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Arsenal v Spurs, 19.12.18


Spurs scorers:-
Son, 20
Dele, 59

Attendance:- 59,016

Referee:- Jon Moss
Assistants:- Marc Perry & Andrew Halliday
Fourth official:- Craig Pawson
VAR:- Andre Marriner
AVAR:- Sian Massey-Ellis

Arsenal (4-2-3-1):- Cech (Capt.); Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Xhaka, Monreal; Torreira, Guendouzi (sub Nketiah, 65); Mkhitaryan (sub Koscielny, 46), Ramsey, Iwobi (sub Lacazette, 58);Aubameyang

Subs not used:- Martinez; Lichsteiner; Elneny, Willock

Booked:- Guendouzi (foul on Lucas Moura), Xhaka (Dissent)

Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Gazzaniga; Trippier, Alderweireld, Davies, Rose (Capt.); Sissoko, Winks; Lucas Moura (sub Kane, 58), Dele, Eriksen; Son (sub Lamela, 79)
(Armband handed to Kane after he came on)

Subs not used:- Vorm; Walker-Peters, Foyth; Skipp; Llorente

Booked:- Dele (unsporting conduct – allowed ball to run into Arsenal goal after offside decision), Eriksen (delaying Arsenal free kick)

Oh you beautiful boys!

Spurs gained sweet revenge for their recent 4-2 Premier league defeat here with their first win at The Emirates since Younes Kaboul scored the winner in a 3-2 Premier League win in November 2010. The win was achieved courtesy of two great goals, the second of which was such a thing of beauty that any generation of Spurs player would be proud. Harry Kane had started on the bench, and no sooner had he entered the fray than he sent Dele Alli away down the left channel. Dele had of course anticipated the ball and made the run, before beating Cech with a nonchalant and artistic flick over his head into the far corner of the goal to bring scenes of wild celebration in the Spurs end. Arsenal hit the woodwork twice after that, but Spurs managed and defended the game well, thoroughly deserving their win. Now we face Chelsea in the semi-finals next month!

Both managers fielded strong teams, although they also rotated where possible. Emery perhaps had less options. Pochettino chose Gazzaniga in goal, with Vorm on the bench. Gazzaniga has now won all seven games he has played for the senior Spurs team. His is quite a record! The back four was unchanged from Saturday’s game against Burnley, and Ben Davies excelled at centre-back, with Alderweireld his usual composed and efficient self. Harry Winks played beside Sissoko, and the front four was Lucas Moura, Dele, Eriksen and Son. These four positions were interchangeable, with Lucas often the front man.

Emery started unusually with a back four, but reverted to three at half-time when Koscielny came on for the injured Mkhitaryan. The Arsenal defence was somewhat makeshift, but it was a strong line-up in front of them. This morning’s press is making something of the total absence of Mesut Ozil.

Arsenal kicked off, playing towards the current version of the “Clock End” where the Spurs fans were assembled in eager anticipation. They had an early corner, from which Mkhitaryan headed wide of the target. Iwobi forged the next chance for the home side, crossing inside from the left for Ramsey, who pushed his shot wide of the far post. Sissoko had a move down the right flank, exchanging and passing inside to Lucas Moura, who in turn fed the ball to Eriksen on his left. Eriksen’s shot was wide. Dele had a header go over the goal from a Trippier cross. At the other end Mkhitaryan took a ball from Ramsey and was through one on one against Gazzaniga. Mkhitaryan’s shot was not convincing and straight at the Spurs goalkeeper who saved.

A lengthy period of possession for Spurs ended with a shot by Eriksen which passed a yard over Cech’s goal. Eriksen had already had one probe outside the area in the preceding move. Spurs took the lead after 20 minutes with direct football. Gazzaniga hit a long clearance which was fielded and turned into Son’s path by Dele. Son advanced down the right channel and planted his left foot shot beyond Cech!

After 26 minutes, Guendouzi passed to Aubameyang, whose left footed shot was wide. Arsenal had a corner after 29 minutes from which Spurs made a break started by Lucas Moura’s challenge inside the Spurs area. Eriksen, Trippier and Sissoko advanced with Sissoko scooping over a glorious chance from Eriksen’s final pass. Both Lucas Moura and Mkhitaryan needed treatment.

Referee Jon Moss liked to try and play the advantage but this didn’t work out in spurs favour when a move broke down after 38 m minutes, and play was not brought back. Maitland-Niles fired high from another Arsenal corner. There was a bit of pantomime action by Spurs in their area following Danny Rose’s pass-back and Gazzaniga’s miscued attempt at a clearance. The danger was however cleared, but a couple of minutes later Iwobi passed inside to Ramsey, whose shot was pushed onto the post by Gazzaniga, diving to his right. Arsenal had a short corner on the right just before the break, but Sokratis headed over when the ball was crossed.

Emery switched to 3-4-3 at half-time. Lucas Moura made a run for a ball by Son, but Cech was always going to be the winner here. Playing to their usual formation and style, the home team did put the Spurs defence under some pressure, but we were strong and firm. Danny Rose “won” a free kick about 25 yards out, but Eriksen’s free kick was fodder for Cech. Son also had a cross/shot held by the goalkeeper. Arsenal had a free kick outside the left side of the Spurs area, taken by Xhaka and skied!

Iwobi was replaced by Lacazette, but Mauricio Pochettino now put on Harry Kane for Lucas Moura. Almost with his first touches, Harry received a ball near the half-way line from Gazzaniga, chested it, controlled it, turned and sent it down the left where Dele was already making a bee-line towards Cech’s goal. Dele’s final coup de grace was artistry and cheeky, as he flicked the ball over Cech’s head with the outside of his right foot. It was pure joy and beauty!

Arsenal nearly responded immediately with Lacazette receiving a short ball from Aubameyang, but hitting his shot wide off the outside of Gazzaniga’s left post. That was as close as the home side came to scoring, and I don’t think I recall their fans leaving in so many numbers as the game neared its climax. There had been an incident near the touchline where Dele was apparently struck by a bottle (of water) thrown from the crowd, but he handled that with aplomb too, signalling the score to the home crowd. There was one other occasion when an Arsenal cross hit the top of the bar, but Gazzaniga’s goal remained intact. Dele got booked when he basically followed a shot into the net, after the offside flag was raised, but it is not as if he deliberately struck a shot after the decision. There was one more save for Cech to make too – from Eriksen’s shot.

The last time we eliminated Arsenal from the league cup, we beat Chelsea in the final in 2008. May that sequence continue in January! Espen Baardsen was the last Spurs goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet away to Arsenal, in November 1998. I was surrounded by gooners on my train ride home, but I was the one with the biggest grin!

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