Goalscorers: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 10 PEN, 56, Eric Dier 30, Harry Kane 34 PEN, Alexandre Lacazette 74, Lucas Torreira 77
Arsenal: Bernd Leno, Rob Holding, Shkodran Mustafi (Matteo Guendouzi 71), Sokratis, Hector Bellerin, Sead Kolasinac, Lucas Torreira, Granit Xhaka, Alex Iwobi (Alexandre Lacazette 46), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Aaron Ramsey 46), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Tottenham Hotspur: Hugo Lloris, Serge Aurier, Ben Davies (Danny Rose 82), Juan Foyth, Jan Vertonghen (SENT OFF), Eric Dier, Christian Eriksen, Moussa Sissoko, Dele Alli (Harry Winks 79), Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son (Lucas Moura 79)
Referee: Mike Dean, Attendance: 59,973
The North London Derby is often one of the most captivating and exciting fixtures on the Premier League calendar. The clash between bitter rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur in December 2018 certainly didn’t disappoint. It was one of the Gunners’ best performances since Unai Emery succeeded Arsene Wenger as the club’s manager.
The home side were unbeaten in 18 matches in all competitions whilst Tottenham carried a three-point advantage over their capital rivals. However, their record at The Emirates was hideous; winning just once since Arsenal moved from Highbury in 2006.
Tottenham’s day started badly after eight minutes when Jan Vertonghen handballed in his own area. It began the Belgian’s miserable afternoon and his team went a goal down as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made no mistake from 12-yards. Arsenal looked sharper and fitter too with Spurs seemingly feeling the effects of a hard-fought win in midweek over Inter Milan.
However, Mauricio Pochettino’s team were made of sterner stuff and in four mad minutes, had turned the game on its head. First, Christian Eriksen’s free-kick was guided into the back of the net by the head of Eric Dier. Dier’s ‘hush’ celebration infront of the Arsenal supporters started a brawl involving both sets of players, substitutes and even the coaches with Pochettino getting involved in an attempt to become peacemaker.
Slightly rattled after the scuffle, Rob Holding fouled Heung-Min Son in the penalty area and Mike Dean pointed to the spot for the second time in the first half. Harry Kane kept his composure to score his eighth North London Derby goal, putting him joint-top of the list in Premier League history alongside Emmanuel Adebayor.
Trailing slightly harshly at the break, Emery made an inspired double substitution at half-time. Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were replaced at the interval by Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette. The double change worked wonders and Arsenal quickly stamped their authority on the match with an energetic second half display. Aubameyang became the first player to score 10 goals in the Premier League in 2018-2019; finishing instinctively in the 56th minute after being teed up by Ramsey.
Then, Lacazette punished Juan Foyth 16 minutes from time. The youngster gave away possession and despite slipping on contact, Lacazette’s strike on-goal had enough accuracy to defeat Hugo Lloris, helped by a deflection off Dier.
Three minutes later, the outstanding Lucas Torreira scored Arsenal’s 24th second half goal of the season with an emphatic shot. A foul on Lacazette four minutes from time saw Vertonghen’s terrible day end early with a red card. Arsenal had claimed a victory which will be go down as another North London Derby Premier League classic.