Arsenal and Tottenham settle for a point after derby thriller at the Emirates

Saka and Son among the goals as rivals play out dramatic 2-2 draw in London

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North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur took a point apiece after sharing four goals in a pulsating derby on Sunday afternoon. Both remain unbeaten, both have 14 points - perhaps both will feel they might have won.

The Gunners dominated the early running and twice led, first when Bukayo Saka's shot deflected in off Cristian Romero and again when Saka converted from the spot after the hapless Romero had handled in the box.

But after riding out a rocky opening half-hour, Spurs were consistently able to carve open the Gunners on the counter, with the axis of James Maddison and Son Heung-min producing two eye-catching equalisers, the former assisting the latter on both occasions.

"It's a derby, it's always a tough game, and I think the performance was fantastic and we gave everything until the final whistle," said Son, the Spurs captain. "We wanted to win so one point is a shame, but the performance was perfect. I think we showed great character and great bravery and it was very important to come back."

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was also impressed with what he had seen from the opposition.

"The energy the boys put in, the attitude was phenomenal. But we lacked composure on the ball against a really good Spurs side," he said.

"Credit to them, they have the quality and chances to do that. We have simple giveaways and we didn't do enough in certain areas.

"We are disappointed not to get the three points that's for sure. especially when you go in front twice, especially the moments when we conceded and we could have scored 2-0 with Gabby Jesus."

It was the first north London derby in some time where both teams started the game with a tangible sense of upward momentum.

Hosts Arsenal have been resurgent for a while, but any sense of them having a mixed start to the season was dispelled by a scintillating attacking display as they dismantled Dutch side PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League in midweek.

For Tottenham, the force of manager Ange Postecoglou's personality alone has been enough to birth a feel-good factor. After the drudgery of the Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte years, the reintroduction of swaggering attacking football has been a liberating experience for players and supporters alike.

A fast start briefly promised more of the same for Spurs with a clearly offside Son even putting the ball past David Raya - the Spaniard once again preferred to Aaron Ramsdale in the Arsenal goal - but soon all the action was at the other end.

First Gabriel Jesus fired on goal from an acute angle to bring a fine save out of Guglielmo Vicario, before the Italian again had to be at his best to thwart Eddie Nketiah after an errant pass from the struggling Destiny Udogie.

Spurs looked rattled and soon they were behind. Oleksandr Zinchenko emerged from a frantic, messy passage of play with the ball and surged down the left. He squared for Martin Odegaard who fed Saka and the England winger cut inside and took aim at the far corner. Saka's shot was heading wide but Romero stuck out a leg and sent the ball crashing into the net with his knee.

Arsenal deserved their lead and could have doubled it but Jesus's wayward shot offered Maddison a reprieve after he was caught in possession on the edge of his own box.

It had been all Arsenal but the next chance went to the visitors. Dejan Kulusevski released Son down the right and his cut back reached Brennan Johnson whose scuffed effort was clawed away by Raya. It was a warning for the Gunners and one they failed to heed.

Raya flapped at a cross, Maddison recycled with determination and ingenuity and his sharp cross was diverted expertly into the far corner by Son. They probably didn't deserve it, but Spurs headed into the break level.

Arteta responded with a double change in midfield - Kai Havertz replacing Fabio Vieira and Jorginho for the injured Declan Rice - and almost immediately they were back in front. Again it was Romero offering a helping hand, quite literally this time as his handball presented Saka with the chance to score from the spot.

But with Arsenal hot, substitute Jorginho was caught cold. He dithered on the ball and was robbed by Maddison who played in Son for his second. In less than a minute of second half action, 1-1 had become 2-2.

Kai Havertz and Saka went close to an Arsenal winner late on, while substitute Richarlison saw a deflected effort squirm just wide in the 10th minute of stoppage time. In the end, the scoreline was just about right.

Updated: September 24, 2023, 5:05 PM