Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette celebrates his winning penalty
Arsenal fought back after an outrageous Erik Lamela goal to claim a fully deserved 2-1 win over Spurs in the north London derby on Sunday.
Martin Odegaard’s deflected equaliser just before half-time and then Alexandre Lacazette’s 64th-minute penalty secured Arsenal’s first win in six attempts against their rivals. (Their captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would probably have taken the penalty but he was dropped for disciplinary reasons.)
The penalty, awarded when Davinson Sanchez collided with Lacazette, was dubious – Lacazette had lost control of the ball and kicked Sanchez’s leg – but there’s no doubt Arsenal were by far the better team for most of the game.
Tottenham’s afternoon was summed up by the fortunes of Lamela, who came on for the injured Son Heung-min in the 19th minute, scored with an insane nutmeg rabona in the 33rd (Coco will do anything not to use his right foot), and then was sent off in the 76th after being shown a second yellow card, for striking Kieran Tierney with his forearm.
3 – Mikel Arteta is the third consecutive Arsenal boss to win his first home league meeting with Spurs, following Arsène Wenger and Unai Emery. Tradition. pic.twitter.com/FW3eEo7Zt5
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 14, 2021
Spurs are now without a league win at Arsenal since 2010, and a finish in the top four looks most unlikely. Arsenal remain in 10th place with 41 points, but that’s only four behind Spurs.
“We had a really strong performance right from the beginning, we created many chances and went a goal down with their first shot,” Mikel Arteta said.
“But I love the reaction of the team, we stayed composed and in the end we won the game. Scoring before half-time was really important as it put us in a good position for the second half.
“We scored the second goal, we got a bit nervy in the final 10 minutes and that is one of the things we need to improve as a team.”
Man(ager) of the match: Mikel Arteta – you have to give a lot of credit to Arteta for dropping his best player over discipline for such a big game. Would Mourinho have done the same with Harry Kane in similar circumstances? I think you know the answer to that. Arteta also outcoached Mourinho, the latter once again reverting to a pragmatic, fearful gameplan when facing a bigger opponent – where was the freedom we saw in Tottenham’s recent wins?