Arsenal are awarded a penalty after Davison Sanchez sythes down Lacazette. The player got taken down after he whiffed the shot yet the referee awarded the penalty nonetheless.
Stakes were high as Spurs were on a 5 match winstreak, their longest since Mourinho took helm. They could have gone level with 5th place West Ham if they won the derby. Meanwhile, a win would have ensured that Arsenal would be in contention for the 7-8th spot. The derby experienced plenty of cards and a controversial VAR decision.
A major surprise during selection was the omission of Arsenal captain Piere-Emrick Aubameyang. Both the clubs had European action midweek but Arsenal looked fresher at the start. They dominated the first 10 minutes and enjoyed two-thirds of the possession. During the first quarter, Spurs struggled to get out of their defensive third. Arsenal were almost gifted a lead at the 15th-minute mark when Emile Smith-Rowe’s shot hit the woodwork.
20 minutes into the game, Heung Min Son endured a minor pulled hamstring and was subbed off for Eric Lamela. This move proved pivotal for Mourinho’s men as they broke the deadlock 10 minutes later. A moment of inspiration came from Lamela as he lit up the North-London derby on an afternoon where Spurs barely ventured outside of their own half. He displayed astounding skill and technique by rabona kicking the ball from his left foot into the bottom-right corner of the net.
Arsenal managed to get plenty of shots on goal in the first half yet they failed to test Hugo Lloris even once. Arsenal were denied again at the 37th-minute mark when Cedric hit the woodwork. The Gunners finally managed to equalize at the 44th minute after Ødegaard pegged one back for the home side. The home side kept on bombing their left flank to expose Matt Dougherty and created 70% of their chances from it.
At the start of the second half, the Spurs seemed more inclined to take the ball to the opposition’s half. Harry Kane, had such an extraordinary record in the derby barely got a sniff at the ball in the box. Gareth Bale also had a quiet game and was ran ragged by Tierney before he was subbed off in the 56th minute. Controversy struck at the 61st-minute mark when Sanchez struck Lacazette after he mistimed and whiffed his shot on goal. The referee Martin Oliver awarded the penalty regardless without consulting VAR which would have definitely ruled otherwise. Lacazette converted the penalty and took the lead for the Gunners.
More drama ensued as Lamela got booked on two quick successions and was sent off. Spurs to endure the latter quarter of the game with 10 men. Tottenham felt galvanized after the red card and shifted their tempo for the last 10 minutes but it wasn’t sufficient.In the dying moments, Kane valiently tried rescuing a point for the visitiors. He struck the woodwork from a 30-yard freekick and netted the ball from a header but was deemed offside on the other occasion.
Arsenal deservedly won the game in which they enjoyed 60% possession and put a lot more chances in the box compared to the Spurs. It was a delight for Mikel Arteta as he won against Mourinho for the first time in his career. At post-game Mourinho conceded that his team played bad football in the first half with no intensity and his players “were hiding“. He also called out the referees and criticized VAR for the controversial penalty decision.
Arsenal still find themselves at 10th position with a bleak chance to reach a European spot if they can maintain their form and win most of their remaining fixtures. Meanwhile, Tottenham dropped down to 8th position and are now 6 points behind 4th place Chelsea.
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