Ordinarily an equaliser so late into injury time by your rivals, with their only shot of a half you’ve dominated, would be utterly infuriating, but today it barely mattered. Without it, the Champions League place would’ve been secured, but realistically that is already the case with only a single point needed.
The key was the performance, and a chance to show what next season could hold, and in that aspect the delivery was total. Fighting back from a goal down (and another sloppy one from a set piece – a problem to resolve), and up against some more cruel luck, this time in the shape of a dodgy offside goal disallowed, and the woodwork being struck three times, the desire and the fight was evident as the players simply did not allow their unbeaten derby run to come to an end.
Fabregas, unsurprisingly, was in the thick of it after coming on as a substitute, and his excellent free kick delivery found Toure who poked home, before Adebayor scored with a remarkable header. Even Hleb played well. Only Jenas’ late strike denied what would have been a deserved victory.
But even Cesc took second place today to a brilliant individual performance form the ever-impressive Abou Diaby, who won’t shake the Vieira comparisons if he continues to play in a way so reminiscent of the former captain. He was simply superb today, covering miles of grass and providing the sort of drive that is sometimes lacking when the team’s fancy footwork takes precedence. Make no mistake, he is a huge player, and to have him before January next season will be a massive benefit.
The final word belonged to Spurs, but the day belonged to Arsenal. To hear Martin Jol say that he gladly accepted the draw said it all really, bearing in mind they were at home against an Arsenal side shorn of most of their attacking threat.
Random thought – if you want evidence of how much confidence helps a striker look no further than John Stead. Hopeless at Sunderland, where he looked lost and impotent, he has had his belief restored at Sheff Utd, and his finishing is suddenly top class.