Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Tottenham 2-3 Arsenal: Gunners hold off late fightback to boost title hopes

SoccerNews in English Premier League 28 Apr 2024

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Arsenal survived a late scare to move four points clear at the Premier League summit following a 3-2 win at rivals Tottenham in Sunday’s north London derby.

The Gunners cruised into a 3-0 half-time lead thanks to an own goal from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg along with Bukayo Saka’s strike and Kai Havertz’s header.

Yet a second-half collapse looked to be on the cards when Cristian Romero punished David Raya’s error before Son Heung-min pulled another back from the spot. However, the Gunners ultimately held on.

Arsenal, at least temporarily, tightened their grip on top spot ahead of second-placed Manchester City, who play the first of their two games in hand against Nottingham Forest later on Sunday, while Tottenham remain seven points off the top four in fifth.

The Gunners broke through after 15 minutes when Hojbjerg inadvertently nodded Saka’s inswinging corner beyond Guglielmo Vicario at his near post.

Spurs responded, and after Romero headed against the post, Micky van de Ven thought he had levelled when he slotted home from close range. However, the decision to award the goal was overturned following a VAR review with the defender adjudged to be offside.

Arsenal doubled their lead in the 27th minute following a swift counter that saw Havertz pick out Saka, who cut inside before slotting past Vicario.

Havertz then got in on the act before half-time, heading home Declan Rice’s corner from inside the six-yard box.

Yet an error by Raya gifted Spurs a lifeline after the break, when Romero pounced on the goalkeeper’s poor clearance to reduce the hosts’ arrears.

Matters were made more fraught for the Gunners late on, when a VAR check confirmed a penalty should be awarded to Spurs for Rice’s foul on Ben Davies.

Son lashed a brilliant spot-kick into the left-hand corner, yet a late Spurs onslaught ultimately came to nothing, as the Gunners secured another big win.

Saka shines in the derby limelight

The destiny of the Premier League title may be in Man City’s hands, but Arsenal are still very much in the hunt after a second London derby victory this week.

Mikel Arteta’s side, who thumped Chelsea 5-0 on Tuesday, have bounced back brilliantly from their defeat to Aston Villa two weeks ago, scoring 10 goals in three games while conceding just twice.

After his corner led to the opening goal, Saka doubled the lead with his 15th league strike of this term – his most in a single season – while he became the first English player to score home and away for Arsenal against Tottenham in a single campaign since Ian Wright 30 years ago (1993-94).

The damage was effectively done when Havertz headed in the Gunners’ 16th goal from a corner this season, the most in a single campaign since West Bromwich Albion in 2016-17 (also 16), though Arteta will have been concerned by their near slip at the end.

Spurs’ struggles on home soil continue

The 195th north London derby culminated in Tottenham losing successive home league games against Arsenal for the first time since 1988.

Despite their best efforts in the second half, it was always going to be difficult to turn things around against the side that has now won all 16 matches when leading at half-time this season.

Now without a win in four meetings against their rivals, they have also tasted success just once in five home outings against the Gunners.

With their own title hopes undented by their rivals, Arsenal will hope Tottenham can instead harm City’s chances when they host them on May 14.

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