Resurgent Arsenal secure north London bragging rights

First half goals from Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez see Gunners past Tottenham

Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring Arsenal’s second against Tottenham. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP

Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring Arsenal’s second against Tottenham. Photograph: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP

 

Arsenal 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0

Arsenal proved they are still a force to be reckoned with by blowing away Tottenham in a pulsating north London derby.

Spurs had been hailed as the dominant force in this fiercest of rivalries but goals from Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez secured the Gunners a dominant 2-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium.

The result means Arsenal move just one point behind Tottenham.

There was a hint of fortune about each of Arsenal’s first-half goals. Mustafi’s header came after referee Mike Dean had awarded a dubious free-kick for a foul on Sanchez while Alexandre Lacazette was just offside in the build-up to their second.

But few could argue with the result as Arsene Wenger’s side beat Tottenham at their own game, showing themselves faster, stronger and hungrier than their opponents in every department.

If Arsenal could produce this sort of ruthless performance more consistently, they would surely be title contenders.

Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi score the opening goal of the game. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA
Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi score the opening goal of the game. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

Harry Kane wore a bandage around his right knee but he and Dele Alli, who both pulled out of England duty last week, were deemed fit enough to start although Harry Winks dropped to the bench. Hugo Lloris shook off a groin strain and Danny Rose was a curious omission from the squad.

For Arsenal, Lacazette was handed a starting spot up front but Jack Wilshere and Alex Iwobi were only among the substitutes.

Arsenal were all over Spurs from the outset, with Eric Dier’s pass out under pressure falling straight to Sanchez but Lacazette fired over.

It was a warning of what was to come and while a mix-up between Mustafi and Laurent Koscielny allowed Kane a rare sight of goal, Arsenal were soon pulverising their opponents with wave after wave of attack.

Ben Davies seemed a particular target, with several openings coming down Tottenham’s left, as Hector Bellerin and Mesut Ozil both fired dangerous balls across the box.

It was no more comfortable for Davinson Sanchez on the opposite flank as he was harried into playing a limp back-pass to Lloris, who just scrambled away ahead of the chasing Lacazette.

Christian Eriksen, virtually anonymous until this point, clipped the post with a dragged shot but it was no surprise when Mustafi headed Arsenal in front in the 36th minute.

Arsenal were fortunate to win the free-kick for the slightest of shirt-pulls from Davinson Sanchez on Alexis Sanchez before Mustafi climbed above the rooted Jan Vertonghen to head in at the far post.

Tottenham were rattled but five minutes later they were two down. Lacazette nipped in between Vertonghen and Davies, squared to Sanchez, who bundled in at the near post.

Lacazette’s arm looked on replay to have just been offside and Spurs assistant Jesus Perez waited to give Dean an earful in the tunnel at half-time.

The visitors could hardly argue with the scoreline, however, although they came out with renewed impetus after the break. Kane wanted a penalty for Sead Kolasinac cutting across him and seconds later drew a last-ditch block from Mustafi.

But while Arsenal dropped deeper, content to allow their opponents more possession, Tottenham struggled to find a breakthrough.

Wenger’s decision to take off Lacazette was greeted by boos. However Pochettino hauling off both Kane and Alli prompted celebrations from the home support.

Dier’s header drew an acrobatic save from Petr Cech and substitute Son Heung-min could have created a nervy finish if he had done better with two half-volleys late on.

As it was, Arsenal played out a surprisingly comfortable victory.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.