Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got the goals as Arsenal battled back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home to Tottenham in a pulsating north London derby on Sunday.
Arsenal coach Unai Emery was starting Lacazette, Aubameyang and record signing Nicolas Pepe all at once for the first time, and the former pair proved vital in bailing out the Gunners’ haplessness at the back.
Christian Eriksen – restored to the starting XI after being benched – fittingly put Spurs in front early on after a rapid breakaway and Harry Kane made it 2-0 from the penalty spot, but Lacazette restored some Arsenal hope when thrashing home just before the interval.
That goal inspired a marked improvement from the Gunners in the second half and, although Kane hit the woodwork, Arsenal levelled through Aubameyang to seal a hard-fought point, meaning Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino remains without an away north London derby win in the Premier League.
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) September 1, 2019
Tottenham’s early-season rustiness was nowhere to be seen when taking the lead on the break 10 minutes in, as Son Heung-min fed Erik Lamela for a low shot and Eriksen was on hand to tap in when Bernd Leno fumbled.
After having several other chances go begging, Spurs finally made it 2-0 five minutes before half-time – Kane emphatically sweeping home a penalty after Granit Xhaka’s rash challenge on Son in the area.
But Lacazette struck in stoppage time, nudging the ball beyond Jan Vertonghen and blasting in to put Arsenal back in the hunt.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) September 1, 2019
Arsenal piled pressure on after the break, with Matteo Guendouzi forcing Hugo Lloris into a fine save before Sead Kolasinac somehow missed from a couple of yards out.
Still Spurs worried them, however, with Kane sending a rasping drive against the post after a clever one-two with Eriksen.
Arsenal deservedly got their equaliser 19 minutes from time, as Aubameyang met Guendouzi’s cross and prodded home.
What does it mean? Arsenal their own worst enemy again
Emery’s men would have probably been good value for all three points, but they gave themselves a huge uphill task with the Spurs goals, which both came about via errors – Leno’s fumble and Xhaka’s foul.
Thankfully they have excellent forwards capable of bailing them out, but what is the point of having a fancy facade if you are built on sand?
Bright Son is Spurs’ leading light
Spurs looked at their most threatening when playing on the break and Son was vital to that, with his pace, awareness and ability on the ball stretching Arsenal’s defence all over the place.
Xhaka predictably rash
If there was one player from this match you could predict doing something particularly daft, it would have been Xhaka. The Swiss midfielder’s foul for Kane’s penalty was mystifying and entirely unnecessary, yet, because it was him, it was also predictable. When will he learn?
Horrendously stupid challenge from Xhaka and Harry does what Harry does and buries it from the spot.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) September 1, 2019
After the international break, Arsenal return to action at Watford on September 15. Spurs host Crystal Palace the day before.
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