Live Commentary: Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur - as it happened
Relive Sports Mole's live coverage of the North London derby as Arsenal came from behind to rescue a draw against Spurs at the Emirates.
By Barney Corkhill, Assistant Editor Filed: Saturday, September 27, 2014 at 16:30 UK
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 06:55 UK
Arsenal maintained their unbeaten start to the season courtesy of a 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur in the North London derby at the Emirates Stadium this evening.
The visitors took the lead 10 minutes after the restart when Nacer Chadli slid the ball home after Mathieu Flamini had been caught in possession.
The Gunners pushed for an equaliser and finally found one with just over 15 minutes remaining when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain slammed home from close range.
You can read how it all unfolded courtesy of Sports Mole's live minute-by-minute coverage below.
4.30pmGood afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for the second big Premier League derby match of the day as Arsenal host North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium. We have already seen plenty of drama in the Merseyside derby, and this fixture almost guarantees goals and talking points. Hopefully we will have more of the same this afternoon. Let's start with a look at the hosts...
4.32pmIt has been a mixed start to the campaign for Arsenal so far, who come into this match fourth in the table with nine points from their opening five games. On the one hand, they may have expected to pick up more points in select games that they have had already, but Wenger can not be too upset given that his side remain unbeaten - one of only two teams, alongside Chelsea, who can say that.
4.34pmYet it is still hard to determine whether Arsenal will be genuine title contenders or simply battling for the top four again this season. A late victory against Crystal Palace on the opening day will not have inspired their fans too much, while a draw with Leicester is also not the best result. However, they showed great character to launch a good comeback against Everton and also managed to take points off champions Manchester City, so it has very much been a mixed bag so far.
4.36pmTheir last league outing saw them blitz Aston Villa with three goals in as many minutes to claim a 3-0 victory last weekend, but remains their only win in their last five outings in all competitions. For once, they began their Champions League campaign with defeat to Borussia Dortmund, while this Tuesday they squandered a lead at the Emirates to lose to Southampton and exit the League Cup.
4.38pmThe inconsistency of their recent performances will be a worry for Wenger, who knows as well as anyone that you cannot win a title that way. His side need to string a run of victories together - particularly considering the good form of Chelsea in the early stages of the campaign - and there won't be many better ways to begin such a run than victory over your closest rivals this afternoon.
4.40pmThe Gunners will be hoping that the defeat to Southampton in midweek was a blip on an otherwise impeccable home record of late. They have not been beaten at the Emirates in the league since the opening day of last season, when Aston Villa came to town and won 3-1. That is a run of 20 matches unbeaten in front of their own fans and, considering they have won each of their last four home North London derbies, it would be something of a surprise if that run was to come to an end this afternoon.
4.42pmHowever, Arsenal have not gone six games without defeat at the start of a new Premier League season since 2007, so it is not a position many of the current crop will have found themselves in before. They will also be hoping that the old cliche of form going out of the window in derby matches is not true, as they come into the game in better shape than their opponents this afternoon.
4.44pmThe Gunners also have recent history very much on their side. They have won five of the last six derbies and 14 of their last 18 at home, while they have also scored in every home meeting with Spurs since November 1998. They have met 15 times at either Highbury or the Emirates since then, during which time the hosts have netted 38 times.
4.46pmVisits to Arsenal have not exactly yielded much for Spurs, then, and they go into this afternoon's game having made a disappointing start to their campaign. They have picked up just seven points from their opening five games - their worst start to a Premier League season since the 2008-09 campaign under Juande Ramos. On that occasion they only managed two points, so they can be confident that they have progressed from there, but new boss Mauricio Pochettino hasn't exactly hit the ground running at Spurs.
4.48pmIt all started so well for the new boss, with four wins in his first four games in all competitions. They qualified for the Europa League with minimum fuss and began their Premier League campaign with contrasting victories - one narrow win over West Ham United and one convincing drubbing of Queens Park Rangers. They have won just one of their five matches since then, however.
