Gibbs the hero as Arsenal draw Tottenham

Gibbs Arsenal

Kieran Gibbs celebrate after scoring the equaliser for Arsenal

Kieran Gibbs celebrate after scoring the equaliser for Arsenal
Kieran Gibbs celebrate after scoring the equaliser for Arsenal

Substitute Kieran Gibbs rescued a point for Arsenal in a pulsating north London derby against Tottenham.

Spurs dominated for long periods and took a deserved first-half lead when Harry Kane broke clear and slotted in.

However, Arsenal slowly took control in the second half and equalised when Mesut Ozil provided a deep cross for Gibbs to bundle past Hugo Lloris.

Arsenal are level on points with Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, while Spurs lie fifth.

Though the visitors were denied an impressive victory, Mauricio Pochettino’s side remain unbeaten since the opening day of the season and are within three points of a Champions League place.

On the evidence of this performance, they are credible contenders to finish in the top four.

They have developed into a highly efficient unit who press the ball well from a solid base, while their attacking trio of Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane appears capable of breaking down the meanest of defences.

Same old problems for Arsenal

Arsenal were beaten 5-1 by Bayern Munich in midweek, and their defensive frailties were highlighted by Tottenham’s opener.

Spurs left-back Danny Rose played a ball inside the channel and, after Laurent Koscielny had stepped up, Kane nipped in front of Per Mertesacker before applying a composed finish.

Spurs unlocked Arsenal on numerous occasions and Cech made a particularly good save from Toby Alderweireld’s header, while Kane and Eriksen flashed shots wide of goal.

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Harry Kane opened the scoring for Tottenham
Harry Kane opened the scoring for Tottenham

Gunners start slowly

Arsenal failed to register a shot on goal until the 38th minute – their previous worst at home this season was the eighth minute – but they did grow in confidence and composure as the game wore on.

Mathieu Flamini replaced Santi Cazorla at half-time as Arsenal attempted to stifle the threat of Alli in particular, and it worked well for the Gunners.

As Spurs began to tire, striker Olivier Giroud went close with two headers – one hitting the bar and the other rolling just wide – before Gibbs got in front of Kyle Walker at the back post to level.

Only Bournemouth covered more ground than Tottenham over the weekend, with Spurs running a collective 7km more than Arsenal.

It could be argued, however, that the visitors did tire with their possession dropping to just 31.4% in the final 15 minutes compared to 58.6% in the final five minutes of the first half.

Arsenal did always look a threat going forward, once they shook off their early lethargy, and Ozil became the first ever player to contribute an assist in six consecutive Premier League games in the same season.

The Germany World Cup winner also became the first player to assist 10 goals in his opening 11 games of a Premier League season.

Man of the match – Dele Alli (Tottenham)

Culled from BBC