Match Report: Arsenal 3 – 1 Tottenham

Arsenal (1) 3 Tottenham Hotspur (1) 1

Premier League

Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU

Saturday, 1st October 2022. Kick-off time: 12.30pm

(4-2-3-1) Aaron Ramsdale; Ben White, William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhāes, Oleksandr Zinchenko; Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka; Bukayo Saka, Martin Ødegaard (c), Gabriel Martinelli; Gabriel Jesus.

Substitutes:Kieran Tierney, Eddie Nketiah, Rob Holding, Takehiro Tomiyasu, Fabio Vieira, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Reiss Nelson, (Marcus Vinicius Oliveira Alencar) Marquinhos, Matt Turner.

Scorers: Thomas Partey (20 mins), Gabriel Jesus (49 mins), Granit Xhaka (66 mins)

Yellow Cards: William Saliba, Gabriel Martinelli

Arsenal Possession Percentage: 65%

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Assistant Referees: Gary Beswick, Lee Betts

Fourth Official: Robert Jones

VAR Team at Stockley Park: VAR: Jarred Gillett; AVAR: Timothy Wood

Attendance: 60,278

Derby Day! The excitement and anticipation that the North London derby clash brings will become nigh on fever pitch as the kick-off time approaches. We will, of course, be more than keen to eradicate the sad memory of the last match between us, and the best way to do that is by ensuring a victory against our old rivals from N17, who are currently a single point behind ourselves in the Premiership table this morning. Our popular midfielder Emile Smith-Rowe is sidelined for three months due to a groin operation, and at the time of writing on the morning of the match, it remains to be seen if Kieran Tierney will be fit enough to participate in today’s match.

The visitors kicked off proceedings, but right from the start, we brought the game to Spurs, pinning them back into their own half, winning an early corner after a superb effort from Granit Xhaka. A couple of minutes later, a strike from Gabriel Martinelli earned us a corner, which sadly went nowhere. A cheeky flick from Granit Xhaka came close to opening the scoring, and our early domination continues. The match started to settle down with some firm tackling taking place from both sides now, and as we are pinning them down in their own half, things are looking good for Arsenal generally at this point in time. A Richarlison effort brought out a superb reflex save from Aaron Ramsdale, and as Harry Kane was flagged for an offside effort on our goal, it served as a good lesson for our defenders not to be complacent in the face of such clear and present danger that the Spurs centre-forward presents. Ben White blasted a ball over the bar, just before a superb Granit Xhaka twenty-yard effort which went inches past Hugo Lloris’ left-hand post. After twenty minutes, Thomas Partey hit the ball first time on the edge of the penalty area, which swerved just inside the top right corner, giving Hugo Lloris no chance at all. Interesting to note that immediately afterwards, Granit Xhaka gathered the players around in a huddle to ensure they keep focussed. Top man. The goal fired us up with a desire to score more goals in this hothouse atmosphere. On the half hour, Gabriel clumsily fouled Richarlison in the penalty area, and Harry Kane made no mistake from the penalty spot. We regrouped quickly, with Gabriel Jesus carrying it through the middle of the pitch but was unable to feed it through to Gabriel Martinelli, who was in a surefire scoring position. The penalty certainly fired the opposition up and they appeard to wake up, which is dangerous for us if we are not careful here. Bukayo Saka won a corner as his cross was blocked in the penalty area but there was a brief VAR check for handball beforehand, that was very quickly dismissed by the Stockley Park gang. As half-time approached, Gabriel Jesus received a ball from Martin Ødegaard, and it looked like he was going to score a second goal, as he danced through the Spurs defence, but the Spurs goalie was on hand to gather the ball up and neutralise the chance. Although there was two minutes injury time, our efforts came to nothing and we went into the break honours even.

The second half went underway with us looking for a quick and sharp start pressurising the visitors in their own half, and sure enough, just four minutes after the restart, Bukayo Saka whipped in a strong shot, which was completely mishandled by Hugo Lloris; thankfully Gabriel Jesus was on hand to nick the ball and fire it home from point-blank range. A few minutes later, after considerable Arsenal pressure, Gabriel Jesus was desperately unlucky not to score from a header just outside the six-yard box. Our confidence was on an upward trajectory now, with crisp passing, firm tacking and good scoring chances. Spurs grasped the nettle and just before the hour had a chance in which Pierre-Emile Højbjerg fired the ball over the bar from some twenty-five yards out. Just after the hour, Emerson Royal quite rightfully received a straight red card for an appalling tackle on Gabriel Martinelli which left the visitors down to ten men. After that incident, the match was subdued for a while, and despite the sending-off, we started to get back into gear rather quickly. After some exciting movement out on the right-hand side, Bukayo Saka cut inside, and his subsequent shot on goal went inches wide. And then, on the sixty-sixth minute, Thomas Partey found Gabriel Martinelli, who carried it along the edge of the box and left it for Granit Xhaka, who struck the ball low and hard and it was in the back of the net in the blink of an eye. Wonderful stuff. Smelling blood, we constantly and consistently moved forward looking for more goals this afternoon. Arsenal are just queuing up to look for yet more goals; Kieran Tierney and Albert Sambi Lokonga replaced Thomas Partey and Oleksandr Zinchenko with twenty-eight minutes of the match remaining. We dominated possession so much, that the match was starting to resemble a training game; William Saliba received a yellow card for an unfortunate tackle, and with twelve minutes of the game remaining, Gabriel Jesus and captain Martin Ødegaard (who handed the coveted armband to Granit Xhaka) was replaced by Eddie Nketiah and Fabio Vieira and our domination continued seamlessly. We are moving the ball around easily on the edge of the Spurs penalty area, penetrating, looking for more goals, but in doing so, Gabriel Martinelli received a pointless yellow card for a “striker’s tackle”, which was clumsy at best. Ben White was replaced by Takehiro Tomiyasu with a couple of minutes left of the game, and shortly afterwards, Kieran Tierney was unlucky not to add to our tally with an excellent twenty-five yard shot, in which Hugo Lloris just about got his fingertips to it, to push it by his left-hand post for an Arsenal corner. In time added on, game management came into play, and the closest we came to scoring a fourth was when Gabriel Martinelli fired a free-kick over the Spurs bar. It made no difference, as we ended up deserved winners by three goals to one.

Excellent performance by the boys today, a well-deserved win. Every man played their part, in particular Gabriel Martinelli, who was utterly devastating, as was Gabriel Jesus too. Club captain Martin Ødegaard was magnificent today, spraying balls all over the pitch for the strikers to run onto. William Saliba was masterful and is growing into a top-class defender, but the man of the match was undoubtedly Granit Xhaka, whose top-class performance and leadership skills fired the boys on to greater glories. Top of the league, having a laugh? You betcha.

Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: FC BodØ/Glimt at the Emirates on Thursday, 6th October at 8.00pm (Europa League). Be there, if you can. Victoria Concordia Crescit.

Steve

Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon

1 thought on “Match Report: Arsenal 3 – 1 Tottenham

  1. Jim

    Glad you point up Xhaka’s leadership huddle following goal, which was also noticed elsewhere. We remember the manager’s comment after loss to ManU that the team “lacked some discipline in some moments” — obviously a reference to going behind minutes after equalising. It takes nothing away from the team captain to say that Xhaka is now quite obviously the manager’s voice on the pitch, a role that was clearly lacking in our darkest period. I recall that, after his troubled relationship with the fans, he refused last year to accept the armband when the captain went off. Nothing like that now.

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