4.50pmThat victory came in their last outing as they launched a late comeback to beat Nottingham Forest and progress into the fourth round of the League Cup. There is no doubting that a couple of competitions will be higher on Pochettino's priority list than the League Cup this season, but he will be delighted to have finally ended a four-match winless streak, and that should do his side the world of good coming into this one.
4.52pmOf course, Spurs will know that a trip to Arsenal is a much more daunting test than facing Nottingham Forest, despite their good form in the Championship this season, but today's visitors have been good on the road so far this season. They are yet to lose an away game in the current campaign, winning twice and drawing twice on their travels.
4.54pmYet it is their shortest journey of the lot that so often sees them undone. They have only won once at Arsenal in the last 25 years, with that victory coming in 2010 when they came from behind to win 3-2. They have not even scored at the Emirates since a 5-2 defeat in November 2012, while they were beaten three times by the Gunners without finding the net once last season.
4.56pmLondon derbies have been profitable for Pochettino's side so far this season, however, with two wins from two and six of their seven points coming against teams from the capital. That record is not as impressive as Arsenal's from last season, however, as the Gunners picked up 25 points from 10 London derbies, winning eight, drawing one and losing just the once.
4.58pmThere is no single area of the field where Pochettino will be working on to improve as, in truth, his side need to get better all over the field. Aside from their 4-0 win over QPR, Spurs have struggled to pose much of an attacking threat so far this season. They managed just one shot on target in their shock defeat to West Brom, and have now lost their last 10 league matches in which they have failed to score - hinting at a problem at the other end as well.
5pmTEAM NEWS: Right, the teams are in for both sides, and the big news is that Alexis Sanchez has been left on the bench for the Gunners. Oxlade-Chamberlain retains his place from the win over Aston Villa, while Ozil and Ramsey are also behind Welbeck. Mason gets a surprise start for Spurs, who have former Arsenal man Adebayor up front. Full teams for both sides coming right up...
5.04pmTOTTENHAM SUBS: Vorm, Dier, Fazio, Bentaleb, Lennon, Townsend, Soldado
5.06pmSo, what can we make of those two sides? Well, it is no surprise to see both managers make a number of changes from their League Cup exploits in midweek. Wenger names Danny Welbeck up front and will be hopeful that the England international can continue his good early form at the club following his deadline-day move from Manchester United. With Giroud and Sanogo both sidelined, Welbeck will be crucial if the Gunners are to keep pace with the likes of Chelsea in the early stages of the campaign.
5.08pmThe trio behind Welbeck will provide ample support and are capable of creating chances or scoring themselves should the opportunity arise. Ozil finally began to show something like the form we know he is capable with against Villa last weekend and will be hoping that continues this afternoon, while Ramsey's importance to the team simply continues to grow. Oxlade-Chamberlain, meanwhile, has been given a huge vote of confidence in being kept in the side instead of Sanchez, so he will be keen to repay Wenger for that.
5.10pmWilshere retains his place from the midweek defeat to Southampton, partnering captain Arteta in the middle of the park despite Flamini being back available for selection. The defensive midfielder is on the bench this afternoon and provides Wenger with a useful option should he need to close the game out and prevent it from becoming as open as these fixtures have been in recent times.
5.12pmChambers is another who maintains his spot in the side, although to be honest Wenger doesn't have too much choices when it comes to defence now. He was criticised for not bringing in another defender during the transfer window, and Mathieu Debuchy's injury has left his side thin on the ground at the back. Another injury to any of his defenders would leave Wenger in real trouble.
5.14pmAs for Spurs, they once again plump for Adebayor as the lone striker, and it is hard to argue with his pedigree in this fixture. He has scored more North London derby goals than any other player in history, netting eight times for Arsenal and twice for Tottenham over the years. He has blown hot and cold so far this season, but Pochettino seems determined to stick with him despite the likes of Soldado and Kane pushing for a starting role.
5.16pmOne of the biggest worries for Spurs fans following the West Brom defeat will be their lack of creativity in the final third. Eriksen and Lamela both started the campaign reasonably well, but they have tailed off a little in recent weeks and Spurs simply need them to find form again. On song, Eriksen is their most dangerous player and can be a match-winner, while we have seen glimpses of why Spurs paid so much money for Lamela last summer. He needs to produce that form far more regularly. Chadli, meanwhile, has weighed in with a couple of goals already this season and will be hoping to add to his tally this afternoon.
