Alexis Sanchez’s equaliser earned 10-man Arsenal a vital point as Spurs missed the opportunity to go top of the Premier League in the north London derby at White Hart Lane. Aaron Ramsey’s instinctive flick gave Arsenal the lead just before the interval – but the game looked to have turned in the space of seven minutes before the hour. Arsenal’s Francis Coquelin was sent off after 55 minutes after receiving a second yellow card for a foul on Harry Kane, leaving the door open for Spurs to respond with two quick goals. Toby Alderweireld scored at the far post before Kane curled in a magnificent angled right-foot finish after 62 minutes to put Spurs in command.
But Arsenal refused to back down and equalised 14 minutes from time when Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris let Sanchez’s shot squirm through his grasp. In contrast Arsenal’s David Ospina, in for the injured Petr Cech, was heroic with outstanding saves from Erik Lamela, Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen. Arsene Wenger’s current plight could be measured in the amount of cameras that greeted him as he arrived in the technical area before kick-off – the natural indicator of either a new manager or a man under pressure. Wenger fell into the latter category after those damaging league defeats to Manchester United and Swansea City, but here he will have left White Hart Lane a satisfied man. Defeat would have turned up the pressure another notch, pushing that first title since 2003/04’s ‘Invincibles’ season even further out of reach. Instead, he will have been happier than his Spurs counterpart Mauricio Pochettino and will feel Arsenal have restored some equilibrium to a season that felt on the brink of implosion.
The Gunners are still in a reasonable position to challenge for the title – and Wenger would have taken that before kick-off. The tide was flowing fast against them after Coquelin conceded a stupid yellow card. It would have been easy to feel it was not their day but the Gunners hung in and their persistence was rewarded. Sitting in at 3rd spot with 52 points, it’s still mathematically possible for the Gunners to win but it’s highly unlikely that they will.