Arsenal and Tottenham played to a hard-fought draw in the first North London derby of the season, with a 1-1 final score on Sunday afternoon. The result keeps the Gunners within one point of current Premier League leaders Chelsea.
Arsenal 1 Tottenham 1: Match Review
The home side came in as heavy favourites, as a visiting Spurs side was dealing with several injury concerns. Striker Harry Kane returned for his first match since September and certainly provided the squad with a much needed boost at the top of the formation.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino made a major tactical decision that ultimately improved the club’s early play in the match. The switch to a 3-4-3 shape created an excellent amount of space to operate in and neutralised the Arsenal midfield.
Chances came often for Tottenham, especially out wide. Danny Rose in particular was able to push forward up the left flank and cross inside the box on numerous occasions.
Arsenal began to apply the pressure after 25 minutes with sharp moments of counterattacking play. A free-kick just before halftime resulted in a Kevin Wimmer own-goal for a 1-0 Arsenal advantage.
A mistake from a defender would also see the equaliser early in the second half.
A clumsy challenge from Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny on Spurs midfielder Moussa Dembele led to a penalty kick in the 51st minute. Harry Kane leveled the match to send the away supporters into a frenzy.
Despite attacking substitutions from both sides late in the match, strong defensive play kept either club from finding a winner.
Arsenal will now prepare to travel to Manchester United on November 19th, while Tottenham will host West Ham United later that same day.
Spurs formation change
Pochettino’s switch to a three-man backline was a critical and successful decision that changed much of what Arsenal wanted to accomplish in the midfield.
Danny Rose and Kyle Walker were able to get forward and find plenty of space throughout the encounter. Eric Dier being placed back in a defensive position allowed the club to play to his strengths and kept the Arsenal attack from flourishing in various moments.
The success of the tactical approach could see Tottenham utilise the formation moving ahead in the campaign.
Wimmer’s frustrating afternoon
Spurs defender Kevin Wimmer endured a tough day in his first Premier League start of the season.
The Austrian international received a yellow card in the sixth minute for a tackle on Francis Coquelin and put the ball into his own net just before halftime while trying to clear out a dangerous free-kick.
Pochettino will hope that performances improve for the young centre-back in future matches.
Arsenal’s unbeaten run continues
Since a defeat against Liverpool to start the Premier League season, Arsenal have now gone unbeaten in 15 consecutive matches.
Arsene Wenger will feel frustrated to not find a victory over their rivals after coming into the derby in such sparkling form.
Liverpool now have a chance to overtake first place in the Premier League in their match against Watford.
ARSENAL: Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin (Ramsey 65’), Xhaka, Walcott (Oxlade-Chamberlain 71’), Ozil, Iwobi (Giroud 70’), Sanchez
Unused subs: Ospina, Gibbs, Paulista, Elneny
TOTTENHAM: Lloris, Dier, Vertonghen, Wimmer, Walker (Trippier 80’), Dembele, Wanyama, Rose, Eriksen, Son (Winks 89’), Kane (Janssen 73’)
Unused subs: Vorm, Carter-Vickers, N’Koudou, Onomah
REFEREE: Mark Clattenburg