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Sanchez salvages point for 10 man Arsenal

Saturday 5th March , 2016 5:40 pm
ALEXIS

Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez scored his first league goal since October to rescue a 2-2 draw with Tottenham in a north London derby full of twists at White Hart Lane.

Spurs were sharp from the start but the Gunners went ahead against the run of play on the stroke of half-time thanks to a crafty back-heel flick from Aaron Ramsey.

Arsenal were down to ten man just after the break when Francis Coquelin saw red, and Spurs took full advantage with two goals in two minutes to take a 2-1 lead.

Toby Alderweireld levelled with a neat finish from a narrow angle, and a stunning long-range strike from Harry Kane seemed to have completed a remarkable turnaround for Spurs.

But Arsenal showed spirit and found an unlikely equaliser with 15 minutes left; carving a chance out of nothing and Sanchez firing a low shot past Hugo Lloris to seal a dramatic draw.

While the point may not have reignited Arsenal’s title bid, it certainly puts a dent in their rivals’, with Tottenham denied the chance of rising to the top of the Premier League table.

And it’s a result which will please Leicester fans. The Foxes will remain top of the standings this weekend, regardless of their result at Watford on Saturday evening.
kane

The stakes were high in a match dubbed ‘the biggest north London derby EVER’, where a first win in three games would have seen Arsenal claw their way back into title contention.

But Arsene Wenger’s understrength side, who were without Petr Cech due to injury while Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott started from the bench, were outplayed for most of the game at White Hart Lane.

Arsenal were put under immediate pressure from the hosts, who started strongly, and they were lucky to escape in the 25th minute when stand-in keeper David Ospina pulled off a point-blank save to deny Erik Lamela.

The Argentine was completely unmarked in the middle of the box to meet a drilled cross from Dele Alli. His shot wasn’t clean, with the ball popping off an outstretched shin, but Ospina still did well to palm the effort away to keep it scoreless.

But Spurs’ dominance began to ebb away as Arsenal slowly settled into the game towards the end of the first-half.

Tempers began to fray and Tottenham lost their composure at the back, and Wenger’s men took full advantage to open the scoring with their first shot on target – Ramsey finishing a neat counter-attack with a crafty finish.

Danny Welbeck did well to hold up the ball on the edge of the box, waiting for an unmarked Hector Bellerin to run into space, and the Spaniard’s first-time cross was met at the back post by Ramsey, who improvised with a clever back-heeled flick into the net.

It perhaps should have been 2-0 to Arsenal moments later when Welbeck ran on to a clipped pass over the top, but his header lacked power and was easy for Lloris to scoop up.

But Spurs have been the Premier League’s comeback kings this season, having won the most points from a losing position, and they came to life after Coquelin’s second yellow for a clumsy challenge on Kane.

The dominant hosts literally cannot have come closer to the equaliser when Ospina saved a scrappy Kane volley which looked to have crossed the line.

Spurs players appealed and referee Michael Oliver took a brief glimpse at his watch before shaking his head, with replays showing a sliver of the ball was still on the line.

But the stand-in stopper was finally beaten in the 60th minute when a Tottenham corner was headed back across goal to the unmarked Alderweireld, who kept his cool to score at a tight angle.

And Spurs were in front just two minutes later when Kane was allowed to cut in from the left, before curling a sumptuous long-range strike beyond the stretch of the Colombian keeper.

A goal and a man advantage, Tottenham looked the more likely team to score and put the result out of doubt.

But Arsenal refused to give up and their reward came in the 75th minute. They turned defence into attack in one fluid move to set Sanchez free one-on-one, with the Chilean star slotting past Lloris to make it 2-2.

A frantic final 15 minutes was littered with chances for both sides, with Christian Eriksen and substitute Ryan Mason having long-range efforts saved, while Sanchez went close with a sweetly-struck free-kick.

But there were no further goals at the Lane, as Spurs missed the chance to go top.

 

 

Credit:talksport

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