Arsenal crush Spurs with a magnificent performance.

 

 

 

Arsenal came into this North London derby as the underdogs, even after notching up a run of 18 matches unbeaten.

Few pundits gave them a chance against a Spurs side that had soundly beaten a resurgent Chelsea.

 

 

Some of them even suggested that a trouncing may be on the cards but football hardly ever obliges the pundits with the results they expect or that validate their predictions. 

 

 

For the first time, for as long as I can remember, Arsenal embraced a North London derby and bought intensity, passion and pride to the proceedings.

The temperature inside the Emirates had reached boiling point, with both sets of fans eager to claim the bragging rights and it was the notoriously slow starters Arsenal, that set the pace.

You sensed whilst watching, that this duel was going to bubble over at some point as each ball was contested with the vigour of the dying moments of a cup tie. 

 

 

It was a match where each side battled in vain for superiority as the advantage went one way, then the other, especially in an enthralling first half.

 

 

However, the deadlock was surprisingly broken after 10 minutes, when Jan Vertonghen’s outstretched arm scooped the ball off Shkodran Mustafi’s head and Mike Dean, the penalty king, pointed to the spot.

Aubameyang, who is becoming more prolific than Thierry Henry at the same stage in his career, brushed the ball sweetly into the net.

 

 

 

Spurs were on the receiving end for a spell, with efforts from Iwobi and Bellerin blocked by various parts of human anatomy as the visitors employed kitchen sink tactics in defence.

Aubameyang nearly plundered another but it dropped between his legs as he was trying to connect and the chance disappeared.

 

 

Then around the 30 minute mark, Son went to ground when challenged by Sokratis.

Eriksen’s innocuous free kick swept into the Arsenal penalty area and met the glancing head of Eric Dier.

It was a terrible defensive  error, which managed to creep past Bern Leno, who could only shovel it upwards and in the net.

Should he have done better ? Absolutely but it’s the end result that counts and Arsenal were ready for anything.

 

 

 

 

Then, for whatever reason, Dier decided to ignore his professional status and enter the land of footballing idiot.

Instead of celebrating with his own fans, he headed straight to the Arsenal contingent to presumably rub salt in the wound.

 

 

 

 

Arsenal’s substitutes,rightly objected to the unnecessary intrusion and there followed a Mellay involving almost every player on and off the pitch.

 

 

 

 

 

At last, Arsenal are looking like a team that had found some emotion and passion. Previous seasons had seen them become passive onlookers and whilst I’m not condoning scenes of this nature, it certainly showed desire.

 

 

Lichtsteiner and Guendouzi seemed particularly offended by the attention given to the home supporters and while the Swiss acted as peacemaker, the Frenchman was rather less inclined to offer the olive branch.

Dier was instrumental in all the hubbub and had the temerity to tell Aaron Ramsey to sit back down referring to his position as sub on the bench.

However, it was a remark that he would regret in the second half but we’ll get to that later.

 

Boiling point. In a moment of madness from Eric Dier. Ramsey and Alli clash over the touchline celebration.

 

 

Around 4 minutes after the scrum down , Son, thrust into the box to be confronted by the sliding figure Rob Holding, allowing the Spurs man to go to ground for the second penalty of the day.

There was little notable contact, the merest touch of laces but Son looked towards Mike Dean like a child looking for reassurance after coming off a swing and the father figure in black, pointed towards the spot. 

 

 

Harry Kane popped the ball home, sending Leno in the wrong direction and suddenly we had a game on our hands.

It could have been all square at half time when a looping header from Mustafi had Loris scrambling to clear his line but the bar prevented any embarrassment. 

 

 

I obviously didn’t notice the reaction of Unai Emery but on MOTD, a close up of the Spaniard showed that a tweak to the side was paramount in his thoughts.

 

You could almost see Emery making alterations in his mind as the second Spurs goal went in.

 

 

As a result, the Second half saw a double change with Mkhitaryan and Iwobi withdrawn in favour of Lacazette and Ramsey and immediately the shape changed.

Both the natural strikers went to the flanks, with Ramsey marauding through the middle on his trademark runs.

 

 

Thanks to Dier’s advice, the Welshman had benefitted from the rest and was now in the mood to set about an uncertain defence. 

He was involved in all the forward advances and sent jitters through the legs of his opponents each time he surged into the final third.

His lay-off to Aubameyang, gave the Congolese striker the time to dispatch a curler into the net , leaving Loris rooted to the spot. 

 

 

 

The Spurs keeper didn’t even raise a hand because it was beyond him in every sense.

Lacazette was his usual bustling self. In the 74th minute. Ramsey pick pocketed Juan Foyth, speared it forward to the predatory Frenchman, who in turn smashed it into the net with the slightest of deflections off…..

Eric Dier, which was delightful.

How the football gods must have chuckled.

 

 

Dier bombed in the second 45, he seemed slow and indecisive and completed an entirely forgettable half by turning his back on Lacazette, with the ball connecting with his foot or ankle into his own net.

To complete the games transformation Lucas Torreira slammed home the 4th in the 77th minute, after being put through by Aubameyang and it was no less than the tenacious midfielder deserved.

 

Arsenal have a new hero, Torreira has a glorious career ahead of him at the Emirates.

 

Arsenal’s bargain of the season at £22 million, had covered the entire pitch,breaking things down and making things happen. 

For those that say that foreign players don’t understand the importance of a North London  Derby, there was evidence in the faces of every Arsenal player on the pitch and on, what it meant to beat their local rivals.

 

 

Torreira looked like the happiest man in the stadium, ripping off his jersey to celebrate his first goal for his club and their adoring fans.

 

 

 

It was all reminiscent of Arsenal in the 90’s, determined and stylish in a match that was completely absorbing to watch.

 

 

The North London Derby has suddenly become the spectacle it once was and even the impartial observer was afforded a treat. 

Arsenal have had their problems in recent years but it feels as if supporters, players and management are finally on the same page.

 

 

The exotic football is still there but it’s now fused with a gritty determination and resilience.

The players are working for each other and each win underlines the progress of their collective and individual journey.

Now, if Arsenal can put United to the sword on Wednesday, it will have been an excellent couple of weeks. The only low spot was provided by the imbecile who threw a banana at Aubameyang. Words fail me but a life ban and hefty fine would be reward for such a level of ignorance. 

 

 

 

 

 

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