Arsenal punished for shaky defending as Spurs come back to win north London derby 2-1

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Arsenal fell to a late defeat against north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur with the Gunners paying the ultimate price for their lacklustre defending.

It’s Jose Mourinho who has come away with the bragging rights in the first north London derby between the Portuguese taskmaster and Mikel Arteta.

Here’s the two sides lined up for the heated clash:

Tottenham, 4-4-2: Lloris, Aurier, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Davies, Sissoko, Lo Celso, Winks, Lucas, Son, Kane.

Subs: 82′ Bergwijn on for Lucas, 84′ Skipp on for Lo Celso, 90+4′ Lamela on for Son.

Arsenal, 3-5-2/5-2-3: Martinez, Mustafi, Luiz, Kolasinac, Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Tierney, Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang.

Subs: 70′ Saka on for Pepe, 84′ Willock, Nelson and Cedric on for Tierney, Kolasinac and Bellerin.


The early stages of the encounter were fairly end-to-end, Emiliano Martinez was called into action just under 10 minutes in as he scooped up a lob from Harry Kane.

The deadlock was broken in the 17th minute with a phenomenal long-range strike from Alexandre Lacazette after Granit Xhaka won a 50/50 for the Gunners.

Arsenal’s defence didn’t take long to show that they’re simply not reliable as Sead Kolasinac and David Luiz gifted Heung-Min Son the chance to bag an instant equaliser.

Son made no mistake as he effortlessly chipped the ball over Martinez.

Spurs almost took the lead in the 30th minute after a surprise strike from way out from left-back Ben Davies, Martinez proved his worth with a wonderful fingertip save to tip the ball onto the crossbar.


The opening stages of the second period were fairly uneventful but the proceedings soon turned lively.

In the 58th minute of the tie, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit the post after being slipped in by partner Lacazette, Hugo Lloris was left rooted to the spot as the ball rattled away.

This was arguably Arsenal’s best chance of the second-half, Spurs then started to grow into the game, with Kane and Son causing serious problems to the defence.

Just minutes after Aubameyang saw a volley saved by Lloris, Kane won a corner for Spurs after he was allowed to burst into the box following some shaky defending.

That set-piece decided the game as Toby Alderweireld scored from Son’s corner, the centre-back exploited a mismatch with Kieran Tierney to steer a bullet header into the back of the net.

Arteta’s side were duly punished for utilising a risky zonal marking scheme.

Game stats:

Spurs vs Arsenal match stats
Courtesy of Sky Sports.

Post-match thoughts:

Mourinho’s decision to surprisingly switch to a 4-4-2 formation seemed to catch Arsenal off guard this afternoon, this change made Spurs look much more threatening going forward.

Son’s tireless runs all across the pitch stretched Arsenal’s defence, leaving Kane in favourable positions to be played in or free to beat defenders in one-on-one scenarios.

Spurs have looked lacklustre going forward for some time now, the tactical change gave the side a fresh spark in the final third that paid off.

Having two centre-forward’s in Kane and Son led to Arsenal’s three centre-back system being exploited, Mustafi and Kolasinac were drawn away from the centre – opening up plenty of chances for Spurs.

More Stories Alexandre Lacazette Heung-Min Son Jose Mourinho Mikel Arteta