Tottenham Hotspur 0 – 2 Arsenal – Match Report (036)

Arsenal made the trip to the Tottenham Stadium to face their arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur’s in a match which is predicted to be a classic. Arsenal is chasing the League title whilst Tottenham will need to make ground on the top 4 race. Both needed a victory, with Tottenham’s 4-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace last week they came in with strong beliefs for today’s encounter. On the other hand, a disappointing draw at home against Newcastle left Mikel Arteta and his players displeased. The Gunners had the chance to increase their lead at the top of the Premier League with Manchester City dropping points against Manchester United yesterday, the Gunners had the chance to take a huge advantage in the title race, which they executed perfectly, and Spurs is the perfect opposition to do it against. As predicted, Mikel Arteta started with the same lineup from the Newcastle game. 

Always dangerous in the derby Arsenal need to pay attention to the old enemy Harry Kane as he edges close to become Tottenham’s all-time leading goal scorer.

Arsenal kicked off from left to right. In the early stages of the match Spurs dominated the ball as they gained confidence from the home crowd, but the Gunners were pressing really high, and it seemed that that could be a weakness. Oleksandr Zinchenko won a free kick in the Arsenal half as Spurs attempted to copy Arsenal’s tactic by pressing really high up the pitch to stop the build up of play by Arsenal.

Great attack by Spurs as Kane dropped deep to feed Ryan Sessegnon but a poor cross by the left winger. Tottenham tried to play from the back, but Hugo Lloris didn’t see Eddie Nketiah closing him down and the Frenchman nearly gifted Arsenal the lead, but a volley by Eddie Nketiah was really well save the Frenchman and he apologised to his teammates. Arsenal were really starting to put Tottenham in trouble and looked to open the scoring, but a Ben Whites cross was misplaced for a Tottenham goal kick. It seemed Arsenal were targeting the left-hand side as Ryan Sessegnon was not playing great defensively, Bukayo Saka and Ben White were causing him a lot of trouble down that flank.

A foul on Eddie Nketiah in the 11th minute of the game, saw Martin Odegaard take the free kick, but Thomas Partey’s header went way over the bar. Tottenham players have surrounded the referee after a blatant handball by Thomas Partey stopped a possible Tottenham counter but no booking for the Arsenal defensive midfielder. A very clever spin by Thomas Partey which opens tons of space in the midfield and then he plays a clever lobbed ball to find Saka. Arsenal took the lead after a massive howler by French captain Hugo Lloris who parried the ball into his own net. It did not come as a surprise as Arsenal started in a better manner and totally deserved the lead.

Huge chance for Spurs as a ball by Eric Dier found Ryan Sessegnon; a great reverse ball in for Son but Ramsdale came on top with a great save. Arsenal were consistently targeting the left side of the Spurs defence.  Good build up play from Arsenal once again and Martin Ødegaard took a shot from 20 yards out, but Lloris came out on top this time.

Am amazing volley from Thomas Partey after the failed clearance of Ryan Sessegnon but it was the woodwork that saved Tottenham this time around; this could have been the goal of the season contender. Every time Arsenal had the ball they attacked with an intent of doubling their lead as the Tottenham defence could not handle Arsenal’s momentum. Tottenham players were clearly getting riled up as Cristian Romero fouled Gabriel Martinelli and the defender took a booking for the dangerous challenge. In the 36th minute an amazing attack by Arsenal ended in a goal as Bukayo Saka plays Martin Ødegaard in a central position and Hugo Lloris could not stop the low shot by the Norwegian. Arsenal deservedly doubling their lead as the Tottenham players hang their heads in shame.

Harry Kane with a late chance in the first half as he tried to head the ball home following a cross from Højbjerg, but was unsuccessful. Arsenal headed into the break with a 2-0 lead and Tottenham did close to nothing to trouble the Arsenal goalkeeper.

Tottenham were early on the pitch for the second half as Antonio Conte needed his men to put up more of a fight in this 2nd half of the game, which resulted in more intent and urgency from Spurs in the 2nd half. Kulusevski cut in on his stronger left foot after a pass from Harry Kane but his shot went over the bar. Kulusevski was once again in the mix as he won the ball in the Arsenal half which was then passed to Harry Kane, but Aaron Ramsdale saved it for a Spurs corner. The chances were coming thick and fast for Spurs, as this time Ryan Sessegnon receives a through ball by Harry Kane but again the wall protecting the Arsenal goal prevented to all from finding the back of the net. As they have done in the past, Tottenham played much better in the second half than in the first, maybe the halftime team talk by Antonio Conte works every time. Kulusevski whipped a cross to the back post but to no avail as there were no Spurs players there to tap the ball into the back of the net. It seemed that Kulusevski was the main creator for Spurs in the 2nd half, but the Tottenham players were not as clinical as Arsenal were in the first half.

The tension started to rise once again an already booked Cristian Romero caught Granit Xhaka this time but the Spurs defender did not get booked. Arsenal played on and smart control by Nketiah but a very poor shot which didn’t trouble Hugo Lloris.

Arsenal needed to keep the ball for a few minutes to slow the pace of the game down as the Tottenham players were onto the Arsenal players like hyenas as expected. Kulusevski was causing Arsenal all sorts of problems since the 2nd half began. In the 60th minute the game was more even than it was in the first half, it looked like Tottenham had woken up from the terrible first half, something typical with Spurs this season. With Tottenahm pushing men forward and with nothing to lose the space opens for Arsenal as Xhaka plays in Nketiah but a poor touch and Arsenal could not score the 3rd to end the contest. 

Tottenham looked to bring on attacking reinforcements as Richarlison was introduced into the game to replaced Doherty. The tackles were flying in from Tottenham, they were running out of time to score, with 20 minutes until the full time whistle and Arsenal are pleased to just waste more time and slow the tempo of the game in their favours. 

Another dangerous free kick was awarded to Arsenal after a foul by the already booked Cristian Romero but Xhaka shot over the bar.

Substitution for the Gunners as the booked Martinelli was taken off to be rested against Manchester United for next weekend. Then a series of small chances by Tottenham as Arsenal failed to clear the ball numerous times, the ball found Richarlison but his low shot was well saved by Aaron Ramsdale. The Gunners resisted a tough second period of the game as they kept a clean sheet against their arch rivals away from home. 

 Absolutely great performance by the Gunners as they move 8 points clear at the top of the Premier League. Next for the Gunners a visit from the in-form Manchester United. After the final whistle blew a Tottenham fan came onto the pitch and kicked the Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

Written by; Andrei Petrescu (@ArsenalLover__)

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