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Arsenal 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Brian Jeeves reporting from the Emirates Stadium
Turning the clock back to December 19, 2018, and a surprisingly comfortable Carabao Cup quarter-final victory for the Lilywhites at the Emirates Stadium…
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR exacted swift revenge for their recent Premier League defeat by comfortably seeing off North London rivals, Arsenal, at the Emirates Stadium to book a place in the last four of the Carabao Cup where they’ll face old adversaries, Chelsea.
With the games coming thick and fast, Spurs chief, Mauricio Pochettino, slightly shuffled the pack – making three changes to the side which had secured a last-gasp Premier League victory over Burnley at the weekend. Nevertheless, the Argentine insisted his side approached the game in a similar manner: “You always need to approach a derby in the same way, and that’s to think you can win because another result is bad for you. We are confident that we can fight and compete at our best,” he explained.
“The circumstances are not the best for us because we’re competing in the last few months in competitive, must-win games. That is why we are here trying to give our best, competing at a high level and trying to provide the club with the best results. It’s going to be tough but we are going there to try to win.”
Unai Emery had also tinkered with his starting eleven. However, it was
the Gunners who started the brighter. An unmarked Henrikh Mkhitaryan nodded Granit Xhaka’s flag-kick fractionally off target, while Aaron Ramsey’s left-footed strike whistled the wrong side of an upright as Arsenal – as they had in the corresponding league fixture three weeks earlier – started the brighter.
Indeed, Arsenal were already asking some serious questions on the Spurs backline. Paulo Gazzaniga produced a superb save to thwart Mkhitaryan, this after the Armenian midfielder had exchanged passes with Ramsey.
Petr Cech comfortably smothered from Ben Davies as Spurs finally offered a threat of their own. But having failed to heed the warning, the Gunners were swiftly punished as Heung-Min Son raced clear before supplying a cool finish, this after Dele Alli had seized upon some hesitant defending to fashion an opening.
Having seen their side create a lion’s share of the chances, the home crowd were understandably agitated. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Moussa Sissoko passed up decent opportunities as the sides, unsurprisingly, continued to spar at a frenetic pace. Meanwhile, a combination of Gazzaniga and the post frustrated Ramsey after Alex Iwobi had picked the Welshman out from the left.
Cech somewhat awkwardly turned aside Christian Eriksen’s speculative dead-ball attempt as Spurs looked to double their advantage shortly after the break. But with Arsenal now chasing the game Alli profited from the vision of substitute, Harry Kane, beating Cech with a delightful lob to put daylight between the bitter rivals.
Aubameyang’s hooked centre eluded Gazzaniga but bounced off the top of the woodwork as Arsenal’s fruitless toil became more desperate and less effective.
Cech pushed over Eriksen’s fizzing strike as Spurs – now playing with confidence and swagger – looked to put the icing on the cake. But this had been a thoroughly professional and ruthless display from Pochettino’s men, much to the delight of the sizeable away following who took great delight in putting one over their oldest enemy.
Tottenham Hotspur now turns their attention back to the Premier League, facing Everton at Goodison Park on Sunday, December 22 (4pm).
Arsenal: Petr Cech (Capt), Sokratis, Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Laurent Koscielny 46’), Aaron Ramsey, Lucas Torreira, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Alex Iwobi (Alexandre Lacazette 59’), Nacho Monreal, Matteo Guendouzi (Eddie Nketiah 65’), Granit Xhaka Subs not used: Mohamed Elneny, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Emi Martinez (GK), Joe Willock
Booked: Matteo Guendouzi (foul), Granit Xhaka (foul)
Tottenham Hotspur: Paulo Gazzaniga, Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose (Capt), Toby Alderweireld, Heung-Min Son (Erik Lamela 79’), Harry Winks, Moussa Sissoko, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen, Lucas Moura (Harry Kane 59’), Ben Davies Subs not used: Michel Vorm (GK), Kyle Walker-Peters, Fernando Llorente, Juan Foyth, Oliver Skipp
Booked: Dele Alli (time-wasting)
Goals: Heung-Min Son 20’, Dele Alli 60’
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Assistants: Marc Perry and Andrew Halliday
Fourth Official: Craig Pawson
Reaction to follow…