Arsenal 2 Tottenham 0: Vintage Gunners dig deep to show ambitious Spurs they still have work to do
Arsene Wenger has had the best part of two weeks to brood upon that previous defeat to Manchester City and so when it came to the point that the legitimacy of his team’s two goals in this north London derby were called into question the Arsenal manager already had his answer. This had been a vintage Arsenal performance, conjured from who knows where, one of intensity supported by good organisation – ruthless when they had to be, stubborn at other times. The only caveat being that both goals, scored in the first half by Skhodran Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez, were marginally offside and when that was pointed out to Wenger, a whole international break spent fast-forwarding and rewinding that 3-1 Etihad defeat was brought to bear. His team, he said, had been the victims of David Silva’s offside goal on Nov 5 and if no one else remembered it then Wenger was going to make damn sure that they were reminded. He ended his press conference thin-lipped and quietly furious but that is the way it can go at Arsenal, even on these days when they look every bit as impressive as they should do, given the undoubted quality of their players. Fit? Harry Kane was short of his best Credit: Getty The balance of power in north London stays very much where it has done for all but a small part of the last 21 years of Wenger’s reign, with Spurs resisted and conquered just 17 days after they beat Real Madrid, champions of Europe, at Wembley. Harry Kane and Dele Alli were substituted before the end; Christian Eriksen got no closer to another hat-trick than striking a post with a shot that Petr Cech had covered, and the unstoppable rise of Mauricio Pochettino was slowed. The young Spurs manager took a couple of steps on to the pitch after the final whistle and then seemed to think better of it, turning back down the tunnel while his players went to thank an away support that had all but emptied before the end. He too was fuming afterwards with Mike Dean’s decisions for both goals, including the free-kick for Mustafi’s header. The inquest into the nerve of this Spurs’ team begin again with, among others, their former striker Gary Lineker pointing out that in 86 games away to Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea, Spurs have won just four. Not since 2010 have they won in the league at the Emirates and instead of being the day they changed that, it was Arsenal who extended their run to 11 home league wins in a row, a record for the Emirates. Head man: Shkodran Mustafi bullets home the opener Credit: PA This was Wenger’s first victory over Pochettino in a league north London derby and the Frenchman was not prepared to countenance that he had the benefit of referee’s decisions. “Suddenly when we concede goals it is absolutely normal,” Wenger said, “even when they are a yard offside and when we maybe [are offside] I have to answer that in a press conference. “I believe we do not listen too much, as much as you think, to the national debate. That is among you. We live inside our own club and focus on what is important for us. “People have a perception of us and the game and we have to live with that. We can only give one answer and that is on the pitch.” It was a great derby, with no margin for error on either side and although Arsenal might have surprised their own fans with their quality, the old tensions were not far from the surface. The home support reacted furiously to Wenger’s decision to replace Alexandre Lacazette with Francis Coquelin 17 minutes from the end. Average touch positions (51 min) For his part Pochettino was angry that he had to field questions about the absence of Danny Rose, who was not even selected on the bench and instead trained alone at the club’s Enfield base while Spurs’ Under-23s took on their Chelsea counterparts. The full-back came on for England against Brazil on Tuesday night and Pochettino said that his eight-month injury absence meant that he was better served working on his fitness. In Rose’s place, Ben Davies had a tough game at left wing-back, an area which Arsenal attacked relentlessly in the first half and from where their second goal came. The scorer Sanchez was a key figure in the game and so too the other contract refusenik Mesut Ozil. Mustafi was exceptional. In the first half in particular, Arsenal pushed up into space and pressed as a single unit. They were on top by the midway point of the half and Spurs looked stretched. The crosses from their left side required some drastic interventions from the Spurs defence and Hugo Lloris had to be quick off his line to tackle Sanchez outside the box. The opening goal originated with a questionable free-kick awarded by referee Dean for a foul by the impressive Davinson Sanchez on his Arsenal namesake. It looked like a clean tackle although in the aftermath, Dean seemed to point out that the Spurs defender had grabbed his opponent’s shirt at the shoulder. Was Arsenal's