Arsenal vs Tottenham Hotspur. Premier League.
Free match highlights and report as first-half goals from Emile Smith Rowe, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Bukayo Saka give Gunners dominant north London derby win; Arsenal have now won their last three, while Spurs have lost their last three
Monday 27 September 2021 06:15, UK
A memorable first-half flurry from Arsenal gave them a 3-1 win over their sorry rivals Tottenham in a one-sided north London derby at the Emirates.
Arsenal bludgeoned a limp Spurs with three goals in 23 first-half minutes, the first through Emile Smith Rowe from Bukayo Saka's cut-back (12), and the Gunners continued to pound their rivals on the counter as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang swept home Smith Rowe's centre (27).
Spurs have not won at the Emirates in the league since 2010, and this contest was over within 34 minutes as Saka turned past Hugo Lloris from close range after Harry Kane had tried and failed to dispossess him in the box.
It prompted Graeme Souness to describe Spurs' first-half display as "shocking" and "non-existent" in the Sky Sports studio, while Mikel Arteta described the first-half display as the best since he'd been at the club.
Kane, still without a Premier League goal this term, could have had two, heading wide unmarked from a corner then lifting over Aaron Ramsdale and wide having found himself through on goal, but Spurs did pull one back through Heung-min Son (79).
It denied Arsenal a clean sheet, but Ramsdale's world-class fingertip save from Lucas Moura's deflected effort in injury-time made up for it as the summer signing continues to impress.
The tables have turned on both sides' seasons - Arsenal have won their last three having lost their first three, while Spurs have the same record in reverse, conceding three goals in each of their last three Premier League games. They're 11th, with Arsenal now ahead in 10th.
Arsenal: Ramsdale (8), Tomiyasu (8), Gabriel (7), White (8), Tierney (7), Xhaka (8), Partey (7), Odegaard (7), Saka (8), Smith Rowe (9), Aubameyang (7).
Subs: Lokonga (NA), Maitland-Niles (NA), Tavares (NA)
Tottenham: Lloris (6), Tanganga (3), Sanchez (5), Dier (5), Reguilon (5), Hojbjerg (5), Ndombele (4), Moura (5), Alli (3), Son (6), Kane (5).
Subs: Skipp (6), Emerson Royal (5), Gil (5)
Man of the match: Emile Smith Rowe
Arsenal came into the game on better form, winning their last two in the league without conceding, while Spurs had lost their last two with an aggregate score of 6-0. It showed in the first half.
Unlike in an impressive first half against Chelsea seven days prior, Spurs were more rigid in their shape, abandoning the high press, and they were mere spectators at the Emirates.
The hosts took the lead through Smith Rowe's first league goal of the season, sweeping past Lloris from Saka's cut-back from the right flank.
Spurs were "appalling in and out of possession," said Gary Neville on co-commentary, and after Thomas Partey and Aubameyang went close from long range, the passive visitors were punished again.
In a sensational counter, Aubameyang flicked Kieran Tierney's pass out wide to Smith Rowe on the left, and he returned the favour, squaring for Aubameyang to turn into the bottom left corner from 12 yards.
Arsenal were running riot and had a third seven minutes later as Saka was released on the right channel; Kane tried to recover the ball, sliding in on his England team-mate, but after inadvertently diverting the ball back to Saka, the youngster slotted into the far corner from close range.
It said it all that 221-goal Kane, also the top scorer in this fixture, was back in his own penalty area desperately trying to defend, while registering just one touch in the Arsenal area in the first 45, a free header wide just before the break from a corner.
Spurs attempted to stem the flow by bringing on Oliver Skipp and Emerson Royal for the tormented Japhet Tanganga and anonymous Dele Alli at the break - "I won't name individuals who didn't play the game plan right but the game plan was not right according to the players who were on the pitch" said Nuno after the game - but they didn't get the initial reaction they desired.
After the hour mark, Kane did sting the hands of Ramsdale from distance, and then missed a huge chance to pull one back, latching onto Eric Dier's long ball but lifting over the on-rushing Ramsdale, the only man in his way.
There was impetus in Spurs' play, but it came too late. Son pulled one back with 11 minutes remaining, finding the net from Sergio Reguilon's cross as Ramsdale got a hand to it, but couldn't keep it out.
The narrative around Arsenal has changed dramatically in recent weeks after four straight wins in all competitions, and similarly around goalkeeper Ramsdale, the £30m summer signing from Sheffield United supposedly as No 2 to Bernd Leno.
He produced one of the saves of the season so far late on, tipping Moura's deflected, long-range shot onto the crossbar to prevent a nervy ending.
Arsenal made one change following the 1-0 victory at Burnley last weekend as Granit Xhaka returned from suspension and replaced Nicolas Pepe.
Tottenham made three changes in the wake of last Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to Chelsea as Japhet Tanganga and Davinson Sanchez were drafted into defence, with Lucas Moura coming into the Spurs attack. Cristian Romero, Emerson Royal and Giovani Lo Celso dropped to the Spurs bench.
The Emirates was bouncing at full-time, the best atmosphere at this ground under Mikel Arteta's tutelage, but for Spurs it was a humbling afternoon in which they were second best in every area, with Nuno the first Spurs boss to lose as many as four times in his opening 10 fixtures since Glen Hoddle back in 2001.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta: "This win is for the fans. They were there when we needed their support, and it doesn't get much better than the atmosphere we saw today, so this is for them. We started really strongly and were determined. It's probably one of the best games I've seen us play in that period in the first half. In the second half we had to do what we had to do.
"The determination, the conviction and connection with our people. We just need to keep everyone alive and fit because we are going to need everyone. It was probably the exact mix we needed with the senior players stepping in, dominating the game, the leadership of Granit and Thomas, and then the youth, full of enthusiasm and good energy.
"It's not just about winning it's the way we did it. It's a special day."
Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo: "The performance was not good. The game plan was not good. The decisions were not good. It was not a good day for us. Definitely not a good day.
"I'm going to be honest. When you have a game plan you have to make the right decisions in terms of who you want on the pitch to develop that game plan. I won't name individuals who didn't play the game plan right but the game plan was not right according to the players who were on the pitch.
"We were not aggressive enough to control Arsenal in midfield. We suffered when we wanted to go in front an we allowed Arsenal to come to us. Bad decisions."
Sky Sports' Gary Neville:
"Arsenal had a far better application to the game, but Tottenham's game plan looked really basic. It looked like they just wanted to knock it forward at any cost, and they were playing aimless balls forward.
"Spurs' courage to play, their appetite to win the ball back and get forward was completely different from what it was against Chelsea last week, and Arsenal ran all over them. It was a really poor first half.
"In the second half, you could say Harry Kane should have scored two or three goals and could have had a penalty. But Harry Kane is not right, there is something obviously not right with him at the moment, he doesn't look happy at all.
"That's a bad day for Nuno and those Tottenham players because their fans will have left the ground thinking there are more problems than just losing 3-1 to Arsenal."
Arsenal's Emile Smith Rowe to Sky Sports:
"It's probably the best day of my life. To have my family here as well, it's a special feeling."
Arsenal's Pierre Emerick Aubameyang to Sky Sports
"It means the world to us. The fans give us everything. They push us. It's an amazing feeling, just unbelievable. It's quite easy when the young players listen and are ready to learn.
"The most important thing is they improve as they play. They are doing amazing."
Arsenal now go to Brighton in the Premier League on Saturday Night Football, live on Sky Sports Premier League at 5.30pm, while Spurs host NS Mura in the Europa Conference League on Thursday at 8pm before welcoming Aston Villa in the Premier League at 2pm on Sunday.
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