Hugo Lloris’ stoppage-time save on a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang penalty kick rescued a point for Tottenham Hotspur against Arsenal on Saturday, the North London derby, finishing 1-1 at Wembley Stadium.
Aaron Ramsey opened the scoring for the Gunners on a deadly early counterattack. And for a while, it looked like Ramsey’s strike might hold up as the winner. Then Spurs striker Harry Kane was sent tumbling inside the box in the 73rd minute, and while replays showed that he was offside before the foul occurred, the spot-kick stood and Kane blasted it home (via NBC Sports):
Kane is now the leading scorer in the Premier League era of the North London derby, with his nine goals surpassing Emmanuel Adebayor’s eight.
The second penalty call was no less controversial than the first. Aubameyang went down after minimal contact. But unlike Kane, the Gabonese forward couldn’t convert:
The draw was Spurs’ first this season, and it snapped Tottenham’s two-match losing streak.
Here are three quick thoughts on Saturday’s match:
Tough break for Arsenal
For much of the afternoon at Wembley, the Gunners produced a perfect away performance. Unai Emery’s side went ahead inside of 16 minutes on Ramsey’s slick finish after being sent in alone on Lloris:
From start to finish, the visitors were the sharper team. They outshot Spurs until almost the end of the contest, and had more on-target attempts when it was over. Sure, the call on Aubameyang was soft. But Kane’s penalty shouldn’t have happened, either. (Next season, when the Premier League finally adopts video assistant referees, that sort of officiating error will be overturned.)
The Gunners had a chance to pull within one point of their chief rival and nearly did. Instead, not only do they remain four back of third-place Tottenham, they’ll head into next week’s difficult game against Manchester United without midfielder Lucas Torreira, who was shown a straight red card just before the final whistle:
Spurs still have work to do
Spurs got lucky in this one, but the point doesn’t paper over their recent problems. Seven days ago, Tottenham’s shocking loss to tiny Burnley dashed any remaining hope of winning a first Premier League title this season. Now, after Mauricio Pochettino’s side very nearly lost its third consecutive game, one has to wonder if Tottenham is in danger of missing out on the fourth and final Champions League berth.
Sure, Tottenham remains third in the Prem. But fourth-place Arsenal was 10 points back of its chief rival last Saturday, and Spurs’ slump (they also lost at Chelsea on Wednesday) has narrowed that gap considerably. And with surging Manchester United quickly closing the gap, Pochettino will need to find a way to get his team going — especially with a Champions League trip to Borussia Dortmund later this month.
If not, what looked to be a transformational season for a club that has always lingered just outside the Prem’s elite could go off the rails entirely.
Man United match now even bigger for Arsenal
Momentum is everything in the Prem. Just ask Spurs. Last week’s upset put Tottenham in a tough position in the run-up to the trip to Chelsea, which took full advantage of its opponent’s dented confidence in a convincing 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
The Gunners have been in fine form for the past month. Now, just like that, they are the team that has to quickly shake off a disappointing result. Emery probably would’ve taken the point at Wembley before the match, it’s true.
But given the way this one played out, it’s a tie that has to feel more like a loss. With a dangerous foe like United on the docket next, Emery has to refocus his team quickly or risk dropping points for the second consecutive week.
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