Arsenal held by Spurs in derby draw
Kieran Gibbs was Arsenal's unlikely rescue act after coming off the bench in the north London derby yesterday, scoring his second-ever Premier League goal to recover a 1-1 draw against Tottenham.
The defender's first league goal since March 2012 came in the 77th minute, three minutes after surprisingly replacing forward Joel Campbell with Arsenal trailing.
"He gets in good positions," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "Maybe he lacks a bit of belief he can score."
The provider was less of a surprise, with Mesut Ozil's high ball to Gibbs at the back post his 10th assist in 11 league games.
"We are struggling with a lot of injuries at the moment so we don't have a lot of options," Gibbs said. "(My goals) don't come often but when they do hopefully it's enough to help the team. In these games you can never give up."
He canceled out Harry Kane's first-half opener and denied Tottenham a first win at the Emirates Stadium in five years, despite Spurs dominating much of the game.
Arsenal missed a chance to go top, staying behind leaders Manchester City, which were held 0-0 by Aston Villa earlier, due to their inferior goal difference.
"We had a great mental response and showed we were determined not to lose," Wenger said.
Tottenham, unbeaten in the league since the opening day, are five points back in fifth and were the more aggressive team throughout the first half, with Erik Lamela shining as he harried the hosts who were bruised by a mid-week loss at Bayern Munich.
Arsenal's defense, as so often, was spongy in the first half and was easily penetrated in the 32nd minute by a resurgent Kane scoring his sixth goal in four games.
Danny Rose's deep ball down the left flank went straight between Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny and Kane slid the ball past goalkeeper Petr Cech, rather than hesitating as he was prone to doing earlier in the season.
"It was a great ball between the two centre halves," Kane said. "I had a little look and I wasn't offside."
Arsenal appeared transformed in the second half after Mathieu Flamini replaced Santi Cazorla, with Wenger saying the Spain midfielder was dizzy and "not at the races."
Only a diving save by Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris at full stretch tipped away Campbell's shot.
Although Olivier Giroud was repeatedly left unmarked, the Arsenal forward could not find the target with headers from Ozil deliveries - first hitting the crossbar and then missing from six metres.
Finding the net was equally problematic for Tottenham, with midfield dynamo Dele Alli slicing way over after Christian Eriksen's shot was parried by Cech. Then after Eriksen played through to Kane, the England forward dragged a shot wide.
Gibbs ensured the points were shared in the 82nd north London derby but Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino wasn't too downbeat after a grueling spell ahead of the two-week international break.
"We played three matches in six days and we have always one day less to recover," Pochettino said. "We showed great character and personality ... it was an unbelievable effort."