English Premier League

Arsenal 2 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur

Arsenal 2 – 2 Tottenham Hotspur. Tottenham came from behind twice to secure a hard-earned point in the north London derby against Arsenal in a thriller at Emirates Stadium.

In a relentless encounter, Arsenal took the lead after 26 minutes when Bukayo Saka’s shot was deflected into his own goal by Spurs defender Cristian Romero.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta had made the big decision by keeping David Raya in of goal ahead of Aaron Ramsdale and he justified that faith with two fine saves from Brennan Johson as Spurs went in pursuit of an equaliser.

Raya should have done better, however, when Spurs levelled three minutes before half-time. He could only claw away a cross allowing an attack to continue, ending with James Maddison crossing for Son Heung-min to equalise with a deft finish.

Arsenal restored their lead after 54 minutes when Romero was penalised for handball following the intervention of the Video Assistant Referee, Saka scoring from the spot.

Spurs, illustrating their new positive approach under manager Ange Postecoglou in his first north London derby, were back on terms almost instantly when Jorginho, as a half-time substitute for the injured Declan Rice, lost possession to Maddison, who played in Son for another cool finish.

The headline news before kick-off was Mikel Arteta’s decision to stay with Raya in goal, a move that surely ends the debate about who is Arsenal’s number one keeper, the Spaniard getting the nod ahead of England’s Ramsdale.

It was a mixed afternoon for Raya, who made two important interventions but was also culpable for Spurs’ first equaliser when he should have held a cross, allowing Spurs to maintain pressure and score.

For Arsenal, there will be real frustration in being held to a point and one of the key moments came when they were leading 1-0 and Gabriel Jesus caught James Maddison in possession, only to shoot wildly over the top with just Spurs keeper Guglielmo Vicario to beat.

Arsenal were never at their most fluent, not helped by losing Declan Rice to injury at half-time, and paid the price when his replacement Jorginho was robbed by Maddison for Spurs’ second goal.

The Gunners staged a late show to beat Manchester United but there was no repeat here, even in 10 minutes of added time, and Arteta’s side had to settle for a point against their great rivals.

Tottenham’s positive and entertaining start to the season under new manager Postecoglou has sparked real optimism but this was the biggest test of the post-Harry Kane era so far.

The upbeat mood will certainly be maintained after the manner in which Spurs not only approached this game, determined not to simply sit back, but also the way in which they responded after going behind twice to come back and earn a point.

Spurs had to suffer under pressure, which was inevitable, but they never buckled and were always prepared to take the opportunity to attack when the opportunity arose.

With the great talisman Kane now at Bayern Munich, Spurs had to look to other areas of creation, other partnerships that could somehow compensate for the absence of the guaranteed goal supply from the England captain.

And they appear to have found it with Maddison and Son, who were at the heart of both Spurs goals – with Maddison the creator and Son the scorer.

The pair seemed tuned into the same wavelength and Spurs were the grateful beneficiaries.

Spurs were equally impressive when Arsenal tried to mount one of their late trademark rallies, resilient at the back but also ready to spring forward even in those added 10 minutes.

There was no doubt which set of supporters were happier as Postecoglou clenched his fists and applauded the Spurs fans banked in a corner of Emirates Stadium after the final whistle.

source – BBC

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