5.18pmThere is a surprise start in midfield for Mason, who impressed during the League Cup win over Forest in midweek, and his is joined by Capoue, who has attempted (440) and completed (392) the most passes by any player in the Premier League this season. Meanwhile, Naughton is preferred to Dier in defence, while Fazio has to settle for a place on the bench.
5.20pmPREDICTION: We're 10 minutes from kickoff at the Emirates, which means that it is time for my prediction! There are usually goals in this fixture, and even if that wasn't the case last season, I am hoping for plenty today. Both sides have looked more than capable of conceding goals this season, so I would be surprised if either kept a clean sheet. However, I can't see past Arsenal winning this match with home advantage and the better team. I'm going for a 4-2 victory for the Gunners.
5.22pmI'm not alone in predicted a goal-fest for this match. Have a look at what the Sports Mole Sofa had to say about the game - one even went for a seven-goal thriller!
5.24pmWe would be in line for a Premier League record should any of the below predictions come through. This match needs to provide 'just' four goals to become the highest scoring in Premier League history. So far there have been 126 goals in the meetings between the two teams, so 130 is the mark to reach!
5.26pmThis is the 174th North London derby overall, with Arsenal boasting the better head to head record. They have won 74 to Tottenham's 54, with 45 draws. While Pochettino in the away dugout will be taking charge of his first one, this is the 44th time Wenger has faced Spurs as Arsenal boss, with his own personal record standing at 21 wins, 16 draws and just six defeats.
5.28pmAs alluded to earlier, Arsenal won all three meetings between these two sides last season. Two of those victories came at the Emirates, with Arsenal winning 2-0 in the cup and 1-0 in the league. The most recent meeting came at White Hart Lane in March, when the Gunners once again won 1-0.
1 minKICKOFF: Arsenal get us underway for this North London derby as both sides look for bragging rights and, even more importantly, three points. We should be in for a cracker here!
3 minThere is a cracking atmosphere inside the Emirates at the start of this match. Nothing gets these fans quite as emotional as a North London derby, and they are in full voice at the moment.
5 minArsenal have started this one just about on top, seeing more of the ball and pressing the Tottenham defence high up the pitch. Still no chances to speak of as both teams look to feel each other out in the opening exchanges.
6 minArsenal win the ball back in a promising position courtesy of some good work from Welbeck, allowing Wilshere to break forward from midfield. He knocks the ball out to Ramsey, who strangely opts to go for goal instead of looking for a teammate in the middle. His tame shot is easy for Lloris.
8 minAdebayor's first touch is predictably greeted with boos, but that is not a sound he will be hearing too often if things continue in this manner. Spurs are really struggling to get a foothold in the game so far.
10 minArsenal win a free kick in a good crossing position on the right flank, but the delivery is easy for Lloris to punch. However, his clearance only goes as far as Wilshere, who takes it past Lamela but then sees his shot from the edge of the box blocked.
11 minSpurs win the ball back in midfield and immediately break forward in numbers. They have a three-on-one situation, but Lamela slides a simple pass to close to Koscielny and the attack breaks down. Really poor from the Argentine.
12 minYELLOW CARD! Oxlade-Chamberlain becomes the first man in the book for a late challenge from behind on Capoue. I suspect that won't be the last time the referee goes to his pocket this afternoon.
14 minSuperb skill from Welbeck as he flicks the ball past Vertonghen before tearing down the right flank. He is all on his own against Kaboul, who stands up well and makes a good block to deny the striker's shot.
16 minVery little of the match has been played in Arsenal's third so far as Spurs continue to struggle to pose any sort of attacking threat. They need to get the ball to stick up top with Adebayor and then get men around him.
18 minOzil shone in a central role against Villa last weekend and, although he has drifted quite a lot so far this afternoon, that appears to be his main position again this afternoon. Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wilshere and Ramsey are also switching positions fairly regularly in what is a fluid attacking set-up for the Gunners.
