Arsenal: Cech, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Bellerin, Xhaka, Ramsey, Kolasinac, Ozil, Sanchez, Lacazette
Subs: Ospina, Mertesacker, Coquelin, Wilshere, Maitland-Niles, Iwobi, Welbeck
Arsenal raised spirits with a superb performance and a thoroughly deserved 2-0 win over Sp*rs at the Emirates this afternoon.
Arsene Wenger recalled Shkodran Mustafi to the heart of his defence, and as expected unleashed the front three of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Alexandre Lacazette.
On a wet day in North London the game began in cagey fashion, and the Gunners had the first chance of the day when Eric Dier made a mistake, Sanchez fed Lacazette and the French striker fired over the bar when he should probably have hit the target.
Almost immediately Harry Kane pounced on a Laurent Koscielny error, hitting a shot on target that Petr Cech saved. At the other end it looked as if Ozil was about to tee up Lacazette for a tap-in but Mike Dean penalised the German for a push on Vertonghen.
Both Sanchez and Koscielny just failed to find Lacazette whose runs were causing the Sp*rs defence some problems, and a great ball from Ramsey to Bellerin saw the Spaniard low cross fizz along the six-yard box without the striker being able to find the final touch.
Lacazette almost got on the end of a soft back pass only for Hugo Lloris to come out and clear from just outside his area, and last ditch defending from Dier prevented an Ozil cross reaching Ramsey who would have had an easy close range finish.
Having already been warned by Dean, Xhaka picked up a yellow card in the 32nd minute when Deli Alli dived into him and made a meal of the fall. Christian Eriksen, fresh from his midweek hat-trick against Ireland, cracked a shot off the outside of the post, and Cech had to be alert to save a deflected Kane header.
The away danger was a worry but the Gunners went ahead in the 37th minute. When Sanchez was fouled by the other Sanchez, Ozil curled in the free kick for his German colleague Mustafi to head home off the inside of the post. 1-0.
Alexis picked up a yellow card for a foul on Sanchez, and it was the Arsenal version who made the next big contribution, doubling the lead. Lacazette got in behind although there was a hint of offside, crossed it for the Chilean whose first touch wasn’t great but with his second he slammed the ball beyond a falling Lloris to make it 2-0.
Kane dragged a shot wide after a good run through the Arsenal midfield and defence, but the Gunners took their deserved lead into half-time.
There were no changes from either side at the break, and there was an early second half booking for Mustafi, penalised for getting the ball first in a challenge with Kane.
The England international had a chance with a header after some carelessness at the back but could only loop it into the arms of Cech.
He was next into the book for going through the back of Mustafi, and a Bellerin pass almost provided Lacazette with a one on one but he was eased out of it by Davinson Sanchez.
A swift counter, started by Ozil winning the ball on the edge of his own box, nearly ended with the German getting on the end of an Alexis pass, while at the other end a brilliant block by Mustafi denied Kane a goal after Ramsey lost his footing.
Sp*rs made their first change in the 62nd minute, sending on Winks for Dembele, Eriksen fired over from outside the box, and at the other end Alexis blasted one towards the top corner but got too much on it and sent it well over.
Ozil set up Alexis just outside the box but he miscued his shot baldy, making it easy for Lloris to claim the ball, before Arsene Wenger made his first change – bringing on Francis Coquelin for Lacazette, a decision which was met by some boos from the Arsenal fans.
Sp*rs made their final changes, the ineffective Kane and Alli coming off for Llorente and Son. Ozil created a close range chance for Alexis which Lloris came out to smother well. Eriksen forced Cech into a relatively simple save with a shot from distance, but the keeper’s next stop was outstanding.
Davies crossed from the left, Dier headed back across goal and Cech’s strong hand saw him push the ball well away from danger. A break from the back saw Bellerin’s shot blocked, Alex Iwobi came on for the outstanding Ozil in the 84th minute, and Son had a chance to get Sp*rs back in it but hooked his shot over after Llorente’s flick on gave him space in the Arsenal area.
Iwobi saw a shot blocked after being set-up by Alexis, Alexis had a shot from outside the area blocked, and a Xhaka free kick deflected without a corner being given.
Lloris saved again from Alexis, Iwobi dragged a shot wide in the 2nd minute of injury time, but there was no doubt the Gunners deserved all three points.
Sp*rs can stick it up their holes.