Result: Arsenal 4 – 2 Sp*rs
Competition: Premier League
Date: 2nd December 2018
Venue: Emirates Stadium
Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Holding, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Torreira, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang
Subs: Cech, Lichtsteiner, Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi, Elneny, Ramsey, Lacazette
Arsenal leapfrogged Spurs into a top 4 spot with a 4-2 win. Arsenal deservedly went forward thanks to an Aubameyang penalty but Spurs scored 2 debatable goals to end the half ahead.
The Gunners rallied back in the second half with 3 excellent goals to ensure that Emery’s first North London derby ended with a win for the new manager. That’s 19 games unbeaten in all competitions.
The match began at breakneck pace with Arsenal going all guns blazing – creating three chances within the first three minutes. Spurs struggled to complete their passes as Arsenal players snapped into tackles high up the pitch and took control of the game in the early stages.
The pressure got to Spurs on the 8th minute when Vertonghen handled the ball when defending a corner, earning him a yellow card and Arsenal their first penalty of the season. Aubameyang dispatched the penalty with ease to give Arsenal into a well deserved lead. 1-0 to the Arsenal.
Son pressed for an equaliser on the 11th minute with a dribble and a shot from the right side of the penalty box but his attempt was palmed away by Leno. Arsenal responded a minute later, with a dangerous low cross into the box by Kolasinac for Aubameyang who couldn’t get a clean connection with the ball within the six yard box.
Spurs were caught off guard by an excellent cross field free kick on the 17th minute by Xhaka, finding Kolasinac on the left wing who cut back for an onrushing Iwobi to strike right at Lloris in goal.
Despite the hectic start, Arsenal looked to slow down the pace from the 20th minute. The three defenders passed patiently across the back, not afraid to attempt back passes if it meant waiting for the right opportunity to make a line breaking pass.
Spurs took advantage of this by scoring an equalizer. Dier, who looked marginally offside, evaded the Arsenal defence at a free kick and nodded in the ball at the near post on the 30th minute. It was a soft goal to concede as Leno should have covered his angles better. The goal sparked a skirmish on the sidelines with Dier and the Arsenal substitutes as he antagonize the Emirates crowd with his celebrations. 1-1.
Things went from bad to worse almost immediately as Holding conceded a penalty by sliding in on Son who was bearing down on goal. Replays show that any touch on Son was minimal at best and that penalty should not have been given. Kane scored Spurs’ second goal and Arsenal needed to find a way to up the tempo again. 1-2.
Arsenal almost ended the half with an equalizer as Mustafi sent a looping header crashing against the cross bar in injury time. This meant that this season, Arsenal are yet to go into the second half without being in the lead.
Emery wasted no time to make his changes, bringing on Ramsey and Lacazette for Iwobi and Mkhitaryan at the start of the second half. Arsenal upped the aggression but seemed to give up unnecessary free kicks close to the penalty box. Leno had to palm away one such free kick by Kane on 49 minutes which was dipping dangerously towards the far corner.
Arsenal got back in it on the 55th minute with an exquisite and instinctive first touch finish by Aubameyang from outside the box. Shades of Henry, flatfooting Lloris with a curling thunderbolt into the net. 2-2, game on.
Mustafi almost made it three during a corner as he striked low and hard, only for Alli to deny him with a goal line clearance. The German then looked to have tweaked his leg when clearing a save from Leno after Bellerin made the mistake of passing the ball to Son who shoot on goal. Mustafi was moving gingerly after treatment which meant he was substituted for Guendouzi in the 70th minute.
On the 73rd minute, Ramsey dispossessed Foyth on the half way line and put Lacazette through on goal. The Frenchman decided to take the shot with his weaker left foot and the curler deflected off Dier’s shin to evade Lloris and sneak in for Arsenal’s third. 3-2.
Arsenal stuck the knife in with a goal almost immediately after the restart, this time by Torreira who slipped past Dier to slot in the ball into the far corner. Pandemonium ensued at the Emirates as the score turned to 4-2.
Things got worse for Spurs as Vertonghen got his marching orders with a second yellow after a studs up tackle on Lacazette on 85 minutes – sealing the result for the Gunners.
It was an absolutely committed display, personified by the likes of Kolasinac making a tackle on Moura deep in injury time. More of the same, boys.