Arsenal moved above Spurs in the Premier League table after defeating them 4-2 in a disappointing North London derby on Sunday. It was a difficult afternoon for Mauricio Pochettino’s side as, even though they were 2-1 ahead at half time, they never really got going in the encounter. That was in contrast to an Arsenal side that played to a high-intensity, something which the Spurs team, playing their third big match in a week, could not replicate.
Arsenal started the game brightly and within a minute, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang saw his headed effort go over the bar. Soon after, the Arsenal striker had the chance to put his side ahead from the penalty spot when Jan Vertonghen handled Granit Xhaka’s free kick. The out of character action from Vertonghen summed up Spurs’ first eight minutes as they were evidently unsettled by an Arsenal side that had started brightly. Aubameyang’s resulting penalty sent Lloris the wrong way and put the Gunners ahead within ten minutes.
Almost immediately, Heung-min Son had a chance to level things in what was the opening opportunity for Spurs in the first half. Dele Alli’s lofted through ball sent the South Korean captain away, however the angle was always narrow and it would have took a brilliant strike to beat Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno who put his shot out for a corner. The next chance for Spurs also came through Son, who wriggled through the Arsenal defence before his shot was comfortably saved by Leno.
12 – Our best chance of the game so far. @dele_official plays the ball over to Sonny who forces Leno into a smart save at his near post.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 2, 2018
Although Arsenal were on top and started the much brighter team, it was Spurs that scored the next goal after twenty-nine minutes. A Christian Eriksen free kick was yet again the source, as this time Eric Dier flicked on to head past Leno, who really should have done better than to fumble the ball into his net. Dier’s strike came with much relief, which then spilled over as the Arsenal players complained about Spurs’ celebrations by the corner flag.
The match was then turned on its head a few minutes later as Spurs were awarded a penalty. Harry Kane demonstrated brilliant hold up, something he has exhibited for both club and country this season, to set Son away with a back heeled pass. Son raced into the Arsenal area and cut back inside where he was caught by Rob Holding, who made an erratic challenge on the Spurs man. The tackle was one that Holding did not need to make and the rashness of it is what gave Harry Kane the opportunity to put Spurs ahead. The pressure did not impact Kane as he rolled his spot kick into the corner as if he were on the training pitch. It was not deserved, but Spurs were ahead in the derby and remained so until the half time break.
GOAL: Arsenal 1-2 Tottenham
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 2, 2018
Aubameyang the Difference for Arsenal
Spurs started the second period well and had some half chances through two different free kicks. The first from Eriksen was more of a cross but was put into an area that caused uncertainty for Leno who had to force the ball wide. Then, from the opposite side of the pitch, Harry Kane directed a free kick goalwards which was smartly saved by Leno.
However, soon after Arsenal had their equaliser. Hector Bellerin’s through ball found Aaron Ramsey who played in Aubameyang on the edge of the Spurs area. Still with a lot to do, the former Borussia Dortmund man fired in a first time shot into the bottom corner, which left Hugo Lloris with no chance.
The goal started a wave of Arsenal pressure which resulted in them taking the game out of Spurs’ reach. Arsenal’s third goal came in sloppy fashion and started with Juan Foyth losing out to Aaron Ramsey on the halfway line. The Welshman, due to leave Arsenal at the end of the season despite being offered a contract extension, then offloaded to Alexander Lacazette. Another halftime substitution, Lacazette was under pressure from a number of Spurs players, so cut back on his left foot before having a shot at goal. His strike took a deflection off Eric Dier, which was just enough to take it away from Lloris and ensure that the ball nestled in the corner to give Arsenal the lead.
The Gunners were not done there and through Lucas Torreira grabbed their fourth of the match to take it away from Mauricio Pochettino’s men. Aubameyang was again at the centre of everything as he played in holding midfielder Toreira, who had made a forward run to be one-on-one with Lloris. The Uruguayan fizzed his shot across Lloris to give his side an unassailable lead and to cap off an excellent second half display from him and his team.
FULL-TIME: A second-half comeback from the home side sees them take all three points in the derby. pic.twitter.com/GlBpu2BcLA
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 2, 2018
The evening got worse for Spurs with five minutes remaining as Jan Vertonghen was shown his second yellow card. The Belgian centre half followed through on his tackle on Lacazette and was given his marching orders by Mike Dean in what was a forgettable afternoon at the Emirates Stadium for Spurs.
Arsenal v Spurs Teams
What the Managers Said
Spurs Manager Mauricio Pochettino
“My assessment is that I think we conceded a penalty in a situation that normally is not good for the team. Of course it was complicated from the beginning of the game. We turned that situation and then it 2-1. I think we started the second half very well and until they scored the third goal it was an even game. It was very competitive. Of course in some period better Arsenal and some periods better Tottenham.”
“When we conceded a third goal it was tough for us to come back mentally, to find the energy to go and try to be again in the game. Of course in that moment it was tough for the team and we started to pay for the effort from the Champions League game against Inter and Chelsea and we started to suffer. In the end I think when we conceded the fourth and the sending off of Jan Vertonghen, the game was over.” (football.london)
Arsenal Manager Unai Emery
“It is a very big victory; we showed our supporters and we gave them the victory because it is a very special match against Tottenham, for us it is special also. But above all it is three points, like against Bournemouth last weekend. We need to continue our process, creating our way. I want to do more.” (BBC Sport)
Arsenal v Spurs Man of the Match
On a bad afternoon for Spurs, Dele Alli and Heung-min Son were probably the two best players for them. Son’s pace and dribbling troubled the Arsenal defence for both of Spurs’ goals whereas Alli was a nuisance for the Gunners and constantly won free kicks for his side. For his role in both goals, our Spurs man of the match is Heung-min Son but Mauricio Pochettino will know that both he and the rest of his Spurs players will have to improve in their next outing.
What’s Next for Spurs
Spurs have a two day break before they are in action against Southampton at Wembley. The Saints have recently sacked manager Mark Hughes and former goalkeeper Kelvin Davis will take charge on Wednesday.
After that, Spurs will travel to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester City in the late kick off on Saturday 8th December.
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