Yes, I did say in the preview that a draw would be a good result. But when the whistle blew to end yet another North London Derby, the pervading feeling I had was that it was two points lost rather than a point gained.
Sure, defensively Spurs were at times all over the place. Davinson Sanchez at right back must never be an option in the future, because the lad had a nightmare out there on the right flank. Not really his fault because he’s NOT a right back at all. Fact that Mauricio Pochettino refused to play Serge Aurier (who was on the bench) anytime during the match speaks volumes.
On the plus side, Spurs looked dangerous every single time they attacked and in the first 40 minutes that offensive penetration paid handsome dividends with a two goal lead.
A flowing move found Leno pushing a Erik Lamela shot into the path of Christian Eriksen who gleefully prodded home after 10 minutes. Arsenal were frankly shell-shocked.
Half an hour later from an Eriksen free-kick, Harry Winks – who had an excellent game – turned Maitland-Niles inside out & found Son Heung-Min in the box, Xhaka panicked and cleaned out Sonny with an awful tackle.
Harry Kane converted the penalty with his usual aplomb. Joint top scorer in this fixture now with 10 goals! Spurs in control!
Spurs were cruising but then handed Arsenal the initiative with a string of defensive errors from Danny Rose to Sanchez resulting in a Lacazette stoppage time goal which could have been easily avoided. Sigh. It looked odds on that like last season, Arsenal would go on in the second half to win this.
However, they found captain Hugo Lloris in determined mood and the French keeper did his best to deny Arsenal numerous times. However, with nineteen minutes left, Guendozi was given the freedom of the park by Spurs and slipped in Aubameyang between Jan Vertonghen and Rose to draw level.
Suddenly, as if awoken from slumber, Spurs actually looked the more likely in those final minutes with Dele and Lo Celso on and providing attacking intent. Kane was denied a clear penalty – like in the Newcastle game last week – and Moussa Sissoko again found himself in an excellent goal-scoring position (remember Liverpool at Anfield last season?) with the predictable result. Sigh.
It was important not to lose this game. Not least for the fact that the media would have spun even more shit about how unhappy Pochettino is with Daniel Levy and the club. Pure fantasy! Remember that Spurs were short of several key players and from that perspective, the performance – minus the individual defensive errors – showed promise for the season ahead.
COME ON YOU SPURS!!!