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18 Nov 2017

Arsenal Thrash Tottenham 2-0 In London Derby

Arsenal beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in the north London derby on Saturday, to move just one point behind their bitter local rivals in the league.
Arsene Wenger’s side were in superb form and took the lead when Shkodran Mustafi headed home a free-kick.

With Spurs still reeling, they added a second, with Alexis Sanchezfinishing from close-range.

Spurs saw far more of the ball and had more shots on goal then their rivals but they were poor throughout and needed Hugo Lloris to prevent Sanchez from running up the score at the end of the game.

Here are five things we learned from the match.

Pub bores will, of course, never tire of telling you that the game isn’t played on paper but this was one that, when the teams were announced, had looked like it could be quite even.

Arsenal’s XI was pretty much as strong as it could be and, though Spurs missed Toby Alderweireld, their side looked as good as ever.

But once the game started it was all Arsenal. Tottenham, so often composed and able to pick teams off, were frenzied and couldn’t clear their lines nor keep possession.

The first quarter of this game saw them barely leave their half, though they did at least prevent Arsenal from creating clear chances.

It set the tone for the entire game, with Arsenal managing to open up an early lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.

Mustafi was unwanted at Arsenal. He was put up for sale and expected to leave with a deal all but agreed for the World Cup winner to join Inter Milan.

But September saw him return to the first team and, after an injury absence, the German is now back for the first time in six weeks.

Mustafi’s return helps make Arsenal a more solid team. He is excellent in possession and aids the transition through the phases, but his major impact on this game was the opening goal – a sensational header that left Hugo Lloris with no chance.

After coming so close to giving up on his Arsenal career, Mustafi could quite easily find himself a key player in Arsene Wenger’s plans once again. He is paid for his defensive capabilities but there is more to his game than that and it was at the other end that the German had his most telling impact.

Forget the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen for a moment: Pochettino’s success at Tottenham has been built on keeping things tight at the back. For the last two seasons now they have had the best defensive record in the Premier League, with the recent acquisition of Davinson Sánchez for a club-record £42m beefing up their defence even further.

But with Alderweireld out with a hamstring injury against Arsenal, Spurs were a mess at the back. Mustafi was completely unmarked for Arsenal’s opener. And Sanchez was shown far too much space by Eric Dier and Kieran Trippier for their second.

Ironically, even when Spurs got things right at the back they quickly went wrong. Sánchez denied his Arsenal namesake with a fine sliding tackle in the first-half, only for Mike Dean to blow his whistle for a foul for a perceived shirt-pull.

Ozil then delivered a pinpoint cross into the box and Arsenal were in the lead.

Héctor Bellerín had a superb game for the hosts and will surely top the running distance stats for this match. The Spaniard was tireless, defending well and joining in with the attack at every opportunity.

He made things very difficult for Ben Davies, who had a poor game while Danny Rose sat warming the subs bench. Too often Spurs were carved open from attacks originating down his flank and Arsenal began overloading that side of the pitch whenever possible.

When will Rose return to Tottenham’s starting XI? The full-back must surely be close to full match fitness now after several weeks of being included in Pochettino’s match day squads.

Davies has been a more than adequate replacement and has come on leaps and bounds under Pochettino but Rose was one of Tottenham’s outstanding players last season and has been missed.

The German was outstanding for Arsenal against Tottenham today.

He ran the show for the home team and his ball into the box for Arsenal’s opening goal was sublime.

He departed to a standing ovation, with Arsenal fans signing his name as he lapped up the applause.

Will he extend his contract at the club or was this a performance to remind potential suitors of his match-winning quality? Either way, he fully deserved his Man of the Match award.

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