BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 8TH NOVEMBER, 2015
ARSENAL 1(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(1)
Referee:- Martin Atkinson
Assistants:- M. Mullarkey & S. Child
Fourth official:- A. Marriner
Arsenal (4-2-3-1):- Cech; Debuchy (sub Arteta, 77), Mertsacker (Capt.), Koscielny, Monreal; Cazorla (sub Flamini, 46), Coquelin; Campbell (sub Gibbs, 74), Ozil, Sanchez; Giroud
Subs not used:- Ospina; Gabriel, Chambers; Iwobi
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris (Capt.); Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier, Alli (sub Mason, 82); Lamela (sub Son, 75), Dembele, Eriksen (sub Onomah, 91); Kane
Subs not used:- Vorm; Trippier, Davies; Carroll
Booked:- Lamela (foul on Coquelin)
Excellent Spurs pegged back
This was arguably Spurs' best team performance at The Emirates Stadium, despite the fact we had to settle for a draw, after taking a much deserved first half lead, having genuinely dominated proceedings during that period. The result was not as good as the 3-2 win 5 years ago, and the feeling at the end of the game was not as good as the late, late equaliser for the 2008 4-4, but until substitute Kieran Gibbs scored just three minutes after replacing Joel Campbell, Spurs fans justifiably felt they were in line for a great win.
Mauricio Pochettino started with the same team as that which started last Monday against Aston Villa. Arsenal of course, had much publicised injury problems, but they were able to include central defender Laurent Koscielny, who had been described as having just an 80% chance of being fit.
The Remembrance Day commemoration was well observed, despite the problems caused by delaying access to Spurs fans.
Dembele led a promising early attack for Spurs, passing to the advancing Kyle Walker. Dembele received the ball back from Walker and passed inside to Eriksen, whose shot was blocked. After an Arsenal attack, well defended, Spurs move forward again, with Lamela trying to put Harry Kane clear of the Arsenal defence.
Spurs were full of energy, endeavour and plenty of skill, as they played their high pressing game to the full. Kyle Walker had a problem trying to clear, and Sanchez, on the left, spread the play to Joel Campbell, who could do no more than run the ball out of play.
Spurs were applying constant pressure in all areas. Although nominally partnering Eric Dier at the back, Dele Alli got forward more often than not, and together with Eriksen, Dembele, and Lamela, gave the Arsenal defence plenty to think about. There is hardly a bad word to be said about any Spurs player, but Alli is in line for the man of the match vote with another dynamic and skill-filled performance. Lamela too deserves a lot of credit. He might not be the player we all hoped we were getting to years ago, but his effort, and ability to get a foot in to deflect or prevent an attack, or of course win the ball is indefatigable.
Dembele led another attack towards the right, passing inside to Dier, who fed the ball onto Lamela in a central position. Lamela passed outside to Danny Rose, whose cross was picked up by goalkeeper Petr Cech, who was to face more arduous challenges as the game proceeded.
Spurs won a corner after a Dembele shot was deflected wide. The corner was taken short, with Eriksen exchanging with Dembele, before hitting the ball wide across the goalmouth. After a foul on Harry Kane, Eriksen took the free kick from the left, and Dier headed wide.
Dembele was again prominent and pushed a ball out to Lamela on the right, who in turn, fed it a little further to Walker. Walker's deep cross went beyond the back post to Danny Rose, who skied his shot.
Spurs fans were in excellent voice, whereas the home crowd was mainly silent. Not long after skying that shot, Danny Rose redeemed himself with an excellent ball do the left channel to Harry Kane, who had got behind the defence and beat Cech with a well placed shot across his left hand into the net on the far side of goal.
Soon after the goal, there was spat between Vertonghen and Giroud, but referee Martin Atkinson allowed play to proceed, having "words" with the protagonists afterwards. The referee had allowed play-on after Alli had been fouled as he made progress from the right, before running into a defensive wall.
After 39 minutes, as is their want, Spurs played a free kick backwards from half way, and Dembele failed to clear the ball in his own area. This allowed Sanchez to spread the play again, to Campbell in the Arsenal right flank. Campbell returned the compliment, and Lloris was called upon to make a good save to his right from Sanchez.
Just before the break, Harry Kane had a shot saved after good work by
Alli and Eriksen.
Arsenal Wenger replaced Cazorla with Flamini at half-time, and he had obviously geed his team up to good effect, as they got much tighter to the Spurs players. Another Arsenal strategy in the second half was reminiscent of their old days, with high and long balls aimed into the area for the likes of Giroud, Koscielny and Mertesacker. I was almost expecting Tony Adams to turn up! The trouble was that the tactic worked and gave Spurs a few problems, with lobbed crosses often leaving Lloris out of the equation.
Campbell had a shot from the right saved to the right of Lloris's goal, after being put in by Ozil. At this stage of the game, referee Martin Atkinson, who showed leniency throughout, started to let one or two obvious fouls on Spurs players go without punishment. One example was Flamini halting Alli in his tracks as he looked like advancing into the Arsenal half. Another was when no card was shown for a cynical foul on Dembele.
Spurs won a corner after good work by Eriksen gave Walker a shot on goal, which was deflected. At the other end, Ozil hit a free kick from the right, which was headed onto the top of the bar by Giroud.
Lamela got the one booking of the game for a foul on Coquelin. Subsequently, from yet another Ozil free kick on the right, Koscielny headed over. Giroud headed wide following another high ball by Ozil.
Spurs responded well to an Arsenal attack, when Kane fed the ball out to Walker, who passed inside to Eriksen, whose shot was well saved by Cech, before Alli's attempted follow-up went over. Harry Kane pulled a shot wide of Cech's right post, after Eriksen had teed him up. A short corner between Eriksen and Dembele gave Dier a headed chance, but another Spurs player was called offside.
An Erik Lamela corner taken on the right was well saved by Cech, after Alderweireld's header. Spurs had a good period of possession when they were almost camped on the edge of the Arsenal area, but Harry Kane's shot was pulled wide.
Kieran Gibbs replaced Campbell, and took up an advanced position on the left wing. Erik Lamela was replaced by Heung-min Son. I have to say that the Arsenal attack which followed stemmed from a failed pass by Son, where I feel Lamela would have come away with the ball. However, it was that man Ozil who crossed high again to the back post, where Gibbs bundled the ball home.
The big red shirted lads were getting forward, and Mertesacker tried a scissor kick, which went just outside the post. Lloris also had to save another Giroud effort from an Ozil cross.
As we entered three minutes of added time, Harry Kane fired wide across goal, after a Rose cross, and with Eric Dier also involved. Josh Onomah had another cameo performance, as Spurs comfortably saw out the remaining minutes.
Most people would have accepted a draw before the game, and this was a good point for Spurs, who climbed back above West Ham on goal difference. West Ham will be our next opponents, followed by Chelsea. By the end of November we could be regarded as genuine top four contenders. Certainly our play today deserves some reward.
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