It’s safe to say that Tottenham Hotspur fans were not optimistic heading into today’s North London Derby against Arsenal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. After a listless, lifeless, and goalless draw at Bournemouth, Spurs found their offense at home against their arch-rivals. Spurs got a first half equalizing goal from Son Heung-Min, and Toby Alderweireld thumped home a second half header off of a corner, and Tottenham jumped up to eighth place in the table, two ahead of Arsenal. Europe is still in sight!
There were some murmurings on social media that we’d see a “weird” Tottenham lineup for the NLD, but although Jose Mourinho made three changes from the side that started at Bournemouth, it was a pretty bog-standard Spurs XI since the restart. Davinson Sanchez came back into the side in place of Jan Vertonghen to start alongside Toby Alderweireld, and both Lucas Moura and Son Heung-Min started in place of Steven Bergwijn and Erik Lamela. The midfield was anchored by a trio of Giovani Lo Celso, Moussa Sissoko, and Harry Winks. Harry Kane was the man up top.
1’ — Spurs get off smartly, and Lucas takes a wicked pop from outside the top of Arsenal’s box seconds after kickoff. Martinez makes the save, but there was venom on that kick.
6’ — Spurs’ early formation looks like a weirdish 4-4-2 with Son moving centrally alongside Kane. Sissoko playing up high as almost a winger. Midfield “pivot” is Lo Celso and Winks. Arsenal are in a 3-4-3, trying to play through the center with Ceballos and Xhaka.
8’ — First decent half chance for Arsenal as a cross comes in to the near post. Alderweireld is able to get a header to the ball ahead of Lacazette and puts it out for a corner.
10’ — Chance! Lucas puts a lovely ball from the left flank to Kane’s feet who is through on goal. Kane tries to chip Martinez, but he just gets his hands up to block the chip. That was nice!
15’ — Yellow card for Gio Lo Celso, who swung out and hit Ceballos in the face. Michael Oliver lets play continue, then books him 30 seconds later.
17’ — Goal Arsenal. Lacazette with a screamer in the top corner. Not even mad, not gonna lie. That was lovely. It’s a bit against the run of play, but wow.
19’ — GOAL TOTTENHAM! IT’S SON HEUNG-MIN who pounces on a terrible back pass from Kolasinac to David Luiz. Sonny picks his pocket and pokes it past Martinez to level the score! It’s 1-1!
23’ — Kane is through on goal and has a close-range effort blocked away again by Martinez, but the flag is up for offside.
31’ — Ben Davies fires a cannon from long range, and Martinez just gets a fingertip to the ball and tips it off the crossbar. Wow. Almost a Puskas candidate, that.
34’ — Yellow card for Aurier who gives the ball away and then hacks down Lacazette on the wing. [shakes head]
40’ — Aubameyang takes a free kick just outside of the box, forcing Hugo to dive. Thankfully the shot goes just wide of the post.
46’ — Davis picks up a yellow card for a tackle on Pepe. Now both of Spurs’ fullbacks are on cards. Lovely!
HALFTIME — Real end to end stuff here in the first half of the North London Derby. Both teams have had chances, both teams have been sorta bad at defending. 1-1 feels fair, and the 2nd half is gonna be terrifying.
No changes to either side as the second half gets underway.
50’ — A little bit of the energy of the first half has leaked away as the 2nd half starts. Both teams just seem a little more tentative, a little less frenetic in the end-to-end ation.
55’ — Arsenal are taking advantage of the yellow cards in Tottenham’s team. They’re taking control of the possession and are putting Spurs’ midfield under a lot of strain. Mustafi with an overhead kick that forces Hugo to jump up and make a save.
59’ — Whoof, Arsenal nearly with the go ahead goal,. Aubameyang gets a free look in the box and fires it off the post. Just after, there’s a free kick to Arsenal just outside the area that goes straight into the wall. Spurs need a sub.
60’ — Pepe picks up a yellow card for Arsenal for shoulder-barging Lucas on a break.
69’ — Drinks break! Arsenal make their first sub for either side, bringing in Bakayo Sako for Nicolas Pepe. Any subs for Spurs? NOPE.
71’ — Nearly from Spurs — Kane drives into the box and pokes the ball to Sun Son, but Martinez is there to smother. Kane gets up gingerly, favoring his ankle, but seems to be okay. Whew!
76’ — Winks does his third pullback of an Arsenal player this match and finally picks up a yellow card, Spurs’ fourth of the match.
79’ — Another chance from Aubameyang. Bellerin has a shot blocked but it falls to Auba who fires a curler forcing a diving save from Hugo.
81’ — Another great pass from Lucas finds Kane, who can’t fire the ball past Martinez inside the box. It goes out for a corner.
82’ — GOAL TOTTENHAM!!! TOBY ALDERWEIRELD! Off the ensuing corner, Toby rises up to head the ball past Martinez! His first home goal since 2016! Spurs lead 2-1!
82’ — First sub for Spurs as Steven Bergwijn comes in for Lucas, who had an excellent match.
83’ — Kane through on goal again but Martinez somehow gets a glove on his shot and tips it out. Bergwijn wasn’t prepared for the rebound and can’t fire it home. And then a surprising sub as Oliver Skipp comes in for Giovani Lo Celso, Spurs’ second sub. Arsenal brings on Willock for Ceballos.
87’ — Another yellow for Spurs, as Bergwijn picks up the booking for shouldering Bellerin off the ball. In the ensuing play, Sonny is through on a counterattack but dallies on the ball and opts to shoot, which is blocked.
90’ — Into extra time! Sissoko barges down the right sideline and Sako is forced to foul him, picking up a yellow. Four minutes of ET.
92’ — Kane desperate for a NLD goal and shoots, but Martinez makes another save.
94’ — Spurs’ last sub is coming on: it’s Erik Lamela, coming on for Son. Spurs just need to hold on for a minute more.
FULL TIME! Spurs win the North London Derby, 2-1 behind goals from Son Heung-Min and Toby Alderweireld!
- Harry Kane didn’t score — a rarity in an NLD — but he was very good today, and Spurs are good when he’s good. On another day he’d have a hat trick, but Martinez had an excellent match for Arsenal to keep him (and others) out.
- My MOTM: Lucas Moura. He was outstanding today, not only providing a spark on offense but also helping out against Lacazette and Aubameyang as a defensive winger. Pressed well, dribbled well, had a great shot right at the beginning. Just a super solid all-around game.
Lucas Moura made 10 (TEN) tackles against Arsenal, the most any Tottenham player has made in a Premier League game across the past four seasons.— Squawka Football (@Squawka) July 12, 2020
An incredible shift. pic.twitter.com/kxMMyOPdZa
- Sissoko worked super hard on defense, pressing high and racing back to help Aurier. His athleticism was off the charts again. If only he could kick the ball!
- Looks like we got “Dumb Aurier” for this match. Several bad passes, challenges, and tackles, and was on a yellow midway through the first half. Thankfully Spurs were otherwise good enough defensively that none of his errors were catastrophic.
- Not the greatest match for Son, despite scoring the equalizing goal. Too many times I saw him either dither with the ball at his feet or fail to pick up his head to find the open teammate. He scored, yay! But he was frustrating to watch.
- Mourinho got his tactics exactly right in this match but I’m still flabbergasted by his (lack of) subbing. Not sure what Ndombele needs to do to get a match anymore, since I thought he’d earned it at the Vitality. Pleased for Skipp, but I don’t understand that sub.
- Stick this into my veins. NORTH LONDON IS WHITE!