Tottenham Hotspur forced themselves back into European contention with a hard-fought 2-1 victory against North London rivals Arsenal on Sunday evening.
A breathtaking strike from Alexandre Lacazette saw the scoring opened in brilliant fashion before Heung-Min Son equalised as he profited from a Sead Kolasinac mistake in a thrilling first-half. There were not as many chances in the second period but the hosts made the most 0f the few they did create, with Toby Alderweireld heading home from a corner in the 81st minute.
Lacazette thunderbolt fires up North London
Whilst there were some doubters as to whether the game would have the customary thunder of a North London derby without fans, that was not indicated by the players as the hosts started promisingly. Lucas Moura tested Emiliano Martinez from range before he teed up Harry Kane with an excellent lofted pass but the Arsenal stopper managed to reach the striker’s chipped effort.
Having not yet netted at Spurs’ new home, Arsenal’s first strike did duly arrive and it was a stunner. Advanced up the pitch, Granit Xhaka did excellently to win the ball instead of Serge Aurier. He then passed to Lacazette, who after taking a couple of seconds to set his sights, unleashed a fizzing strike into the top corner.
Son notches swift reply
It did not take too long for Jose Mourinho’s men to reply though. The goal itself was a gift as Kolasinac’s poor pass was picked off by Son. The South Korean then raced towards goal and lifted the ball over the advancing Martinez to score.
Ben Davies then went so close to claiming the lead for the hosts as he almost replicated Lacazette’s strike. Winding up from at least 30 yards away, the Welshman’s booming shot was tipped onto the crossbar by Martinez.
Arsenal went the closest to going into the break ahead as Nicolas Pepe twice went close, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also putting a free-kick just off target. The Gunners were then the ones to rattle the frame of goal after the restart, Aubameyang this time sending a powerful effort onto the crossbar.
Spurs come on strong
Despite the Gunners dominating possession throughout the majority of the match, it was actually Spurs who had the momentum late in the game. Kane almost teed up Son for a second by ghosting past Shkodran Mustafi and pulling the ball back but Martinez just managed to tip the ball away from the forward.
A volleyed effort from Aubameyang, that Lloris had to tip wide, was a stark reminder from Arsenal that they still had their sights set on a win however.
Mourinho’s men did eventually get their goal though and it was a well-crafted routine that saw the Lilywhites claim the win. An excellent delivery from Son fell straight on the head of Alderweireld. With a strain of his neck, the Belgian nodded the ball into the far corner of the net for his second league goal of the campaign.
Mikel Arteta will be supremely frustrated that his side managed to throw away victory against their rivals, especially after going ahead. It will hurt the Gunners even more so considering that Spurs now go above them in the table. The game itself was a fantastic watch, with both teams keen to earn victory. In the end though, the hosts made the most of their chances and claim a vital win.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (7); Davies (7), Sanchez (6), Alderweireld (7), Aurier (6); Lo Celso (6) (Skipp (N/A), 84′), Sissoko (7), Winks (6), Moura (7) (Bergwijn (N/A), 82′); Kane (6), Son (7) (Lamela (N/A), 90+4′).
Arsenal: Martinez (7); Mustafi (5), Luiz (6), Kolasinac (5) (Nelson (N/A), 84′); Tierney (6) (Willock (N/A), 84′), Xhaka (6), Ceballos (5), Bellerin (7) (Cedric (N/A), 84′); Pepe (6) (Saka (5), 70′), Lacazette (7), Aubameyang (6).
Goals: Lacazette (16′), Son (19′), Alderweireld (81′)
Referee: Michael Oliver
Yellow Cards: Lo Celso (16′), Aurier (34′), Lacazette (45′), Davies (45+2′), Pepe (61′), Winks (76′), Saka (90′)
Red Cards: N/A
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