Gibbs comes to Gunners rescue in north London derby

Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | November 8, 2015

Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham

  • Spurs striker Kane nets opener and third derby goal
  • Lloris and Cech make several saves, Giroud header hits bar
  • Gibbs off Arsenal bench to rescue a point
  • Gunners move level again with Man City in first
  • Pochettino’s team three points off top four

North London derby ends in draw

Harry Kane’s sixth goal in four games and three in as many north London derbies looked to have helped Tottenham take an away win at bitter rivals Arsenal, but a rare and fortuitous strike from Gunners sub Kieran Gibbs came to their rescue.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - Emirates Stadium

Unlike last time his charges suffered a sobering Champions League defeat, Arsene Wenger elicited no response from Arsenal until the left back came on, and this allowed them to move level on points with Premier League leaders Manchester City. Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs remain three points off the top four after this draw, with Coral offering 11/8 they end the season in there.

Despite the Gunners restoring Laurent Koscielny to central defence in their only alteration after being battered by Bayern Munich 5-1 in midweek, their malaise continued. Tottenham, meanwhile, reverted to the same XI that beat Aston Villa, following up their Europa Leaague victory over Anderlecht.

Hurri-Kane hurts hapless Gunners

An end-to-end opening exchange saw Mousa Dembele and Erik Lamela running at Arsenal, with Alexis Sanchez stretching Spurs in between. This frenetic start to derby day simply couldn’t be sustained, though, and a more composed pattern of play emerged.

England call-up Eric Dier’s unmarked back post header from a Christian Eriksen free-kick proved a let-off for the Gunners, but warning signs such as this weren’t heeded.

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Ex-Arsenal schoolboy Kane found himself onside in the left channel, racing onto a Danny Rose ball into vacant space after half an hour. Koscielny’s attempt to step up and play offside backfired big time, allowing the Spurs striker to fire in over the outstretched leg of Gunners goalie Petr Cech.

Tottenham were good value for their half-time lead, while Wenger introduced Mathieu Flamini – so instrumental in Arsenal’s 2-1 Capital One Cup victory at White Hart Lane six weeks ago – for an unusually ineffectual Santi Cazorla.

Momentum shifts

Hugo Lloris finally had serious work to do shortly after the interval when Joel Campbell let fly from the flank. The Spurs stopper got a plunging palm on this strong strike to turn behind from the Costa Rica international, with Sanchez lurking to snap up a potential rebound.

Gunners sub Flamini got a crucial deflection on an Eriksen effort across goal that saw it drop wide of Cech’s far post. Tottenham rode their luck, though, with Olivier Giroud seeing a set-piece head clip the top of the crossbar.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - Emirates Stadium

Arsenal and France centre forward Giroud also nodded just wide when found from Mesut Ozil’s right-wing corner a few minutes later. The Germany playmaker, omitted from Joachim Low’s squad for the end of year friendlies during the forthcoming international break, was also the source of his previous effort.

Then the pendulum swung Spurs’ way with Eriksen forcing Cech to parry when Kyle Walker, up from right back, found the Denmark man. Kane dragged across the face with another glimmer of the Gunners’ goal.

Cech somehow thwarted Toby Alderweireld, tipping the Belgium international’s header from a corner away at point-blank range, with Tottenham tails well and truly up at the Emirates. Arsenal’s attacking players simply deserted defensive duties, putting their back six at risk.

Gibbs gambit pays off for fortunate Wenger

Spurs seemed to be first to every 50-50 ball, but their great desire would be deflated. Pochettino hauled Lamela off with 15 minutes left, following a yellow card that resulted in new Coral customers making £20 profit on investing a tenner, for Son Heung-Min.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - Emirates Stadium

Much-maligned Ozil, who broke a Premier League record by assisting a goal for a sixth successive game, teed up unlikely impact sub Gibbs 13 minutes from time to luckily level the score, with his effort going in off a combination of Lloris and the woodwork.

Home supporters swiftly found their voice, but objective assessment cannot credit the Gunners as deserving of a point. Surprise scoring source Gibbs had to be stopped by Lloris, and Giroud’s wicked, sweeping strike from the resultant corner sailed just over.

Re-energised by their good fortune, Arsenal chased a winner, with Giroud working international teammate and Tottenham number one Lloris again when left unmarked at a set-piece. Honours ended even, and just six points separate the Premier League’s top seven, with the Gunners now 13/8 for the title.


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