Harry Kane may have departed but Tottenham Hotspur captain Son Heung-min stepped into the breach with a brace to earn his side a 2-2 draw at Arsenal in the Premier League as the visitors twice came from behind in an absorbing derby on Sunday.
Cristian Romero’s own goal after 26 minutes handed Arsenal the lead but Son equalised with a deft finish shortly before halftime as the visitors grew into the game.
The unfortunate Romero then conceded a penalty that was converted by Bukayo Saka in the 54th minute.
But Son again rescued his side with an immediate response as he punished a mistake by Arsenal substitute Jorginho.
Both sides had chances to take maximum points with Son close to a hat-trick for Tottenham and Saka having a shot saved.
Ten minutes of stoppage time could not separate the sides although Tottenham substitute Richarlison almost nicked it at the death when his shot was deflected wide.
A draw was just about the fair result as both sides remained undefeated in the league this season with 14 points from six games, although both dropped down in the table.
Tottenham are fourth, ahead of fifth-placed Arsenal on goal difference. Leaders Manchester City have 18 points with Liverpool on 16 and Brighton and Hove Albion on 15.
“We are extremely disappointed not to win the three points especially when we were twice ahead,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told reporters. “The energy they put in was phenomenal but we lacked composure on the ball to be more dominant.”
Tottenham’s new manager Ange Postecoglou has transformed the mood at the club after their eighth-placed finish last season left them below Arsenal for the first time since 2016.
But Sunday at their bitter rivals was always going to be the ultimate test for a new-look Tottenham who, for the first time since 2014, were unable to call upon Kane for the derby.
Kane, who joined Bayern Munich, on the eve of the season is the all-time top scorer in the derby with 14 goals.
But in Son, Tottenham possess another lethal striker and his two silky finishes took him to fourth on the all-time list with seven goals and ensured that the 194th edition of the London rivalry ended with honours even.
“Obviously we wanted to win, but I think the performance was perfect,” Son said.
Buoyed by their 4-0 thrashing of PSV Eindhoven on their Champions League return, Arsenal dominated early on with Spurs keeper Guglielmo Vicario making sharp saves to deny Gabriel Jesus and then Eddie Nketiah after a mistake by Destiny Udogie.
He was powerless in the 26th minute though when Saka cut in and struck a shot that took a huge deflection off Romero and flew into the net. Tottenham were lucky not to fall further behind when James Maddison lost the ball in a dangerous area but Jesus blasted his shot over the crossbar.
Arsenal keeper David Raya, again preferred to Aaron Ramsdale, did well to keep out a Brennan Johnson attempt from Son’s cut-back as Tottenham began to threaten.
And the visitors went in level at the break when Maddison did superbly to wriggle to the byline and clip the ball back for Son to flick a shot past Raya.
Argentina defender Romero’s misfortune continued when a Ben White shot struck his outstretched arm and referee Robert Jones awarded a penalty after a VAR check.
- Gunmen attack residence of Kogi INEC REC
- Student jailed three months for stealing solar panel
- NGO trains 18 civic education, accountability champions in Ebonyi
- COP28: Children parliament, group call for adequate investment to stem climate change effects
- Unveil your audio odyssey with Spotify’s wrapped personalised user experience
Saka converted but Arsenal’s lead lasted barely a minute as Jorginho, who replaced Declan Rice at the break, stumbled in possession and was duly punished as Maddison played in Son to calmly place his shot into the corner of the net.
With their tails up Tottenham came close to going ahead when Dejan Kulusevski’s pass found Son running in behind Arsenal’s defence but the Spurs captain fired into the side netting.
Saka had a late shot saved by Vicario and Arsenal’s hearts were in their mouths with the clock showing 100 minutes as Richarlison’s effort flew wide.