LONDON: Arsenal betrayed continuing signs of weakness at just the wrong time. Being held 1-1 at home by Tottenham in the north London derby means that the Gunners, while unbeaten, have won only two of their six league games.
This week they host Galatasaray in the Champions League and then go away next weekend to in-form leaders Chelsea where Arsene Wenger suffered a six-goal humiliation on his 1,000th game as manager last March.
Arsenal dominated most of the derby but poor defending gifted Nacer Chadli an opening goal and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain managed the equaliser with only 16 minutes remaining. To add to Wenger’s concerns, both Aaron Ramsey and captain Mikel Arteta had to be substituted because of injury.
Wenger complained about Tottenham’s time-wasting but Mauricio Pochettino was happy to have avoided a third defeat in four weeks.
Arsenal continued to look under-powered with their band of small, skilful midfielders. Mesut Ozil had a mixed game wide on the left, neat on the ball but lacking in influence on the match. Per Mertesacker was back to his usual solid self. He did nearly score an own goal but he also came close to a goal at the other end with a header well saved by Hugo Lloris.
Manuel Pellegrini has urged his Manchester City’s bosses to try to delay Frank Lampard’s return to New York City in the spring. In City’s 4-2 win at Hull the ex-Chelsea veteran scored his fourth goal in six days – after the equaliser against Chelsea and two against Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup in midweek.
Pellegrini wants to keep Lampard because Yaya Toure is away at the African Nations Cup in January and February.
Diego Costa’s eighth goal of the season – from a total of 15 shots on target this season – kept Chelsea flying at the top of the league with a 3-0 win over Aston Villa. Paul Lambert’s entire team, by contrast, have managed only four goals this season from only nine shots on target.
Steven Gerrard’s 20th successive goal from a set-piece – free kick or penalty – was not enough to bring Liverpool their first win since August. Gerrard’s ninth goal in Merseyside league derbies was matched by a superb strike from Phil Jagielka to earn Everton a 1-1 draw.
Crystal Palace beat Leicester 2-0 to provide manager Neil Warnock with a run of four unbeaten Premier League games for the first time since 2006 when he in charge of Sheffield United.
Southampton’s 2-1 win over QPR secured for rookie Premier manager Ronald Koeman the club’s best start to a season since 1983 – 13 points from six games earning second place in the table.