Toby heads us to victory against Arsenal
Spurs 2-1 Arsenal
Sun 12 July 2020, 18:33|Tottenham Hotspur
Toby Alderweireld produced an 81st-minute winner as we came from behind to win the first-ever Premier League north London derby at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
After a disappointing performance in the goalless draw at Bournemouth on Thursday, this was a much-improved display which restored pride and confidence, ensured the derby day bragging rights were all ours and saw us climb over Arsenal into eighth in the table.
It was the visitors who drew first blood when Alexandre Lacazette rifled past Hugo Lloris in the 16th minute, but just 137 seconds later we drew level when Heung-Min Son capitalised on a mistake in the Gunners’ defence and coolly finished past Emiliano Martinez. Both sides had chances to win the game, Ben Davies hitting a fierce drive which brought a superb save out of Martinez, while Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit the woodwork and also forced Lloris into a wonderful save to keep the game level.
The winner came with just nine minutes left, our Belgian centre-half – who was outstanding in the heart of our defence – came up for a corner and sent a glancing header into the back of the Arsenal net to give Jose Mourinho a win in his first-ever north London derby.
The Head Coach made three changes to the team that started against Bournemouth. Davinson Sanchez was back to partner Alderweireld in central defence, with Eric Dier serving the second of his four-match suspension. Lucas Moura and Son came back in for Erik Lamela and Steven Bergwijn, both on the bench.
We didn’t manage a shot on target in the goalless draw at Bournemouth but took just 16 seconds to achieve that in this game, Lucas letting fly from 25 yards which brought a diving save out of Martinez. And we went close again on 10 minutes when Lucas picked out Harry Kane with a delightful clip into the area, but Martinez was quickly out to deny Kane’s attempted lob.
But we conceded after 16 minutes. Serge Aurier did well to steal possession from Kieran Tierney but then his touch was a bit heavy and he lost the ball to Granit Xhaka, who fed Lacazette and the Arsenal man advanced forward and hit a 25-yard screamer that flew past compatriot Lloris. We weren’t behind for long though as Son levelled three minutes later when Sead Kolasinac played a heavy pass back to David Luiz which Son pounced on, moved into the area and applied a clever clipped finish to beat Martinez.
The Arsenal goalkeeper then produced a magnificent save on the half-hour, tipping a Davies long-range rocket onto his crossbar at full stretch before Nicolas Pepe sent a left-foot curler just wide of the far post at the other end. Aubameyang also went close with a 22-yard free-kick after Davies’ foul on Pepe, who tested Lloris with a snap shot from the edge of the area as Arsenal enjoyed a spell of pressure towards the end of the first half.
The visitors opened the second half the brighter of the two teams and we needed a good block from Lucas to prevent Hector Bellerin from getting a shot on goal, while they opened us up in the 59th minute when Lacazette found Aubameyang in the left channel of the area but he cracked his shot against the woodwork.
We had an opportunity out of nothing in the 71st minute as Kane latched onto Davies’ clearance, beat Shkodran Mustafi and cut the ball back to Son, eight yards out, but Martinez was quick off his line to smother the danger. Back came Arsenal and when Bellerin’s effort looped up towards Aubameyang, he hit a first-time right-foot volley which was heading for the bottom corner until Lloris stuck out a hand and tipped it around the post.
At the other end moments later, Kane was released down the left channel but was thwarted by Martinez, at the expense of a corner. From the set-piece, Son delivered a teasing cross which Alderweireld glanced into the back of the net to give us the lead. And we almost added a third shortly after when Kane was through again, once more denied by Martinez with the rebound sent a yard over the bar by Giovani Lo Celso from 20 yards out.
Arsenal threw caution to the wind in the final stages, Mikel Arteta making a triple change, but we were resolute at the back and almost caught them on the counter on a couple of occasions. We were able to see out the closing minutes without too much drama to record a much-needed and spirited victory.
A late match-winner in the north London derby will always be a key moment! We haven’t had too much success from corners lately but Son’s excellent cross into the danger zone was so inviting for Alderweireld, who produced the perfect glancing header to secure three points.
Jose told Spurs TV afterwards: "The boys fought from minute one to the last minute. When they were in control of the game by having the ball, I thought we were in control even without the ball.
"We started well, we were very dominant, then Lacazette scored an astonishing goal and I think if we don’t react immediately, probably it could cost us a little. So that was great. Then in the second half, it was a big game, very tactical, hard game. The players put in a lot of effort. The temperature was really warm and only us inside the stadium could feel how warm it was. If you analyse the data, you will then realise how many miles these guys run and the intensity of what they did. I can only be very complimentary of them."
Reaction on Spurs TV
Spurs 2-1 Arsenal
Spurs (4-4-2): Lloris (c), Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Davies, Sissoko, Winks, Lo Celso (Skipp 84), Lucas (Bergwijn 82), Son (Lamela 90+4), Kane. Substitutes (not used): Gazzaniga, Vertonghen, Tanganga, Sessegnon, Gedson, Ndombele.
Arsenal (3-4-3): Martinez, Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac (Soares 84), Bellerin (Nelson 84), Ceballos, Xhaka, Tierney (Willock 84), Pepe (Saka 70), Lacazette, Aubameyang (c). Substitutes (not used): Macey, Sokratis, Torreira, Maitland-Niles, Holding.
Goals: Spurs – Son 19, Alderweireld 81; Arsenal – Lacazette 16.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Lo Celso, Aurier, Davies, Winks, Bergwijn; Arsenal – Lacazette, Pepe, Saka.
Referee: Michael Oliver.
Venue: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Weather: Sunny, light winds, 24 degrees.