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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Mar 052016
A European super league could see Barcelona play English Premier League teams on a regular basis

Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn has dismissed the idea of a European super league, arguing it would kill competition.

Leading Premier League clubs reportedly met this week to discuss the idea of a breakaway competition featuring the continent’s top teams.

But Glenn said closing off the league to certain teams would put fans off.

“Football has to keep evolving [but] we can’t lose the principles of promotion and relegation,” he told the BBC.

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal and Arsenal have already declared they are against a European super league.

Glenn, who was appointed a year ago, drew on the example of Premier League leaders Leicester, who would not be able to join the mooted elite should they go on to win the title.

He also said the way the Premier League distributed equal TV money to its clubs allowed teams such as the Foxes to attain their current status.

Last season, Premier League teams earned £50m each, but in Spain, for example, Barcelona and Real Madrid earn a larger proportion of TV money than other clubs – although that is set to change this year.

From next season, when a new TV deal kicks in, the Premier League’s bottom club will earn £99m, with the champions taking in excess of £150m in TV money.

Glenn added: “Isn’t it brilliant to see a team like Leicester upsetting the applecart?

“And that’s only possible because the Premier League shares the riches quite evenly, in contrast to most other European countries where a few teams get the lion’s share.

“It would be a real shame to miss that, a real shame to not have a Leicester phenomenon every year to bring in some variety and challenge.”

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