A topsy-turvy encounter saw the first north London derby of the season end in a draw, despite us twice taking the lead at Emirates Stadium
Cristian Romero had an afternoon to forget for Tottenham as he inadvertently sent a Bukayo Saka shot into his own goal after 26 minutes, but Son Heung-min would pull his side level before the break.
Not long after the restart Saka tucked home a VAR-assisted penalty following a Romero handball, but in the following minute the South Korean straight away responded with his second of the game to ultimately earn a point for his team.
Amidst a crackling atmosphere at Emirates Stadium, we began brighest, pressing our opponents with menace and snapping into tackles to try and get the early upper hand, and it worked.
After a brief early scare when Son found the net from an obvious offside position, we began creating chances and a superb reaction stop from Guglielmo Vicario prevented Gabriel Jesus from firing home a Saka cross, whose direct running caused Spurs left-back Destiny Udogie to pick up an early booking for persistent fouling within the opening 15 minutes.
The young defender was rattled and soon after his weak backpass allowed Eddie Nketiah to sneak behind him and blast straight at Vicario from a tight angle, but the pressure told on 26 minutes when the lead was finally seized.
The move began when Oleksandr Zinchenko broke up a Spurs attack on the left and charged forward before finding Martin Odegaard who switched the ball to Saka on the right. In trademark fashion, he cut inside and took aim, and saw his curler diverted into his own goal by Romero to get all Gooners celebrating and reward our positivity.
Spurs were shellshocked and were being forced into making mistakes all over the pitch. They should have been punished again six minutes later when James Maddison was caught napping on the edge of his own box and Odegaard slipped in Jesus, but the Brazilian blazed a golden chance over the bar.
And that missed proved really costly as Spurs capitalised on that let-off to produce a flurry of chances at the end of the half that would eventually yield their equaliser. On 38 minutes Dejan Kulusevski probed down the right and Son’s overlap created what seemed to be a certain goal for Brennan Johnson, however David Raya produced the first highlight of his Arsenal career by racing across his goalline to claw the ball to safety.
But he couldn’t quite keep his sheet clean moments later when Spurs did find the net. The Spaniard did well to prevent a looping cross from sneaking under his crossbar and then denied Johnson again from close range, but a weak clearance led to Maddison escaping from Saka, and Son - the only player aged 30 or more on the pitch - used his experience to sneak in between three defenders to divert the cutback into the far corner.
Two in two minutes
If the first 45 minutes was a pulsating affair, then the opening 10 minutes after the restart showed that the second would be just as nail-biting, despite us taking the lead again on 54 minutes.
Saka sent a corner into the area that dropped in the box, and Ben White saw a shot on the turn blocked by Romero’s arm. Following a lengthy VAR check, a record 25th penalty in this fixture in the Premier League was awarded and Saka slammed it down the middle of Vicario’s goal to put us back in front.
But that lead was wiped out just 98 seconds later when half-time introduction Jorginho was caught on the ball by Maddison who broke through and slipped a pass into Son to roll past Raya and put his team level for the second time.
A point apiece
Searching for a hat-trick, Son then saw an effort deflect off the sliding William Saliba into the side-netting to send Gooners’ hearts fluttering, but by now the game had turned into a slugfest with both teams battling away in midfield to try and establish superiority, which neither could quite find.
As the game entered 10 minutes of stoppage time, we were in the ascendancy as the visitors seemed content with their point, and we nearly nicked it when a corner reached Saka on the edge of the box, he skidded a low effort towards the bottom corner but Vicario managed to push it around his post.
Then in the final seconds, Kulusevski teed up Richarlison who saw his attempt deflect just wide of the target, as both teams had to settle for a draw.
Facts and stats
Ourselves and Tottenham both remain unbeaten at least six games into a top-flight campaign for only the second time in the Premier League, after 2004/05.
Cristian Romero became the 11th player in Premier League history to score an own goal and give away a penalty in the same game, and the first Spurs player to do so.
Son became the first Spurs player to score a brace away at Arsenal since John Hendry in a Premier League match in May 1993.
Tottenham have earned eight points from losing positions in the Premier League this season, the second-most of any side behind Liverpool (9).
Bukayo Saka has been directly involved in 19 goals in his last 19 Premier League games at the Emirates Stadium, scoring 13 goals while registering six assists. He has scored or assisted in each of his four league games there this season (3 goals, 1 assist).
Attentions now turn to the Carabao Cup on Wednesday when we travel to Brentford for third-round action, and then on Saturday we head to Bournemouth in the Premier League.
Copyright 2023 The Arsenal Football Club Limited. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.