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Updated: Dec 6, 2018
Arsenal 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur
If the game in the Europa League earlier in the week left Arsenal fans feeling all cuddly inside then the prospect of a North London derby had a few stomachs churning. There was a gut rending tension in the air around the Emirates, Arsenal fans had seen the last few games in the Premier League, they'd seen the chaotic defending, the last ditch saves and woeful finishing from opposition strikers. Could this Arsenal side turn that form around against one of last season's top four? (cough), the big rivals? (splutter).
The team news didn't do much shift the butterflies, Unai opting for the same formation that struggled to keep Bournemouth at bay, Lacazette being fit enough for a spot on the bench and Ozil? well Mesut threw in a sick note. Back spasm apparently... #hmmmmmponder
Spurs still had Mr Potato head upfront and Foyth in the side rather than Toby Alderweid
Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Mustafi, Sokratis, Holding, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Torreira, Iwobi, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang
Arsenal started like an F1 car, buoyed on by the fans in an amazing, pulsating atmosphere. 10 minutes of pure Arsenal pressure, pressing and quick passing with Spurs floundering and making forced errors, a goal was in the air. It presented itself not long after Aubameyang had gone close with a header via the 'hand of Vertonghen'. The Spurs defender choosing to try and flick the ball with his arm from an Arsenal free kick into the box rather than try and head the thing... #oddchoice. The result was a penalty to Arsenal, duly dispatched by Aubameyang, 1-0 to the Arsenal and deservedly so!
It was the kind of start to a match Arsenal fans have been looking for, the best of the season so far with energy and purpose to the play. Kolasinac was causing problems down the left, Torreira and Xhaka were controlling midfield, the defence coping and up front Iwobi and Aubameyang were looking threatening if missing chances, Iwobi guilty on a couple of occasions of being indecisive and not clinical enough. The fact Arsenal didn't add to their lead during this purple patch felt like a terrible mistake, as if something horrible might be lurking around the corner ready to bite on the rear and so it came to pass in the 30th minute.
Going away from goal, Son was upended by Sokratis needlessly near the touchline thus giving Spurs one of those dangerous in-swinging free kicks that just needs a touch to confuse or wrong foot defences and keepers.... and this is exactly what happened. Dier getting the slightest of touches to send the ball towards Leno at the near post, the German failing to keep what looked like a routine save out of the net. What followed was described as 'a brawl' on the touchline by many as Dier celebrated with a visual "sssssh".. in front of The North Bank and Arsenal subs.
Lots of players from both sides pushing and shoving, all a bit embarrassing but it did stir the crowd and remind everyone, this is Spurs.... the enemy... who Arsenal don't like much!
3 mins later it got even worse, if 'the ruck' had got juices flowing then the sight of Son throwing himself to the floor in front of Holding just added fuel to the fire. Mike Riley (son of satan) pointed to the spot gleefully and Mr Potato head clumped the ball past Leno.
2-1 down at half time, how did that happen? As Arsenal fans digested the news that Dier was offside for the first and no contact was made on Son for the second, the sight of Ramsey and Lacazette waiting to come on focused the attention. Could this be another Emery halftime master stroke? Iwobi and Mkhitaryan getting hooked, which was probably fair as both had lost a bit of spark as the first half went on.
Arsenal looked a bit nervy at the start of the second period, Leno saving well from Mr Potato head, Xhaka getting booked (now suspended for Utd game) and Ali just diving for the fun of it, however the uncertainty only lasted ten minutes. On 56 minutes the games momentum shifted, Bellerin finding Ramsey who had made a great run, he touched it to Aubameyang who hit it first time into the bottom corner from outside the box leaving Lloris rooted to his goal line. A quite fantastic strike, which was very 'Henryesque', game on!
If this match were a boxing bout then the Aubameyang goal would be described as a bone shaker, a punch that leaves the opponent in no doubt he's in trouble. Spurs were rocked, legs gone, the crowd could sense blood.
20 minutes of sustained Arsenal pressure followed, corners, shots flying just over (Torreira), goal line clearances, the crowd were jumping and soon the whole stadium joined in as well.
In the 74th minute Ramsey took on a through ball and just about played in Lacazette. The Frenchman seemed crowded out at first, but managed to wiggle it just a little bit, turn inside, and shoot with his left foot, the ball curling away from the outstretched Lloris, nestling in the far corner of the net. 3-2!
We're Arsenal done there?
3 minutes later, the elation was taken to a new level high in the sky as Ramsey found Torriera, spinning away from Dier (Ssssssh Eric), and thrashing the ball past Lloris to make it 4-2!
"Torreira ohh, Torreira ohh
"He comes from Uruguay, he's only five foot five,
"Torreira ohh, Torreira ohh."
The place was rocking! and his Dad liked it too!
With Spurs heads and chins now on the floor, the away faithful decided to vote with their feet...
... which is a shame really, because they missed the final act!
In the 85th minute, Vertonghen receiving a second yellow for a nasty foul on Lacazette.
"Cheerios" and Ole football followed, six minutes were added on and that was that!
What a game, it had everything...
Controversy, penalties, handbags, great chants, great goals, red smoke and red mist!
Positives: Beating Spurs and Torreira in midfield!
Negatives: If Unai could just do the 2nd half bit in the 1st half, then that would be great!
Leno: Horrible mistake for the goal but good apart from that. 6/10
Bellerin: Did well apart from one horrendous misplaced pass to Son which should have been worse. 6/10
Mustafi: Hobbled off after putting a good shift in. 6/10
Sokratis: Gave away too many free kicks but marked Mr Potato Head out of the game. 7/10
Holding: The best of the back three. 8/10
Kolasinac: Got the right balance between defending and attacking for once. 7/10
Xhaka: Getting better and forming an understanding with Torriera. 7/10
Torreira: Was everywhere again, scored and his only five foot five! MOM 9/10
Iwobi: Faded in the first half, no doing it for me. 5/10
Mkhitaryan: Like Iwobi, not really coming off for him or me. 5/10
Aubameyang: Two goals and an all-round superb performance. 9/10
Ramsey: A very effective 45 mins. 8/10
Lacazette: Scored a lovely goal and added potency to the attack. 8/10
Guendouzi: Composure and great hair! 7/10
Next up ManUre away and a chance to make Mourinho moan again!