LONDON: Irony took over in North London. Just as Arsenal were denied at home by Everton so it emerged that contract extension talk are well advanced with manager Arsene Wenger.

At least, despite a 1-1 draw, they continue to command the Premier League and stand on the brink of a 14th successive appearance in the Champions League knockout round.

Wenger has also demonstrated proof of his readiness to buy big, as with Ozil whose 80th-minute goal threatened briefly to win the game until a magnificent equaliser from brilliant Barcelona loanee Gerard Deulofeu.

Happily for Wenger his team have benefited from the erratic form of heir pursuers – illustrated by the weekend defeat of Chelsea and Manchester United plus the failure of Manchester City to defeat a weakened Southampton.

Talks with Wenger over a new three-year deal, worth £24m, have been taking place since October and he could sign on the dotted line as early as next month. Wenger’s existing contract expires at the end of the season though, after 17 years, he has always indicated to staff and senior players that he was planning further beyond then.