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Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham: Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang nets to complete comeback as rivals draw

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had not done much. Not by his high standards; not by the standards of any player on the field, really. He worked hard but with scant return. Few touches where it mattered, even fewer opportunities.

Alexandre Lacazette had scored one; Nicolas Pepe had looked threatening; of Arsenal’s forward triumvirate, however, Aubameyang had been quietest. And then, with a split second of pure striker’s intuition, he popped up to save the game for Arsenal – because that’s what great goalscorers do.

And Aubameyang is a great goalscorer. Meaning he will have disappointing matches and then turn the same game in an instant; meaning he needs one chance to change the narrative; meaning he thinks about football differently to the rest. That’s what he did in the 71st minute here.  

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang touched in a superb cross into the box from Matteo Guendouzi to bring Arsenal back level

Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang touched in a superb cross into the box from Matteo Guendouzi to bring Arsenal back level

The Arsenal forward roared in celebration with his team-mates after netting to make it 2-2 in the 70th minute

The Arsenal forward roared in celebration with his team-mates after netting to make it 2-2 in the 70th minute

Harry Kane doubled Tottenham's advantage from the spot after Granit Xhaka brought down Son Heung-Min in the area

Harry Kane doubled Tottenham’s advantage from the spot after Granit Xhaka brought down Son Heung-Min in the area

Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette fired in from close range to halve the deficit on the stroke of half time

Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette fired in from close range to halve the deficit on the stroke of half time

The visitors had taken the lead 10 minutes into the match after Christian Eriksen tapped into the net from just yards out

The visitors had taken the lead 10 minutes into the match after Christian Eriksen tapped into the net from just yards out

Sokratis thought he had won it for the Arsenal when he bundled in from close in the second half but it was ruled out for offside

Sokratis thought he had won it for the Arsenal when he bundled in from close in the second half but it was ruled out for offside

The Arsenal defender complained to referee Martin Atkinson as he consulted VAR and received advice to rule the goal out

The Arsenal defender complained to referee Martin Atkinson as he consulted VAR and received advice to rule the goal out

MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS AND LEAGUE TABLE

ARSENAL (4-3-3): Leno 6, Maitland-Niles 6, Sokratis 6, Luiz 5.5, Kolasinac 6.5, Torreira 5.5 (Ceballos 63), Xhaka 5, Guendouzi 8.5, Pepe 7, Lacazette 7 (Mkhitaryan 66), Aubameyang 7;

SUBS NOT USED: Ozil, Chambers, Nelson, Martinez, Willock

SCORERS: Lacazette (45), Aubameyang (70)

BOOKED: Lacazette, Sokratis, Xhaka

MANAGER: Unai Emery 7.5 

TOTTENHAM (4-2-3-1): Lloris 7.5, Alderweireld 7, Sanchez 5.5, Vertonghen 6, Rose 6.5, Sissoko 6.5, Winks 7.5, Lamela 6.5 (Alli 59), Eriksen 7.5, Son 8 (Lo Celso 79), Kane 7.5;

SUBS NOT USED: Gazzaniga, Aurier, Lucas Moura, Skipp, Davies

SCORERS: Eriksen (10), Kane (40)

BOOKED: Rose, Lamela, Eriksen, Winks, Sanchez

MANAGER: Mauricio Pochettino 6

REFEREE: Martin Atkinson 8

Season at a glance

  • Premier League
  • Premier League
  • Championship
  • League One
  • League Two
  • Scottish Premiership
  • Scottish Div 1
  • Scottish Div 2
  • Scottish Div 3
  • Ligue 1
  • Serie A
  • La Liga
  • Bundesliga

He thought differently to the rest of his team-mates, most importantly he thought differently to Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, too. That’s how he ended up where they were not. By gambling, by moving where he thought the ball might go, rather than where he knew it would be going, he stole a march on Tottenham’s defenders. And that ensured November 20, 2010 would remain the date on which Tottenham last won a league match away at Arsenal.