first goal offside? Credit: Sky Sports Premier League And how about the second goal? Credit: Sky Sports Premier League “It is so difficult to explain when you lose in this way,” Pochettino said. “Some small details maybe are big details in football and change everything. Until that moment, maybe [Granit] Xhaka should be sent off [he was booked for just his second infringement]. “The foul [by Davinson Sanchez] was not a foul, the goal was offside but in the end we lost. We need to go home and then keep going.” Ozil’s free-kick was headed back past Lloris by Mustafi, marginally offside, with the goalkeeper flat-footed. By this time Arsenal were well on top. They got their second goal before half-time when Hector Bellerin released attacker Lacazette down the right and he crossed to the near post where Sanchez’s strength and determination saw him finish. Again, Lacazette looked marginally offside. In the second half Pochettino rang he changes and brought on Harry Winks for the struggling Mousa Dembele and later Heung-min Son and Fernando Llorente but his side continued to play in front of Arsenal rather than get behind them. There was a fine save by Cech from Eric Dier’s header although precious few chances were created by Spurs. If anything Arsenal, and Sanchez in particular, looked the more likely to get another on the breakaway. 2:26PM Congratulations to Arsenal Hard lines for Spurs. A couple of decisions went against them but I think the result is fair and correct. That excellent chap Mr Sam Wallace will be here presently with the match report. From me, goodbye. Poch: "first goal was offside, second goal maybe offside. That is football sometimes, there is mistakes. I think Xhaka should have second yellow card. Frustrated. Disappointed. Small details, change a lot at this level. Kane and Alli were okay to play. Situation [with Rose] is not an issue." 2:23PM Full time: Arsenal 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0 That's it. Arsenal will really, really enjoy this. They were better in every way, and they worked damn hard for their win. Well played. Arsenal up into fifth place. All done. Arsenal 2 Spurs 0. Arsenal better all over the pitch and another key defeat on their travels for Pochettino's side after their recent loss at Manchester United.— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) November 18, 2017 Ah yes. I see what you mean about the balance of power shifting in North London.— ListerProd (@ListerProd) November 18, 2017 Lots of reasons for today’s result. Injuries, semi-injuries and ref chief among them imo. But we didn’t perform well enough to get anything regardless. Just need to put it behind us quick and move on. Long season.— Tom Edwards (@tomedwards) November 18, 2017 2:22PM 90+ mins Son has an effort that dips not too far over the bar, but the jig is up for Spurs. 2:21PM 90 mins Into injury time now, long ball to Alexis and he controls it magnificently. But here is Tottenham's own Sanchez, busting a gut to get back, and he manages to get his body across Alexis. Some players would have gone down under that pressure and looked for the penalty. But he stays on his feet. It's like the Sanchez-Ozil-Lacazette trident didn't tear Everton to pieces at Goodison four weeks ago.— Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) November 18, 2017 Lloris stops the shot. 2:18PM Man of the Match "He's not always had my vote but he does today," says Gary Neville. Man of the Match Credit: SKy Sports Premier League 2:16PM 87 mins Iwobi has the ball in the area and hits a shot on target. Charged down. Arsenal dominating. They're pinning Spurs way back, the visitors cannot get out of their own area. Sanchez a constant danger. It's like the Sanchez-Ozil-Lacazette trident didn't tear Everton to pieces at Goodison four weeks ago.— Gary Naylor (@garynaylor999) November 18, 2017 2:14PM 85 mins Pitiful effort from Son, who holds his head in his hands after shooting wildly. Harry Kane fails to score in a Premier League #NorthLondonDerby for the first time in his career https://t.co/z0Gs0O49S0pic.twitter.com/5FNP6SCPKn— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) November 18, 2017 2:13PM 84 mins Ozil is subbed off to a well deserved ovation. He has worked hard and been superb. A complete performance. Alex Iwobi comes on. Ozil earning that big-bucks Bosman deal today— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) November 18, 2017 2:12PM 83 mins Spurs have overcommitted, not unreasonably, and after Winks's shot is charged down, the Arsenal can break. They are four on three, Ozil carrying the ball, he selects Bellerin out of the options. The shot from Hector B is blocked. 2:09PM 80 mins Tottenham with a last big push. A corner. Not fully cleared. A deep ball in, Dier rises splendidly and heads it back across the goal, Cech palms it away at full strength. 