Arsenal 4 – 2 Tottenham
Arsenal turned around a 2 – 1 half-time deficit to take three well-deserved points in a throwback North London Derby. A brace from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, one from Alexandre Lacazette and the most popular goal we’ve scored this season with Lucas Torreira’s first for the club did the damage. A fight and fighting spirit we haven’t seen for years capped an excellent day’s work.
Amid the euphoria is a tinge of sadness and bitterness. The vile spectre of racism reared its ugly head with a banana peel thrown onto the turf after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring.
It would be easy to condemn Spurs, the club, for the vile actions of one monstrously ill-informed mind. That’s to deflect responsibility for the cretinous behaviour of an individual. It’s nothing to crow about in terms of tribal loyalty, it’s something to be condemned by everyone irrespective of which team you support.
No-one can rest easy until this insidious evil is eradicated from football at every level.
Aside from the fifteen minutes before half-time, we were rarely in trouble and most of that was of our own making. Leno fumbled Dire’s header into the net for the equaliser, with the goal celebrations sparking a furious reaction from the subs warming up in that corner of the ground.
It was heartening to see anger from the players. The kind of passion for the game which we’ve missed for some time. More importantly, aside from this spell of the game, we stood up to Tottenham and imposed ourselves physically on the match. The visitors’ midfield trod heavily while our energy gave us control for long periods of the game.
6.0, 5.9, 5.3, 5.8, 6.0
It was heartening to see anger from the players. The kind of passion for the game which we’ve missed for some time. More importantly, aside from this spell of the game, we stood up to Tottenham and imposed ourselves physically on the match. The visitors’ midfield trod heavily while our energy gave us
The opening ten minutes of the match saw both sides trade jabs. As Arsenal emerged the stronger from this spell, Vertonghen’s brain-fart saw him handle unnecessarily. It was too important an opportunity to miss and Aubameyang coolly slotted home from the spot.
The only surprise was that the linesman’s flag wasn’t raised for offside. I can’t think of another player flagged offside so often since peak Adebayor.
Unai Emery prowled the touchline incessantly, ignoring his technical area to the chagrin of some. The Spaniard seemed pleased with the way the match progressed as we continually put Spurs on the back foot.
Yet, as is so often the case with us, we needed a second goal to rest a little easier. It didn’t come; we paid the price.
Back in 2002, Robert Pires found himself the target of a concerted media campaign which blamed the Frenchman for the scourge of diving in the Premier League. This from a league in which Jurgen Klinsmann played.
The question is whether hacks will be so keen to start a similar vendetta against Son Heung-min whose pair of first-half dives changed the course of the North London Derby.
A warning came when Son tumbled at a whiff of contact on the left. The ensuing free-kick was glanced goalwards by Dire. Nine times out of ten, Leno saves it. Comfortably. This, however, was the one and he palmed it into the net.
Dire decided runing around the edge of the pitch with the “shhh” celebration before coming face-to-face with a posse of Arsenal subs. A good old-fashioned melee followed with Ramsey squaring up to Dele Alli. The over-rated England midfielder saw his abject performance level drop even further from that point on. Ramsey, a second half substitute, grabbed two assists as Alli completed two passes in the same time.
Forgive Us This Day, Tom Daley Said
The triple pike back somersault combination which won the penalty was by the far the worst. Rob Holding didn’t touch the Korean but the Swamp Dweller needed no encouragement to hit the floor. Mike Dean bought the act although he looked far from convinced.
Police, meanwhile, issued a wanted poster of the sniper in Row Z who shot Son for him to go down. However, at the time of writing no arrests have been made yet. It was an accurate shot and impressive given we had a white-hot derby at that point.
Kane scored and Son’s diving put Spurs on the way to gaining maximum points. Or that seemed a distinct possibility as we wobbled and lost our way.
Half-time changes are a speciality of Unai Emery. Pulling Iwobi and Mkhitaryan, who were largely anonymous, and replacing them with Ramsey and Lacazette provided a spark. That and a few choice words from the boss, I’m sure.
The equaliser came from Aubameyang ten minutes into the second half, a snapshot from the edge of the area. Ramsey again provided for the third, flicking the ball into Lacazette’s path whose shot deflected off Dire past Lloris’ flailing dive. Shhh, indeed.
What could top off the afternoon at 3 – 2? An Aubameyang hat-trick? A Lucas Torreira goal? It was the latter, a fine finish having beaten the offside trap to run beyond the static Tottenham defence. We may as well stop the polling for Player of the Season right now.
There was still time for more comedy defending from Vertonghen. Over-running the ball, he stretched to make Spurs retained possession. He stretched too far, following through onto Lacazette’s ankle and receiving a red card for his troubles.
Big? Very Big? Man, It’s Huge
“Mike Dean, overall, had a decent game” is not a phrase I thought I’d be using after that game but he largely got decisions right. The test of that would be whether he’d change his mind about the free-kick or penalty from which Tottenham scored. We’ll never know and nor today do I care.
Unai Emery called it a “very big victory”. Before he gets stuck into preparing us for Old Trafford, presumably without Mesut Özil. Emery didn’t know when the German got
Speaking about the melee, Emery said, “The heart is fired a lot, and we need to be calm also.” They got it spot on yesterday throughout the 90 minutes.
Bravo gentlemen. More please, if you will.