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Arsenal Dominate the North London Derby & Pile Pressure on Spurs

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26 Sep 2021
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Ruthless Arsenal demolished Nuno Espirito’s side during a miserable first half for Spurs to grab their deserved 3-1 win in the North London Derby.

Arsenal’s future under Mikel Arteta will not always afford them the luxury of playing big games against opposition as complicit and haphazard as this. This was a dismal north London derby performance by Nuno Espirito Santo’s Tottenham team.

Nevertheless, Arsenal was wonderful. Here at long last was a glimpse of the fearless, expansive and effective football Mikel Arteta has been promising to deliver. Now all the Spaniard has to do is deliver some more of it.

It was ‘only’ 3-1 to Arsenal in the end but the margin felt bigger. It certainly felt more significant in terms of the direction of travel of both teams. 

For sure, there could have been more for Arteta’s team. The lead was established in 34 first-half minutes that saw Arsenal play with an executioner’s hunger and send the Emirates into a rapturous frenzy. It has been a while since it has shaken and swayed quite like this.

All that saved Tottenham from one of the biggest derbies mailings for years was their own second-half improvement – ​​it wasn’t hard to get better – and perhaps a little dip in mental application from the players in red.

The three Arsenal goals – Smith Rowe followed by Aubameyang and then Saka – were scored on the break and were all the more exciting for it. Spurs – with forward Harry Kane a picture of frustrated waywardness – was truly lousy during this spell and on the touchline, their new Portuguese coach looked as lost and helpless as his players. Nuno was – at a generous estimate – sixth or seventh choice for the job at Spurs and here he looked exactly that.

For the first half of this game, Tottenham simply invited Arsenal to play and they did so with ambition, pace, courage and, crucially, they were clinical.

From the opening moments, Arsenal’s intentions were clear and nothing at all changed until the game was effectively won.

Early on, Arsenal’s most dangerous player was Odegaard. He was able to find space between the Tottenham lines with ease. As time passed, Smith Rowe came to the fore. Both were involved in the first goal in the 12th minute.

Odegaard led the break from deep and when he fed Saka down the right, Arsenal was in business. There was still much to do as Saka was marshaled by Spurs left-back Sergio Regulion and the visiting team had plenty of players funneling back. 

But Saka got a yard on the outside of his man to cross low and when he did Smith Rowe arrived in space to side foot the ball into the goal. Replays confirmed the simplicity of it. As the 21-year-old eased into the penalty area from deep, he just was not picked up. 

Spurs needed a response and it didn’t come. They looked fragile and under-prepared, they struggled to keep the ball when they got it. Often, they lost it in bad positions and before they could get a foothold at a goal down, Arsenal broke on them to score twice in six minutes.

  • arsenal
  • Mikel Arteta
  • Nuno Espirito Santo
  • Tottenham Hotspurs
  • Livescore (livescore)
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