Alexis Sanchez secures a point for 10-man Arsenal in north London derby at Tottenham
Alexis Sanchez secured a 2-2 draw for 10-man Arsenal against Tottenham to maintain the three-point gap between the north London arch-rivals in the Premier League title race.
Spurs dominated the first half-hour but the Gunners struck with their first shot on target, with Aaron Ramsey giving the visitors a half-time lead.
However, Francis Coquelin received a second booking 10 minutes into the second half and Spurs netted twice in the space of three minutes – first through Toby Alderweireld and then a Harry Kane wonderstrike.
Eric Dier and Kane went close to extending the home side’s lead, but Sanchez grabbed an equaliser 14 minutes from time to stop Tottenham going six points clear of their north London foes.
Both sides made four changes to their line-ups after their midweek defeats. Mousa Dembele returned to Spurs’ side after injury, while Dele Alli, Danny Rose and Kyle Walker were also recalled.
Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger was forced to replace Petr Cech and Laurent Koscielny with David Ospina and Gabriel, and he brought in Mohamed Elneny and Danny Welbeck instead of Joel Campbell and Olivier Giroud.
Spurs started quickly and utterly dominated the opening half an hour. Kane sent two early efforts at Ospina before seeing a powerful 25-yard strike deflected over the bar,
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Christian Eriksen then directed two free kicks at Ospina, while having a long-range strike blocked by Gabriel.
The big chance came in the 25th minute as Walker drove in a cross from the right side. Erik Lamela made contact eight yards out to send the ball at goal but Ospina made a fine reaction save.
It proved to be a key moment because Arsenal took the lead with their first shot on target six minutes before the break.
Welbeck escaped down the left-hand side and played the ball across to his unmarked left-back Hector Bellerin, and Ramsey expertly flicked his low cross past Hugo Lloris.
Arsenal rapidly grew in confidence after that and Welbeck got a header at goal from a Sanchez cross, although it lacked the power to trouble Lloris.
The momentum swung the other way again after the break, though. Walker sent a 20-yard drive at Ospina and Coquelin was then shown a second yellow card for a clumsy and unnecessary sliding challenge on Kane on the left touchline.
Spurs immediately ramped up the pressure. Dele Alli’s volley was deflected wide and Kane was then denied by Ospina from the ensuing corner, with the Goal Decision System showing that virtually all of the ball was over the line, but not quite enough.
It proved not to matter though because Spurs had the ball in the net soon after from a corner. Lamela’s effort was blocked but the ball fell to Alderweireld, who thumped it into the bottom right corner at close range.
The celebrations had only just died down when Tottenham scored again. Alli did well to keep the ball in play in the left corner, backheeling it past Per Mertesacker to Kane, who brilliantly bent the ball around Ospina from the left side of the box.
Spurs nearly extended their lead as Dier’s volley was saved by Ospina and Kane then went close, playing a one-two with Walker, turning in the box and sending a low strike wide of the left post.
However, Arsenal levelled with 14 minutes left. Bellerin split the Spurs defence with a through ball and, although Lloris got a hand to Sanchez’s low shot, he could not stop it from sliding into the bottom left corner in the driving rain.
Dier escaped a second yellow card after tugging back Gunners substitute Giroud, and both sides went for a winning goal.
Alli’s low effort was stopped by Ospina, while Ryan Mason’s shot was deflected narrowly wide and Eriken’s dipping shot was tipped over by Ospina.
At the other end, Lloris dived to punch away Sanchez’s free kick – but Arsenal defender Gabriel narrowly escaped a disastrous late own goal, slicing the ball inches over his crossbar after a low cross from Eriksen.
Both sides had a final chance each - Kevin Wimmer made a crucial sliding challenge on Ramsey and Eriksen lashes the ball wide of the near post moments before the final whistle.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Wimmer, Rose (Davies 78), Dier, Dembele (Son 81), Lamela (Mason 66), Alli, Eriksen, Kane
Arsenal: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Gibbs, Coquelin, Elneny (Giroud 75), Ramsey, Ozil, Sanchez, Welbeck (Flamini 85)