Arsenal 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur - 6 points to note from this latest North London Derby
Arsenal dominated their longstanding enemies Tottenham Hotspur 4-2 at the Emirates Stadium.
Going into this game, both teams were going well and were evenly matched. It was billed in some cases as the battle of the forwards and midfielders, and this proved the case.
Spurs have a top quality forward line - in Kane, Son, Alli, and Eriksen. Arsenal too holds Aubameyang and Lacazette, and this game was ultimately decided by Arsenal's strike force which prevailed over Tottenham's.
Prior to the game, Tottenham was three points ahead of Arsenal in the table, though had slid from third to fourth, following Chelsea's win over Fulham. Arsenal was in fifth, and ultimately equalled their deadly rivals in the points tally.
Arsenal started the game strongly and was readily pressing Spurs in the midfield and defence. This paid off via some early chances for Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, and Iwobi, through a set piece on the Spurs right ended in Vertonghen handling the ball and conceding a penalty.
Aubameyang stepped up to get his ninth of the season. Arsenal dominated after this, with Aubameyang and Iwobi having chances. But Spurs equalized via a free kick on the Arsenal right, and Dier sneaked in to head past Leno at the near post. They went ahead, with Holding fouling Son in the area, and referee Mike Dean accordingly giving a penalty. Kane despatched it with ease and clocked up his eighth PL goal of 18/19. The rest of the half saw both sides having half-chances, but in the second half, Tottenham had some near misses with Sissoko and Alli going close.
Arsenal resumed dominance after 60 minutes - and this culminated in a world-class finish from Aubameyang. He curled in a wondrous strike, which was his tenth PL goal of the season, and he now leads the scoring charts ahead of Man City's "Kun" Aguero.
Lacazette then scored a similar curling shot to gain the lead, with Torreira adding a game-winning fourth to secure a glorious win over their old enemies and foes.
Aubeymang silenced the critics, concerning being a flat track bully. Torreira is proving to be the player who Arsenal have needed for years. He is providing the midfield fight lacking in some time. And Arsenal won handsomely without Mesut Ozil too - this may be a telling and emergent story.
As for Tottenham, Kane scored of course, but Alli was quiet. Son had some chances but didn't threaten that much. Sissoko, despite his recent form, was shackled by the Arsenal midfield, and Spurs' defence was making numerous uncharacteristic errors. Vertonghen was sent off late in the game, and his initial error led to Arsenal taking the lead. Is Pochettino too exempt from criticism? Whilst he has done well to get Spurs as a consistent top four side, he has come short against other top six teams. This seems to be a continual stumbling block for him, and a major factor in losing this was that Unai Emery out-schooled him tactically.
This was a glorious win for Arsenal, and a setback - naturally - for Tottenham. It does show that Spurs have frailties, and Arsenal are surely and steadily improving.
#6 A quiet Tottenham
After their stellar win vs. Chelsea last week, and the mid-week victory over Internazionale, Spurs were not allowed to play, due in large part to Arsenal's tactics.
Harry Kane is forever a lethal striker, but bar the penalty he didn't offer much. Their attacking play was also muted, though Son had some key chances in the first half.
But they were for large parts second best. And whilst they did well to get 2-1 in front after Arsenal's strong start, they were out-fought, out-thought, and physically dominated by their old and deadly enemies.
The stark contrast in defeating Chelsea and losing to Arsenal is evident. And in some manner, this shows Spurs still lack the mentality to compete at a higher level than the top four.
Moreover, should questions be asked about Pochettino? Yes, he has done very well under a smaller budget than the other top six sides. And all sides and managers face setbacks. Nonetheless, this latest loss shows Spurs have come up short again when it matters.
It's not terminal for their top four hopes since much of the season is to still to play. But Arsenal now is above Spurs in the table on goal difference, and Arsenal has the psychological edge at this point.
Arsenal also showed a template of how to beat Tottenham - in stifling their midfield and closing down their forwards/creative players. They were missing Alderweireld at the back, but Vertonghen had a very disappointing performance for an experienced international. Foyth is a youngster who has potential but got overawed in this stellar occasion. They have Southampton at home to come, and but given Southampton's relegation issues, it won't be an easy game for this reason.
But today for Tottenham was poor, and against their old foes to boot.