Mar 062016

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Pochettino ‘disappointed’ after Gunners draw

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino and Arsenal counterpart Arsene Wenger were left regretting missed opportunities after the north London derby draw.

Pochettino was aggrieved with the 2-2 draw as Spurs lost the lead against 10 men after Francis Coquelin’s red card.

“You feel frustrated and disappointed because at 11 against 10 you need to keep that result,” said Pochettino.

Wenger felt Arsenal were in control leading 1-0 before the dismissal, adding: “We have big regrets.”

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Alexis Sanchez’s 76th-minute equaliser gave Arsenal a point after two quick goals from Toby Alderweireld and Harry Kane had put Spurs in front following Aaron Ramsey’s opener and Coquelin’s dismissal.

Pochettino added: “It is true we missed a big opportunity. It was a game that means a lot to us and the feeling is we missed a big opportunity to move forward but we are young and I was proud of my team.”

Look back on a thrilling north London derby

Wenger’s regrets

Within seven minutes of Coquelin being dismissed for this booking, Spurs had scored twice

Wenger was left equally frustrated – not by the result, but by Coquelin’s 55th-minute sending off for a second yellow card, awarded after he dived in late on Kane.

“I couldn’t see how, with 11 against 11, we could drop points,” added Wenger, 66. “We made a big mistake when it was 1-0. Francis knows he made a big mistake and we can’t complain about the decision.”

Arsenal are now without a win in five games and have just three wins in their last 12 outings.

Wenger added: “I’m very happy with the attitude and character we showed. We refused to lose the game”

Red card controversy

Coquelin had been key in protecting Arsenal’s back four until his red card

Wenger had no complaints about Coquelin’s red card, but was understandably aggrieved Spurs’ Eric Dier escaped similar punishment later for a blatant shirt pull on Olivier Giroud when he was also on a yellow card.

He said: “I can certainly complain that Dier wasn’t sent off. The referee was ruthless with us but not with Tottenham.”

Pochettino said: “You could say Hector Bellerin deserved a second yellow card but this was the decision of the referee. They are the bosses on the field.”

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Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Arsenal: Wenger says Gunners must stay ‘positive’

So what now for the title?

Spurs were left two points behind leaders Leicester before their kick-off against Watford, with Arsenal five points off the pace.

The Gunners face away trips to West Ham, Sunderland, Everton and Manchester City in their run-in.

Wenger admitted: “I don’t know what to say any more about that. Let’s see what happens over the weekend. I think we have to take encouragement from this performance and reproduce it until the end of the season and then we might have a chance.”

Pochettino urged his side to now be “focused” on Thursday’s Europa League trip to Borussia Dortmund ahead of a league run-in which includes trips to Liverpool and Chelsea.

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Newcastle United 1-3 Bournemouth

 Posted by at 12:32 AM
Mar 062016
Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey (centre) in discussion with his players after the Cherries opener

Relegation-threatened Newcastle’s predicament became more perilous with a damaging home defeat by Bournemouth.

The result increases the pressure on head coach Steve McClaren, with his job thought to be on the line.

Steven Taylor inadvertently steered the ball into his own net to give Bournemouth a 28th-minute lead.

Joshua King smashed in for 2-0 before Ayoze Perez pulled a goal back, but Charlie Daniels drilled in a late third to give the Cherries a deserved win.

More to follow.

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Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Arsenal

 Posted by at 10:22 PM
Mar 052016
Arsenal had 10 men from the 54th minute but Sanchez struck to earn a point

Alexis Sanchez’s equaliser earned 10-man Arsenal an important point as Spurs missed the opportunity to go top of the Premier League in the north London derby at White Hart Lane.

Aaron Ramsey’s instinctive flick gave Arsenal the lead just before the interval – but the game looked to have turned in the space of seven minutes before the hour.

Arsenal’s Francis Coquelin was sent off on 55 minutes after being shown a second yellow card for a foul on Harry Kane, leaving the door open for Spurs to respond with two quick goals.

Toby Alderweireld scored at the far post before Kane curled in a magnificent angled right-foot finish after 62 minutes to put Spurs in command.

But Arsenal refused to back down and equalised 14 minutes from time when Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris let Sanchez’s shot squirm through his grasp.

In contrast Arsenal’s David Ospina, in for the injured Petr Cech, was heroic with outstanding saves from Erik Lamela, Kane and Christian Eriksen.

Look back on a thrilling north London derby

Relief for Wenger

Alderweireld levelled within five minutes of Coquelin being sent off

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s plight could be measured in the amount of cameras that greeted him as he arrived in the technical area before kick-off – the natural indicator of either a new manager or a man under pressure.

Wenger fell into the latter category after damaging league defeats by Manchester United and Swansea City, but he will have left White Hart Lane a satisfied man.

Defeat would have turned up the pressure another notch, pushing that first title since 2003-04’s ‘Invincibles’ season even further out of reach.

Instead, he will have been happier than his Spurs counterpart Mauricio Pochettino and will feel Arsenal have restored some equilibrium to a season that felt on the brink of implosion.

The Gunners are still in a reasonable position to challenge for the title – and Wenger would have taken that before kick-off.

Arsenal’s show of character

Arsenal rode their luck. Tottenham had 26 shots in all with seven off target (red) and eight blocked (yellow).

Arsenal faced the usual questions – fully justified it should be said – about their stomach for a fight after succumbing to a youthful and injury-hit Manchester United and Swansea City in the past six days.

If there was ever a place to at least answer some of the questions it was on hostile territory at White Hart Lane. And they emerged with credit.

The tide was flowing fast against them after Coquelin drew a stupid yellow card. It would have been easy to feel it was not their day but the Gunners hung in and their persistence was rewarded.

Wenger may feel his side might have gone on to win had they not been left with a numerical disadvantage – and they had a genuine grievance when referee Michael Oliver inexplicably failed to give Spurs’ Eric Dier a second yellow card for a crude shirt-pull on Olivier Giroud.

In many respects, this game was about avoiding defeat for Arsenal and they dug deep to stop the rot.

Spurs miss a big chance

Harry Kane scored a superb goal for his 20th of the season

Spurs could have no complaints when they lost at West Ham United on Wednesday. They were beaten by the better side, something that will happen in the fierce competition of the Premier League.

It was a case of not too much harm done with Arsenal and Manchester City also losing – but here they missed a real opportunity.

Spurs had that precious lead with Arsenal on the back foot and reduced to 10 men. All the momentum was with them as White Hart Lane sensed their old rivals were there for the taking.

Instead, with Lloris the culprit and Gunners understudy Ospina superb, they let Arsenal back in.

The chance to go top of the table, even for a few hours, was gone and while they remain three points ahead of their rivals in second place, Spurs will feel they should have extended the advantage.

Man of the match – David Ospina

David Ospina made more saves in a Premier League match than any Arsenal goalkeeper since 2009

The stats you need to know

  • Tottenham have lost just one of their past eight Premier League games against the Gunners at White Hart Lane (W4 D3 L1)
  • There have been 137 goals scored in this fixture in the Premier League; more than any other fixture in the competition
  • Harry Kane has now scored 14 goals in 18 Premier League London derbies
  • David Ospina made nine saves in this match for Arsenal, the most by a Gunners’ goalkeeper in a Premier League game since Lukasz Fabianski (also 9) v Liverpool in April 2009

Up next?

Arsenal face an FA Cup replay at Hull on Tuesday before hosting West Brom next weekend, while Tottenham have a Europa League trip to Borussia Dortmund on Thursday before Sunday’s game at Aston Villa.

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