Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham
The Gunners come back after going a goal down to beat Tottenham Hotspur at the Emirates Stadium in the Barclays Premier League. This was Arsenal’s first north London derby win since December 2018.
Erik Lamela had an unforgettable game as he put Jose Mourinho’s Spurs in front with a stunning ‘rabona’ goal into Bernd Leno’s bottom left corner in the 34th minute.
The goal was so good that his teammate Sergio Reguilon had his hands on his head in disbelief as he could not believe how the Argentine winger scored that goal.
The goal came against the run of play with Tottenham’s first attempt of the game. Arsenal had 5 attempts up to that point but failed to hit the target on all occasions. They did hit the woodwork on a couple of occasions and were, by far, the better team.
The Gunners were playing without captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as he was left out of the side due to a disciplinary breach.
Youngster Emile Smith-Rowe and Cedric both saw the strikes hitting the post as Arsenal looked threatening. The hosts did finally find the equaliser that they deserved just before the end of the 1st half as Martin Odegaard’s timid strike took a big deflection off Toby Alderweireld that goalkeeper Hugo Lloris could do nothing about.
This was Odegaard’s first league goal and he made it 2 in 2 after scoring in the midweek against Olympiacos in the Europa League round of 16 first leg.
Alexandre Lacazette secured the win for his side after he was fouled by Davinson Sanchez in the penalty box after fluffing his shot in the 64th minute. The stand-in captain took the penalty himself and made no mistake to put the Gunners up 2-1 that proved to be the winner in the end.
Lamela’s afternoon did not end as brightly as it started after he was sent off in the 75th minute for knocking his hand into Kieran Tierney’s face to receive his second yellow within 8 minutes of his first.
Harry Kane thought he had scored in the 83rd minute but was offside. In the 89th minute, Kane drilled a wonderful freekick that somehow hit the post and stayed out.
Davinson Sanchez pounced on the rebound but Gabriel managed to get in the way and head it to safety to keep Arsenal’s lead in tact.
Arsenal held on in the end in what was a truly deserved victory in their quest for European football next season.
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said, “Full credit for the way we have done it today after two days coming back from Europe. It was incredible. Going 1-0 down the way we were playing was disappointing and worst-case scenario against a team like Spurs. But we kept playing and deserve the win.
“Last 10 minutes we did not manage the game and we need to improve as a team. We relied on luck. With the way we played, we should have seen it out comfortably.
“We prepare the game trying to exploit areas. We had some really strong performances today. You could see the energy they were playing with.
“It is about how you react. This team [Arsenal] have the reaction in them to not give up. We kept playing and generating chances and got rewarded. We played quite well in the previous derbies, but they [Spurs] are so efficient. They don’t need much to score. You see with Lamela today – a quality goal.”
Spurs boss Jose Mourinho was angry with the refereeing and expressed his discontent saying, “No post-match interviews for referees? That is a pity.
“We played really bad in the first half. The 1-1 was not a fair reflection of the first half. We were poor. Defending bad. No intensity or pressing. Some important players hiding. Really bad. In the second half, we only had space to improve, which we did and then it is a question – but an impossible one as they don’t speak – for the referee Michael Oliver to answer. Probably Paul Tierney too, as he was the VAR. According to Kevin Friend, the referee told him he had a clear decision and the VAR does not want to go against.
“The game was under control in the second half, so we recovered. We made changes to try and win and then it is a penalty and after that, a second yellow for Lamela. It means the last 20 minutes 11 v 10, the team try to get the result.
“What I see from the bench is just a feeling at first. I am 40-50 metres away. I saw it on the iPad. Referees have a difficult job sometimes. I did not complain but when I watch back on the iPad, it is what it is. If somebody has a different opinion, it has to be one of the big Arsenal fans with a season ticket. It is the only one I accept as it is the passion speaking. Other than that, I don’t accept a different view as it is obvious.
“If the players don’t do better, it is because they can’t do better. I belong to the team, so I am as guilty for the first half as the players but the best thing is, we improve in the second half. Players get tired, coaches get tired, maybe referees get tired too. My record with Michael Oliver on penalties with Chelsea, [Manchester] United, and Tottenham is unlucky.”
The Gunners stay 10th in the Premier League, 4 points behind their north London rivals Tottenham.