Sanchez seals Spurs draw for 10-man Arsenal in thrilling derby
Lee Gormley | March 5, 2016
Tottenham 2-2 Arsenal
- Aaron Ramsey sends Arsenal ahead after 39 minutes
- Francis Coquelin given red card in second-half
- Toby Alderweireld fires in equaliser moments later
- Harry Kane scores screamer to put Spurs ahead after 62 minutes
- Alexis Sanchez strikes leveller after 75 minutes in thriller
Sanchez secures thrilling 2-2 derby draw
Tottenham were held to a 2-2 draw by Arsenal at White Hart Lane thanks to a second-half strike from Alexis Sanchez, as the Chilean ended his baron streak to ensure a share of the spoils in an epic north London derby.
Aaron Ramsey opened proceedings with a beautiful first-half flick, but moments into the second period Francis Coquelin was shown a red card for two cautions, which led to Toby Alderweireld equalising on the hour mark.
Two minutes after the leveller, Harry Kane produced a moment of brilliance on the left side, cutting inside and unleashing an unstoppable curling strike which beat David Ospina, with Alexis Sanchez then hitting back with his first goal in 11 outings to secure a thrilling draw.
Spurs start swiftly at home
In front of an electric London atmosphere, it was the hosts that began brightest, with Kane getting no less than three early shots off at stand-in goalkeeper Ospina within six minutes, with Spurs clearly targeting Arsenal’s stopper as a weak link after an injury to Petr Cech.
Per Mertesacker was already involved in a busy afternoon, as Kane continued to be a nuisance, and Christian Eriksen looked threatening going forward, with Arsene Wenger’s men truly pegged back in the opening stages.
Coquelin was partnered with January signing Mohamed Elneny in the centre of Arsenal’s midfield, with the latter making his first league start, and both were kept on their toes with the attacking approaches of Erik Lamela and Eriksen.
A seemingly rusty Kieran Gibbs was the offender after 14 minutes as he sent Kane crashing to the London turf, but Lamela’s subsequent whipped delivery was easily dealt with by a towering Mertesacker to clear any danger.
Intriguing full back battle
Arsenal are used to dominating possession but they had to relinquish their usual supremacy on the ball as Spurs continued to pressure solidly, with Dele Alli beginning to have an influence in the middle, while Mesut Ozil was struggling to get involved.
Possibly the most interesting battle on the pitch was between both side’s full backs, as Danny Rose looked dangerous on the left flank, giving pacey Hector Bellerin plenty to think about and limiting makeshift right winger Ramsey’s attacking runs.
Gabriel Paulista was called upon after 20 minutes to thwart Rose after Welshman Ramsey haplessly lost out to the charging defender, as the Gunners centre back stood tall to thwart a seemingly promising cross.
With so much at stake for both teams, this north London derby duel was flowing brilliantly, with referee Michael Oliver letting proceedings move without any soft stoppages, adding to the tense occasion.
Ramsey sends Gunners ahead
Colombian stopper Ospina was called into action in the first big moment after 25 minutes, as he got down rapidly to deny a fluffed effort from Lamela following a fizzing right-sided delivery from Kyle Walker.
Both Bellerin and Coquelin were shown yellow cards within a matter of minutes of each other, as the visitors struggled to get a grasp on proceedings and were frustratingly going in strongly on the Tottenham attackers.
Hugo Lloris was enjoying a comfortable afternoon so far, having not had a save to make, while anchorman Eric Dier and Belgian defender Alderweireld were managing to deal with unthreatening movement from Danny Welbeck and Alexis Sanchez.
Completely against the run of play, Ramsey superbly put Arsenal ahead after 39 minutes, skilfully flicking a Bellerin cross past a diving Lloris following impressive build-up from Welbeck on the left side of midfield.
Coquelin sees derby red
Welbeck again surged forward after the goal, with Arsenal now possessing an aura of confidence from their opener, as the England forward burst into the box before being halted, while Sanchez and Ozil almost created an opening on the opposite wing.
Having witnessed his side pegged back for the majority of the opening 45 minutes, Wenger was the most pleased boss at half-time, as Arsenal saw out derby duties with a narrow lead, despite immense early pressure.
At the start of the second period, Walker stormed forward in search of an equaliser and, after a Lamela run caught the Arsenal defence’s eye, the full back unleashed a thunderous effort which Ospina was able to fully get behind and save.
With 55 minutes gone in the derby, Coquelin made the fatal decision of going to ground to challenge a surging Kane, despite having an entire Arsenal defence as insurance, as the midfielder then saw red and piled unneeded pressure on Wenger’s 10-man outfit.
Goals galore in thrilling derby
Only moments after the dismissal, Mauricio Pochettino’s men grabbed a vital equaliser, as centre back Alderweireld latched onto a knock down from Lamela off an inswinging corner, setting proceedings up perfectly for Spurs to capitalise on their player advantage.
Almost immediately from the restart, that’s exactly what Tottenham did, as Kane curled a sensational curling strike into the top corner to fire his side in front, a truly superb effort coming after impressive work from Alli on the left flank.
Spurs’ lead lasted just over 10 minutes, as Chilean Sanchez was played through by Bellerin on the right and clinically tucked away his first goal in 11 games to tie this thrilling clash once more.
Tottenham went top of the table (15/8 with Coral to win) for no more than 13 minutes before Sanchez struck a crucial leveller, as the Chilean’s well-taken effort secured a share of the spoils in this stunning north London derby at White Hart Lane.