2:04PM 75 mins Ozil dancing down the left now, another lovely cross. Sanchez's first touch is poor, but he gets it under control and hammers a shot at the near post. Lloris does better here than he did for the goal, off the line, narrowing the space, and blocking. Spurs have won 4 of their last 86 games away to Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea. Courtesy of @BillEdgarTimeshttps://t.co/w20Xq8G3pa— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) November 18, 2017 2:03PM 74 mins Kane and Alli, neither of them at his best, are taken off for Son and Llorente. Harry Kane fails to score in a Premier League #NorthLondonDerby for the first time in his career https://t.co/z0Gs0O49S0pic.twitter.com/5FNP6SCPKn— Telegraph Football (@TeleFootball) November 18, 2017 2:01PM 72 mins Wenger withdraws Lacazette and brings on Coquelin to shore things up. Some Arsenal fans boo the decision. The absolute spanners. 2:00PM 71 mins Monreal fouls Alli and goes into the book. 1:58PM 70 mins Ozil with another darting run, slips it to Sanchez, who fluffs his shot. 1:58PM 69 mins Arsenal work some space, they are playing very well indeed, and Alexis has time and space to line up a shot from the edge of the box. A poor effort by his own high standards. 1:57PM 68 mins Ozil finally takes corner. Harry Kane heads it clear. 1:56PM 67 mins Ozil still trotting over. 1:56PM 66 mins Arsenal dominating, no major goal chances in the last few minutes. Trippier kicks Alexis. Freekick from same position as the first goal. Leads to a corner. Ozil trots over. 1:55PM Your Mike Dean news Mike Dean has absolutely Sol Campbell’d us.— Rhys James (@rhysjamesy) November 18, 2017 That is never a free kick against Davinson in a million years. And Mustafi was offside....great work Mike Dean— Paul Newman (@Paul_NewmanDM) November 18, 2017 Mike Dean penalises Davinson Sanchez for a brilliant tackle. Standard.— Hotspur Related (@HotspurRelated) November 18, 2017 Oh no wait Mike Dean is literally giving everything to Spurs already. An absolute joke.— 1886 (@1886_blog) November 18, 2017 Eriksen with a tame shot. Spurs have won 4 of their last 86 games away to Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea. Courtesy of @BillEdgarTimeshttps://t.co/w20Xq8G3pa— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) November 18, 2017 1:51PM 62 mins Ozil superb, working his little socks off. Good stuff down the right. Arsenal have a corner, Lloris flappy and unconvincing. 1:51PM I love this artist's work #ARSTOT Ball Map No3: 30' - 45' +2 A very disappointing #NorthLondonDerby Should I quit drawing now? pic.twitter.com/8MUswhkPWJ— Van Hong (@SoccerInSepia) November 18, 2017 1:50PM 61 mins Dembele has had a quiet game, Harry Winks replaces him. 1:47PM 58 mins Spurs fans are going to complain plenty about this match. Shambolic refereeing— New York Spurs (@NYSpurs) November 18, 2017 1:44PM 55 mins Spurs though are having plenty to say. Alli gets the ball and shoots, it is charged down. Now it breaks to Harry Kane who lets rip. Mustafi, I think it was, throws himself in the way of the shot. Attempt Saved: Arsenal 2 - 0 Spurs (Harry Kane, 56 min) Kane down in the penalty area, vociferous appeals for a penalty but Dean is having none of it. 1:44PM 54 mins Sissokho, a Spurs bright spot, comes down the right and tries to get the ball in. It breaks though to Arsenal who go up the other end. LOVELY through ball from Alexis but just a bit too much on it. Lloris is out to clear. Ozil playing well. 1:41PM 52 mins Ball slid through, Lacazette busting a gut to get there but it just evades him. He reckons he was impeded unfairly in the penalty area. Bellerin with a handy floater into the box, Arsenal's big men are up and perhaps ought to have made more of the moment. Good game this, end to end stuff and both sides attacking with gusto. 1:37PM 49 mins Decent little spell here from Spurs, they are pressing and threatening. Harry Kane slides in on Xhaka from behind, and is booked. 1:36PM 47 mins I fancy Xhaka for the second yellow, he's got zero match intelligence that boy. Dean has a card out now, but it is for Mustafi, who (it looked to me) won the ball off Kane, but in a manner that offended the delicate sensibilities of the Heswall whistler. 1:34PM 46 mins It is Arsenal who are on the front foot at the start of the half. Spurs pinned back. Half-time tactical change: Pochettino has ditched his club-regulation Nike touchline jacket for the famous blue overcoat— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) November 18, 2017 1:33PM The players are coming out for the second half Poch is having a word with this chap, presumably not about EA Sports games. Credit: Sky Sports Premier League 1:19PM Half time: Arsenal 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0 Arsenal richly deserve that lead and have been clearly superior. Spurs will moan about the award of the freekick that led to goal one, and will argue that both goals were very, very close to being offside. But ultimately, Arsenal's big players (Sanchez, Ozil) have turned up, and Tottenham's (Eriksen, Alli, a not fully fit Kane) have been short of their best. Big gameitis again for Spurs thus far. For all their progress under Pochettino the lack of victories over the big teams is alarming.