Tottenham vs Arsenal, five things we learned: Harry Kane gets his goal before late penalty drama

Five things we learned from a typically chaotic north London derby at Wembley

Luke Brown
Saturday 02 March 2019 15:35
Premier League match preview: Tottenham v Arsenal

Hugo Lloris saved Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s late penalty to secure a 1-1 draw for Tottenham Hotspur against Arsenal in a chaotic north London derby at Wembley.

Aubameyang had the chance to secure all three points in the dying minutes after Davinson Sanchez hauled him down in the area, only for his weak shot to be excellently saved by Lloris.

Aaron Ramsey had earlier put Arsenal ahead in the 16th minute when he took advantage of a bungled header by Sanchez to race clear and cooly round Lloris.

But Harry Kane was on hand to level the score in the second-half. The England captain was barged in the back by Shkodran Mustafi attacking a free-kick and confidently converted the penalty to salvage a point.

Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira then saw red for a studs-up lunge on Danny Rose, ruling him out of next week’s crunch match against Manchester United. Here are five things we learned.

Arsenal shoot themselves in the foot

Hugo Lloris saved Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's penalty to see Tottenham draw with Arsenal (AFP/Getty)

Arsenal should have won this game. After Ramsey’s breakaway opening goal, they successfully managed to keep an injury-depleted Tottenham at arm’s length, solid at the back and dangerous on the break — particularly after the second-half introduction of Aubameyang.

But not for the first time this season, their defence cost them. No, Tottenham probably did not deserve their second-half penalty, and Taylor will rightfully come in for a degree of criticism after the match. But it was still utterly reckless of Mustafi to barge into the back of Kane, costing Arsenal a famous victory.

Arsenal then had the chance to snatch back the lead in the dying moments, only for Aubameyang to see his last-gasp spot kicked save, clawed out by Lloris. A north London derby double in his debut season would have been such an accomplishment for Emery — whose tactics were spot on today — only for a series of individual errors to rob him.

Familiar fitness woes for Kane

Harry Kane looks concerned aft Arsenal take the lead against Spurs

We’re at that dreaded point in Tottenham’s season again. You know the one: when Kane rushes himself back from injury and into the Spurs starting XI, dragging his aching limbs around the pitch with a furrowed brow and thousand-yard state, as everything that was once so giddily natural becomes a churn, a chore.

Watching Kane play like this is like watching your favourite band after a bad soundcheck. Everything is where it should be, but numerous furtive glances and distinct lack of harmony suggests that something just isn’t clicking. Time and again he received the ball in half-interesting positions, only for it to agonisingly bobble away from him at the worst possible moment.

Enter Mustafi, who rather charitably barged Kane in the back while attempting to defend a corner midway through the second-half. Yes, Tottenham’s onrushing forwards looked to be offside anyway but it was brainless from Mustafi, who handed Kane the opportunity to equalise on a silver platter. For Kane, it was exactly what the doctor had ordered.

Ramsey goal feels bittersweet

Aaron Ramsey celebrates after putting Arsenal in front against Tottenham

Once the immediate joy subsides, exactly how are Arsenal supporters supposed to feel after watching Aaron Ramsey score the opening goal in a north London derby against Tottenham?

It is not particularly difficult to see why Emery prefers Ramsey to Mesut Ozil, who ran the show in the midweek demolition of Bournemouth only to drop back to the bench here. Ozil, while freakishly gifted, lacks the intensity and physical presence of Ramsey, who tore around like a madman here this evening, linking Arsenal’s midfield and attack in a manner that Tottenham could only envy.

Should Arsenal supporters be worried that in matches of this magnitude, Emery still prefers to play somebody about to leave the club instead of £350k-a-week Ozil? Or have we all stopped caring about that? It is a credit the professionalism of both Emery and Ramsey that the Welshman remains an integral part of this Arsenal team, while also feeling especially bittersweet.

Sanchez not yet the finished article

Davinson Sanchez made a number of errors in the first half

It is often easy to forget that Sanchez, Tottenham’s third best centre-back behind both Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, is the most expensive transfer in the history of the club.

It is also easy, given the composure of his first year and a half in English football, to forget that he is still only 22-years-old. The Colombia international has excelled when deployed in between the Belgians in a three-man defence, while also proving himself an able replacement in either of their absence. So let us not rush to conclusions after two mistaks, albeit especially high-profile ones.

That said, there is always a lingering suspicion that Sanchez — unlike Vertonghen and Alderweireld — can prove susceptible when relied upon as the very last line of defence. And so it proved here, as his missed header allowed Ramsey to race away with the ball and score, before conceding that late penalty which Lloris mercifully saved. The club’s record signing he may be, but Sanchez still has a lot of learning left to do.

The Leno and Lloris show

Bernd Leno was superb for Arsenal

Has Leno been a success since arriving at Arsenal from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer, or does he still have something to prove? Left on the bench by Emery at the start of the season, Leno did well to bide his time before grasping at his chance, becoming Arsenal’s first-choice goalkeeper when Petr Cech was cruelly ruled out with a hamstring injury. He has done reasonably well ever since, without registering a truly statement performance.

That changed here. The German didn't have an awful lot to do against a toothless Tottenham and can not be blamed for the equaliser, although when he was called into action, he delivered. At the very end of the first-half, he kept out Christian Eriksen’s shot with his leg before springing up from the turf to deny Moussa Sissoko’s rebound with his outstretched left hand. It was a true save of the season contender.

A word also on Lloris. The Tottenham captain has had a difficult few weeks but was rightfully the hero here this afternoon, springing down to his right to claw out Aubameyang's last-gasp spot kick.

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