The worst team in the EPL at the start of September is now one of the form teams
Sunday 26th September, Emirates Stadium
Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur
(Smith-Rowe 12, Aubameyang 27, Saka 34) – (Son 79)
For both the North London ‘giants’ it was as if the first month of the season had never happened. Spurs had looked imperious at the start of the season, but now seem to be heading into free-fall. Arsenal, who were (correctly) described as the worst team in the Premier League throughout August, have suddenly exploded into life over the last few games, They are playing some quite exhilarating football, albeit in patches. Their victory over their bitter archenemies here was by far Arsenal’s best performance of the season – arguably their best since Mikel Arteta became their manager – with the match wrapped up before half-time. They are just five points off top spot, and, ironically, now dead level with Spurs in the table.
Arsenal were easy winners, with Bukayo Saka, fully recovered from his penalty nightmare at Euro 2020, having a glorious match on the wing. His cross on 12 minutes was swept home with aplomb by starlet Emile Smith-Rowe to open the scoring. Smith-Rowe then added an assist of his own fifteen minutes later, setting up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score. It was a goal Aubameyang’s own confidence has needed after a poor start to the season.
The third was a thing of beauty from Saka, but a comedy of errors from Spurs – particularly Harry Kane, who had a dire match in general. Kane managed to fall over the ball as Spurs were building an attack, and Saka pounced, breaking downfield at speed. Attempting to redeem his own error, Kane chased back, but managed to miss not one but two tackle attempts. Saka shrugged him off, worked his way into the area, and slotted a cool finish past the unprotected Hugo Lloris.
The goal summed up the first half for both sides perfectly. It also sums up where Spurs have started malfunctioning, and it is a sobering, ironic development. Basically, after all the on-off transfer speculation surrounding him in the summer, the Spurs team have been misfiring ever since Kane returned to the starting line-up. The implications of that are extremely unsettling for anyone connected with Tottenham Hotspur.
The second half was a comparative non-event. Spurs played a bit better, and Kane wasted a couple of decent openings. But by the time Son Heung-Min put the ball in the net with ten minutes to go, the match was already long over as a contest. Any further fightback from Spurs, while creditable, would have been an injustice.
The Gunners have the bragging rights in North London, as they so often do.
By Martin Odoni
Click here for a secure way to sign up, you will be supporting independent news. Click the button below.
Disagree with this article? why not write in and you can have your say? email us