Re­turn­ing Kane thwarts Ar­se­nal’s sum­mit bid

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON: Harry Kane marked his re­turn from in­jury with the equaliser as Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur drew 1-1 at Ar­se­nal yes­ter­day to keep their arch ri­vals from the Premier League sum­mit. Ar­se­nal took the lead late in the first half cour­tesy of Kevin Wim­mer’s own goal, but Kane lev­elled from the penalty spot early in the sec­ond pe­riod af­ter a foul on Mousa Dem­bele by Lau­rent Ko­scielny. The re­sult pre­vented Ar­se­nal from sup­plant­ing Chelsea as lead­ers and open­ing up a six-point gap over Spurs, who re­main fifth, three points be­low Arsene Wenger’s men.

“It was a game of high in­ten­sity,” said Wenger, who felt the penalty awarded by ref­eree Mark Clat­ten­burg was “harsh”. “In the first half we al­ways looked like we could score ev­ery time we crossed the half­way line. In the sec­ond half we looked a bit more flat phys­i­cally and less sharp.

“The de­sire was there. Maybe the re­sult was fair.” Wenger has now gone five league games with­out beat­ing Spurs for the first time, while Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino is the first Tot­ten­ham man­ager to avoid de­feat in his first five top-flight North Lon­don der­bies. Al­though Spurs have gone seven games with­out a win in all com­pe­ti­tions, they have avoided de­feat in their open­ing 11 league games for only the third time in the club’s his­tory. “A draw is maybe the fair re­sult,” said Po­chet­tino, echo­ing Wenger. “It’s been a very dif­fi­cult game for us, but 11 games un­beaten in the Premier League, we need to be very pleased.” Spurs wel­comed back tal­is­man Kane af­ter seven weeks out with an­kle lig­a­ment dam­age, but Dele Alli was ab­sent due to a knee in­jury that will keep him out of ac­tion for Eng­land over the in­ter­na­tional break.

Vis­it­ing man­ager Po­chet­tino set his side out in a bold 3-4-2-1 for­ma­tion and it seemed to take Ar­se­nal by sur­prise.

WIM­MER UN­CON­VINC­ING

The sys­tem freed Spurs’ full-backs to get for­ward even more than usual, Danny Rose cross­ing for Kyle Walker to head over early on, while Kane headed inches wide from Chris­tian Erik­sen’s cross.

But as Ar­se­nal be­gan to com­mit more peo­ple for­ward, so they be­gan to ex­pose frail­ties in a three-man back line mar­shalled un­con­vinc­ingly by Wim­mer, who was mak­ing his first league ap­pear­ance of the sea­son. Af­ter Fran­cis Co­quelin had seen a thump­ing vol­ley in­ad­ver­tently blocked by team-mate Theo Wal­cott, Me­sut Ozil dragged a shot wide and Alex Iwobi curled tamely at Spurs goal­keeper Hugo Lloris. Wal­cott then rat­tled the right-hand post with a fierce drive from the edge of the box and three min­utes be­fore half-time, Ar­se­nal struck. Ozil arced a free-kick into the box from a deep po­si­tion on the right and in try­ing to pre­vent the ball reach­ing the red shirts rush­ing in, Wim­mer suc­ceeded only in head­ing it past Lloris.

The goal re­flected Ar­se­nal’s grow­ing threat, but within six min­utes of kick-off in the sec­ond half their lead had van­ished. Af­ter glid­ing into the box from deep, Dem­bele was felled by Ko­scielny and Kane chipped the en­su­ing penalty down the mid­dle for his fifth goal in four league games against Ar­se­nal. Sud­denly it was Spurs who were in the as­cen­dancy, Erik­sen work­ing Petr Cech with a drilled left-footer and Na­cho Mon­real do­ing well to pre­vent Kane con­vert­ing Rose’s cross at the back-post.

Wenger re­acted by send­ing on Aaron Ram­sey, Alex Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain and Olivier Giroud and Ar­se­nal be­gan to re-as­sert them­selves, Iwobi’s cross just elud­ing Granit Xhaka and Ram­sey fir­ing over.

But it was Spurs who came clos­est to snatch­ing the points, Erik­sen’s free-kick from wide on the left evad­ing ev­ery­one to bounce against the same post Wal­cott had wob­bled in the first half.

Son He­ung-Min then irked Spurs’ fans by pulling out of a chal­lenge with Cech, who had raced from his area, be­fore Giroud di­rected a header straight at Lloris with Ar­se­nal’s last chance.

— AFP

LON­DON: Ar­se­nal’s Ger­man de­fender Shko­dran Mustafi (L) dives through the air as he vies with Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur’s Dutch striker Vin­cent Janssen dur­ing the English Premier League foot­ball match be­tween Ar­se­nal and Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur at the Emi­rates Sta­dium in Lon­don yes­ter­day.

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