Spurs came away from the Emirates Stadium with a point in the first North London Derby of the Premier League season.
Tottenham were 2-0 up in this game and will be bitterly disappointed that they couldn’t have held on for all three points.
Mauricio Pochettino brought Jan Vertonghen back into the fold for the first time this season and also handed Christian Eriksen a start. Injury problems in the full back positions meant that Davinson Sanchez moved over to right-back, arguably an unnatural position for the Colombian.
Tottenham got off to an amazing start at the Emirates as they took the lead after just ten minutes on the clock. Son Heung-min drove into the Arsenal half and played in a lovely through ball that Erik Lamela got on the end of, shooting at the Arsenal goal. You could argue that it’s a goalkeeping error from Bernd Leno as he parried Lamela’s shot straight into the path of the advancing Christian Eriksen who stabbed home from close range. Leno should be doing better, pushing the ball to a safer position but you can’t discredit Eriksen’s attacking positioning as he made it 1-0, scoring his 50th Premier League goal in the process.
The game was a thoroughly entertaining affair, as expected from a North London Derby as Harry Kane doubled Spurs’ lead from the penalty spot in the 40th minute. A moment of madness from the reckless and equally as enigmatic Granit Xhaka as Son picked the ball up in the box after some good wide play from Harry Winks, who was then clattered by Xhaka. A stonewall penalty if ever you’ve seen one. Harry Kane stepped up and smashed the ball into the bottom left corner, sending Leno the other way.
Arsenal came straight back at Spurs though, scoring just before half time from Alexandre Lacazette. If Spurs could’ve managed to hold on until half time without conceding, this would’ve been a completely different game and the goal completely changed the dynamics of the game. He scored from a narrow angle, beating Lloris.
The second half was mostly dominated by Arsenal after being revitalised by their goal in the first half. Spurs couldn’t deal with the Arsenal onslaught and buckled under the pressure, eventually conceding in the 71st minute. Arsenal also had another goal chalked off after Kolasinac was judged offside and rightly so.
It’s disappointing for Spurs to be 2-0 and to finish the game how they did, with their backs to the wall. Tottenham really should be finishing sides off and seeing out games but games with Arsenal aren’t normal occasions. On another day Spurs could’ve been awarded a penalty for a foul on Harry Kane but the referee waved away any protests. Both teams still haven’t got into their full stride and with Man City and Liverpool already leading the way, Spurs are still hopeful of a top 4 finish and a good run in the Champions League.
Mauricio Pochettino: “Overall, I think we are happy with the performance, recovering good feelings,”
“We can only be optimistic, and we are going to improve. We’re going to have the internationals now and it was good to finish with a positive feeling.
“To concede in the last minute (of the first half) was a difficult thing for the team. We handed the belief to Arsenal and that was a big hit for us.
“But the team played really well. Playing like this, we are going to improve and get better. It was one of the best performances in five years we’ve had here at the Emirates. After all the circumstances it was an important performance, more important than the point or the table.”
The international break has come at a good time for Spurs and they’ll be hoping for those players heading out on international to return with a clean bill of health. Crystal Palace are the visitors to the New Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday 14th September.
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