Fates seemed against Arsenal with Aubameyang being disciplined for lateness, the team travelling back from Athens on Friday and the Spurs recent record in the league and North London derbies – five unbeaten.
Games like these – a game in four distinct parts, needs a crowd.
Part one – Arsenal dominate
Tierney and Lacazette combined for a cross shot on 4 minutes. Spurs sat back and the home team had over 80% possession in the first ten: and 70% in the next ten. A cunning ploy by Mourinho? A deep block to lull Arsenal into a sense of boredom?
Partey sent a straight ball for Saka – cleared by Alderwiereld.
Arsenal were getting into good positions down the sides but couldn’t work clear opportunities. Xhaka took the law into his own hands and fired over.
Reguilón made a mistake leading to Smith Rowe fire a curling shot against the junction of post and bar.
Son Heung-Min chased a long ball in the inside left channel and damaged his hamstring. He was replaced by Lamela.
Smith Rowe found space on the right and found Partey, whose shot went wide. And then the Croydon man eased past Højbjerg and cut back for Lacazette in the six-yard area, but he sent his chance wide.
On 30, Spurs came into it more. Moura started some jinking.
Ribena or Rabona?
Bale sent it to Regulon who sent it to Moura who side-footed to Lamela who immediately performed a rabona through Partey’s legs into the net. Sounded like Ribena when Martin Keown described it – there again – he is no stranger to making up words accidentally.
The hope was derby history would repeat itself with Spurs having lost over forty points against Arsenal after scoring first.
Cedric tried to make amends but his cross but went straight to Lloris.
Smith Rowe set up a chance – Lacazette left it and Cedric beat Moura in a chase to the ball but it hit the post.
Just before half-time, Tierney beat Doherty and found Odergaard on the penalty spot whose shot deflected off Alderweireld and into the net.
Pepe came on for Saka, who was buffeted a lot in the first.
Spurs upped the ante, no doubt fired by Mourinho.
Odergaard found Lacazette who turned and shot – saved by Lloris.
An anonymous Bale came off for Sissoko on 57 minutes.
After a minute of Arsenal possession Partey found space – but shot wide.
Great work and quick thinking by Pepe when he won it from a Spurs throw-in sent an accurate ball to Lacazette in the Spurs area. He partially missed it with an air shot but was clattered by Sanchez – for a penalty and a yellow card.
Nothing more than Arsenal deserved. On 66 minutes, it read 13-1 attempts with 3-1 on target.
But an extremely accurate Kane cross nearly saw an Ali goal from a header.
A litany of unnecessary flicks and kicks, including scything Partey and fending off Tierney with force saw Lamela see red – deservedly.
Willian came on for Smith Rowe.
Arsenal made three mistakes in quick succession – giving the ball away unnecessarily.
Partey gave a dangerous foul outside the area. Kane hit the post and Sanchez hit it towards a gaping net. Somehow Gabriel stretched and headed clear.
Arsenal were unsure whether to stick or twist. Spurs went for it with nothing to lose. The brittleness and lack of maturity was really on show, as Arsenal emotions ran high,
Lacazette said: “We wanted to win for us and the fans – we missed them. It was stressful on the bench. When we are winning, we have some problems. We were lucky to get a penalty.”
Arteta said: “Full credit the way we’ve done it – to play with intensity and quality and spirit. Going 1-0 down is a worst-case scenario. But we kept composure.
“In the last ten, we should have managed the tension. We have to improve. We were too reliant on luck. We need to improve.”
“We prepared the game trying to exploit things. There were Some really good performances. Its about how you react. This team shows it does not give up. We generated a lot of good situations.
“They are so efficient.”
On the Aubameyang situation: “We have a way of living with one another and have to respect that. These things happen. We move forward.”
Mourinho said: “No past match interviews for referees? We played bad in first half. 1-1 was not a fair reflection. We had no intensity, no pressing, with some important players hiding. In the second half there was only space to improve – and we did. Then there was a situation for Michael to answer and Paul Tierney.
“We made changes to try and win it. The team in last 25 tried to get a result.
“I am as guilty as the players for that first half.”
Arsenal: 1Leno, 17Cédric Soares, 23David Luiz, 6Gabriel, 3Tierney, 18Partey, 34Xhaka (Booked at 82mins), 7Saka (Substituted for Pépé at 45’minutes), 11Ødegaard, 32Smith Rowe (Substituted for Willian at 77’minutes), 9Lacazette (Substituted for Elneny at 88’minutes)
Tottenham: 1Lloris, 2Doherty6D Sánchez (Booked at 63mins) 4Alderweireld, 3Reguilón (Booked at 40mins), 5Højbjerg, 28Ndombele (Substituted for Alli at 62’minutes), 9Bale (Substituted for Sissoko at 57’minutes), 27Lucas Moura, 7Son Heung-Min (Substituted for Lamela at 19’minutes, Booked at 76mins), 10Kane