With no Alexis Sanchez available for Arsenal in the latest episode of the north London derby, Arsene Wenger made just one change to the side that put five past Aston Villa without reply last week. So Theo Walcott dropped to the bench with Danny Welbeck taking his place on the right of attack.
The opening minutes were a bit cagey, with the Gunners content to sit back and keep a good shape and Spurs knocking the ball around without any penetration. But after Arsenal broke down the left and nearly found Giroud in the middle, the home side broke themselves and Kane brought a great save out of Ospina that seemed to have injured our keeper, but he was alright to continue.
Wenger’s decision to leave Ozil in the team and bring Welbeck back was rewarded after 11 minutes, as Welbeck burst down the right and found Giroud whose mishit shot fell to Ozil who finished in style. A great start. Ospina made another good save from Rose a few minutes later and Bellerin started to get some joy down the right as the game opened up a bit.
We had two penalty claims for handball turned down but they were both probably accidental. The spuds were playing well and having a lot of the ball but our team defending was good and Coquelin was on hand to snuff out most dangerous situations. But we needed to use the ball better when we got it to avoid too much pressure.
But we were struggling and being forced back and had Ospina to thank for a third good save after half an hour. His handling from corners was pretty handy for us as well a few times and certainly helps the defenders’ confidence. The odd time we did get a good forward move going we looked capable of scoring but they were a bit too scarce for my liking.
Welbeck did really well to defend from a whipped free kick to keep us ahead at the break although that free kick and a couple after were very soft and definitely did not deserve the bookings dished out to Monreal and Welbeck. The play-acting of Dany Rose certainly did not impress our own Danny who was rowing when the players went off and still seemed upset after the restart.
Five minutes in and a good Gunners move ended with a Cazorla strike that Lloris just tipped round the post. On 55 minutes the game was level after Ospina’s parry from a corner fell to Kane to tap in. They came close to taking the lead a minute or so later after another Ospina parry but then a Welbeck curler nearly put us back in front.
With 25 minutes left Wenger replaced Cazorla with Rosicky as we were under the cosh and the Spaniard was not having much influence. But all the action was in our half and we couldn’t get out. It wasn’t all Spurs, with Giroud putting a rare but decent chance wide before Walcott came on for Welbeck with 15 minutes to go.
Arsenal should have had a penalty for a pull back on Mertesacker and it was nearly made even worse as Spurs almost scored on the break from it. The ref didn’t seem to want to give us anything except yellow cards and that penalty call became even more of a sore point when Kane rose to head his second in the 87th minute.
Akpom came on for Coquelin and we pushed hard in the four minutes of extra time but it was not to be and we have to take a damaging derby defeat on the chin and hope to bounce back on Tuesday.