Arsenal crush Spurs after explosive first half at the Emirates
The Gunners leapfrog Tottenham in the table after derby day win
26 September, 2021 — By Tom Foot at the Emirates
ARSENAL 3 (Rowe 12, Aubameyang 27, Saka 34)
SPURS 1 (Son 79)
AN explosive first half performance sealed victory for Arsenal in the north London derby.
Goals from Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang within half hour put the match out of reach.
There was a carnival atmosphere at the Emirates but Spurs did fight back in the second half to set up a nervy finish.
The win took the Gunners above their north London rivals in the league table – a huge swing considering Spurs were top and Arsenal rock bottom just four weeks ago.
This was surely the most fun Arsenal fans have had under manager Mikel Arteta since the FA Cup final win at the beginning of his tenure.
The back four looked solid with Ben White and Gabriel partnering up well, while right back Takehiro Tomiyasu looks like a great find.
With new Aaron Ramsdale between the sticks, the constant expectation of a defensive blunder has gone.
Granit Xhaka was instrumental in all three Arsenal goals. It was his lovely touch that set Martin Odegaard on his way down the middle for the first.
The midfield playmaker found Saka who beat his man and crossed across the box for Rowe, who side-footed in.
Aubameyang scored a brilliant second after a dreamy move again began by Xhaka.
The Arsenal striker flicked the pass out wide to Rowe who burst forward in a bustling run, before cutting it back precisely into his path.
Saka made it three on 34 minutes after steering past hapless Hugo Lloris, again after another attack started by Xhaka.
The maligned midfielder, back after his latest red card suspension, had an influential game although he limped off injured on 80 minutes.
For Arsenal fans, it was all about the first half – a joyful affair framed under a picture perfect blue sky and Sunday sunshine.
Aubameyang – who looked up for the fight – set the tone when he forced a save from Lloris on 6 minutes after sweeping a Tierney pass first time towards the near post.
The home fans were rocking.
Aubameyang and Thomas Partey had long range efforts in a brief early spell following the first goal that stunned the Spurs fans into total silence.
The energetic Odegaard was pulling the strings in a free role in midfield.
He is the antidote to the cautious sideways passing that has brought Arteta so much criticism in recent months.
Wantaway Kane, who had fallen over his own build up to Saka’s feet in the build up the first goal, had a header narrowly fizz past the post on 38 minutes.
Spurs brought on Skipp and Rodon at half time with Dele Alli and Japhet Tanganga making way.
Spurs improved on their woeful first half with Kane forcing a diving save from Aaron Ramsdale that could have easily been followed in by the oncoming Son.
The England captain scooped just wide moments later after a lovely bit of control in the box. It had looked like a certain goal but for the visitors it was just one of those days.
Son pulled one back with 12 minutes to go, striking nerves into the stadium. Xhaka, who had been injured in the build up to the goal, was replaced by Albert Lokonga.
It was a nervy end to the match that saw Lucas hit the bar after a brilliant finger tip save from Ramsdale.
Arteta punched the air at the end with relief.
After the match, he said: “We want to entertain them and play in a way that they [the fans] are going to feel proud.
“When that happens in the same time it’s exceptional. That’s why I think we all enjoyed and were really happy today with what we’ve seen.
“A lot of people that we have as well in our organisation they have a real sense of what a derby means and I think they will be proud of what they’ve seen today.
“But there are certain aspects that we have to do better in the second half. The way we gave the ball away in certain areas, the way we defended some of the runs in behind, we could have done better.”
Arsenal: Ramsdale, Tierney, White, Partey, Gabriel, Saka (Tavares 86), Odegaard, Rowe (Maitland-Niles 86), Aubameyang, Tomiyasu, Xhaka (Lokonga 80).
Substitutes not used: Leno, Lacazette, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Soares, Pepe, Martinelli.
Spurs: Lloris, Regulion, Holberg, Sanchez, Son, Kane, Dier, Alli (Rodon 45), Tanganga (Skipp 45), Moura, Ndombele (Gil 69).
Substitutes not used: Gallini, Romero, Royall, Lo Celso, Davies, Scarlett.