Arsenal painted North London red with an emphatic victory over rivals Tottenham at the Emirates to move above them on fourth after three second half goals ensured they got all three points.
Arsenal passed in what was the sternest test so far this season with a thrilling victory over Tottenham at the Emirates. The win took Arsenal above their rivals in fourth place, albeit on goal difference. The Gunners took the lead but were pegged back with two quick goals in the first half itself as Tottenham went into halftime with a lead, although Arsenal were the top performers during this period.
Tottenham’s two goals could have stirred controversy had they won the game, as Eric Dier was clearly offside for their equaliser and Holding’s challenge on Son that won the penalty for Spurs was somewhat difficult to judge. However, Arsenal, as they have done all season long, produced another masterful second-half performance, scoring three goals to net all three points and climb a place above their rivals into fourth on the table.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored Arsenal’s first two goals, Alexandre Lacazette scored the third off the bench, and Lucas Torreira scored the fourth for his first goal for the club since joining in the summer. Aaron Ramsey was another star who came on at halftime to provide the creative spark, as the wantaway Welshman assisted two crucial goals in the process.
Here’s how Arsenal’s players rated.
Bernd Leno – 7
One could call Tottenham’s equaliser a howler by Leno, although it was just a mistake or judgment error. The ball Leno was expecting a direct one from Eriksen although Dier’s light touch on it did harm for Leno to judge. Otherwise, the German keeper commanded his area well and was overall astute in saving what was thrown at him from time to time.
Shkodran Mustafi – 7.5
A conclusive display from Mustafi to lead his side’s defence. Was fired up and made sure his tackles were neat and positioned correctly to nullify Tottenham’s attackers. He was responsible for keeping Harry Kane quiet and did so to satisfaction.
Sokratis – 7
Sokratis’ reaction to any burgeoning attack was to tackle and did so quite many times throughout the match. On another note, it was one such tackle that led to the set-piece goal for Spurs’ equaliser. Barring that minor blip, the Greek had an excellent game.
Rob Holding – 7
As has been the case this season, Rob Holding produced another comfortable display. Comfortable because of his level of assuredness on the ball even when under tremendous pressure, and such a good show against the likes of Tottenham will go a long way in preserving his place in the side for next games. The only low point was conceding the penalty, although there was a minimal touch on Son in the first place.
Hector Bellerin – 7.5
Barring a few serious ball giveaways, Bellerin was at his attacking best. The wing-back role has brought about a new fluidity in the Spaniard in attack as well as balancing his act in defence. It was his ball that opened up the defence for Ramsey to touch and Aubameyang to score. Overall a good outing but must improve for both Tottenham goals resulted through his side of the pitch.
Sead Kolasinac – 8
Like how Bellerin is flourishing in the wing-back role, Kolasinac was a monster on the evening. The Bosnian created a game-high five chances for Arsenal and was at his best defending. Arsenal would see the very best of Kolasinac if they stick to this formation.
Lucas Torreira – 8.5
Torreira has seen his stock rise as well as a reputation for his ever-improving displays. Against Liverpool he nearly scored, against Bournemouth, he hit the post and finally got his first goal for Arsenal against Spurs. Apart from that goal, he practically controlled the midfield, winning the ball back many times to provide Arsenal with the necessary base to win games like these.
Granit Xhaka – 8
Brilliant game from Xhaka who was the stand-in captain on the evening. Created three chances, that is only second behind Kolasinac, displayed a different kind of assurance on the ball and made zero errors as well as never surrendered possession to the opposition throughout the 90-mins he played. Terrific game.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan – 6.5
Mkhitaryan was substituted during half-time, but he was the catalyst to a lot of attacking moves Arsenal made during this period. In the end, it turned out to be the best decision with the substitutions Emery, although Mkhitaryan did not do anything wrong on his part to be taken off.
Alex Iwobi – 6
Arsenal’s most underperforming star on the pitch, yet created enough to deserve that kind of rating. Iwobi tried his best to make something happen, although at times it looked like his play would click, eventually was substituted at half-time.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 9
Top class stuff from the Gabonese. Starting with his contribution in attack, he scored two goals, one from the penalty spot and the other a fantastic strike from outside the box. Got an assist as well for Torreira’s goal. What everyone missed was his defensive contribution as he was Arsenal’s best player for tackles. Aubameyang completed five tackles, more than any of his teammates.
Aaron Ramsey – 8.5
Masterful work from Emery to bring on the ‘direct’ Ramsey at half-time. Ramsey was immediately responsible for the next two goals and got assists for those. To sum it all up, Ramsey made 15 passes, got two assists, made two tackles one of which resulted in Lacazette’s goal. Terrific stuff from the Welshman.
Alexandre Lacazette – 8
Lacazette came on from the bench and immediately created a direct threat from the right side. In the end, got his deserved goal to give Arsenal the lead again in the game. The goal was a bit fortunate, coming off Dier’s legs, but Lacazette will be happy it went in.
Matteo Guendouzi – 6.5
Emery sent Guendouzi for Mustafi to preserve the energy on the pitch and the young Frenchman did just that. He covered lengths of the pitch from time to time and made sure Arsenal were pretty well when they had the ball.