Arsenal 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Brian Jeeves reporting from the Emirates Stadium
Turning the clock back to December 2, 2018, and a blistering comeback from the Gunners to sink Spurs at the Emirates…
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR were hit by an impressive second-half Arsenal revival as their recent unbeaten Premier League sequence drew to an emphatic conclusion on a dramatic afternoon at the Emirates Stadium.
With both sides going into the contest in scintillating form, the size of the occasion, and indeed, the task was easily recognisable to Spurs chief, Mauricio Pochettino: “I think it will be tough the game, first of all. It will be an exciting game with two very good teams,” the Argentine explained.
“We have to hope that in the end we can have a very good performance and can win the game. That’s our objective.”
As ever, the game started at a frenetic pace. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang nodded over after Henrikh Mkhitaryan had picked him out. And with their next meaningful foray forward, Jan Vertonghen was adjudged to have handled Shkodran Mustafi’s troublesome cross – Aubameyang making no mistake, sending Hugo Lloris the wrong way from the resulting spot-kick.
Spurs were clearly wobbling as the Gunners launched wave after wave of attacks. Lloris did well to block from Alex Iwobi. Meanwhile, Bernd Leno produced a smart save from Heung-Min Son as Spurs finally offered a viable threat of their own.
But the Spurs had managed to hang in the game, and shortly before the half-hour mark Eric Dier’s firm header from Christian Eriksen’s dead-ball proved too hot for Leno – Sparking wild scenes of celebration amongst the visiting contingent and anger in the stands as the England man taunted them as he raced away.
And minutes later, Spurs turned the contest on its head. Harry Kane fired home from the penalty spot after Rob Holding had felled Son. As the half drew to a close, a combination of Lloris and the bar denied Mustafi as Arsenal – who had earlier dominated – searched for a route back into the game.
Leno produced a spectacular one-handed save to thwart Kane immediately after the interval. But Arsenal – mindful that the next goal was so important – were not ready to throw in the towel just yet. Aubameyang’s sweetly stuck right-foot drive simply few past Lloris – much to the relief of the red half of North London.
Once again, Arsenal appeared to be in the ascendancy. Lucas Torreira was a whisker away from reestablishing the Gunners lead, while Aubameyang again troubled the Spurs backline as the host’s smelt blood.
Leno turned aside Son’s stinging effort as the visitors looked to profit on some slack Arsenal defending. But the Gunners now looked the more likely. Substitute Alexandre Lacazette fired low past Lloris from the edge of the box, this after Juan Foyth had been caught dawdling as the home side sprung forward.
Spurs were on the ropes, and Torreira swiftly delivered a knockout blow, racing clear before firing a low, angled strike into the corner of the net to all but seal the contest.
This was turning into a disastrous afternoon for Spurs. Vertonghen was clumsy on Lacazette and received a second yellow card from referee, Mike Dean.
Tottenham Hotspur return to Premier League action on Wednesday, December 5 when Southampton are the visitors to Wembley Stadium (8pm).
Arsenal: Bernd Leno, Hector Bellerin, Sokratis, Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Aaron Ramsey 46’), Lucas Torreira, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Rob Holding, Alex Iwobi (Alexandre Lacazette 46’), Shkodran Mustafi (Matteo Guendouzi 71‘), Sead Kolasinac, Granit Xhaka (Capt) Subs not used: Petr Cech (GK), Mohamed Elneny, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Ainsley Maitland-Niles
Booked: Shkodran Mustafi (foul), Granit Xhaka (foul)
Goals: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (penalty) 10’, 56’, Alexandre Lacazette 75, Lucas Torreira 77’
Tottenham Hotspur: Hugo Lloris (Capt), Jan Vertonghen, Heung-Min Son (Lucas Moura 79’), Harry Kane, Eric Dier, Moussa Sissoko, Dele Alli (Harry Winks 79’), Juan Foyth, Christian Eriksen, Serge Aurier, Ben Davies (Danny Rose 82’) Subs not used: Toby Alderweireld, Kyle Walker-Peters, Fernando Llorente, Paulo Gazzaniga (GK),
Booked: Jan Vertonghen (handball), Eric Dier (over-celebrating), Dele Alli (foul)
Sent-off: Jan Vertonghen (second yellow card – foul)
Goals: Eric Dier 30, Harry Kane (penalty) 34’
Referee: Mike Dean
Assistants: Dan Robathan and Darren Cann
Fourth Officials: Andre Marriner
Reaction to follow…