The final touch is applied for the victory at Tottenham as Arsenal advance.
As Antonio Conte highlighted on Friday, there is a growing target on Arsenal’s back, but thus far in the Premier League season, very few players have been able to hit it. No, not Tottenham under Conte, who suffered yet another bitter defeat on derby day.
Last October, a 3-1 loss at the Emirates Stadium was disappointing, or perhaps it was just understandable and more expected. This one was worse, primarily because Arsenal dramatically changed the game’s course in the first half and ended it with two goals, the first on a disastrous Hugo Lloris handling blunder and the second on a lovely Martinegaard finish.
How Mikel Arteta’s young team would handle the stress of the situation was a key storyline. It went pretty well, in the end. The confidence of Thomas Partey, the artistry of Anders Degaard, and the cut and thrust of Bukayo Saka were the cornerstones of their first away victory over Spurs in the league since 2014, albeit it seemed unfair to single out their efforts.
After Manchester City’s defeat at a revitalized United on Saturday, Arsenal is eight points clear at the top after 18 games, and they are in a position to win their first championship since 2004. On the basis of this information, it will require a tremendous error from them if they are to fail. And they haven’t even hinted that this will be their fate in the slightest. They have a match against United on Sunday coming next.
At the conclusion of the game, the Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale and the home team’s replacement Richarlison got into an altercation that drew boos from the Spurs supporters and led to a large brawl on the field. Following that, a Spurs supporter positioned behind the goal climbed up on the advertising hoardings to kick Ramsdale in the face.
Spurs improved in the second half and produced a few clear-cut chances, but not many. However, Ramsdale proved a reliable last line for Arsenal, and an unforgettable moment occurred when the players from the two teams were dragged apart — Granit Xhaka had to be extracted by Arteta — and those in red ran over to celebrate in front of the away section. The weekend as a whole seemed very momentous, as did this victory.
At the outset, Arteta’s team had exuded confidence, pressing forward and seizing control of the match. The diagonal that Party swept out to Saka in the lead-up to the game-winning goal is just one example of their fluid passing.
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Ryan Sessegnon retreated after being attacked by Saka, but the troubles for the Spurs weren’t over yet. Lloris was in position at his near post when Saka crossed, and it appeared to be a legal catch. But he didn’t only let the ball escape his grasp; he also managed to swerve it so that it went up and into his own net. The South Stand was in disbelief behind him. Only the delayed response of the traveling fans at the opposite end shattered the hush.
Prior to then, Arsenal had made threats, but Spurs managed to escape with one after Lloris got Clément Lenglet into difficulties and caused the defender’s clearance to be blocked by Odegaard. Eddie Nketiah extended Lloris after Gabriel Martinelli made a deep crossing. Party also hit a free-kick from Degaard high.
For Spurs, the opening period rapidly turned into a nightmare. Arsenal appeared to have more players on the field. Their persistence in finding openings and slickness in possession proved to be too much for the Spurs. The only surprise was that it was only 2-0 at halftime as Saka ran riot against Sessegnon, who Conte had started in place of Ivan Perisic.
Following a great move and yet another Saka run, Odegaard converted Arsenal’s second goal expertly, blasting low into the bottom corner from outside the box. There was no indication that a Spurs defender was near Odegaard, and several home fans got the bright notion to skip the lines for halftime refreshments.
The destination was clearly marked. In the following phase, Party sprinted onto a volley and caught it so beautifully. Daugaard worked Lloris after a fantastic play, and there came the moment in 24 minutes when a Martinelli volley caused panic, with Spurs just about getting away with it. The bullet nearly toppled a pillar.
In the 18th minute, Son Heung-min took a shot at Ramsdale, and Harry Kane forced the goalie to make a quick save shortly before halftime, but those were the tiniest of flickers.
The spurs did come out swinging in the second half. Kane made a comeback, as did Dejan Kulusevski, who had returned to the squad following an injury. Kulusevski cut in from the right and attempted one of his signature curlers. After a well-placed Kane pass, Ramsdale again denied Kane, then expertly denied Sessegnon.
Never far from a temper explosion. Following Cristian Romero’s reckless challenge on Xhaka, which resulted in a heated exchange between the Arsenal midfielder and Conte, the Gunners demanded a second yellow for Romero. Spurs only desired the subsequent goal.
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They failed to grab it, and the unavoidable fact is that Arsenal came closer to scoring a third when Lloris stopped Nketiah. How Gabriel Jesus’ absence due to injury has been minimized by Nketiah. Again, he was excellent. Spurs needed a big victory because they had only defeated Fulham and Brighton this year, both of which were in the top half of the table. Arsenal was the team that left with the most confidence.