20 minStill no clear chances to report in this one, but Arsenal will be the happier of the two teams after the opening 20 minutes. They have been much more threatening and have a measure of control over the game right now.
21 minSAVE! Good play from Oxlade-Chamberlain down the right as he reaches the ball before playing a cross towards the back post. It finds Welbeck, who cuts back before seeing his low, deflected shot comfortably saved by Lloris.
22 minYELLOW CARD! This is about as clear a yellow card as you will see all season. Wilshere came flying through on Mason, who shifted the ball to the right and was clattered into by the Arsenal man.
23 minCLOSE! Awkward moment for Lloris as Oxlade-Chamberlain's cross almost sneaks under his crossbar. The Frenchman just about gets enough on it to keep it out, however, while Naughton is there to complete the clearance.
25 minSpurs are just not offering anything in an attacking sense right now. Lamela has been comfortably dealt with by Arsenal two in front of the defence so far, while Eriksen has also been unable to have an impact thus far. It's all quite comfortable for Arsenal back there.
26 minSAVE! Good move from the hosts as they knock the ball about nicely around the edge of the box. Welbeck lays it off for Wilshere, whose hits a powerful strike straight at Lloris. He caught that shot perfectly, but he couldn't steer it away from the keeper.
27 minYELLOW CARD! Lamela becomes the latest player in the book for a late challenge on Gibbs. Once again, no complaints about that one, Lamela knew exactly what he was doing.
29 minARSENAL SUB: The Gunners are forced into an early change here as skipper Arteta limps off the field to be replaced by Mathieu Flamini. Mertesacker takes over the armband for the hosts.
29 minGood opening for Spurs to pour forward yet again as Chadli slips a pass inside for Mason, who has burst away from his marker. He has Adebayor in the middle, with the Arsenal defence stretched thinly, but he can't wrap his foot around the ball and his cross goes straight to the keeper.
31 minArsenal have had a whopping 82% of the possession in the last five minutes as they continue their control over the match. Meanwhile, Wilshere has gone down in a bundle and looks in real pain here. This could be trouble for the midfielder.
33 minThe good news for Arsenal is that Wilshere is up and walking, but he isn't moving freely at all right now. He seemed to just twist his ankle having received a knock inside the box, but he is going to try to continue here. It doesn't seem to be as serious as first feared.
35 minWe have just 10 minutes left and we are still awaiting our first real chance of the match. This is not what we expect from North London derbies! Arsenal have controlled proceedings so far but can't find a way through right now.
37 minWelbeck has looked most likely for the hosts so far this afternoon. He has been bright and not afraid to run at the opposition defence when given the chance, which has caused them some problems so far.
38 minCHANCE! The best opening of the match so far falls the way of Tottenham as Lamela pokes a lovely little pass through to Adebayor. The striker just couldn't reach it, however, and the clear chance went begging. Spurs eventual work it back in for a corner, but it could have been so much more!
40 minMuch better from Tottenham in the last few minutes as they begin to put Arsenal under pressure for the first time. The Gunners have become a little sloppy in defence, allowing Spurs little half chances that they have not been able to take so far.
41 minSAVE! Spurs almost take the lead in fortuitous circumstances as Mertesacker gets the wrong side of Vertonghen and plants a downward header towards his own goal. Luckily for the German, however, it is straight at Szczesny, who makes the save.
43 minHaving not threatened whatsoever for much of the half, Spurs have suddenly improved immeasurably in the final five minutes of this half. They have now had 69% of the ball in the last five minutes, and Arsenal are the ones of the back foot right now.
43 minSAVE! As I say that, Arsenal break and come close to taking the lead! Ramsey works the ball out to Oxlade-Chamberlain, who cuts inside and curls an effort towards the bottom corner. Lloris gets down really well to make a crucial stop, however.
44 minCHANCE! Huge chance for the visitors as they break forward at the other end. Chadli is clean through on goal having raced between the centre-backs, but he scuffs his effort horribly wide of the target.
45 minThere will be three minutes of added time at the end of this first half.
