Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham: A day of Drama in North London
The North London derby saw Arsenal come out on top with a 2-1 win yesterday in an action-filled match.
The match was filled with twists and turns right from the start when it was reported that Arteta had decided to drop the Gunner's captain Aubameyang from the starting lineup and put him on the bench for "disciplinary reasons" - which we later heard was a result of him turning up late - with Lacazette filling in up front.
Luckily for Arteta, his ability to stand his ground on matters of team principal paid off as it would have no doubt started a debate on the managers tactics had Arsenal not won the match.
However, this did not seem to affect Arsenal as they started strong from the first whistle, putting pressure on Spurs and passing the ball around quickly. Emile Smith-Rowe hit the crossbar early on, with a shot from outside the area, showing a desire to take the lead.
Son had pulled up after making a run and took a seat on the floor after 20 minutes into the match due to what appeared to be a muscle injury. Possibly a pulled hamstring which meant he then had to be substituted for came Erik Lamela.
Arsenal continued to take the game to Spurs with their high tempo but, a stunning Robona goal from Lamela, through the legs of Thomas Partey after the ball was laid off to him by Lucas Moura saw Tottenham take an unexpected lead.
Arsenal stuck to their game plan of high pressure and right-back Cédric Soares almost making it level when he hit post.
Kieran Tierney was able to beat Matt Doherty - who appeared to struggle all game as he was isolated against two attack minded Arsenal players - and crossed it in to Martin Ødegaard for a shot which deflected through the legs of Tottenham centre-back Toby Alderweireld and out of reach for goalkeeper Hugo Lloris making the game level at 1-1.
Arsenal substitute Pepe (who came on for Saka at half time) made a long pass to Lacazette allowing him to take a touch and have a shot. Lacazette mis-kicked the ball for the shot but was fouled by Sanchez who came rushing in to try and block it. Questions were asked as to whether the penalty was justified due to Lacazette already taking the shot but, a foul is a foul and the penalty stood.
Lacazette stepped up to take the penalty, scoring all of his last five from the spot. He placed it into the bottom, right corner of the goal to give arsenal the lead.
Lamela was sent off for a second yellow. This came due to a swinging arm in the face of Tierney.
Tottenham then started to press harder and put the pressure on Arsenal after being very conservative for almost all of the 70 minutes played so far. This was aided by Arsenal seeming to sit off after sending off and gaining the man advantage.
With Bale and Ndombele being taken off due to a lack of intensity and not having an impact, Lucas Moura decided to take charge of the situation and tried to get Tottenham back into the game by running with the ball at the Arsenal defence and winning a freekick for his efforts.
The Tottenham freekick, saw Harry Kane get on the end of the cross and score a header. However, it was ruled out for offside by the linesman and backed by a VAR check.
Spurs then won another freekick with Kane hitting the post and Gunner's centre back Gabriel clearing the shot from the rebound off the post. Leno appeared wrong footed as if he was not trusting wall?
Spurs applied more late pressure but Arsenal were able to hold out for the win. A few mistakes towards end point to Arsenal needing to improve their game management in last 15 mins. An opinion which was shared with the manager Mikel Arteta in his post-match interview.
Finishing 2-1 to Arsenal, the game appeared to be a tale of two sides. Arteta got his game plan spot on with all of the Arsenal players performing well and putting in the effort (despite a few misplaced passes and unnecessary fouls towards the end), whereas Mourinho's Tottenham seemed to be slightly off the pace for whatever reason.
Overall the team of Officials also had a good game with very little VAR involvement proving to be the best way forward. Michael Oliver, the on-field referee making correct decisions and taking responsibility for his calls with VAR only on hand to check the Lacazette penalty incident and the off-side goal by Harry Kane.
Arteta: "We should have won more comfortably. Our team have shown recently that we have a reaction in us, that we can come back from a situation [like Lamela goal]. It was pure quality, incredible goal. Still a lot to improve for us.
Speaking about Aubameyang Situation: "We have a way of living together and we have to respect each other. Aubameyang is our captain and he is an incredible guy, one of the most important guys in our team. These things happen. We move forward. We have a lot of things going on in our lives, people are finding it hard to handle a lot of the restrictions but it is part of our job."
Sky Interviewer: is it true that he was late?
"I will never tell what happens in the dressing room. I can tell you the reasons but never the facts."
Mourinho: "No post match interviews for referees? It is a pity. We played really badly in the first half. We were poor, no intensity, no pressing. Some important players hiding. In the second half, we only had space to improve. It is an impossible question because they don't speak but it is a question for Michael [Oliver] and for Paul Tierney too, because he is the VAR. But according to Kevin Friend the referee told him that he had a clear vision and the VAR didn't want to go against."
"Players get tired, coaches get tired, maybe referees get tired. The penalty? I would only accept that decision from an Arsenal fan with a season ticket, then you can understand the passion, but otherwise?"
Mourinho clearly not happy with the penalty decision but admitted his team needed to do more in the first place.