The guys had a chance to jump to the head of the class however Tottenham had other ideas. Both my Gunners and Spurs tied one all.
The Guardian: Arsène Wenger was left cursing his side’s draw in the north London derby as two points dropped and said he was surprised the Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Victor Wanyama had escaped sanction for a series of fouls, pinpointing an elbow on Theo Walcott that went unpunished.
Wanyama twice clashed with the England international on Arsenal’s right touchline towards the end of the first half with Walcott, who had been left holding the back of his head after the first incident, reacting angrily second time round and actually had to be separated from a furious Jan Vertonghen. The Kenya midfielder was not booked by Mark Clattenburg. “He was very lucky to stay on the pitch, of course,” said Wenger. “There were a few fouls, the elbow on Walcott for example. But the referee makes the decisions and we have to cope with that. Nobody stopped us scoring a second goal [but ourselves].”
The Arsenal manager, who was equally unimpressed with the award of Tottenham’s penalty from which Harry Kane equalised, refused to use the midweek trip to Bulgaria in the Champions League as an excuse for a second half performance which lacked the usual spark and intensity. Spurs duly capitalised to pull themselves level and maintain their unbeaten start to their top-flight campaign. “It is two points lost,” said the Frenchman. “It was a game of high intensity and, in the first half, we’d always looked like we could score every time we crossed the halfway line. But in the second half we were a bit more flat, physically, and less sharp. Technically, the level dropped in the second half.
“We couldn’t find a creativity around the box and all the vision we are used to. Our level dropped. We were a bit too stretched as well and not compact enough, and when you are too stretched you run more. Was there a mental blow when they equalised? I don’t know. I cannot question the spirit, but we looked a bit flat. We gave absolutely everything, but we lacked what we are strong at: the fluency of movement, vision around the box, and we usually play better from the back. There was a lot missing, and plenty of aspects I did not like. The desire was there, but we were too nervous.”
The result sees Arsenal, who are unbeaten since the opening weekend of the campaign, drop to fourth place in the table over the international break, albeit they remain only two points from Liverpool at the summit. The Merseysiders, like second-place Chelsea, are playing this term without the considerable midweek distraction of European competition. Asked whether that serves as an advantage for their rivals’ title challenge, Wenger said: “It’s a bit easier to prepare for games because you don’t have the intensity of the Champions League games, but if you asked them, they’d like to be playing in Europe.
“We cannot complain about that. There’s a little physical advantage for sure, especially after European weeks, but we have to deal with that. It’s not an excuse for today. And, even if Liverpool and Chelsea are in front, it’s a small difference after 11 games. Spurs go home happy today, and we are not happy because we wanted to win the game. But, overall, it is not mathematically a disaster.”
The Arsenal manager was unimpressed at the award of Spurs’ penalty just after the interval after Laurent Koscielny swung his leg and made contact with Mousa Dembélé’s right foot in the box. “From the outside it looked a very soft penalty, and I was surprised it was given,” added Wenger, whose side next confront Manchester United at Old Trafford after the international window. “It looked harsh. It didn’t look a deliberate foul or that he was [in a] dangerous position to score.
“Even speaking to some referees, some say they would give it and others would not. As Arsenal’s manager, I obviously wouldn’t have given it. So we were a bit unlucky on that, but Spurs defended well. Particularly in the last 10 or 15 minutes when we put some crosses in. We couldn’t make enough of our corners, and missed some opportunities. So, while the desire was there, maybe the result was fair.”