Many thanks to Declan Mulcahy for this match report.
Sunday 24 September 2023, 2:00pm
Arsenal (1) 2 Tottenham Hotspur (1) 2
Romero, 26 o.g
Saka 54 pen
Son 42, 55
Arsenal (4-3-3): Mikel Arteta
22 D Raya; 4 B White, 2 W Saliba, 6 Gabriel, 35 O Zinchenko; 8 M
Odegaard (c), 41 D Rice (20 Jorginho 45), 21 Fabio Vieira (29 K
Havertz 45); 7 B Saka (10 E Smith Rowe 90+7), 14 E Nketiah, 9 Gabriel
Jesus (24 R Nelson 77)
Subs: 1 A Ramsdale, 15 J Kiwior, 17 Cédric Soares, 18 T Tomiyasu, 25 M
Booked: Odegaard (15 ungentlemanly conduct asked referee to book an
opponent), Havertz (57 foul on Son), Nketiah (67 foul on Vicario)
Tottenham Hotspur (4-2-3-1):
13 G Vicario; 23 Pedro Porro, 17 C Romero, 37 M van de Ven, 38 D
Udogie; 29 P Sarr, 8 Y Bissouma; 21 D Kulusevski, 10 J Maddison (5 P-E
Hojbjerg 78); 22 B Johnson (27 M Solomon 63), 7 H-M Son (c) (9 Richarlison 79)
Subs not used: 20 F Forster, 12 Emerson Royal, 33 B Davies, 15 E Dier,
4 O Skipp, 36 A Veliz
Booked: Udogie (15 foul on Saka), Sarr (45+1 foul on Jesus), Bissouma
(45+1 dissent), Romero (75 pushed Jesus before corner was taken)
Captain's armband to Romero when Son was substituted
Emirates Stadium, Attendance: 60,156
Referee: Rob Jones
Assistants: Lee Betts, Wade Smith
Fourth Official: Michael Salisbury
VAR: Paul Tierney
Assistant VAR: Harry Lennard
Spurs see the sun with Son double producing an excellent result
Thanks to Chris Fincham for the picture
Ange Postecoglou had stated in his preview prior to the game. "We're
going to go out and play our football" and "You don't grow by being in
the shade; you need to stick your head up and see the sun." The Spurs
team lived up to his expectations, showed no fear and gave a fine
performance at a venue where the results have not been good over the
Postecoglou made one change from the victory over Sheffield United
with Brennan Johnson replacing Manor Solomon. This was Johnson's full
debut. Alejo Veliz made his first appearance on the substitutes bench.
Richarlison who had scored the late equaliser last week and then set
up the even later winning goal for Kulusevski had to be content with a
place on the bench. The corresponding fixture last season had taken
place one week later than this year. Only two players remained from
last year's starting XI Romero and Son. Postecoglou has fashioned his
own team and a very different way of playing.
Arsenal made one change from the win against Everton with Gabriel
Jesus replacing the injured Gabriel Martinelli. Leandro Trossard was
unavailable due to injury. At this point David Raya on loan from
Brentford appears to have displaced Aaron Ramsdale as Arsenal's number
From the first minute Spurs played the ball out from the back.
Arsenal played a high pressing game. However Spurs showed composure
under pressure and moved the ball up the pitch. Over the course of the
game Spurs made 65 more passes than their opponents and their accuracy
was slightly better 85.7% to 84.6% (see table at the end of the
report). Clearly this was a team which wasn't going to allow the
opposition to dominate the game despite their home advantage.
Spurs had the first shot when Johnson's effort was deflected for a
corner. From the corner Son put the ball in the net but was clearly
Jesus had an angled shot from the left which Vicario saved well.
Most of the Arsenal attacks were coming down the right wing from Saka
who was putting quite a bit of pressure on Udogie. After 15 minutes
Udogie fouled him. Odegaard immediately held up an imaginary yellow
card in front of referee Robert Jones. The latter did book Udogie for
the tackle but quite appropriately booked the Arsenal captain for
ungentlemanly conduct. The incident must have temporarily upset Udogie
because on the resumption of play he attempted a back pass to Vicario
which Jesus intercepted but the goalkeeper snuffed out the danger.
A Spurs attack resulted in a Porro cross from the right being
deflected. Sarr met it on the edge of the box but his effort was high.
After 25 minutes Odegaard played a nice pass to Saka at the back right
hand corner of the box. He unleashed a shot towards the far (left)
corner. Romero managed to intercept the shot but deflected it into the
near (right) corner of the goal. It totally wrong-footed Vicario who
had dived towards the initial direction of the shot. This was the
third consecutive league game that Spurs conceded the first goal but
they have won two and drawn one of those games.
Then Vieira put in a fine cross from the left towards Jesus who was
well-positioned. Van de Ven made a fine interception to deny him. He
had earlier made another well-timed tackle moving over to the right
side of the box to stop an attack.
Maddison made an uncharacteristic error when Jesus robbed him of the
ball in the Spurs box but his effort was high. Had he scored from this
good opportunity the outcome might have been different. Odegaard then
had a shot comfortably saved by Vicario.
After 37 minutes Son made a solo run down the right before cutting the
ball back. It found Johnson whose shot produced a diving save from
Raya. It was Spurs first shot on target.
