Report: Sp*rs 1-0 Arsenal


Starting XI: Cech, Bellerin, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Wilshere, Xhaka, Elneny, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang

Subs: Ospina, Chambers, Kolasinac, Iwobi, Maitland-Niles, Lacazette, Welbeck


Harry Kane’s 49th minute header was enough for Spurs to beat Arsenal at Wembley in front of the biggest ever Premier League crowd.

83,222 watched a dominant second half display from the home side who, were it not for a series of fine saves by Petr Cech, should have beaten Wenger’s men by a wider margin.

The Gunners might have rescued a point at the death but substitute Alex Lacazette couldn’t convert either of his two chances.

First half

A tight, tense and fraught start set the tone for the half, as two well-matched sides played tidy football but struggled to find the cutting edge to create clear cut chances.

Arsenal lined up in a 4-3-3 formation with Xhaka, Elneny and Wilshere tasked with keeping Dembele, Eriksen and Alli quiet in the middle of the part. The trio in red remained disciplined and on retrieving possession did their best to feed quick ball to Ozil and Mkhitaryan.

Bellerin and Mustafi put in stand out performances before the break. The former snuffing out the threat of Son, the latter constantly harrying Kane. The German was particularly alert on 8 minutes as he lunged to prevent an Alli ball reaching Kane. Cech pushed the clearance around the post.

Spurs certainly had more of the ball in the opening stages but the Gunners had real cause for complaint when Aubameyang, through on goal, was ruled offside on 12 minutes. Replays showed he was level with Vertonghen as he raced on to an amazingly astute through ball by Wilshere.

Three chances for the home side just before the half-hour mark had Arsenal on the ropes for a bit. Eriksen’s looping header was claimed easily by Cech, Kane couldn’t keep a header down and Dembele scuffed an effort after a half-cleared corner reached him on the edge of the box. The pressure often seemed to stem from us surrendering possession too easily, particularly from long balls by Cech.

At the other end Mkhitaryan, whose passing was a bit off, made a mess of a cross aimed at Aubameyang and Bellerin fired just over from the right-hand diagonal corner of the box.

Second half

Spurs came out on the front foot and within three minutes had the lead. A cross from Davies on the left found Kane, climbing over Koscielny, to head past a static Cech. Monreal went mad at the linesman for not giving a foul.

Kane might have double the lead twice in the space of four minutes. First a header, this time from a Dier cross on the right, skimmed just wide then Cech had tostand firm and block a ferocious volley from the penalty spot.

The Arsenal goal continued to come under fire and the Gunners were thankful for Cech’s acrobatics as he stopped Eriksen’s free-kick flying in the top left corner.

Having stemmed the tide temporarily, Wenger threw on Lacazette and Iwobi for Mkhitaryan and Elneny. Aubameyang moved out to the left to accommodate Lacazette in the middle.

It took until 67 minutes for the Gunners to have a first effort of the half. A decent break involving Ozil and Aubameyang eventually saw the ball break to Wilshere but Lloris clawed his curling effort from the edge of box away from danger.

Back came Spurs. Alli had a glorious chance after racing through the Gunners absent defence but with Cech to beat he toe-poked just wide. The Arsenal keeper then denied both Lamela and Trippier at close quarters. One nervy passing interchange with Mustafi aside, the veteran shot-stopper was masterful.

With five minutes remaining Welbeck came on for Xhaka. It left our formation incredibly top-heavy but with so little time for an equaliser it was the only option. Lamela had a chance to kill the game – he flashed wide – before we finally manufactured two decent chances. Both fell to Lacazette and he fluffed his lines twice. First he volleyed way over from a Bellerin cross and then, one-on-one with Lloris, he fired wide with the goal gaping. Wenger went ballistic.

There was one final opportunity to rescue a point when Ozil lined up a free-kick with four minutes of stoppage time done and dusted. He hit the wall, it was a poor effort that summed up yet another bad away day for the Gunners.

Defeat leaves Arsenal seven points adrift of Spurs and facing the prospect of another year without Champions League football. That’s unless we can win the Europa League. We tackle Ostersund over two legs next.

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