By Chris Harris at Emirates Stadium
Another frantic, fiery north London derby. And another draw against Tottenham.
This was the third successive stalemate for these old rivals and it was probably a fair reflection of a game that saw both teams enjoy spells in the ascendancy.
Spurs started well but the Gunners clicked towards the end of the first half and, after Theo Walcott crashed a shot against the post, Kevin Wimmer headed Mesut Ozil’s teasing free-kick past Hugo Lloris.
He would have been an unlikely matchwinner - a matchWimmer if you will - but it was not to be. Harry Kane beat Petr Cech from the penalty spot to mark his return from injury and deny Arsenal top spot in the Premier League.
It could have been worse - Christian Eriksen forced a fine save from Cech and hit the post. But Arsenal had chances too, the best of them falling to Alex Iwobi.
Yet again, the team scoring first in this fixture has not won the game. But if you can’t win the derby, just don’t lose it.
SETTING THE SCENE
The north London derby has lost none of its intensity and, if anything, Tottenham’s final-day capitulation last season has cranked it up a notch.
Spurs fans were reminded that “it happened again” as soon as they reached their seats but this was another day, another derby - and local pride and joy was back on the line.
Arsenal had doubts over three players ahead of the game. In the event, Walcott and Nacho Monreal were passed fit but Santi Cazorla missed out.
Petr Cech, Hector Bellerin and Iwobi were also restored to the side while Alexis reclaimed his central role with Olivier Giroud dropping to the bench.
Spurs went into the match as the Premier League’s only unbeaten side and, although they welcomed Kane back from injury, Delle Alli was ruled out.
For the fans, no game is more important than this one. But before kick-off there was time for some perspective as both clubs paid their respects to those who have fallen in combat.
As usual, the derby started at breakneck speed.
Arsenal began on the front foot but Tottenham’s threat from the flanks was soon evident, Danny Rose getting forward to find his fellow full back Kyle Walker for a far-post header.
Wimmer’s last-ditch challenge stopped Alexis from going through on goal and a rather clumsier tackle - on Francis Coquelin - earned the Spurs defender the game’s first yellow card.
Still, Spurs were offering more of a goal threat and Son Heung-Min should have picked out the unmarked Kane after turning Mustafi on the halfway line and racing down the left.
Kane was picked out halfway through the first period - by Christian Eriksen’s cross - but the England man’s stooping header bounced just wide.
Arsenal, working diligently to find their usual rhythm, threatened with a Coquelin volley that hit Walcott, and a teasing cross from Bellerin that Walker just about dealt with.
Ozil sidefooted wide after Alexis picked out his run towards the edge of the box, and the duo combined on the counter-attack moments later, Alexis eventually laying the ball into Iwobi’s path for a first-time shot that didn’t test Lloris.
Arsenal’s attacking quartet were starting to click though and Walcott almost scored one of the classic derby goals with a venomous effort that cannoned off the upright.
In the end, Wimmer did the job for Arsenal, heading Ozil’s free-kick into the bottom corner.
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
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