The Midas touch of Nuno Espirito Santos in the early stages of the Premier League seems to be history too early as Tottenham Hotspur were thrashed in the North London Derby by Arsenal, who were among the strugglers and Mikel Arteta has been under immense pressure since the new season kicked off. Well, the smile is back at the Emirates as London is Red today.
A month ago:
—Spurs in first (9 pts)
—Arsenal in last (0 pts)
After the North London Derby:
—Arsenal in 10th (9 pts)
—Spurs in 11th (9 pts)
What a difference a month makes 😬 pic.twitter.com/0hEMkyQ8zH
— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 26, 2021
Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka returned from a three-game suspension to immediately regain his place in the midfield, seeing Albert Sambi Lokonga dropped to the bench by boss Mikel Arteta. In goal, Aaron Ramsdale makes his derby debut and retains the gloves ahead of Bernd Leno after back-to-back clean sheets in the Premier League. While, upfront, captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started despite Alexandre Lacazette’s good goal-scoring record against Spurs.
For the visitors, Tanguy Ndombele had worked his way back and, after registering Spurs’ opener in midweek, joins Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the all-important engine room. Meanwhile, Lucas Moura started in a three-man attack led by Harry Kane.
Arsenal have lost just one Premier League NLD at home in Bukayo Saka's lifetime:
North London is 🔴 again. pic.twitter.com/78zhfLemk4
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 26, 2021
The first couple of minutes had been frantic and gradually the Spurts started o lose the tempo – plenty of gaps were visible at the back and centre of the park which was well exploited by the hosts.
The opening goal arrived to change the mood at the stadium.
Saka got into the area on the right and rather scuffed a square pass, into a good area rather than aimed at any individual but Smith Rowe ghosted at pace from the left into the centre of the area and timed his arrival perfectly to run onto the ball and turned it in from 10 yards.
Tierney passed upfield to Aubameyang, who turns it around the corner for Smith Rowe, who flew down the left before pulling back to Aubameyang, whose first time shot bounces in at the far corner!
Neville: "Everything is absolutely perfect about this counter-attack" 👏
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finishes off a fine team move and Arsenal have a commanding lead against Tottenham!
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 26, 2021
Ramsdale’s poor pass was instrumental there. Immediately four Spurs players sprung forward, hoping to profit from a high turnover, but when there was no turnover they were all out of position and all it took was one good forward pass and one first-time flick to fillet Tottenham like a hapless haddock.
The Thierry Henry-like celebration of Aubameyang impressed the legend himself present at the gallery and it was the Arsenal for whom he once ruled the roost.
The Spurs looked directionless and were chasing shadows.
2020 – Arsenal will end today above Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League table for the first time since October 25th 2020. Superiority. pic.twitter.com/Lw5tYv6epQ
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 26, 2021
Ndombele passed infield to a stumbling Kane, lurking in his now-customary position 45 yards from goal, but he could not decide what to do with it and in the end, was so confused he falls over.
Arsenal took possession.
Saka ran down the right, cut infield and tried to pass across to Aubameyang. But Kane had sprinted back in an attempt to make amends for his mistake and he slid in, cut out the pass and deflected it back into the path of Saka, who side-footed across Lloris and it was 3-0!
Arteta and the Arsenal photographer sharing a moment! ❤️
The look on every single Arsenal player shows how much this win means to them 💪🏼 pic.twitter.com/Rm7f4klybb
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) September 26, 2021
The Spurs were at sixes and sevens.
After the break, there was nothing special from the visitors until the seventy-ninth minute when Sergio Reguilon sent a low cross into the area and Heung-Min Son ran beyond Thomas Partey and side-footed past Ramsdale.
But it was too late – Arsenal were n no mood to let this Derby win slip out of their hands and after the final whistle Mikel Arteta looked a relieved man – he was smiling with his colleagues and finally, his unit is clicking.