Nacer Chadli and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored the goals as Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur drew 1-1 in the first north London derby of the Premier League season on Saturday at the Emirates Stadium.
After a scoreless first half in which Arsenal dominated possession, Chadli put Spurs ahead in the 56th minute as the away side took advantage of a careless giveaway in the Gunners' midfield. Arsenal then hit back in the 74th minute through Oxlade-Chamberlain, who slammed in from close range after Santi Cazorla's initial shot was blocked into his path.
The draw—Arsenal's fourth in six Premier League matches this season—keeps the Gunners in fourth place with 10 points. Tottenham are eighth with eight points.
Up next for Arsenal is a trip to Chelsea next Sunday. Spurs will host second-placed Southampton the same day.
Neither team will be fully satisfied with the result, but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will have additional worries after seeing two key players—captain Mikel Arteta and fellow midfielder Aaron Ramsey—leave the match with injuries.
The first half saw Arsenal dominate possession without creating many clear chances. Tottenham defended in numbers but posed a threat on quick counters into the home side's half.
In the 14th minute, Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck ran free in Tottenham's half after beating Jan Vertonghen with a neat flick near the midfield line. Welbeck carried the ball all the way into the box, where his shot was deflected off target.
Welbeck had another sight of goal in the 21st minute, shooting low after pulling down a deep cross from Oxlade-Chamberlain. Hugo Lloris saved easily, though, and five minutes later, the Spurs goalkeeper stopped Jack Wilshere's powerful drive following a Welbeck layoff.
Injury struck Arsenal for the first time in the 28th minute as Arteta limped off with what appeared to be a calf injury. Mathieu Flamini replaced the captain, with the armband going to Per Mertesacker.
One minute later, Spurs carved out a half-chance on the counter. Ryan Mason found himself in space after running onto a pass on the left. But with Emmanuel Adebayor free in the middle, Mason crossed the ball too close to Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
Arsenal had another injury scare in the 32nd minute, when Wilshere limped off with a knock to his ankle. The midfielder returned to the pitch a few moments later and carried on.
Both teams had chances in the closing minutes of the first half. In the 41st minute, Mertesacker nearly headed into his own net from a Tottenham corner as he jostled for position with Vertonghen. Three minutes later, Chadli raced free on another Spurs counter, but he scuffed his shot well wide. Then, in stoppage time, Adebayor forced Szczesny to save with a low drive at the near post.
At the other end, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain tested Lloris with a low shot from the edge of the box following good work by Ramsey along the edge of the box. But Ramsey soon left the pitch with an injury, hobbling off in the 45th minute to make way for Santi Cazorla.
Arsenal had the first chance of the second half, Wilshere threading a precise pass to Ozil on the right side of the box. Ozil directed his low shot on target, but Lloris pushed the ball away to keep the match scoreless.
It didn't remain that way for much longer—but the breakthrough goal came at the other end.
Moments after forcing a save with a free-kick from long distance, Tottenham's Christian Eriksen won possession off a careless Flamini to set Spurs up in a promising position. Erik Lamela quickly passed to Chadli, who slotted in calmly at the far post to give the visitors a 1-0 lead in the 56th minute.
Arsenal almost made an instant reply as Mertesacker powered a towering header on target in the 58th minute from Mesut Ozil's free-kick. The ball seemed destined for the back of the net, but Lloris saved at full stretch to preserve Spurs' lead.
Wenger introduced Alexis Sanchez in the 63rd minute as Arsenal poured forward in search of the equaliser. The Gunners quickly improved, and in the 73rd minute, Calum Chambers came agonisingly close with a volley that fizzed inches over the bar.
As Arsenal continued to press, the goal was beginning to feel inevitable. And one more minute later, the equaliser arrived.
In the 74th minute, Sanchez laid off for Cazorla, who sent a low shot into the middle of the box. Younes Kaboul blocked, but the ball fell to Oxlade-Chamberlain, who slammed into the net to make the score 1-1.
The home side then began pushing for a winner, but despite a spell of pressure shortly after the equaliser, Arsenal were unable to find the net again. After 90 minutes, the teams shared the spoils—and north London bragging rights.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: A
Ox scored the tying goal for Arsenal, but as B/R's Jerrad Peters noted, the England man was perhaps Arsenal's most consistent threat in the offensive end:
Playing time is hard to find in Arsenal's crowded attacking midfield, but Oxlade-Chamberlain only helped his cause with his performance—and goal—on Saturday.
Hugo Lloris: A
The French goalkeeper made a number of good saves to keep Tottenham level at 0-0. Then, after Spurs took the lead, he made a great save to keep his side ahead—momentarily, at least.
Arsenal eventually leveled, but it would be unfair to blame Lloris for that goal. The stopper kept his side in the match throughout the 90 minutes.
Alexis Sanchez: B+
Sanchez did not score or assist Arsenal's equalising goal, but he was prominently involved in the buildup to it. More importantly, he improved Arsenal's attack from the moment he stepped on the pitch.
In fact, Sanchez's arrival seemed to rejuvenate Arsenal, as his work rate, speed and constant movement lifted the entire side.
The Chilean played the full 90 minutes in his side's loss to Southampton on Tuesday, so it is perhaps no wonder he started the match on the bench. But Arsenal are clearly a better team with him on the pitch.
Arsenal, overall: B-
Losing to Spurs is never an enticing proposition for Arsenal, so Wenger and company will be happy to have avoided defeat. But they leave the match with serious injury concerns—Arteta, Ramsey and possibly Wilshere—and two more dropped points.
Arsenal dominated possession, but that dominance often failed to create meaningful chances. Especially before Tottenham opened the scoring, the Gunners seemed to lack ideas once the ball reached the edge of the box.
Arsenal remain undefeated through six league matches, but that run includes four draws and only two victories. Tellingly, the Gunners have recorded only one clean sheet.
Much like Saturday's draw, things could be worse—but they could also be better.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger expressed frustration with the result, and with the opponents, telling BBC Sport: "I am frustrated because we dropped two points and I am frustrated because we didn't make enough of our set-pieces. You want to be rewarded for the work you put in."
Per Arsenal's official Twitter account, Wenger ruled out Arteta and Ramsey for Wednesday's UEFA Champions League match against Galatasaray. He also said he did not know whether Arteta, Ramsey and Wilshere would play next weekend against Chelsea in the Premier League.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said the draw was a "good result" for his side, telling BBC Sport:
I think it is a good result for us. Maybe Arsenal controlled the game and had the ball more than us but we played well and defended well.
We scored a great goal. This is our philosophy, which is difficult to keep for 90 minutes at the moment, but we are on our way.