Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham: Harry Kane scores from the spot on return from injury after Kevin Wimmer's own goal gifts Gunners lead in tight north London derby
- Kevin Wimmer nodded the ball into his own net to open the scoring in Sunday's derby match at the Emirates
- Harry Kane, who was making his first appearance since September, levelled the score from the penalty spot
- Tottenham were awarded penalty after Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny fouled Tottenham's Mousa Dembele
With 73 minutes gone, Harry Kane left the field to predictable opprobrium from the home support. That is five goals in four games against Arsenal for Kane, tying with Gareth Bale in the Premier League era. What with the row over whether he is one of Tottenham’s own or just an Arsenal deserter, no wonder he divides opinion like no other in north London.
Kane has been missing since September 18 having sustained an injury against Sunderland and Tottenham have suffered accordingly. Just four wins in 10 matches, and none since October 2. So this was a promising return for him, and for them – a performance more like the Tottenham of last season, even if it did not bring victory.
With six minutes to go, when a Christian Eriksen free-kick pitched once in the area, eluded Petr Cech and hit the far post, the visitors thought they had sneaked a win. The draw was the fair result, though, even if it will leave both sides frustrated. Arsenal missed out on a chance to go top, Tottenham lost ground on the leading four. No-one suffers the Monday morning embarrassment at work, but nobody quite got the spoils either, even if an away point will feel like a better outcome for Tottenham.
Harry Kane shows his delight after scoring from the penalty spot on his return to Tottenham's starting line-up
Kane places the ball down the middle as the diving Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech dives down to his left-hand side
Kevin Wimmer heads the ball into his own net as he jumps for the ball alongside Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny
Koscielny celebrates the first-half own goal as the skipper acknowledges the home support during the north London derby
The French centre back is joined by his Arsenal team-mates with Mesut Ozil also receiving praise for his assist
MATCH FACTS, RATINGS, PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE
Not that Arsenal’s goal was without controversy, mind you. Time was, the definition of a football ignoramus was not understanding the offside rule. Now, anyone who can make head or tail of it is snapped up by NASA and put to work in the space programme. There is a rumour Stephen Hawking’s follow up to A Brief History Of Time is going to be called How The F*** Was That Allowed? Certainly, Kevin Wimmer might have asked the same question after haplessly gifting Arsenal the lead.
A free-kick was won 40 yards out and Mesut Ozil floated it in, targeting every central defender’s corridor of uncertainty. So far so good. He succeeded in turning Wimmer around, back towards his own goal, where he would have least wanted to be. Arsenal had two players – Alexis Sanchez and Laurent Koscielny – in his vicinity, who looked to be in an offside position when the ball was kicked.
What was Wimmer to do? Leave it, and hope the officials did their job? What if they were ruled not interfering – or one was, and the other wasn’t, and it was that guy who scored? Wimmer couldn’t afford to gamble on getting the call, so he went for the ball, with disastrous results.
Could goalkeeper Hugo Lloris have come for it? Perhaps, had he set off early enough. But the ball was a distance from goal, and there was traffic in the area. It would have been a long way to come. What is undeniable, though, is that with Lloris on his line, the unknown behind him and red shirts in his field of vision, Wimmer was having to compute, and resolve, a lot of information in a split second. As sometimes happens, he overloaded, attempting to clear but instead steering a header into the bottom corner of the net.
Sanchez or Koscielny could not have taken the chance any better had they got there first. Wimmer lay prone on the turf as endless replays showed in the ground to his embarrassment, and much mirth. Having already been booked after just six minutes for a foul on Francis Coquelin, he will not forget his first Premier League appearance this season in a hurry.
It was a bold decision by Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino to play a back three in such an important game but, for much of the first half and a fair portion of the second, it worked. Early on Arsenal had decent possession, but little that amounted to a threat and they had to wait until the 31st minute for a shot of significance.
Both sets of players take part in a minute's silence as part of the this week's remembrance commemorations
Mousa Dembele (left) jostles for the ball with Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil (right) during the first half at the Emirates
Tottenham, by contrast, made good use of their wing backs – particularly Danny Rose – and had a couple of opportunities to open the scoring. In the fifth minute, Son Heung-min broke quickly down the left and struck a low cross that just couldn’t meet the foot of Kane.
Then, after 21 minutes, a cross by Eriksen found Kane in plenty of space, but the England man steered a diving header narrowly wide. He could have done better, and perhaps would have if this were not his first game back. It is an indication of how sorely he has been missed that Pochettino put him straight into the starting line-up. Gareth Southgate probably will, too, against Scotland on Friday.
Yet once Arsenal got into the game, the title potential that many have observed this season could be seen. The ball moved quickly, and with purpose and Tottenham’s new gameplan was put to the test in a furious 15-minute spell. The 31st minute signalled the sea change, when Sanchez crossed from the left and Ozil shot wide. A minute later, Tottenham were carved apart and Arsenal should have been a goal up.
Sanchez laid the ball off to Ozil and had it returned with the most exquisite through pass before spotting Alex Iwobi in an even better position. He fed him a perfectly weighted ball only for Iwobi to hit it directly at Lloris with much the same force.
In the 39th minute, Granit Xhaka set Theo Walcott away on the right, his shot smashing against the bar, Lloris saved at the feet of Ozil and Xhaka should have done more to get on the end of an Iwobi cross after 61 minutes, but the busier goalkeeper was Cech.
He tipped round a shot from Eriksen after a knockdown by Son in the 55th minute, and narrowly recovered from a slip as he was attempting to play sweeper late on. Son tried to get there but did not seem to relish the 50-50 confrontation. In the 60th minute, Rose found Kane at the far post, but a fine block by Nacho Monreal thwarted his second goal of the afternoon.
Arsene Wenger made a string of attacking substitutions, but none could deliver three points. It was a good derby, a lively derby, but with no winner will have left only mild dissatisfaction on all sides when they look at the league table.
Tottenham star Kane, who was making his first appearance since September, goes close with a headed effort
Alex Iwobi reacts after squandering a chance to put his side in the lead during the opening exchanges at the Emirates
England team-mates Theo Walcott (left) and Danny Rose (right) compete for the ball during Sunday's match in north London
Arsene Wenger directs Arsenal's play from the touchline as he looks to record a win against Arsenal's bitter rivals
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino looks frustrated as he watches proceedings from the away technical area
Walcott and Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen square up to each other as the two sides get slightly heated during match
At least two Arsenal players appeared to be in an offside position when Ozil delivered a free-kick in the build up to the opener
Wimmer looks dejected after his own goal ensured Arsenal had a slender lead during the half-time interval at the Emirates
Kane is surrounded by his team-mates after he levelled the scoreline following a foul by Koscielny on Dembele
Dembele is sent to the floor after Koscielny catches the Belgium international shortly after the interval on Sunday afternoon
Koscielny's clumsy challenge on Dembele left referee Mark Clattenburg with no choice but to award a second-half penalty
Dembele falls to the floor after Koscielny catches his foot rather than making clean contact with the ball
Olivier Giroud was brought on to try to score a winner for the hosts but he failed to find a way past his fellow Frenchman