Arsenal beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in a crucial Premier League match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday to extend their lead at the top of the league table. Hugo Lloris scored an own goal in the 14th minute to hand Arsenal an early advantage. Martin Odegaard then scored a wonderful goal in the 36th minute to seal the deal for the Gunners.
Arsenal now lead the league table with 47 points from 18 matches, with Manchester City and Manchester United trailing them with 39 and 38 points, respectively. With the current season almost halfway through, the Gunners look like a strong bet to win their first league title in almost two decades. On that note, we will take a look at two things that stood out in the match:
1. Arsenal’s flawless football in the first half left Tottenham stunned:
Arsenal were almost flawless in their performance in the first half. Their ball recovery was brilliant, with the Gunners winning almost all the second balls, and Thomas Partey, who has to one of the best holding midfielders in the league, pulled strings quite adroitly in the midfield.
Bukayo Saka and Ben White combined very well down the right flank to compound Tottenham’s misery, as Ryan Sessegnon, the left-back for the Spurs, was given a torrid time by those two. Moreover, Odegaard yet again excelled as the No. 10 and Eddie Nketiah put pressure on the Tottenham defense with his enviable work-rate.
Tottenham started with a 3-4-3, but their formation effectively remained a 5-2-3 for the majority of the first half, as both Sessegnon and Matt Doherty stayed deep for the most part. The first goal was conceded following a howler by Lloris, but the touch of brilliance was all over the second.
Odegaard got the ball inside the Tottenham half and stunned Lloris with a brilliant left-footed grounder to score his eighth goal of the season. Tottenham looked down and out at that stage.
2. Tottenham performed better in the second half, but could not score:
As if shaken by the double reversal, Tottenham started having more men in the opposition half in the second half and also played a few crosses to Harry Kane inside the opposition box.
Kane then played a one-two with Sessegnon to set him free inside the Arsenal box, but the latter could not beat Aaron Ramsdale from a close range. Dejan Kulusevksi threatened for the home side down the right flank for a brief period of time, but could not break the resolute Arsenal defense.
Antonio Conte then introduced Richarlison, who suffered an injury in the World Cup and has not played since then, but the Brazilian looked a bit rusty. William Saliba and Gabriel shepherded Arsenal’s goal really well, as Conte also threw in Ivan Perisic in place of Sessegnon.
Arsenal defended with more men behind the ball in the second half and succeeded in keeping Tottenham’s forwards at bay. Son Heung-Min underperformed for the Spurs, as the home side could not score even once in the second half. Mikel Arteta’s side continue to be the team to beat in the ongoing season and the glory days might well be ahead for the Gunners.