Arsenal produced an unforgiving second half performance as they attacked the Tottenham defence with pace, passion and power, and deservedly picked up the three points in a 4-2 victory against their local rivals.
In a pulsating local derby it was Arsenal that broke the deadlock via a Pierre-Emerick Aubaymeng penalty (10), but were pegged back by Eric Dier’s impressive flick on which Bernd Leno should’ve done better with (30).
Four minutes later, Harry Kane stylishly put away a penalty after Rob Holding was judged by referee Mike Dean to have caught Heung-Min Son (34).
Unai Emery made a double change at half time which worked wonders as Arsenal equalised through Aubameyang’s brilliant curling effort (56).
Substitute Alexandre Lacazette put Arsenal ahead after a deflected shot beat Hugo Lloris in the far corner (75). In similar fashion to Tottenham’s first half goals, Arsenal added another two minutes later when Lucas Torreira neatly finished past Lloris (77).
With the clock ticking down, Jan Vertonghen picked up his second yellow card of the afternoon after a careless challenge.
Goalkeeper: Bernd Leno – Not a great performance from Leno as he should’ve done better with Dier’s goal. But he did make some crucial saves in the second half.
Centre Back: Shkodran Mustafi – He threatened the Spurs goal with two shots on target and was extremely comfortable on the ball.
Centre Back: Sokratis – I was surprised to see how calm he was with the ball but again it wasn’t a superb performance for the Greek international.
Centre Back: Sead Kolasinac – Lots of passion on show from Kolasinac. Kept Dele Alli quiet throughout the game.
Centre Def Midfield: Granit Xhaka – The Arsenal captain distributed the ball well and made some big big tackles to set the tone of a derby.
Centre Midfield: Lucas Torreira – The Uruguayan terrier was a constant nuisance for Tottenham. His tireless effort was incredible and was capped off with a wonderful goal. What a signing this was for Arsenal in the summer!
Centre Midfield: Aaron Ramsey – I can’t get my head round why Arsenal are letting Ramsey go at the of the season. He was introduced as a half time substitute and he provided two important assists for Arsenal. Teams like Man Utd should be looking at getting his signature in the summer.
Centre Att Midfield: Heung-Min Son – One of the only Spurs players to make the combined eleven! A stark contrast to the ‘all Spurs eleven’ from midweek. Son threatened throughout the game and deserved a goal if not two for his effort and skill shown in this game.
Striker: Alexandre Lacazette – Took his only chance well and will be hoping to start Arsenal’s next game.
Striker: Harry Kane – A typical performance from Kane. Didn’t do much other than superbly take his penalty. I could watch him take penalties all day long.
Striker: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – By far the best player on the pitch today. He not only scored two goals but assisted Torreira’s strike. He led the team from the front and he didn’t let the pressure get to him. Man of the Match.
A bad day at the office for – Jan Vertonghen
A horrific showing from the Belgian today. His hand was flying up in the air in an unnatural position which led to Mike Dean pointing to the spot. To make matters worse, after conceding four goals he was sent off after a reckless challenge led to his second yellow card. Vertonghen was really impressive midweek against Inter Milan and I thought he was their best player, however today was one of the worst showings he has had in a white shirt.
Question marks were raised when the line-up was announced an hour before the game. Spurs’ gaffer had decided to go with Juan Foyth and Jan Vertonghen as his central defensive partnership. Midweek in their 1-0 victory over Inter Milan, the experienced duo of Alderweireld and Vertonghen were solid and fantastically held on for a clean sheet. On one hand, you can admire Pochettino for the huge amount of faith he has put in the young Argentinian but this could also be seen as a little naive.
I for one am a fan of Foyth and I think he has huge potential to become a top world class defender but the two penalties given away against Wolves and the foul against Hazard in the penalty box (which wasn’t given) suggests a lack of maturity and calmness which is crucial for games against the top six.
There is no doubt that Toby Alderweireld is one of the best centre halves not only in the Premier league but also in the world. For him to be dropped for such a big game is baffling and I think Poch got it wrong. I hope he holds up his hands and admits that.
Looking at the stats I was surprised to see Moussa Sissoko only had 37 touches of the ball. Sissoko has had a resurgence as of late and has been one of Tottenham’s main men but he went hiding in this game and it bypassed him. Torreira and Ramsay took the mick in the second half and it was a disappointing performance for Tottenham’s young players.
Harry Winks is not as young as people might think he is. He is now twenty-two years old and he really should be starting in the Premier league with the talent he has. Winks has only started four games this season in the Premier League and it is in the Champions League he has had his chance to shine. I love the calmness he plays with when on the ball and he has to start becoming a starter or I would expect him to have his head turned by offers of first team football.
A question that has to be asked is whether this result means that Tottenham’s title hopes are over. It would be ludicrous to suggest that after 14 games that was that but it now looks increasingly harder for them to close the 8 point gap between them and Manchester City. These are the sort of games that define the winners in a Premier League season and Man City went to the Emirates and won 2-0 whilst Tottenham got beaten 4-2.
Man City are most people’s pick to win the title and Mauricio Pochettino will surely be wanting to win a trophy this season and end their long enduring run without one. In 17 days, this fixture is rekindled as Tottenham head to the Emirates and look to advance to the Semi finals of the Carabao Cup. Let’s hope for a better outcome in that fixture.
Arsenal: Leno; Sokratis, Holding, Mustafi; Bellerin, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Torreira; Mkhitaryan, Iwobi, Aubameyang
Tottenham: Lloris; Aurier, Foyth, Vertonghen, Davies; Sissoko, Dier, Alli, Eriksen; Son, Kane
Arsenal Subs: Cech, Lichsteiner, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Guendouzi (71), Ramsay (45), Lacazette (45)
Tottenham Subs: Gazzaniga, Rose (82), Alderweireld, Walker-Peters, Winks (79), Lucas (79), Llorente
Referee: Mike Dean