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) November 18, 2017 1:17PM 44 mins Not really happening for Spurs. Harry with an effort. Arsenal 2 - 0 Spurs (Alexis Sánchez, 41 min) Spurs pushing hard as the half comes to a close. You cannot fault the application or heart. 1:12PM GOAL! Alexis Sanchez! It is two. Super stuff from Arsenal, Lacazette strong and direct down the inside-right, he crosses the ball and there is Sanchez to control and hammer it home at the near post. Arsenal 2 - 0 Spurs (Alexis Sánchez, 41 min) I wonder if the goalkeeper, Lloris, will feel he ought to have done more? He just sort of stood there and flopped over. "He's not the bravest," says Gurreh Neville. This was damn close to being offside as well, but I think a reasonable decision. I mean, the game's about goals, after all and I always like to see the benefit of the doubt going to the batsman attacker. Credit: Sky Sports Premier League 1:10PM 36 mins More Sanchez on Sanchez action, this time Alexis with a wild and rather spiteful tackle on the Spurs man. He's into the book and rightly so. Spurs will moan about the awarding of the freekick that led to the goal and you can see why. It was also very close to offside. But the fact remains that their marking was slipshod. 1:08PM GOAL! Shkodran Mustafi! A decent delivery into the box, and Shkodran Mustafi has got in between Vertonghen and Dier, he rises unimpeded and plants the header into the corner. Arsenal lead, and deservedly so. Arsenal 1 - 0 Spurs (Shkodran Mustafi, 36 min) Was it offside? Credit: Sky Sports Premier League 1:06PM 34 mins Long ball forward, Alexis Sanchez brings the ball under control brilliantly. His namesake Sanchez disposseses him with a very good tackle, but referee Mike Dean rules that a foul by the young Tottenham defender. Arsenal have a freekick. 1:04PM 33 mins And Spurs have another good chance, a decent ball into the area and Harry Kane meets the ball with a firm header. Regulation gather for Cech. 1:03PM 32 mins Against the run of play, Eriksen has hit the post! Picks it up on the left, inside, shifts the ball and strikes it low and true. Cech was beaten there. Miss: Arsenal 0 - 0 Spurs (Christian Eriksen, 33 min) 1:03PM 31 mins Xhaka becomes the first booking of the afternoon for a late tackle/shoulder barge combo move on Alli. Richly deserved. 1:00PM 28 mins Ozil with a nice run and a threatening cross. It's all hands to the pump at the moment for Spurs, they hack it behind. A corner. And now another corner. Tottenham are under pressure here, Ozil and Alexis are at it. Ramsey supplying them. If Lacazette had a bit more about him, they'd be a serious outfit. Coral: yellow card during Arsenal v Spurs @ 25/1 12:57PM 26 mins Something of a garryowen into the Arsenal box, Alli fouls Cech. Possession: Arsenal vs Spurs 12:55PM 24 mins An Arsenal corner comes to little. Harry Kane has strapping on his knee and looks a bit short of full fitness. Alli has been sloppy, giving the ball away. 12:54PM 23 mins I didn't know they played rugger in Switzerland, but an excellent rugby tackle from Xhaka here suggests otherwise. 12:52PM 21 mins Arsenal are well on top. Xhaka has a freekick into the box, headed behind for a corner. Spurs are struggling to clear their lines here. Sanchez has a chance to play it in! But his teammates are not on the same page. 12:51PM 18 mins Lovely stuff from Arsenal, through ball from Ramsey to Bellerin, excellent low cross and Lacazette only needed to toe it in. he was outmuscled by two Spurs players. Would a stronger/braver centre forward have scored there? 12:47PM 15 mins A muted atmosphere - as per - at The Emirates. 12:46PM 14 mins Good stuff from Sissoko down the right, holding the ball well, centres to Alli, whose shot is tame. Credit: Getty Images Europe 12:43PM 11 mins Arsenal's front three are impressing. A rather un-Arsenally move now: long ball, Alexis Sanchez in the Niall Quinn role, heads it down for Lacazette, who cannot do much with the shot. Is that Lacazette boy good enough? 12:39PM 7 mins Arsenal immediately up the other end, Ozil gets on the ball and Spurs are in big trouble here until the referee rules that Ozil had pushed Vertonghen in claiming that ball. Highly dubious decision, particularly on the replay. 12:37PM 6 mins And now Kane has a chance! A long ball forward, Arsenal make a pig's ear of the header clearance, Koscielny guilty. Kane into the area, hits a shot but straight at the keeper. 12:36PM 5 mins Arsenal front three are pressing the Tottenham backs. Dier gives the ball away, very poor. The ball breaks to Lacazette and he shoots wildly over. Ought to have done better. 12:35PM 4 mins Alli has a chance to play Eriksen in but fluffs his lines. 12:34PM 3 mins A stop-start, er, start as Mike Dean gets plenty of use out of his whistle. No inflammatory tackles yet though. 