The North London Derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs was a match with a lot at stake for the two clubs. It was especially so for Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta. The match was set up to be difficult after Arteta had decided to leave out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the lineup.
Reportedly, the striker captain had been late for Sunday training. The disciplinary call was questioned given the form the striker is currently in. Aubameyang has scored 9 goals in the last 12 matches he has played. Moreover, Spurs was expecting to continue their return to form.
The Plan That Worked For Arsenal
However, Jose Mourinho had to substitute Heung-Min Son after the player got injured, 20 minutes into the game. Gareth Bale was also substituted before the 60-minute mark. Harry Kane failed to make any sort of useful impact on the game.
Of the two clubs, Arsenal was decidedly more tired. They had just come back from Greece for their Europa League round-of-16 tie against Olympiakos. Spurs had a home match against Dinamo Zagreb. Still, the Gunners showed more energy for most of the match even and earn a victory even without the captain.
In the previous derby between the two, Arteta’s tactics were criticized for letting Mourinho run away with the game with his trademark counter-attacking playstyle. This time around, the players were much warier even when they did not have the ball.
Spurs managed only one shot on target for the first half. It was also their only goal. It was a wonder goal by Lucas Moura who was brought on in place of Son. Arsenal had made a lot more headway until Odegaard turned in a cross from Tierney with a deft touch. The second goal came from a Lacazette penalty.
Spurs are still in front of Arsenal at the league table. However, the result has given some credibility to Arteta’s belief in his team and managing tactics.