45+1 minARSENAL SUB: The Gunners are forced into making a second change before half time, and this one is a real blow as Ramsey limps off with what looks like a hamstring injury. Santi Cazorla comes on in his place.
45+3 minSAVE! Snap shot for Adebayor as the ball falls to him on the edge of the box. He hits a low volley on the turn towards the bottom corner, but Szczesny is alert enough to get down and push it behind for a corner.
6.26pmWell, it took a while to get going, but this North London derby finally started to heat up towards the end of that first half. It remains goalless at the Emirates between Arsenal and Spurs, with both teams having enjoyed spells in the ascendency. The Gunners were in control for the vast majority of the half, but Tottenham came back into it towards the end and will be happy with how they finished there.
6.28pmWe haven't seen too many clear chance for either side so far today, although Chadli did have a good opening right at the end of the half when the beat the offside trap and raced between the two centre-backs. However, his finish was poor as once again there was a lack of quality in the final third. It has been been a theme of the match so far, with neither side having the ability to really make the difference so far.
6.30pmAdebayor has had a couple of decent sights of goal, although his best opening saw him fail to reach the ball following a clever poke through by Lamela. Szczesny was forced into a smart stop right at the end of the half to deny the striker, while the Arsenal keeper was also required to keep a potential own goal out after Mertesacker had got the wrong side of Vertonghen at a corner.
6.32pmAs for Arsenal, Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain have tested Lloris with decent efforts from outside the box, but they too have lacked quality when it matters despite controlling much of the first half. I can;t imagine it will be too long before we see Sanchez introduced as the Gunners are lacking a bit of creativity in the final third so far.
6.34pmWelbeck has been the brightest spark for the hosts, but even he has only managed one effort, which was comfortable for Lloris. It has been a damaging half for Arsenal in terms of injuries too, with Arteta and Ramsey both being forced off before the break.
46 minKICKOFF: Spurs get us back underway for this second half as they look to pick up where they left off in the first half. It was a dull and pedestrian opening 45 minutes - two words not often associated with this fixture - so hopefully we will see an improvement.
48 minQuick start to the half from both sides, but it is Arsenal who has threatened most. Cazorla sees a dangerous drilled cross well dealt with by Kaboul before Gibbs pounces on an Eriksen mistake, only to fire a terrible cross a long way over everyone in the box.
50 minCHANCE! Lovely football from the hosts as Wilshere slips a first-time pass through to Ozil, who takes a touch before going for goal. However, Lloris gets down well to parry the ball straight out, and Kaboul is there to knock it behind for a corner.
52 minThis has been a really good start to the second half for Arsenal, who are swarming around Tottenham whenever they get the ball and breaking at pace. Spurs are under a lot of pressure right now and they may just have to weather this early storm.
54 minA corner for Arsenal is flicked on at the front post by Welbeck to Mertesacker, whose flicked is well blocked by Younes Kaboul. The ball bounces out to Flamini on the edge of the box, but his first-time effort fizzes a couple of yards wide of the target.
56 minFirst blood to Tottenham! Flamini is caught in possession in a very dangerous area, with Eriksen the man to win the ball back for his side. He gives it to Lamela, who in turn slides in Chadli on the right side of the box. He lacked composure at the end of the first half, but this time he takes a touch before rolling his shot into the bottom corner. Huge goal to break the deadlock in this derby!
58 minCHANCE! Almost an immediate response from Arsenal! They win a free kick in a good crossing position, and Mertesacker attacks the subsequent delivery really well. His header is powerful and downward, but Lloris pulls off a superb save to keep it out. It rolls right across the line before being cleared, and Michael Oliver confirms that it did not go in!
60 minArsenal have responded really well to going behind here as they look to hit back immediately. Spurs need to hold firm for the next 10 minutes or so just to take the sting out of this Arsenal revival.
62 minTOTTENHAM SUB: The visitors make their first change of the evening as Eriksen makes way to be replaced by Aaron Lennon. That should give them more pace in the attack, but it is a bit of a surprise to see Eriksen go off.
