Coming off the back of a 15 match unbeaten run, our best players firing and our injured players coming back to full fitness – it was right on cue that Santi Cazorla should pick up a knee injury and miss the North London derby.
That being said a tenacious deep-lying Coqblock-Xhaka combo in midfield was still enough to believe the three points were there for the taking.
Both teams started brightly. But it was the Spuds high press which seemed to give them the advantage in the early going. Especially when Son’s dummy by the touchline had him goal bound and left our usually reliable Mustafi for dead. Crucially Monreal got a toe to the South Korean’s cross before Harry Kane could tap them in front.
If one thing’s for sure, this match taught us that no one completely understands the offside rule. Most of us (not that we were bothered) were left unsure whether the own goal should have actually counted.
Who was potentially interfering with play? Were they even interfering with play? And what constitutes interfering with play? The fact is, it’s a rule far too convoluted for the man on the street to get to grips with. We need some transparency. Mind you, it would have been harsh to chalk off such a cracking header from Wimmer.
By half-time, our closing period of dominance had us confident their unbeaten run would end spectacularly. Then five minutes into the second, we did the most Arsenal thing possible by gifting the opposition a way back in to the game. Koscielny dangled a foot, Dembele went tumbling over, penalty. To make matters worse, Harry Kane was still on the pitch to send Cech the wrong way from the spot and to give Sp*rs the ascendancy.
It was now us on the back-foot. Our attacking play lacked creativity and fluency while they were growing in confidence – we were crying out for fresh legs to bounce back. In an attempt to regain some momentum, Wenger brought on Ramsey, Giroud and The Ox for Coquelin, Iwobi and Walcott.
With five goals already this season, there is no doubt The Ox has improved massively, but that 20 minute cameo was one of the worst I’ve ever seen. Wayward through-balls, Row Z crosses (even at the Emirates) and awful dribble attempts. Honestly, the less said about it, the better.
Regrettably in the end a 1-1 draw was a fair result. And if we can get through this recurring disaster of a month still in touch with the leaders, this will be one happy gooner.