ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
LONDON • Harry Kane marked his return from injury with the equaliser, as Tottenham 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 at the Emirates Stadium 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 provisional leaders and opening up a six-point gap over Spurs, who remain fifth, three points below Arsene Wenger's men and five points off first place.
Although Spurs have now 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.
Perhaps a fully firing Kane might have accepted one of the chances he missed either side of his penalty, on his first start in seven weeks on his return from injury.
Yet, Arsenal will have their own regrets and were the more frustrated side after being unable to hold on to their first-half lead.
Both sides had spells of superiority and the speed and frequency at which the game swung from one end of the pitch to the other made it an absorbing spectacle.
Tottenham immediately look better with Kane back in the team, although they also had to withstand some sustained pressure in the first half when Arsenal took control and Wimmer's own goal gave the home side a 42nd-minute lead.
"It is disappointing to drop two points at home. We created plenty of chances in dangerous situations," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told BBC Sport. "In the second half we looked more laboured, there were plenty of aspects I did not like, the desire was there but we were too nervous."
Tottenham did have legitimate grievances about the opening goal, when Alexis Sanchez and Shkodran Mustafi had both strayed offside when Ozil whipped in the free kick that led to Wimmer heading the ball into his own net.
Those two players were conceivably in Wimmer's eye line, perhaps leaving him momentarily fearful of being caught out of position.
"Some people say to me it is offside, it is unlucky but we showed big character, we didn't suffer, we started the second half well, deserved the penalty and scored," Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino told BT Sport.
Dembele had the licence to roam forward and it was his run from right to left, eluding Francis Coquelin and then coming inside Nacho Monreal, that prompted Koscielny to make the challenge that led to the penalty.
"From the outside it looked a very soft penalty, I was surprised," observed Wenger.
Kane put the ball down the middle and Spurs will also look back on that moment, five minutes from the end, when Christian Eriksen's free kick curled beyond everyone and hit a post.
Wenger voiced his disappointment with the result. "Spurs go home happy, we go home and are not happy. We wanted to win the game, but overall it is not mathematically a disaster," he said.
THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE