Arsenal fought back from a goal down to beat Tottenham; Erik Lamela’s Rabona gave Spurs the lead; But Martin Odegaard and Alexandre Lacazette completed the turnaround
Report as Arsenal fought back from a goal down to beat Tottenham; Erik Lamela’s Rabona gave Spurs the lead; But Martin Odegaard and Alexandre Lacazette completed the turnaround; Lamela picked up two bookings in eight second-half minutes as Arsenal secured win
Arsenal sealed their first north London derby win since December 2018 after fighting back from a goal down to beat 10-man Tottenham 2-1 on Super Sunday.
The Gunners, who were without captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang after he was left out of the starting line-up due to a disciplinary breach, dominated much of the first half as Emile Smith Rowe and Cedric Soares both saw strikes hit the woodwork.
Lamela’s afternoon turned sour 15 minutes from time when he threw out a stray arm to catch Tierney to pick up his second yellow card in eight minutes, while Harry Kane, who had a late header disallowed for offside, struck the post with a free-kick before Gabriel Magalhaes’ brilliant block to deny Sanchez scoring from the rebound secured Arsenal all three points.
How Arsenal secured the north London bragging rights…
Tottenham sat off Arsenal in the opening stages and they were almost punished for a sluggish start when Smith Rowe’s curled effort from 25 yards beat Hugo Lloris but crashed back off the crossbar.
Spurs’ tricky opening continued when Son, making his first real forward run of the game, pulled up clutching his hamstring, and he was replaced by Lamela before the game had reached the 20-minute mark.
The surprise selection came from Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, who dropped captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to the bench as one of three changes. The Gunners won their Europa League game 3-1 against Olympiacos in Greece but Aubameyang was replaced in the starting line-up by Alexandre Lacazette, while Cedric Soares and Emile Smith Rowe were also recalled
Tottenham striker Harry Kane was fit enough to start. Kane took a knock to his knee having scored twice in the Europa League win over Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday night – but the all-time leading goalscorer in this fixture was fit to lead the line for the visitors. Spurs boss Jose Mourinho made six changes from the 2-0 win as Matt Doherty, Toby Alderweireld, Sergio Reguilon, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Lucas Moura and Gareth Bale all returned.
Smith Rowe was heavily involved again as the Gunners created another excellent opening, breezing past Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg before cutting the ball back for Lacazette, but the Frenchman snatched at his finish from 12 yards, failing to test Lloris.
Arsenal failed to capitalise on their dominance and Spurs, who eventually grew into the game, took the lead following a moment of magic from Lamela. The ball dropped to the Argentine on his weaker foot in the penalty area and he produced a Rabona, drilling a low finish straight into the far corner with Spurs’ first shot of the game.
Arteta would have been wondering how his side were behind and their frustration continued as Soares’ powerful strike from the edge of the penalty rattled the upright, but they did manage to get back on level terms just before the break.
Arsenal attacked down the Spurs left again as Tierney got the better of Matt Doherty before pulling the ball back for Odegaard, who, with the help of a deflection, swept the ball past Lloris to give the Gunners a deserved equaliser.
The hosts made a change at the break with Nicolas Pepe replacing Bukayo Saka and they had the first effort of the second half as Lacazette turned and got a shot away from 20 yards, forcing Lloris into a comfortable save.
Gareth Bale, who had been on the periphery all game, was replaced by Moussa Sissoko before Tanguy Ndombele made way for Dele Alli just after the hour mark, but Spurs found themselves behind in the 64th minute.
Pepe’s pass released Lacazette, who took an air shot at the ball before being wiped out by a lunging Sanchez. The referee pointed to the spot – with VAR agreeing with the decision – before Lacazette picked himself up off the floor to send Lloris the wrong way to give the Gunners the lead.
Arsenal: Leno (6), Cedric (7), Tierney (8), Luiz (7), Gabriel (8), Xhaka (7), Partey (7), Saka (6), Odegaard (7), Smith Rowe (8), Lacazette (7).
Subs: Pepe (6), Willian (n/a), Elneny (n/a).
Tottenham: Lloris (6), Doherty (4), Alderweireld (6), Sanchez (6), Reguilon (7), Hojbjerg (6), Ndombele (6), Moura (7), Bale (5), Son (6), Kane (6).
Subs: Lamela (6), Sissoko (6), Alli (6).
Man of the match: Emile Smith Rowe
Spurs’ frustrations were summed up when Lamela went from hero to villain, picking up two yellow cards in eight minutes, the second of which came in the 76th minute after his stray forearm caught Tierney in the face.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Spurs burst into life as they tried to find an equaliser and Kane headed home Lucas Moura’s free-kick, but the flag was correctly raised for offside against the England captain.
The late drama wasn’t over as Kane’s powerful free-kick struck the foot of the post and Arsenal needed a brilliant headed clearance from Gabriel to keep out Sanchez’s goal-bound strike from the rebound as the Gunners held on to hand Arteta’s first north London derby win as a manager.
What the pundits said…
Sky Sports’ Jamie Redknapp: “Spurs didn’t do enough early in the game. I know they lost Son, which is so difficult, but they didn’t do well enough. They didn’t start well enough and there was no sharpness about their play. Arsenal were just better, until the last 10 minutes.”
Former Arsenal forward Freddie Ljungberg: “100 percent [Arsenal deserved this]. Arsenal were the better team and definitely deserved to win the game. The two big decisions we can discuss back and forth, but they did deserve to win the game.”
Former Spurs defender Michael Dawson: “It was disappointing from Spurs – really, really disappointing. They went ahead from a really great goal, however, Harry Kane in attack must have been so disappointed. It was only when they went down to 10 men in the final 10 minutes that they really had a go. They were on the front foot and you are thinking, can they nick a draw? But, until then, it was very defensive, very slow, and a really disappointing afternoon for Spurs.”
What the managers said…
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta: “Full credit for the way we have done it today after two days coming back from Europe. It was incredible. Going 1-0 down the way we were playing was disappointing and worst-case scenario against a team like Spurs. But we kept playing and deserve the win.
“Last 10 minutes we did not manage the game and we need to improve as a team. We relied on luck. With the way we played, we should have seen it out comfortably.Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta felt his side were good value for their North London derby win, only a few days after travelling back from Athens in the Europa League.
“We prepare the game trying to exploit areas. We had some really strong performances today. You could see the energy they were playing with.
“It is about how you react. This team have the reaction in them to not give up. We kept playing and generating chances and got rewarded. We played quite well in the previous derbies, but they are so efficient. They don’t need much to score. You see with Lamela today – a quality goal.”
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho: “No post-match interviews for referees? That is a pity.
“We played really bad in the first half. The 1-1 was not a fair reflection of the first half. We were poor. Defending bad. No intensity or pressing. Some important players hiding. Really bad. In the second half, we only had space to improve which we did and then it is a question – but an impossible one as they don’t speak – for the referee Michael Oliver to answer. Probably Paul Tierney too, as he was the VAR. According to Kevin Friend, the referee told him he had a clear decision and the VAR does not want to go against.
Jose Mourinho shares his thoughts on Michael Oliver’s decision to award Arsenal a penalty, which ultimately inflicted a 2-1 defeat for Tottenham and feels the officials made a mistake.
“The game was under control in the second half, so we recovered. We made changes to try and win and then it is a penalty and after that, a second yellow for Lamela. It means the last 20 minutes 11 v 10, the team try to get the result.
“What I see from the bench is just a feeling at first. I am 40-50 metres away. I saw it on the iPad. Referees have a difficult job sometimes. I did not complain but when I watch back on the iPad, it is what it is. If somebody has a different opinion, it has to be one of the big Arsenal fans with a season ticket. It is the only one I accept as it is the passion speaking. Other than that, I don’t accept a different view as it is obvious.
“If the players don’t do better, it is because they can’t do better. I belong to the team, so I am as guilty for the first half as the players but the best thing is, we improve in the second half. Players get tired, coaches get tired, maybe referees get tired too. My record with Michael Oliver on penalties with Chelsea, United, and Tottenham is unlucky.”
Man of the match – Emile Smith Rowe
Mikel Arteta on Smith Rowe’s performance: “I think he had a magnificent performance.
“His personality and intelligence, his energy gives us something different.”
Opta stats – Arsenal’s unbeaten home run vs Spurs continues…
Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 10 Premier League home games against Spurs (W6 D4), while Mikel Arteta is the third consecutive Gunners boss to win his first home league meeting with Spurs, following Arsène Wenger and Unai Emery.
Since losing his first London derby at the Emirates in the Premier League (1-2 v Chelsea in December 2019), Arteta is unbeaten in his last five such games, picking up four victories (D1).
Spurs have dropped 45 points from winning positions against Arsenal in the Premier League – the most of any team against a specific opponent in the competition.
Spurs have conceded seven penalty goals in the Premier League this season, the most by a José Mourinho team in a single campaign in the competition.
Erik Lamela became just the fifth substitute in Premier League history to score and be sent off in the same game, after David Lee (1993), Bobby Zamora (2007), Ivan Klasnic (2010) and Hal Robson-Kanu (2017).
Arsenal face Olympiakos in the second leg of their Europa League last-16 clash on Thursday (kick-off 5.55pm), leading 3-1 from the first leg, before facing a trip to West Ham next Sunday, March 21, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 3pm.
Meanwhile, Tottenham face a trip to Dinamo Zagreb in the second leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday (5.55pm), leading 2-0 from the first leg, before travelling to Aston Villa on Sunday March 21 (kick-off 7.30pm), also on Sky Sports.