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Pochettino hopes “stupid” Arsenal bottle-throwing fan is caught

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Throwing things at players: bad. Hitting them with objects: extra bad.

Leicester City FC via Getty Imag

Midway through the second half with Spurs leading 2-0 over Arsenal at the Emirates, goal-scorer Dele Alli received an unexpected present from the home fans. While at the sidelines getting ready for a throw-in, Dele was hit in the head by a capped water bottle, thrown by an Arsenal fan in the stands.

Thankfully, Dele wasn’t seriously injured — it was a plastic bottle, not glass, and it appeared to be more lofted at him than really chucked hard. Afterwards, Dele took the mickey on the crowd, using his hands to display the current 2-0 scoreline in retaliation. (For reference, see Theo Walcott in 2014.)

After the match, his manager, Mauricio Pochettino, didn’t downplay the incident, but was gracious towards Arsenal and its players.

“Yes I saw it. It was lucky that it wasn’t a big issue.

“For me, okay we play a derby and we hate each other in a good way but that is in a bad way when you go to damage some people or an opponent. I cannot talk in general because only one stupid person made a mistake.

“I respect the Arsenal fans, like I respect the professionals from Arsenal and I respect our fans. For one you cannot talk about everyone. I hope that Arsenal take responsibility and through the camera they can identify because it wasn’t a problem but it can happen to be a big problem, some big issue and how are we going to fix it? I think Arsenal are going to take some responsibility to identify the people.”

According to Dele, getting hit by a bottle just added some spice to a big League Cup quarterfinal win that was also Spurs’ first win at the Emirates since 2010.

“It is what it is. It made the goal a little bit sweeter and the win.

“I think when we came here last time we didn’t get the result we wanted so we knew how important it was today. It was a big test for us and I think it was a strong performance from us.”

Obviously throwing objects at players is bad — Spurs fans should know after one of them was arrested and charged with racial abuse in the first North London Derby for throwing a banana peel at Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Actually HITTING a player with an object is double-plus ungood. I have full faith that Arsenal will take this seriously, identify the fan, and take the appropriate action.

Dele clearly was in peak sh—thousery mode after the incident and riled up the crowd even further later on in the half. Flagged for offside, he continued to play, hurdled Peter Cech, and guided the ball into the back of the net despite the ref having blown the play dead a good 10 seconds earlier.

He rightfully got a yellow for time wasting, but I don’t think Spurs fans are all that bothered.