It was a night to remember for Spurs as a Dele Alli masterclass saw them beat North London rivals Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium. The victory meant that Spurs progressed to the semi-final of the Carabao Cup for the first time since 2014/15 and will face Chelsea across two legs.
Mauricio Pochettino named a strong Spurs side for the quarter final clash, showing his intentions right from the start. Paulo Gazzaniga returned in goal whereas Harry Kane was named as a substitute with Lucas Moura starting up front. Meanwhile Ben Davies remained at centre back next to Toby Alderweireld with Juan Foyth only fit enough to be on the bench.
The Gunners applied the early pressure on the night, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan going close from a corner and Aaron Ramsey shooting wide from outside the area. Soon after, former Manchester United man Mkhitaryan had a golden chance to open the scoring for Arsenal. After great link up play between himself and Ramsey, the Armenian was put clean through on goal but his indecisive shot was saved by Paulo Gazzaniga in what turned out to be a pivotal stop in terms of how the match panned out from there.
Dele Alli On The Mark For Spurs
— Harry Kane (@HKane) December 19, 2018
That was because ten minutes later Spurs were ahead. It came from a long kick forward from Gazzaniga, with Lucas Moura doing well to fend off his marker and ensure that Dele Alli had the ball just inside the Arsenal half. Alli then had one player to pick out but it was a perfect pass into Heung-min Son who had the goal and Petr Cech at his mercy. The South Korean made it looked routine and stroked the ball past Cech with his left foot to strike first for Spurs.
On the half hour mark Spurs had a brilliant chance to double their lead but could not make a swift counter attack pay. It was a brilliant move, starting with Lucas Moura winning the ball in the Spurs area and Christian Eriksen breaking out. The ball was then played out to Kieran Trippier who had burst forward to ensure that Spurs had four on three, with Moussa Sissoko also in attack. It was a sweeping one-two with Eriksen that set up Sissoko who, after a slick move, provided an erratic finish that went over the bar.
Arsenal finished the first half strong and Spurs were thankful to Gazzaniga for keeping the scores level. Aaron Ramsey’s snapshot was going into the corner but the Argentine goalkeeper parried his effort onto the post to thwart him and send Spurs 1-0 up into the break.
Spurs had a few openings early on in the second half, with an Eriksen free kick being tipped behind by Cech who also cut out Son’s cross when the Spurs man had got in behind the Arsenal defence into a promising position.
Despite the lead, Harry Kane was introduced as a substitute just before the hour mark and soon after Spurs doubled their lead thanks to a piece of brilliance from Dele Alli. Kane was left in acres of space from a long pass forward from Gazzaniga and brilliantly controlled with his chest before turning. Alli was in front of him and perfectly timed his run beyond the Arsenal backline and Kane was composed enough to find him with his pass. Still with a lot to do, Alli controlled the ball in his stride and effortlessly lifted it over Petr Cech. He made it seem so simple and was already wheeling away to the Spurs fans behind the goal before the ball nestled in the corner of the net. It was another Kane assist but all the plaudits must go to Alli for showing genuine class in the way he made it look so easy.
It could have been a lot different for Spurs had Alexander Lacazette converted his effort from eight yards just a minute after Alli’s goal but thankfully for Tottenham Hotspur it hit the post. There were then some unsavoury scenes with Alli being hit with an object from an Arsenal supporter. But the Spurs man reacted in the right way by politely informing the Arsenal fans of the 2-0 scoreline to Spurs.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) December 19, 2018
Arsenal did apply some pressure after that but, in truth, did not look like scoring and it could’ve been three for Tottenham Hotspur had Petr Cech not thwarted Eriksen’s shot from outside the area late on in the match.
Spurs deserved the win as they showed great composure in front of goal and were also solid at the back. Ben Davies deserves credit for being part of a defence that has kept two clean sheets in the past two matches despite being out of position at centre back and Danny Rose looks to be nearing the form that made him the best left back in the Premier League. By beating Arsenal, Spurs move into the semi-final of the Carabao Cup where they will play two legs against Chelsea. In the other semi-final, Manchester City will take on Burton Albion.
Arsenal v Spurs Teams
Arsenal v Spurs Stats
- This is the first time Spurs have kept a clean sheet away against Arsenal since November 1998.
- The last time Spurs knocked Arsenal out of the League Cup, they went onto win it in 2008
- It was only Spurs’ second ever win at the Emirates Stadium
What the Managers Said
Spurs Manager Mauricio Pochettino
“It is a very difficult draw, another London derby [in the semi-finals against Chelsea]. We have already played Watford, West Ham and Arsenal. We shall see. Chelsea are a great team but we are excited. To be in the semi-final is fantastic for us. I am very pleased. The most important thing was to play well and win the game [against Arsenal]. We deserved it. We kept a clean sheet here after a very busy period.” (BBC Sport)
Arsenal Manager Unai Emery
“We worked like we wanted and how we prepared for this match. We were good in the first half but we needed to keep the ball and possession, but it was not easy because they press very well. We created chances to score in the first half but were not efficient. They have good players with quality, we didn’t take our chances, they scored theirs.” (skysports)
Arsenal v Spurs Man of the Match
Dele Alli was the best player on the pitch at the Emirates and contributed with a goal and an assist in Spurs’ 2-0 win. The Spurs man seemed a class above his counterparts and was too quick and strong in midfield and too clever for Petr Cech when he was put through on goal for Spurs’ second. It is easy to forget that he is still just twenty-two and already has 51 goals for Spurs.
Dele Alli has reached 75 club goals at the age of just 22.
Steven Gerrard was on the same number at the age of 27, Frank Lampard 26.
— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) December 19, 2018
What’s Up Next for Spurs
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