It looked set to be a day for the keepers, as Hugo Lloris and Wojciech Szczesny swapped big saves for nearly an hour of the season’s first North London derby between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal on Saturday.
But the Emirates Stadium and the NBCSN audience saw Spurs midfielder Nacer Chadli scored in the 57th minute to lift Spurs to a 1-0 lead before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain tied it up 18 minutes later.
Lloris somehow helped Spurs hold out for a point, as a raucous Gunners crowd made an Arsenal winner feel all-but-certain.
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First-half injuries to Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere meant the end of the day for the first two, while Wilshere fought through a knock to his ankle.
Spurs had the best of the first half chances, but Emmanuel Adebayor and Nacer Chadli specifically butchered opportunities to give the club a road lead at the Emirates.
Here’s what we were saying at halftime, with the teams knotted up at nil.
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Arsenal blazed out of the gates to start the second half, and spent the first few minutes knocking on the door. Plenty of clearances from Spurs defense helped defuse the situation before a goal could be scored.
And when the clearances failed, Lloris was there to make a save or two, including one on Mesut Ozil. The Frenchman shone through 50 minutes of play.
Mathieu Flamini had the ball stripped away from him by Christian Eriksen just 40 yards out from goal, and the play finished with Chadli’s fourth-goal of the season.
The Gunners did plenty to try and equalize, with some pretty possession and combination play. Calum Chambers sent a strong volley that went over the bar, and the equalizer came moments later.
Oxlade-Chamberlain got the ball right in front of goal after Welbeck whiffed on an opportunity, and “Ox” didn’t miss. He blasted the ball into the top corner to tie the match at 1.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Wilshere (Alexis, 63′), Arteta (Flamini, 29′), Ramsey (Cazorla, 45′), Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Welbeck
Goal: Oxlade-Chamberlain (75′)
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Naughton, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Rose (Dier, 83′); Capoue, Mason; Chadli (Bentaleb, 80′), Eriksen (Lennon, 62′), Lamela; Adebayor
Goal: Chadli (56′)