LONDON, March 2: Hugo Lloris saved a last-minute penalty from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as Tottenham avoided a third straight defeat and claimed a 1-1 draw with Arsenal in Saturday’s north London derby.
Arsenal led early on through Aaron Ramsey’s well-taken goal, but Harry Kane’s contentious penalty 16 minutes from time ensured third-placed Spurs maintain a four-point lead over the Gunners in the fight for top-four finish.
Manchester United can overtake Arsenal and move into fourth with victory over Southampton at Old Trafford later on Saturday.
Unai Emery’s men will reflect on a missed opportunity to inflict further pain on a Spurs side that had lost to Burnley and Chelsea in the past week.
Emery made a number of big calls with his starting line-up with Aubameyang dropped to the bench alongside Mesut Ozil even though both scored in Wednesday’s 5-1 thrashing of Bournemouth.
Alexandre Lacazette was instead handed the task of leading the line and the Frenchman spurned a big chance inside three minutes when he skewed his shot wide with just international teammate Lloris to beat.
Lacazette has edged ahead of Aubameyang in Emery’s pecking order thanks to his superior link-up play and that showed in Arsenal’s opener.
Davinson Sanchez misjudged his header from a long ball forward and with one touch Lacazette sent Ramsey in the clear.
The Welshman has already signed a pre-contract deal to join Juventus next season, but at the stadium where he scored the winner in two FA Cup finals for the Gunners, he left the Arsenal support with another memory to cherish by coolly rounding Lloris before slotting into the empty net.
Spurs started like a side short on confidence, but they slowly wrestled control back and only the offside flag and Bernd Leno in the Arsenal goal denied them an equaliser.
Kane sent a thumping header into the top corner from Christian Eriksen’s free-kick but was ruled offside. (AFP)