On Sunday afternoon, Arsenal fell to Spurs in Mikel Arteta’s first North London Derby as manager. Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly from the 2-1 loss.
On Sunday afternoon, Arsenal came crashing back to earth as their strong run of form ended with a disappointing defeat to their bitter rivals, Tottenham Hotspur. Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring with a thumping strike, before the defence combined to throw away the one-goal lead and leave the Gunners facing a bleak prospect.
In this recap, we take a closer look at the good, the bad, and the ugly from Mikel Arteta’s first North London Derby as manager.
The Good: Emiliano Martinez, Dani Ceballos, and Hector Bellerin
When Bernd Leno returns from injury next season, he may have a tough time getting back into the first XI. Emiliano Martinez has been simply outstanding in every aspect in the German’s absence. His shot-stopping ability has been on par and he actually looks better in other areas such as distribution and coming for crosses. The Argentine was quick off his line to deny Harry Kane on a couple of occasions and he made a spectacular save to tip Ben Davies’s shot from distance onto the bar.
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In midfield, Dani Ceballos continued his strong form, working diligently off the ball and playing some excellent penetrating passes forward. He and Granit Xhaka helped Arsenal control large stretches of the game, particularly in the second half when the Gunners had 76% possession. During this spell, they created a few decent chances, the best of which fell to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, whose shot cannoned off the crossbar. Mikel Arteta seems keen on bringing the Spaniard back next season, possibly on another loan, and based on this performance, it is easy to see why.
While this was not one of Kieran Tierney’s better games, Hector Bellerin was much improved on the attacking end. He completed three successful dribbles in the first half, more than the entire Spurs team. There was one great chance in particular that he created, racing down the right flank and putting in a decent cross which Aubameyang uncharacteristically scuffed. They say competition breeds excellence. Perhaps the arrival of Cedric Soares has lit a fire under Bellerin, who looks substantially sharper and more focused.