Cesc Fabregas and Andrei Arshavin were on the field that day; Gareth Bale and Luka Modric, too. Not a player who featured in this match played back then, and in terms of Tottenham as we now know them it truly was a different age. The balance of power in north London has very much changed in the interim, yet one fact has not. Tottenham don’t win league matches at the Emirates. Not since Harry Redknapp was manager. But yesterday, it was only Aubameyang’s smart thinking that made sure it stayed that way – his seventh consecutive scoring game in the Premier League at home. The best home run for an Arsenal striker since Thierry Henry played.

Credit Matteo Guendouzi, too, though. He came onto a very good game in Arsenal’s midfield, culminating in the cross he put in for Aubameyang to read so perfectly. It got him between Tottenham’s centre-halves, it bought him time, it bought him space, it bought him the luxury of a one-touch finish to equalise. And it was no more than Arsenal deserved, ultimately, for a second-half revival that almost erased the memory of the error-strewn opening to hand Tottenham a two goal advantage.

What on earth were they thinking? Unai Emery had spoken of the matches against the Premier League’s elite clubs as the proving ground for his team, yet 39 minutes into this match all that seemed certain was many of the inherited problems remained. Hare-brained defending, positional lapses and flat out recklessness had undone Arsenal and left them trailing by two goals. 

The Arsenal and Tottenham players clash on the side of the pitch as Sokratis and Danny Rose wrestle with each other

The Arsenal and Tottenham players clash on the side of the pitch as Sokratis and Danny Rose wrestle with each other

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno springs across his goal to make an acrobatic save and deny Tottenham from scoring

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno springs across his goal to make an acrobatic save and deny Tottenham from scoring

Arsenal defender Sead Kolasinac stretches out his leg by can't make enough contact to steer the ball goalwards

Arsenal defender Sead Kolasinac stretches out his leg by can’t make enough contact to steer the ball goalwards

Kane looks up to the heavens after coming agonisingly close to scoring Tottenham's third when his shot thumped the post

Kane looks up to the heavens after coming agonisingly close to scoring Tottenham’s third when his shot thumped the post

Dani Ceballos hits a powerful dipping shot on goal but Tottenham keeper Lloris pulls off an acrobatic save to keep it out

Dani Ceballos hits a powerful dipping shot on goal but Tottenham keeper Lloris pulls off an acrobatic save to keep it out

Hugo Lloris dives to his right to palm away a long-ranged effort from Arsenal midfielder Xhaka during the second half

Hugo Lloris dives to his right to palm away a long-ranged effort from Arsenal midfielder Xhaka during the second half

‘Visit Rwanda’ reads an advertising banner regularly displayed on the electronic hoardings around the perimeter here and it seems many in Arsenal’s defence had taken that advice as Tottenham made their way through the middle for their first goal after just ten minutes. Where was David Luiz, and once that question has been answered correctly, why? 

Harry Kane won a ball in deep midfield, which seemed to come as a surprise to Arsenal’s newly-recruited centre-half who had advanced some considerable distance on the optimistic hunch that he would not. This meant he was turned comfortably by Heung-min Son, who immediately fed Erik Lamela. 

The damage could have been limited had Bernd Leno stopped his low shot or, at least, pushed it into an area that was not occupied by a Tottenham player. Instead, he took the least helpful option, a tamely patted parry that succeeded only in giving Christian Eriksen the easiest finish into an unguarded net.

Worse followed. Much, much worse. After 39 minutes, Eriksen forced a fine save from Leno, who was beginning to redeem himself after the initial calamity, but Arsenal failed to clear. The ball was recycled and what followed was an I-was-there moment. As in: I was there when Granit Xhaka made the stupidest tackle ever seen from an international footballer. And this is Arsenal’s captain we are talking about here, do not forget.  

