Lads lose out in spirited clash
Arsenal 4-2 Spurs
Sun 02 December 2018, 16:06|Tottenham Hotspur
The derby at the Emirates had a bit of everything, but two goals in three minutes a quarter-of-an-hour from time decided it in Arsenal's favour on Sunday afternoon.
In a pulsating first half, we recovered from the Gunners' bright start to lead 2-1 thanks to an excellent header from Eric Dier and Harry Kane's penalty - the passion clear for all to see, especially after Dier's equaliser. But following a well-taken leveller from in-form Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 11 minutes after the restart - his second goal of the game following his earlier penalty, converted after a hand-ball by Jan Vertonghen - the momentum swung back in the hosts' favour and shortly after substitute Alexandre Lacazette's deflected effort squirmed beyond the fingertips of Hugo Lloris, Lucas Torreira wrapped up a 4-2 win for the home side before Vertonghen's misery on his first Premier League start since September was compounded with a second booking and subsequent dismissal late on.
Arsenal flew out of the traps and were rewarded for their high-pressing start when Vertonghen climbed to meet Granit Xhaka's free-kick, was adjudged to have handled and Aubameyang scored from the spot with under 10 minutes gone. The Gunners were going all out and it took us a while to settle but, when we did, we looked a real threat.
Heung-Min Son tested former Bayer Leverkusen team-mate Bernd Leno from either side of his goal, but Arsenal still had their moments in between, Hugo Lloris denying Alex Iwobi on his line and Ben Davies sliding in with a great block to thwart Hector Bellerin as he arrived at the far post.
Then the game exploded. The dangerous Son was tripped wide on the left, Christian Eriksen delivered the free-kick and Dier stooped to beat Leno with a near-post header on the half-hour mark. The passion was palpable as Dier wheeled away and both squads let everything out on the touchline in the aftermath. And shortly after the game got back underway, the ante was upped again as Son was clipped in the box by the sliding Rob Holding and Kane held his nerve to score yet another north London derby goal with a penalty of our own with just over 10 minutes to go until the break. We still looked vulnerable to long balls over the top and were caught napping by a quickly-taken free-kick - Lloris saved brilliantly with his legs from Aubameyang but the flag was up anyway, with our captain then clawing away Shkodran Mustafi's header on the stroke of half-time.
Kane forced Leno to tip over with a free-kick, but Arsenal's double change at half-time, which saw the introduction of Aaron Ramsey in midfield and Lacazette as an additional striker, paid off as Ramsey touched Bellerin's forward pass on to Aubameyang and he left Lloris rooted to the spot with a first-time strike from just outside the area. Dele Alli then had to clear off the line from Mustafi as our rivals regained the upper hand.
The lead changed hands for the third time in the game on 75 minutes as Ramsey shrugged off Foyth, who had stepped up from the back, and worked the ball to Lacazette, whose speculative shot from range spun off Dier's shin and crept low past the diving Lloris into the bottom corner. And two minutes later, another blow as Torreira spun away from Dier onto Aubameyang's through pass and slotted home from the right angle. Insult to injury followed five minutes from time as Vertonghen slid the ball out to substitute left-back Danny Rose but was involved in a collision with Lacazette as he did so, which resulted in the Belgian international picking up a second yellow card. The result means we slip to fifth in the table, behind our rivals on goal difference.
The introduction of Ramsey and Lacazette at half-time helped to swing the game back in Arsenal's favour. Kane did go close for us at the start of the second half but new Gunners boss Unai Emery's decision to change things up was well and truly vindicated.
Ramsey provided the assist for Aubameyang's well-taken second goal to make it 2-2 - a key strike from the former Borussia Dortmund hotshot which gave his side the platform to go on and regain the advantage. Lacazette subsequently fired in Arsenal's third.
Boss Mauricio Pochettino admitted it was particualrly testing for the players after Arsenal's second-half equaliser, coming off the back of high-intensity wins against Chelsea and Inter.
"I thought the game was even until 2-2 and then when we conceded the third goal it was difficult to find the energy," he said. "The fixture wasn’t the best for us to compete in three games (in a week) at this type of level.
"Until the second half and we conceded the third goal, it was even. The energy in some periods was better from Arsenal, in some periods better from Tottenham. Then it’s football and don’t make a mistake. If you make a mistake, you lose the game."
Reaction on Spurs TV
Arsenal 4-2 Spurs
Arsenal (3-4-2-1): Leno, Holding, Mustafi (Guendouzi 71), Sokratis, Bellerin, Xhaka (c), Torreira, Kolasinac, Mkhitaryan (Ramsey 46), Iwobi (Lacazette 46), Aubameyang. Substitutes (not used): Cech, Lichtsteiner, Maitland-Niles, Elneny.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Aurier, Foyth, Vertonghen, Davies (Rose 82), Dier, Sissoko, Eriksen, Dele (Winks 79), Son (Lucas 79), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Gazzaniga, Walker-Peters, Alderweireld, Llorente.
Goals: Arsenal - Aubameyang 10 (pen), 56, Lacazette 75, Torreira 77; Spurs - Dier 30, Kane 34 (pen).
Yellow cards: Arsenal - Mustafi 37, Xhaka 49, Torreira 78; Spurs - Vertonghen 9, 85, Dier 32, Dele 65, Aurier 90.
Red card: Spurs - Vertonghen 85.
Referee: Mike Dean.
Venue: Emirates Stadium, London.
Weather: Light cloud, 15 degrees.