LONDON: The real winners of Arsenal’s 2:2 draw with Tottenham were Liverpool and Manchester City. The outcome of a high intensity north London derby left the capital pair even further adrift of the two Premier League commanders.

Tottenham led 2-0 at one stage but were fortunate to hang on at the end. Arsenal could at least take satisfaction from the knowledge that they have not lost the derby in September since 1969, winning six and drawing five of the 11.

Stuttering Spurs have won only three of their last 13 matches in all competitions and seven of their last 22. They are without an away win in the league for eight seven matches, their worst run since December 2011 to April 2012.

The duel for bragging rights in north London is always intense with a fascinating comparison now on how both clubs have coped with the financial challenge of building a new stadium.

Arsenal have a 13-year advantage which has irked Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino. He pointed out, on the eve his team’s visit ‘down the road’ how Arsenal have splashed out on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and now Pepe over the last 18 months while his only back-up for Harry Kane is 17-year-old academy graduate Troy Parrott.

Tottenham also played under a cloud of uncertainty over the futures of veteran defender Jan Vertonghen and playmaker Christian Eriksen.  Pocchettino had mostly ignored both players so far this season but the need for experience in this match in particular saw him recalled both to the starting line-up.

Immediately it proved a wise concession. Eriksen shot Spurs ahead from close range in the 11th minute after Bernd Leno pushed Eric Lamela’s effort into his path. This was Spurs’ first attack of a game which had seen Arsenal dominate the opening 10 minutes.

Leno made amends seven minutes later by pushing wide a curling shot from Heung-min Son and then a free kick from Eriksen. But he was left with no chance when Harry Kane shot Spurs 2:0 ahead from a 39th-minute penalty after Son was brought down by Granit Xaka.

The Swiss midfielder, whose poor judgment of a tackle has not improved over his three years with Arsenal, was fortunate not to be shown a red card by referee Martin Atkinson.

Fortunately for him Arsenal hit back immediately in first half stoppage time through Lacazette. Last season Arsenal were also 2:1 down at half time but recovered to win 4:2.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has never been afraid to make early changes and now there was a case for bringing on Mesut Ozil to add more creativity. Ozil was back in the matchday squad for the first time after the pre-season security incident which interrupted his preparations for the new campaign.

Instead it was Spurs who made the first change, bringing on fit-again Dele Alli for his first game just in time to see Kane a third Spurs goal denied by Leno’s right-hand post. Emery then made his own change but it was Dani Ceballos who joined the game in place of Lucas Torreira.

The Spaniard brought more attacking urgency which resulted in an Arsenal equaliser from Aubameyang in the 71st minute. Then Socratis thought he had put them ahead but his goal was denied by an offside flag confirmed by VAR.

Tottenham, somehow, held out.