Kings of north London! Arsenal triumph over Tottenham in classic derby
Gunners leapfrog Spurs after six goal thriller
02 December, 2018 — By Dan Carrier and Tom Foot
FA Premier League
ARSENAL 4 (Aubameyang pen 10, 56, Lacazette 74, Torreira 77)
SPURS 2 (Dier 30, Kane pen 34)
CHRISTMAS came early for Arsenal fans with Spurs getting battered in Unai Emery’s first north London derby.
There was a rip-roaring atmosphere from the off at the Emirates this afternoon (Sunday) and the Gunners deservedly took the lead through a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang penalty.
Tottenham, however, fought back to make it 2-1 at the break but Aubameyang equalised with an exquisite first time strike from the edge of the box in the second half.
In a high-tension affair, there was a ruckus between the players and Jan Vertonghen was sent off in what was a classic derby that had just about everything.
Shrewd Emery turned the game by boldly making two substitutions at half time and late goals from Alexandre Lacazette and fans’ favourite Lucas Torriera sealed the rousing comeback in a win that takes Arsenal above Spurs in the Premier League table.
After the match, Emery said: “I am happy because we give the fans the victory they wanted and Tottenham they lost today. It is good for our confidence.”
Spurs had turned the tables on Arsenal after a disastrous start for the visitors with Vertonghen hand-balling Maradona style in the box. Aubameyang’s penalty was central and weak but Hugo Lloris dived out of the way and the ball trickled into the goal.
When Eric Dier flicked in a free kick to make it 1-1 on 30 minutes the players clashed on the side lines. Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino charged up into the melee but after the match he said “my intention was always to put calm”.
He added: “It was very competitive. We felt the effort from the Champions League and Chelsea I think.”
Moments after Dier’s goal Harry Kane scored from the spot himself after the lively Heung Min Son tripped over himself in the box. Rob Holding had dived in recklessly and although replays made the penalty look soft, in real time it looked nailed on.
At half time Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mhkitaryan were replaced with Lacazette and Aaron Ramsey in a switch which turned the match in Arsenal’s favour.
Aubameyang’s second goal was a thing of beauty. He struck a pass across the edge of the box from Ramsey first time into the far corner. Lloris just stood and watched it thunder past him. The strike was elegant, in the style of Thierry Henry.
Lacazette played on the outside of the front three with Aubameyang chasing a hat-trick sticking down the middle. He got a goal of his own when a shot took a deflection off the hapless Dier and found the bottom corner. Torreira, whose bustling presence has helped Arsenal immeasurably, calmly placed in a fourth, putting the icing on the Christmas cake.
For a moment it was all a bit too much for the packed stadium as the Uruguayan whipped off his shirt and ran into the fans. Meanwhile, with Ramsey claiming two assists in second half, there were questions after the match about was whether the club should be doing more to keep him.
Vertonghen was sent off after catching Lacazette in a clumsy tackle.
Mesut Ozil was not on the team sheet and Emery dodged questions after the match about why that was.
Leno, Mustafi (Guendouzi 71), Sokratis, Holding, Bellerin, Torreira, Xhaka, Kolasanic, Mhkitaryan (Ramsey 45), Aubameyang, Iwobi (Lacazette).
Subs not used: Cech, Elneny, Lichtensteiner, Maitland-Niles.
Lloris, Aurier, Foyth, Vertonghen (sent off 85), Davies (Rose 82), Dier, Sissoko, Eriksen, Alli (Winks 79), Kane, Son (Lucas Moura 79).
Subs not used: Alderweirld, Walker-Peters, Llorente, Gazzaniga.
ATTENDANCE – 59,973.