Spurs 2 Arsenal 1

Heung-Min Son 19, Alderweireld 81, Lacazette 16

The key to taking the lead, is not to relax immediately afterwards. Don’t do anything silly, preserve the lead and build on it. Alexandre Lacazette gave Arsenal the lead after 16 minutes in Sunday’s North London derby at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium. But rather than doing any of the above, three minutes later, and the Gunners had gifted the home side the leveller through Heung-Min Son. But, just what was Sead Kolasinac trying to do, passing back an impossible ball to David Luiz and in front of Emiliano Martinez? Play it down the channel if you have to go back, or better still aim upfield and away from danger. Son, couldn’t believe his luck to gratefully accept the back pass to then chip the ball over the spreading Martinez.

 

Lacazette hadn’t scored away from home for over a year, and here, he had his second away goal in as many games. Granit Xhaka won possession deep in the Spurs half, and with Lacazette taking a touch, he let fly from 20 yards out to beat Hugo Lloris at his near post top corner.

 

Mikel Arteta had seen his side give away the lead in recent games against Leicester and at Brighton, and this is something he will need to address. Mistakes can happen in football of course, but the same type of mistakes? Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi remained absent, Pepe started following a spot of paternity leave, with Buako Saka left on the bench. What Rob Holding has to do to get a game is unknown, but what is known is that he would have made sure that Alderweireld would not have had a free header to level from a corner in the 81st minute. Kieran Tierney was entrusted to mark the Holland defender, a mismatch for all sorts of dimensional reasons. Luiz or Mustafi should have swapped with Tierney.

 

The Gunners did have Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s second half chance to re-take the lead, however with Lloris rooted to the spot, Aubameyang hit the woodwork. Ben Davies had done likewise with a strike from 25 yards for Spurs, with the fingertips save of Martinez keeping the score down. Dani Ceballos was again at the heart of the Gunners creativity, but the end product didn’t go according to plan.

 

Mikel Arteta has played in north London derbies, and he gets what it means to turn up and take responsibility. With European football now almost off the horizon, the Arsenal head coach will need to establish what he wants from the players who will remain, and then look to continue the re-build next season. The defence will seem the obvious place to start.

 

Arteta said, “We gave them the game again, an individual error and the set-piece that cost us three points again. But I’m extremely proud of the way the team played. This is who we are, it doesn’t matter in which ground we will come here and do what we’ve done today, nullify the opponent and force them to kick the ball long and give it back to us. We have to improve in these areas because to compete at that level, you know the game is always open and when you [don't] close it, you always have the uncertainty of what’s going to happen. It’s part of the process that we have and we will learn.”

 

Arteta admitted that the defence is one of the main areas of concern, but noted that his team should have had the nous to grab the second goal, their dominating warranted.

 

That effect, sometimes when a moment like this happens, after you are ahead, you are completely dominating the game, you feel solid, you feel you are pressing the right way, that you are nullifying the opponent. And that happens obviously, your mind goes a little bit like this. Then in the second half it looks like ‘OK, we are going to go, let’s go and score the second guys and try to win the game’. The set-piece came in and we conceded the goal and then there wasn’t enough time to turn it around.”

Arsenal next welcome the new Premier League champions Liverpool on Wednesday.