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spursTottenham 2 – 2 Arsenal

Ospina, Bellerín, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Gibbs, Elneny, Coquelin; Ramsey, Özil, Sánchez, Welbeck

Oh Francois Coquelin, what were you thinking?? A moment of madness from the Frenchman cost Arsenal a much needed victory in what had been the most hotly contested and anticipated North London derby ever. We could all see it unfolding, all in slow motion, Harry Kane collects the ball just inside his own half, gallops off down the wing and with him going seemingly nowhere, Coquelin decided to slide in and catch none of the ball… but all of Harry Kane, the easiest red card ever for referee Micheal Oliver to dish out.

But before all that…

Arsenal had traveled the short distance across North London, to White Hart Lane, the home of fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur, for a North London derby like no other. This was the most evenly matched NLD in Premier League history, many a year Spurs have challenged Arsenal and fallen short, but not this year. Spurs are genuinely challenging for the title and at this moment in time look a better bet than Arsenal to win it. If I’m honest, going into this game I didn’t give us a prayer, our strikers (bar Welbeck) are off form, our best defender was out injured, as was first choice goalkeeper Petr Cech. The line up when announced was as good as we could hope for, Welbeck was rightly given a chance up front, Elneny was given his first Premier league start, and Gibbs replaced the fatigued Monreal. The game had started at 100mph, with spurs making all the running, Kane was particularly lively sending in two long range shots that didn’t test Ospina, but showed he was well up for the fight.

ramsey

Ramsey opens the scoring

Arsenal had to weather the early (expected) onslaught from Spurs, if we were to have any hope of snatching a result, and midway through the first half we had Ospina to thank for keeping the scores level. Deli Alli whipped in a dangerous low cross which deflected wickedly off the shin of Lamela and Ospina reacted superbly to get down low and keep the ball out. It was after this moment that Arsenal started to take some control of the match and look dangerous on the counter attack, and five minutes before half time, took the lead. The ball ricocheted kindly into the path of Welbeck who looked up for a pass, crossed along the ground for Hector Bellerin, who looked like he was going to blast the ball into the back of the net. Instead he passed low and Aaron Ramsey did a backheeled flick with just enough precision and power to fly past Hugo Lloris. Arsenal were all over the Spurs now, we finally had some zest and bite about our play. Mesut Ozil found Welbeck with a clever reverse pass, but he had his cross blocked. Welbeck got on the end of a chipped ball into the box but he headed straight at Lloris. It was spurs who were grateful for the halftime whistle.

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Bellerin and Alli battling for possession

When the second half started Arsenal looked comfortable, Tottenham weren’t threatening and the crowd were getting frustrated. Coquelin had his moment of madness and with us down to 10 men- Tottenham took the initiative. Kane had a forceful shot saved on the line, but the defense couldn’t hold and on 60 minutes a corner was headed downwards and Alderweid volleyed home an equalizer. Two minutes later, with Arsenal reeling from that goal, Kane smashed home a stunning 20 yard cross shot that went in off the post and from being in a position of relative comfort, Arsenal were suddenly looking at a heavy defeat, which would have put that final nail in the fading title coffin.

kane

Kane celebrates his stunner

Miraculously, and somewhat surprisingly, Arsenal found a resolve that had been missing lately and didn’t crumble when the chips were down. Ramsey played the ball to Bellerin, who had found space on the right, he released the onrushing Sanchez, who squeezed the ball past Lloris into the far corner for an equalizer. The travelling Arsenal support went wild, and Arsenal may have even snatched victory if Ramsey had a touch more pace; as he had a shot blocked in the 90th minute when it looked like he was about to score when through on goal.

Football Soccer - Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - Barclays Premier League - White Hart Lane - 5/3/16 Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring the second goal for Arsenal Action Images via Reuters / Paul Childs Livepic EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

Sanchez celebrates his equaliser

In other news…

Arsenal played Hull in the F.A cup 5th round replay on Tuesday night and won 4-0 thanks to goals from Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud, who grabbed a brace each. Arsenal play Watford for a place in the semi-finals this Sunday.

Congratulations also to Olivier Giroud, whose wife gave birth this week, they welcomed to the world a new baby boy called Evan.

 

NEXT FIXTURE – Watford @ Home (Sunday 13th March) F.A cup.

 

Until next week…

 

 

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