Spurs frustrated by 10-man Arsenal

Arsenal 0 Tottenham 0
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The Independent Football

Arsenal survived Emmanuel Eboue's sending off and an injury to Emmanuel Adebayor to earn a 0-0 draw at Tottenham in Sunday's north London derby, but Gunners manager Arsene Wenger was furious at what he saw as a legitimate goal being disallowed.

Referee Mike Dean penalized Eboue for tripping Jonathan Woodgate before he found the net after 13 minutes.

"It is two points dropped because we had the best chances, because we scored a regular goal that was canceled by the referee because of an illusionary foul only seen by the referee," Wenger said. "I have watched it three times on television and I can't see what is wrong."

Wenger also complained about Eboue's booking for dissent before being dismissed in the 37th minute for kicking out at Luka Modric.

"I believe that the first yellow card was very harsh," Wenger said. "The second I haven't seen, but if he has retaliated he deserves a second yellow."

On his 100th league appearance, striker Adebayor was carried off after pulling up with a hamstring injury that will rule him out for three weeks.

Both teams had chances to win the match in stoppage time. Nicklas Bendtner's strike was tipped over by Spurs goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, while Modric was denied at the other end by Manuel Almunia.

"You'd have put your life on the little man (Modric), he's such a good finisher I thought he would have scored," Spurs manager Harry Redknapp said.

Not even the return of striker Robbie Keane to Spurs after six months at Liverpool could inspire the team to exploit Arsenal's 76th red card in Arsene Wenger's 13-year reign and claim a first league win over his side since 1999.

The draw lifted Spurs just two points clear of the Premier League's three-team relegation zone. While relieved to leave White Hart Lane with a point, the Gunners remain five adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea in the chase for the Champions League spots.

The north London rivals had spent heavily as the transfer window shut Monday, Keane rejoining Spurs and attacking midfielder Andrei Arshavin moving to Arsenal.

Arshavin, who joined from Zenit St. Petersburg, was not deployed off the bench due to his two months without action for the Russian side.

Keane — installed as captain — might have won a penalty in the opening minutes when challenged by William Gallas.

Cudicini's goal also faced an early threat, but Eboue's cross was too far ahead for Adebayor to make a connection.

In a lively start, Spurs midfielders Aaron Lennon drew an early save from Almunia, while Wilson Palacios had two swerving efforts from distance blocked.

Robin van Persie was gifted an opening when captain Kolo Toure's low cross was spilled by Cudicini, but the new arrival from Chelsea recovered in time to gather up the loose ball.

Adebayor's early exit prompted arrival of Bendtner, rather than Eduardo da Silva, who was back in the squad for the first time since breaking his leg last February.

On a quiet homecoming, Keane had to wait until 11 minutes after the break to get his first sight of goal, only to head Lennon's cross over the bar.

"It was a great ball by Aaron," Keane said. "It didn't go in but we kept plugging away. We were pushing for the whole game, give us credit for that. We couldn't break them down but hopefully we can push up the table now."

With Spurs unable to exploit its advantage, Darren Bent replaced Roman Pavlyuchenko to support Keane in the 63rd minute.

Arsenal's Alex Song squandered a clear chance to break the deadlock with 20 minutes to go, steering the ball wide from Van Persie's corner.

At the other end, Keane — whose goal for Liverpool at Arsenal in December clinched a 1-1 draw — brought the ball down with chest before volleying wide.

But there was to be no repeat of the late drama in the reverse fixture after Harry Redknapp's arrival in October when Spurs recovered to earn a 4-4 draw at Emirates Stadium.