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North London derby: Three things we learned from Arsenal – Tottenham

North London derby: Three things we learned from Arsenal – Tottenham

North London derby: Three things we learned from Arsenal – Tottenham image
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Arsenal got a measure of revenge for an early-season North London derby loss as the hosts overcame a gorgeous Tottenham goal to collect a 2-1 win over their 10-man rivals at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Martin Odegaard and Alexandre Lacazette scored as Arsenal dominated Spurs save for a gorgeous rabona goal from Erik Lamela and a late sequence that saw Spurs take four of their six shots from the 90th minute forward.

[ MORE: Arsenal – Spurs player ratings ]

Lamela came on after 19 minutes for an injured Heung-min Son, but Tottenham saw the Argentine sent off with 14 minutes left and were denied a late equalizer by a brilliant Gabriel Magalhaes clearance.

Tottenham remains seventh with 45 points through 28 matches, three points off fifth-place and eight back of the top four.

Arsenal moves onto 41 points, level with ninth-place Aston Villa.

WATCH ARSENAL – TOTTENHAM FULL MATCH REPLAY STREAM

Three things we learned from Arsenal – Tottenham

1. Arsenal shuts down Spurs amid Aubameyang drama: Mikel Arteta risked all sorts of mayhem when he benched Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for (reportedly) being late to a team activity before the game, the coach admitting he took the captain out of the lineup. So the manager, captain, and really all of Gooner world will be thanking the players who were on the pitch, with special love to Arteta’s defensive midfield duo. Yes, Thomas Partey was nutmegged by Lamela’s glorious rabona, but the Ghanaian and his partner Granit Xhaka were essentially a no-fly zone that let precious few attackers anywhere near the Arsenal center backs, let alone the goal.

That will feel especially nice for Arteta, who asserted his authority with the Aubameyang move and showed his faith in the club’s depth. Aubameyang is one of the finest strikers of his generation but that did not warrant special treatment for a huge occasion.

Instead, Odegaard was very good, Lacazette did what he always seems to do, and Xhaka, Emile Smith-Rowe, Thomas, and Tierney all shone bright. Banner day for the Gunners.

2. Not about Mou: Look, Jose Mourinho has earned the many jabs he gets whenever there’s a mistake to be criticized, but Sunday is not about tactics or game plan. Mourinho used his stars sparingly on Thursday in the Europa League, deployed Gareth Bale, Harry Kane, and Heung-min Son at the start of the derby and was forced to remove Son through injury. Yeah he took off Gareth Bale but he also brought on Dele Alli for the final half-hour.

[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]  

Mourinho still could only watch as Arsenal absolutely shut down his best players. Defenders have been his side’s Achilles heel all season and the penalty (see Thing No. 3) wasn’t even much more than bad luck unless you want to blame Davinson Sanchez for believing Lacazette could pull off a sensational side volley. His forced sub, Lamela, scored an amazing goal but also took two yellow cards in seven minutes. Spurs managed two shot attempts. Two. This was not Kane’s derby, yet Spurs came within a struck post and a heroic clearance of a point in the 90th minute.

3. Lacazette the good soldier does it again (even off a flub): Alexandre Lacazette is a very, very good striker but — as it so often happens with veterans — is not used by Arteta as often as a player of his caliber would be in most situations. Now the penalty Lacazette won pure luck. Davinson Sanchez’s lunging block that took out the striker might have, well, been a lunging block had the striker connected with his side volley instead of missing most of the ball. But Lacazette now has seven goals and two assists in his last 14 league outings, all but one of the goal contributions coming across 10 starts.

Man of the Match: Kieran Tierney

The ex-Celtic hero has become an outstanding Premier League left back, and traced the left touch line all day with six tackles, an assist, and connecting on six-of-10 long passes.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

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