Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain earns Arsenal derby draw
A late equaliser from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain earned Arsenal a 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham Hotspur in the first north London derby of the Premier League season on Saturday.
London: A late equaliser from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain earned Arsenal a 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham Hotspur in the first north London derby of the Premier League season on Saturday.
Having gone ahead through Nacer Chadli in the 56th minute, Tottenham were disappointed not to have recorded only their third Premier League victory at the home of their neighbours.
But though Arsenal were relieved to have avoided that fate, the point came at a cost.
Injuries to Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey, both of whom were replaced in the first half, means manager Arsene Wenger may have to rethink his tactics for the visit of Galatasaray in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Wenger raised a few eyebrows before the game by leaving Alexis Sanchez, the big-money close-season signing from Barcelona, on the bench, with Danny Welbeck starting up front.
Tottenham had been keen on signing England striker Welbeck from Manchester United on transfer deadline day, but he became an Arsenal player instead in a £16 million ($26.6 million, 20.2 million euros) deal.
The one surprise in the Tottenham starting line-up was the inclusion of Ryan Mason in midfield.
The 23-year-old was a scoring substitute in Wednesday night`s 3-1 League Cup victory over Nottingham Forest, but this was his first taste of Premier League action.
The first 45 minutes were goalless, but not short of incident, as referee Michael Oliver booked Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere as well as Tottenham`s Erik Lamela in the opening half hour.
Hugo Lloris, the Tottenham goalkeeper, was busy, making saves from Wilshere, Welbeck, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ramsey, but the man at the other end, Wojchiech Szczesny, was also required to make significant stops.Twice he kept out efforts from Emmanuel Adebayor, the former Arsenal striker, and he was also in the right place when team-mate Per Mertesacker sent an attempted headed clearance towards his own goal.
Arteta and Ramsey`s exits will have concerned Wenger greatly.
Arteta was the first to go, limping off in the 28th minute to be replaced by Mathieu Flamini, and Ramsey went down in first-half stoppage time, immediately indicating that he could not continue.
Arsenal began the second half strongly, but Tottenham held out and took the lead against the run of play after 11 minutes.
Flamini was at fault, losing the ball to Christian Eriksen. Lamela picking up the ball and found Chadli in space on the right of the box for a simple finish across Szczesny.
Arsenal thought they had equalised soon afterwards through Mertesacker`s downward header, but Lloris just managed to stop the ball crossing the line, as goal-line technology replays confirmed.
On came Sanchez for Wilshere while Tottenham replaced Eriksen with Aaron Lennon in the 62nd minute.
Arsenal piled on the pressure and were rewarded with an equaliser in the 74th minute from Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The over-worked Tottenham defence failed to clear a simple ball into the box from Santi Cazorla and although Welbeck missed his kick in front of goal, his England colleague did not, firing high into the net.