63 minARSENAL SUB: Wenger responds with his third and final change as Sanchez replaces Wilshere. Sanchez has scored four goals in his last five appearances for the Gunners - another now would be the best of the lot.
65 minArsenal fans are beginning to get a little restless with how long Spurs are taking over their free kicks and goal kicks right now. The visitors have done well to halt the initial fightback from Arsenal, but you can be sure that the pressure will continue to build.
67 minThere was a yellow card in the aftermath of Tottenham's goal, by the way, with Chadli receiving a booking for putting his hand to his ear in celebration. What is this game coming to...?
69 minYELLOW CARDS! Another yellow card, this time for Aaron Lennon for a foul on Mertesacker. Adebayor follows his teammate into the book seconds later for a totting up offence.
71 minPENALTY SHOUT! The Arsenal fans want a penalty as Sanchez chips the ball into the box. It seemed to strike the arm of Naughton right on the edge, but he also looked like he was trying to move out of the way of it. The referee got that one right, for me.
72 minYELLOW CARD! Yet another booking, but there can be no complaints about his one. Mason clatters into Ozil with a dangerous challenge and becomes Tottenham's fifth man to be shown a yellow card today.
73 minCLOSE! Ozil fizzes a ball across the face of goal and it is only cleared as far as Chambers. It sits up invitingly for the defender, who shows impeccable technique to fire a volley inches over the top. That was not far away from being a wonder goal.
74 minGOAL! Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain)
74 minArsenal finally have their equaliser! It is poor defending from Spurs as they fail to clear the ball, and eventually a low cross deflects into the path of Welbeck. The striker completely misses his effort, but it bounces through to Oxlade-Chamberlain, who applies an emphatic finish into the top corner from close range. Game on!
76 minThat goal has really brought the Emirates to life here and Arsenal immediately go on the front foot again in search of what could be a winning goal. We are all set for a barnstorming final 15 minutes here!
78 minKaboul has been colossal in defence for Spurs at times today, cutting out cross after cross from the Gunners. He will have plenty more to do in what remains of this match, however, as it is all Arsenal right now.
80 minTOTTENHAM SUB: Pochettino is looking to stem the tide here as Chadli limps off to be replaced by Nabil Bentaleb.
82 minDanny Rose is in trouble here and Kaboul has immediately gestured that the full-back will need to come off. That is not what Spurs needed at this point, with Pochettino I'm sure planning his final change as a more tactical one.
83 minTOTTENHAM SUB: Indeed, there is the change as Eric Dier replaces the full-back, who was booked just before he left the field, presumably for time wasting. Dier will go to right-back, with Naughton moving over to the left.
85 minCould we be in line for another late show from Arsenal? They have already rescued points against Crystal Palace and Everton courtesy of late strikes, and another one here to get the win in the North London derby would send these fans wild.
87 minYELLOW CARD! Yet another card, this time for Chambers, who has already amassed four cautions this season. He pulled back Lennon for this one and is now just one away from a suspension.
89 minTerrible from Dier as he bursts forward down the right but then boots the ball straight behind for a goal kick when attempting a cross. Spurs really haven't spent much time in the Arsenal half since their goal, so that was a good chance to take some of the pressure off.
90+1 minThe fourth official indicates a minimum of FIVE minutes added time! Plenty of time for some more late drama here!
90+3 minThe Arsenal fans are urging their players on as time continues to tick away. Spurs are doing a good job of keeping the Gunners in relatively safe positions right now, but there feels like there will just be one last chance in this one...
7.28pmMichael Oliver brings an end to what turned out to be a pulsating North London derby. The spoils, bragging rights and points are shared at the Emirates as Arsenal come from behind to remain unbeaten in the Premier League this season, while Spurs are still unbeaten away from home under Pochettino. It was Chadli who got the goal for the visitors 10 minutes after the restart, but Oxlade-Chamberlain hit back in the 74th minute to rescue a draw for his side.
7.30pmRight, that is all we have time for this evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for an entertaining North London derby as Arsenal and Spurs play out a 1-1 draw at the Emirates. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction, analysis and player ratings, which will be on site shortly. From me, though, it is goodbye for now!