LONDON: Neither Arsenal nor Tottenham expected to be overshadowed in the Premier title chase by any other London rivals but the remarkable upsurge of Chelsea left both more irritated than they should have been by the 1-1 draw in the Gunners’ fortress.

Arsenal would have gone top of the table had they won while Tottenham would have pulled themselves back up into contention. Instead both failed in their ambitions though both managers Arsene Wenger and Mauricio Pochettino were pleased with elements of an end-to-end derby and relieved, at least, not to have lost.

Kevin Wimmer, making his first Premier start, put Arsenal in front shortly before half-time when he lucklessly headed a Mesut Ozil free kick into his net. Harry Kane, back after seven weeks out with an ankle injury, struck the equaliser from a penalty shortly after the interval after Laurent Koscielny tripped Mousa Dembele.

The Frenchman night have shepherded Dembele square and left a saving tackle to the steady-as-ever Shkodran Mustafi behind him.

Theo Walcott, early on, and Eric Dier, late in the game, both struck the posts while Ozil in the first and substitute Olivier Giroud in the second wasted Arsenal’s clearest opportunities. Petr Cech saved Arsenal with one particular save, shortly after Kane’s goal, from Christian Eriksen.

England duty

Kane was substituted in the closing stages but confirmed after the match that he was fit and ready to lead England’s attack, if selected, in Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland at Wembley.

Unfortunately for England boss Gareth Southgate, Dele Alli will not be ready. He suffered a knee injury in training for the derby which Pochettino attacked with an unusual three-man back line of Wimmer, Dier and Jan Vertonghen.

Arsenal, pressured in midfield where Ozil was kept comparatively quiet, took surprisingly long to adjust their own tactics. Hence, for the first time, they have now failed to win their last five league derbies.

The Gunners’ failure to press home their initial advantage also extended another slice of history in that the team scoring first has failed to win this fixture on 24 occasions.

Wenger was not happy, saying: “We had some good spells in the game and I don’t question the spirit of our team but we usually have more fluency and it looked like we just tried to play too much.”

For that Pochettino for his tactical switch, could take much of the credit. He is the first Spurs manager ever to emerge undefeated from his first five league games against the old rivals. However, any satisfaction will have tempered by the critical statistic that Tottenham are without a victory in seven games in all competitions.

They have lost the winning habit which, in both so tight a title race as well as in the Champions League, is proving costly.

** Liverpool went top of the Premier League after thrashing Watford 6-1 with goals from Sadio Mane (two, Philippe Coutinho, Emre Can, Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum.

** Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s goal in Manchester United’s 3-1 win at Swansea was the 25,000th since the Premier League launch in 1992.