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Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur: Final score 1-1, a solid performance but disappointing draw

Paul Gilham

Fans were mostly pessimistic going into Tottenham Hotspur's trip to Emirates Stadium, but the team put together a solid performance on Saturday, drawing Arsenal 1-1.

The big theme of the first half was injuries to Arsenal players, which forced Wenger into using two of his substitutions before halftime. Mikel Arteta was replaced by Mathieu Flamini in the 28th minute, and Aaron Ramsey picked up a hamstring injury that required him to depart in first half stoppage time. He was replaced by Santi Cazorla.

Arsenal had all of the possession in the first half, but not too many great chances. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had their best one in the 43rd minute, forcing Hugo Lloris into an excellent save. Spurs actually had the better chances, but didn't make the most of them. Emmanuel Adebayor had an embarrassing miss from six yards, while Nacer Chadli scuffed a shot while clean in on goal after a brilliant through ball by Ryan Mason.

When Spurs broke through, it was one of Arsenal's forced substitutions that came back to haunt them. Christian Eriksen won the ball in the 56th minute off a terrible giveaway by Flamini and found Erik Lamela to start a counter. The Argentine led Chadli into the box, and he placed a calm finish past Wojciech Szczesny to put Spurs ahead 1-0.

Per Mertesacker almost responded instantly from a set piece, and challenged goal line technology with a low header. The ball was extremely close to crossing the line, but Lloris was able to get the ball away before it rolled far enough to force the referee's watch to go off.

While it didn't lead to any kind of immediate scoring chance, the likely mental turning point for everyone came in the 63rd minute, when Alexis Sanchez -- inexplicably left out from the start -- replaced Jack Wilshere for the Gunners. It took a bit for Arsenal to find their equalizer, but they grew in confidence instantly after the Chilean entered the match.

The goal came as the eventual result of a very poorly botched clearance by Lamela. It allowed Arsenal to continue an attack which, 10 seconds later, ended in a scuffed shot by Cazorla, a whiff turned brilliant dummy by Danny Welbeck and an impressive technical finish by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Spurs looked to be in danger of falling apart mentally immediately after that goal, but eventually sorted themselves out. They were forced into their final two substitutions by injuries to Chadli and Danny Rose, but their replacements Nabil Bentaleb and Eric Dier did very well.

Ultimately, it's disappointing to take the lead on Arsenal and get all three points, but this is a good result, and it came off the back of a good performance. Spurs can walk away from this enthusiastic going forward, and knowing it's possible for them to get the better of Arsenal this season.