Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur: Gunners regain North London crown in big win

Arsenal earned a massive win in the first North London derby of the season, as two goals in the span of four minutes was enough to see the Gunners claim the three points.

Arsene Wenger’s side dominated the majority of the first half, and it was through that that they were able to take the lead 10 minutes before halftime, when Mesut Ozil’s free kick found the head of Shkodran Mustafi, who headed the ball perfectly past a motionless Hugo Lloris.

Alexis Sanchez doubled Arsenal’s lead four minutes later, when Alexandre Lacazette was played in on goal by Hector Bellerin, and a cut back from the French striker allowed his Chilean teammate to fire the ball into the roof of the net, to seal a huge win for the Gunners.

All Gunners firing

A frantic start saw both sides nearly take an early lead. Lacazette came close to giving Arsenal the lead six minutes in when the French striker robbed the ball of Eric Dier in a good area, but his strike flew high over the bar. Moments later, Harry Kane almost put Spurs ahead when Laurent Koscielny gifted the ball to the striker, but his shot flew straight into the arms of Petr Cech.

A lack of steel in the Tottenham midfield made it easy for Arsenal to exploit their rivals in the middle of the pitch, which made it hard for Spurs to get into the game. The pace and intelligence of Arsenal’s front three only made things worse for the visitors defence, but Mauricio Pochettino’s side continued to hold on as the first half progressed.

Bellerin was also proving to be a problem for Spurs, as the Spanish fullback was constantly picked out down the right wing completely unmarked, and had it no been for some well timed clearances and lunges from Dier and Davison Sanchez, Tottenham would had been in big trouble.

Spurs come out of their shell

But the visitors were not completely out of the game. Shortly after Granit Xhaka was booked for a challenge on Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen smacked the outside of the post with a well-hit strike from distance, sending a message to a dominant  Arsenal side that their hated rivals were far from out of this North London derby.

A quick fire double

Despite the warning shots from Spurs, it was Arsenal who took the lead as the returning Mustafi gave the Gunners the lead 10 minutes before halftime.

Sanchez was brought down by D. Sanchez 40-yards from goal, resulting in a perfect Ozil set-piece that found the head of his German teammate, and Mustafi’s well placed header flew over the head of Lloris, and into the back of the net to give Arsenal a deserved lead.

One became two four minutes later, as Sanchez doubled Arsenal’s lead five minutes before halftime.

Lacazette was able to slip in past the Spurs backline after a smart past from Bellerin. The former Lyon striker pulled the back for the Sanchez in the penalty box, and despite a heavy first touch the Chilean winger was able to rifle the ball into the roof of the net, to make it 2-0 to Arsenal going into the break.

Less of the same

The second half kicked off to a more disappointing tempo to that of the first half. Arsenal were more reserved in their possession in the final third, and tried to make things too complicated when attacking rather than going for the vital third goal that put the nail in Tottenham’s coffin.

Spurs on the other hand played with more pace, however, they still couldn’t find opportunities for their attacking trio of Alli, Eriksen and Kane to pounce on, leaving them isolated outside the Arsenal penalty area.

Late changes

As the game entered the final 15 minutes, both managers decided to make their first changes of the game. Wenger opted to bring on Francis Coquelin for Lacazette as a way to shore up the defence, whilst Pochettino brought on Fernando Llorente and Heung-min Son to replace the disappointing Alli and Kane.

Dier almost pulled a goal back for Spurs nine minutes before halftime when the England international was able to leap above Nacho Monreal to reach a crossed-in ball, but his header at the near post was well saved by Cech.

Sanchez could had made it 3-0 in the dying moments of the game, when the Arsenal number seven sprinted through on goal unopposed, but his strike from distance was well saved by Lloris. The miss didn’t prove to be costly, as the Gunners sealed a massive 2-0 win over their biggest rivals