What. A. Game.
Arsenal steamrollered their North London neighbours with a performance full of passion and verve, as the Gunners ran out deserved 4-2 victors.
Unai Emery perhaps surprised us with his team selection, as he again went with the same lineup and tactics that overcame Bournemouth last week. Again there was no room for Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started up top on his own, ably assisted by Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Slow starts have kind of been our thing this season, but no one told our boys, as we ripped into spurs from the first whistle, the first ten minutes a blizzard of tackles and running, not giving our opponents a second on the ball.
The tactics were obvious. We were pressing the life out of them, winning the ball high up and attacking at pace. Kolasinac and Bellerin were getting forward, crossing on a few occasions that missed their intended target by inches. spurs were shellshocked, and it didn’t take long for us to get the dream start.
A free-kick out wide was well delivered and Mustafi rose highest to meet it, only to be thwarted by Jan Vertonghen’s rising hand. Mike Dean pointed to the spot, Aubameyang stepped up and duly obliged to put us 1-0 up.
It was the least we deserved, and we weren’t taking our foot off the gas either. Iwobi saw his shot cleared off the line, and Aubameyang was so close to meeting a cut back. Kolasinac was proving to be the worst nightmare of spurs, but they were starting to rouse, and Son fired a warning, but one we wouldn’t heed.
Son went down rather easily out wide, and the delivery was a fiendish one. At the near post Eric Dier had made a run and flicked a header toward goal. Leno was in place but he fumbled, seeing the ball go in.
Dier raced toward our support and made a ‘Sshhh’ gesture, which incensed the warming up Ramsey. They clashed, which drew in others, and then there was a mass of bodies, some separating the fighters, some trying to get involved.
In all honesty, it was good to see our boys backing each other up.
The goal was a shock, but spurs weren’t done.
It was Son again, and his run into the box was heading toward the byline, but he checked back. Rob Holding was on the slide and touched Son’s ankle with the force of a feather. Son went down clutching his leg, Dean was sold, and Kane did the rest from the spot.
We were rocked. Probably our finest performance so far this season, and yet we were losing?
Unai Emery has instilled some fight as well as smarts since his arrival though, and we kept to it, despite the injustice. Tottenham were on the up though, and the rest of the half was to and fro, but Auba had a great late chance, only to see a late offside flag, and Mustafi nearly grabbed an equaliser, but Lloris tipped over well.
The half time whistle had most of us seething. Tottenham deserved little or nothing, and yet were ahead.
Fear not though, for the second half beckoned, which is when we come alive.
It would be so again too, as Emery switched Iwobi and Mkhitaryan for Ramsey and Lacazette, and the result was instant.
We look so much better with both Laca and Auba in the same team, although Kane had the first chance, heading over from a free kick. We looked like we had kicked our press up again, and on the 56th minute, parity was restored.
We broke forward at pace, and a ball into Ramsey was well flicked by the Welshman. Behind him was Auba about twenty five yards out, and his first time finish curled into the bottom corner with real fizz, Lloris with no chance.
It was what we had deserved, and tottenham started to shrink.Mustafi and Torreira both scared the opponent with half chances, and Son at the other end forced Leno into action, but make no mistake, we were on top.
Guendouzi came on for the injured Mustafi on the 70th minute, and five minutes later, we had wrestled back the advantage. Ramsey forced Foyth into error, and passed to Lacazette. The French forward looked like he had been stifled, but he took a shot, a slight deflection edging it toward the corner.
3-2 up from 2-1 down, and we weren’t done yet.
Minutes later, Torreira raced into the box and smashed an effort into the far corner, and his delight was matched by our fans.
Pochettino shuffled his pack, but it was to get worse, as Vertonghen was sent off for a second yellow, but the action was pretty much done.
We were home and hosed, and deserved winners. Let that be a lesson to all those who doubt us, and those that think that North London is anything but Red.
Up The Arsenal!