LONDON, United Kingdom, Nov 6- With 73 minutes gone, Harry Kane left the field to predictable opprobrium from the home support. That is five goals in four games against Arsenal for Kane, tying with Gareth Bale in the Premier League era.
What with the row over whether he is one of Tottenham’s own or an Arsenal deserter, no wonder he divides opinion like no other in north London.
Kane has been missing for six weeks and Tottenham have suffered accordingly. This was a return for him, and them – a performance more like the Tottenham of last season, even if it did not bring a victory.
When a Christian Erikssen free-kick pitched once in the area, eluded Petr Cech and hit the far post, the visitors thought they had sneaked one.
The draw was the fair result, though, even if it will leave both sides frustrated. Arsenal missed out on a chance to go top, Tottenham lost ground on the top four. No-one suffers the Monday morning embarrassment at work, but nobody got the spoils either.
Kane’s penalty, Tottenham’s equaliser, looked soft. Mousa Dembele appeared to be already off balance and ready to tumble when Laurent Koscielny stuck out a leg in the 50th minute.
Had he kept out of it the Tottenham man may have fallen anyway. This made it look like a trip. Mark Clattenburg had a good view, though, and decided: foul.
Kane waited for Cech to choose a side and stuck it straight down the middle.
Arsene Wenger made a string of attacking substitutions, but none could deliver the match. Hugo Lloris saved at the feet of Mesut Ozil, and tipped an Alex Iwobi cross around when Granit Xhaka couldn’t get a touch.
It was a good derby, a lively derby, but with no winner it did neither side any favours really.
It was a bold decision by Mauricio Pochettino to play a back three in such an important game but, for much of the first half, it worked.
Arsenal had plenty of possession, but little that amounted to a threat and had to wait until the 31st minute for a shot of significance.
Tottenham, by contrast, made good use of their wing backs – particularly Danny Rose – and had a couple of good opportunities to open the scoring.
In the fifth minute, Son Heung-min broke quickly down the left and struck a low cross that just couldn’t meet the foot of Kane.
Then, after 21 minutes, a cross by Eriksen found Kane in plenty of space, but the England man steered a diving header narrowly mind.
He could have done better, and perhaps would have if this were not his first match since September 18. It is an indication of how sorely he has been missed that Pochettino put him straight back in the starting line-up.
Yet once Arsenal got into the game, the title potential that many have observed this season could be plainly seen.
The ball moved quickly, and with purpose, Tottenham’s new gameplan was put to the test and there were at least two good scoring chances, as well as the goal.
The 31st minute signalled the sea change, when Alexis Sanchez crossed from the left and Mesut Ozil shot wide. A minute later, Tottenham were carved apart and Arsenal should have been a goal up.
Sanchez laid the ball off to Ozil and had it returned with the most exquisite through pass before spotting Alex Iwobi in an even better position.
He fed him a perfectly weighted pass only for Iwobi to hit it directly at Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris with the same force. A fine chance, wasted.
In the 39th minute, Granit Xhaka set Theo Walcott away on the right, his shot smashing against the bar with Lloris defeated, Ozil striking the rebound wide, the ball never entirely under control.
Yet there seemed to be an Arsenal goal coming, and in the 42nd minute, from the unlikeliest direction, it arrived. A free-kick was won 40 yards out and Ozil floated it in, targeting every central defender’s corridor of uncertainty.
He succeeded in turning Kevin Wimmer around, back towards his own goal, two Arsenal players – Sanchez and Laurent Koscielny – in his vicinity. Could Lloris have come for it? He would have had to set off early. The ball was a distance from goal, and there was traffic in the area.
What is undeniable, though, is that with Lloris on his line, the unknown behind him and red shirts in his field of vision, Wimmer was having to compute, and resolve, a lot of information in a split seconds.
As sometimes happens, he overloaded, attempting to clear but instead steering a header into the bottom corner of the net. Sanchez or Koscielny could not have taken the chance any better had they got their first.
Wimmer lay prone on the turf as endless replay showed around the ground to his embarrassment, and much mirth.
Having already been booked after just six minutes for a foul on Francis Coquelin, Wimmer will not forget his first Premier League appearance this season in a hurry.
-By Daily Mail-