Spurs now had the initiative. A cross from the right was deflected out
by Raya to Johnson who had another shot saved. The ball ran loose and
was collected by Maddison on the left wing. He rounded Saka and made a
run close to the end line. He set up Son who scored with a left-footed
shot in off the far (right) post.
In time added on a White tackle on Udogie could have resulted in a
booking but didn't. The referee played the advantage. Spurs lost the
ball which ended with Sarr fouling Jesus. Sarr was booked for the
tackle and Bissouma joined him in the book for dissent.
Mikel Arteta made two changes after the interval with Jorginho
replacing Rice and Havertz coming on for Vieira. The first change was
due to Rice having sustained a back injury whereas the other was a
Spurs had the first chance of the half when a ball was lofted in the
Arsenal box but Maddison couldn't control it.
The action then switched to the Spurs box. Following a corner Spurs
failed to clear the ball which fell to White who took a shot. It hit
Romero on the arm. It wasn't a deliberate hand ball but his arm was
stretched out from his body. VAR advised referee Jones to view the
pitch-side monitor. He then awarded a penalty.
Saka stepped up to take the penalty. Vicario dived to his right but
Saka sent his shot down the middle of the goal and scored.
Spurs response was emphatic. From the kick-off Maddison robbed
Jorginho of the ball in his own half. He set off towards the Arsenal
goal with Son in tandem. At the edge of the box they found themselves
two-on-one with Saliba. Maddison set up Son on the right of the box
and he scored with a right-footed shot the bottom left-hand corner of
the goal. Arsenal's lead had lasted for only one minute and
thirty-eight seconds. It was Son's 150th competitive goal for the club.
Around the hour-mark Johnson pulled up with what looked like a muscle
injury and was replaced by Solomon.
Maddison and Son then played a one-two just outside the Arsenal box
but the former's shot was high.
Then Vicario had the ball at his feet in his box. Nketiah came rushing
in and felled him after he had released the ball. It wasn't a nice
tackle and Nketiah was booked.
Maddison went down with a knee injury in his own half. Play continued
and Kulusevski played a good through ball to Son on the right of the
box but his shot hit the side-netting. Maddison's injury initially
looked as though it might be serious but he continued after treatment.
Spurs had a corner. Romero received a booking for pushing Jesus before
the corner was taken.
With a little over ten minutes remaining Nelson replaced Jesus for
Arsenal while Postecoglou brought on Hojbjerg and Richarlison for
Maddison and Son. The replacement of Spurs two most creative players
did allow Arsenal to regain the initiative.
Following an Arsenal corner a van de Ven glancing header went from one
goal post to the other before going for a corner. Luckily there was no
Arsenal player to attack it. Havertz hit a half-volley from the edge
of the box which went over.
As time added on started Arsenal had a series of corners which came to
naught. Saka had a shot through a crowded box which Vicario pushed wide.
There were ten minutes of added time but Spurs were never seriously
threatened. In contrast a few weeks earlier at the same ground
Manchester United conceded two goals in time added-on to lose 3-1.
Though the points were shared Spurs will be happier than Arsenal. They
enjoyed more possession, made more passes at a slightly more accurate
completion rate and matched their hosts in terms of shots.
Maddison and Son were the outstanding players. Maddison created two
superb opportunities for the latter. However Son still had work to do
to score the goals and deserves full credit. He has scored five goals
in his last three league games. Maddison meanwhile after six games has
created more chances and had more shots than Harry Kane did at the
same stage last season. So the Son-Maddison combination has lessened
the potential impact of the loss of Kane.
The two wide players Johnson and Kulusevski were a constant threat
today. Kulusevski has covered more ground than almost any other player
in the Premier League to date this season.
Postecoglou has made a major impact after only six league games. He
has created a happy team playing very attractive football. They
clearly have self-confidence as evidenced by this display away to one
of the best teams in the Premier League since the beginning of last
Postecoglou told Sky Sports "The character, the belief the team
showed, it's the team we want to be. They kept persevering and
persevering. There's a will and desire to become the team we want to
be which is making sure you're disciplined and buying into the team
Arteta commented to same source that "The second goal affected the
team emotionally and it became a transitional game, which is a risk if
you play against them. Then we lacked the quality in the final third.
Credit to them, they have the quality and chances to do that. We have
simple giveaways and we didn't do enough in certain areas to spread
out in certain areas."
Son is the first Spurs player to score two goals in a league game away
to Arsenal since John Hendry in May 1993.
Spurs have scored at least two goals in each of their first six league
games since 1965-66 and 1960-61. Postecoglou is only the fourth Premier League manager whose side have scored at least two goals a game in their first half-dozen matches. The other three are Carlo Ancelotti, Pep Guardiola and Craig Shakespeare.
Next weekend Spurs entertain Liverpool who are now in second place in
the table to Spurs fourth after this weekend's results. To date Spurs
look as though they may be able to mount a challenge for one of the
top four positions at the end of the season to qualify for next year's
Champions League tournament. A good result next week against Liverpool
would help those ambitions.
47 Possession 53
13 Shots 13
6 Shots on target 5
370 Passes 435
313 Passes Completed 373
84.6 % Completion 85.7
11 Corners 4
12 Fouls 19
3 Yellow cards 4