Tottenham goalkeeper Lloris pounces on the ball before an Arsenal player can reach it to relieve the pressure

Tottenham goalkeeper Lloris pounces on the ball before an Arsenal player can reach it to relieve the pressure

Nicolas Pepe tries his luck from a free-kick just outside the box but his whipped effort doesn't trouble the Tottenham goal

Nicolas Pepe tries his luck from a free-kick just outside the box but his whipped effort doesn’t trouble the Tottenham goal

Tottenham supporters erupt into pandemonium in the stands after taking a two-goal lead at the Emirates on Sunday

Tottenham supporters erupt into pandemonium in the stands after taking a two-goal lead at the Emirates on Sunday

Moussa Sissoko times his sliding challenge to perfection to dispossess Sead Kolasinac in a dangerous area

Moussa Sissoko times his sliding challenge to perfection to dispossess Sead Kolasinac in a dangerous area

Tottenham were in the area but not in a way that couldn’t be contained. At which point, Xhaka decided the best course of action would be a rash, foolish challenge on Son, diving in two footed and chopping him down in a scissor motion. In any other area of the field it was a yellow card, guaranteed, and mystery surrounds why Martin Atkinson, the referee, did not mete out two punishments. 

Lenient on the yellow, he would have to be entirely incompetent to miss the penalty, however, presenting Harry Kane with the opportunity to join Bobby Smith and Emmanuel Adebayor as joint top goalscorers in north London derbies.

Kane took it lustily, the ball struck low and powerfully to the right, Leno going left. It was also his fifth Premier League penalty against Arsenal, a reminder that cool defending under pressure has long been a scarcity in these parts.

Yet, from there, Tottenham somehow lost control of the game. Hugo Lloris was called upon to make a save from Pepe after 43 minutes and, before half-time, Arsenal had pulled one back. Again, ordinary defending was responsible. Lacazette had tested Lloris with a free-kick but Danny Rose and a succession of team-mates then resisted the opportunity to clear the danger.  

Arsenal concede a free-kick as Xhaka and David Luiz bundle Tottenham midfielder Eriksen over to the ground

Arsenal concede a free-kick as Xhaka and David Luiz bundle Tottenham midfielder Eriksen over to the ground

Matteo Guendouzi and Tottenham substitute Dele Alli clash during the second half at the Emirates Stadium

Matteo Guendouzi and Tottenham substitute Dele Alli clash during the second half at the Emirates Stadium

The big screen shows Arsenal's equaliser will stand after VAR adjudged Aubameyang not to be in an offside position

The big screen shows Arsenal’s equaliser will stand after VAR adjudged Aubameyang not to be in an offside position

Mauricio Pochettino beats the turf in frustration as his side miss a glorious chance late on to score the winner

Mauricio Pochettino beats the turf in frustration as his side miss a glorious chance late on to score the winner

Arsenal survive a late penalty scare as Sokratis bundles Kane over in the penalty area in the dying minutes of the game

Arsenal survive a late penalty scare as Sokratis bundles Kane over in the penalty area in the dying minutes of the game

The play broke down in a midfield mess, allowing Arsenal to come back before Pepe – dangerous once more, after an impressive start at Liverpool last week – threaded a lovely ball though to Lacazette. He forced it past Lloris, and Arsenal emerged from half-time emboldened, and with greater momentum.

Pepe already having come close on three occasions, Arsenal forced a series of good chances. Lloris tipped round a Guendouzi shot in the 56th minute and then, from the corner, Sead Kolasinac just failed to get an accurate touch on Lacazette’s flicked header with Aubameyang better positioned and the goal open. 

The Tottenham goalkeeper made a quite brilliant fingertip save from a Dani Ceballas shot from 30 yards, and another good one from Xhaka. Tottenham’s second-half opportunities were limited by comparison but a rare one, from a lovely one-two, saw Kane hit a post. They were better in the first-half when Leno made a tremendous save from Son. By the end, Kane was reduced to trying to buy a penalty to get his team back in it. Not a good look for an England captain.

So one win in four games for Tottenham in a season when it was hoped they would close the gap on the top two. It is three wins against the big six in 12 matches for Unai Emery now, too, and neither should be happy with those numbers. With Liverpool and Manchester City already setting the pace, playing catch up is no place to be.

Original article: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-7416723/Arsenal-2-2-Tottenham-Pierre-Emerick-Aubameyang-nets-complete-comeback-rivals-draw.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490

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