ARSENAL GUNNERS REIGN
Maybe it’s my imagination but why do Arsenal only seem to turn up for North London derby games against rivals Tottenham. Time after time after time they are up for the challenge and always turn up and Sunday’s encounter was no different. There’s not much that can be said for Spurs on the other hand who have proved that they bottle their most anticipated matches. I sincerely hope that manager Mourinho can change that narrative as soon as possible because what was on display in that derby game for the best part of 70 minutes as absolutely appalling to say the least.
Tottenham travelled across to the other side of town where they were hosted by Arsenal at the Emirate stadium. Arsenal captain Aubameyeng was left out of the Arsenal starting 11 much to the dismay of some supporters for reasons alleged to be not following guidelines leading to disciplinary actions deemed necessary (I guess we will never know). Mourinho has had many duels with Arsenal and boasts a record that reflects only one defeat in 18 league games against the Gunners.
The home side were on the offensive from the first kick of the match as Smith-Rowe hit the crossbar and was unfortunate not to put Arsenal ahead. Prior to the game I had anticipated that Tottenham would give a great account of themselves as they’d been building some momentum in the league (how wrong was I??!!). However it was Arsenal who took the game to Spurs and enjoyed much of the early possession. For all their endeavour, Arsenal went behind in the 33rd minute of play as Erik Lamela scored a ridiculous rabona goal (it was quite simply magical). The finish was audacious and definitely will go down as a genuine contender for not just goal of the season but one of the best goals in premier league history.
Arsenal, not to be deterred by the goal continued the game as though no goal had been conceded. They continued attacking and applying pressure to the Spurs defence. Cedric came close for the Gunners as his effort rebounded off the upright in the 36th minute of the first half in search of an equaliser. Odegaard, who is currently on loan from Real Madrid finally managed to find the equaliser in the 44th minute which Arsenal fully deserved albeit via a deflection. It was just a matter of time before the goal game but it was going to come sooner or later.
With Tottenham playing so poorly the game was there for the taking and Arsenal did just that. After Lacazette was brought down by Sanchez in the Spurs penalty box, the referee did not hesitate in awarding a penalty which was neatly converted by Lacazette in the 64th minute (I couldn’t help but feel the referee had something against Spurs). Things went from bad to worse when “rabona hero” Lemala was shown a red card in the 76th minute. With the game at 2-1, a 10 man Tottenham side decided with 15 minutes of play remaining that now was the time to actually start playing. They came close enough to an equaliser as Harry Kane’s freekick hit the post but in fairness it was a little too late. Arsenal came away with a much deserved 2-1 victory (not that it impacted league positioning….I’m just saying) and without Aubameyang which I’m sure Arteta will feel justified about.
So what happened to Tottenham? Well as far as the game itself, Mourinho should have allowed them to attack from the off set rather than waiting till your a man down. Bale (hate to critique him but….) was nowhere to be seen. He did not offer any cover to Doherty who himself was absolutely rubbish. Son got injured early doors which didn’t help matters (he wasn’t exactly having a great game anyway, lets be honest) and the awarded penalty was highly controversial. However, the mighty Spurs will dust themselves up and return in great spirits (well here’s hoping).
RABONA’S DON’T WIN GAMES BUT STAYING ON THE PITCH DOES!!!!!!!