12:33PM 2 mins Martin T remarks that "some at the ground" have been referring to Ozil-Sanchez-Lacazette as "the golden triangle". Gary Neville correctly points out: "not sure they have won enough to get the golden tag." 12:31PM 1 mins Spurs play the ball around at the back. Davies with a run, ended by a hard sliding tackle from compatriot Ramsey. 12:31PM It's not a nice afternoon in North London Spurs will kick off. Talking of kicking off, will we see a spicy affair? I for one hope so. If you reckon there'll be yellow cards, look at this Best bet: A yellow card to be shown during Arsenal vs Tottenham at 25/1 12:29PM And Tottenham thus Credit: Sky Sports 12:28PM Here's how Sky reckon Arsenal will line up Credit: Sky Sports 12:27PM Goonersaurus there Credit: Sky Sports 12:21PM Broadway Danny Rose is not injured, and has not travelled with the squad to Arsenal. He has been sent to train with other players not involved in this match. Clearly a saga going on there and one that will presumably end with the player moving clubs in the New Year. Shame for Spurs, he's a good player, but for the outsider point of view at least, appears to be a bit of a prat. 12:20PM Spurs' away record v the top six is poor. Just one win in 16 12:19PM Poch on international week Nearly all of our players were away so we only had only a couple of days to prepare for this, but of course it is the same for Arsenal. Not easy to win away from home at top teams. But we will try. 12:17PM For Spurs, five changes from the side that beat Palace Lloris, Trippier, Dembele, Davies and Alli come in to, and I think it is fair to say strengthen, the Tottenham side. 12:16PM Koscielny is to make his 300th PL appearance today. Congrats to him. Seems like a solid citizen. 12:15PM Two changes for the Arsenal Mustafi and Lacazette come into the XI. 12:02PM Ozil doing an indie kid thing with his sleeves to keep his fingies warm Credit: Sky Sports Premier League That boy really is a wet lettuce. 12:00PM Souey "You look at Arsenal in the tunnel and you are not going to be frightened by them, 1 to 11. They have not had a physically intimidating player for ten years." He concedes that it is possible that the burly Kolasinac could fill that role. 11:58AM Here are the teams Arsenal: Cech, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Bellerin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac, Ozil, Sanchez, Lacazette. Subs: Mertesacker, Wilshere, Ospina, Iwobi, Welbeck, Maitland-Niles, Coquelin. Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Sanchez, Dier, Vertonghen, Trippier, Sissoko, Dembele, Davies, Eriksen, Alli, Kane. Subs: Son, Vorm, Llorente, Foyth, Aurier, Winks, Walker-Peters. Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral) 11:57AM I am a big fan of Souey's coat here Credit: Sky Sports Premier League 11:50AM Who do you fancy, then? I think Spurs can win this, if Harry K is fit/at his best. I hope we see a) lots of goals and b) a big on-pitch brawl. 11:46AM Arsenal Team Here it is - our starting lineup for the first north London derby of the season#AFCvTHFCpic.twitter.com/rEnGhDvMVj— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) November 18, 2017 11:45AM Tottenham Team #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Dier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dembele, Sissoko, Eriksen, Dele, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/GYRU43yIyX— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 18, 2017 11:44AM Good morning! Tyers here, North London Derby Day here, and the teams are also here. 11:44AM Our preview Best bet: A yellow card to be shown during Arsenal vs Tottenham at 25/1 Match preview Arsene Wenger has no intention of following in the footsteps of Tottenham counterpart Mauricio Pochettino by writing a book during his managerial career. The Arsenal boss also said he has enough experience as a manager that means he does not need to take any advice from Pochettino's volume. Pochettino has been answering questions about certain revelations from his book since its release. But he will not find a copy in any corner of the Emirates Stadium when he takes his Spurs side on the short journey for Saturday's north London derby. When asked if he had read Pochettino's book, Wenger said: "No, because I have no time, not because it is not interesting. Because I have a good experience of managing. "Look, I have nothing against it. I am open-minded to it. But I have not much time in my schedule." Wenger, 68, has had books written about him but has never put anything down in his own words. He insists that is because the truth cannot be revealed while he is still serving as a manager and that he would much rather publish his memoirs when he has retired. Asked if he would consider writing a book during his career, Wenger said: "Not at the moment. "Because I don't like to talk and not tell the truth. As long as you are in work, you cannot really tell what is going on. Just to sell a book? "I have no interest. If it is to tell really what I think about the game and what I think about some aspects of our game, I will do it but at the moment it is impossible."