight away league games, drawing two and losing six. They last endured such a run on the road in their eight games between December 2011 and April 2012.
- Arsenal have lost just one of their last 27 Premier League home games against Tottenham, a 2-3 defeat in November 2010 after being two goals ahead.
- Since his Premier League debut in August 2016, no player has conceded more penalties in the competition than the five by Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka.
- Arsenal have recorded 13 errors leading to goals in the Premier League since the start of last season – the most of any club in the competition. Goalkeeper Bernd Leno is responsible for six of those errors.
- Spurs’ Christian Eriksen has now scored 50 Premier League goals – the first Danish player to reach this landmark – whilst also becoming the first Spurs player to register both 50-plus goals and assists for the club in the competition.
After the international break, Tottenham resume their Premier League season with a home match against Crystal Palace on Saturday, 14 September (15:00 BST).
A day later, Arsenal travel to Watford in the late Sunday kick-off (16:30 BST).