English Premier League: Arsenal hold off Spurs in north London ...

29 Apr 2024

Arsenal held on to beat battling local rivals Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 away and remain a point clear at the top of the Premier League after an emphatic first-half display and a nervous second period in an electric derby atmosphere on Monday (NZ time).

An own goal by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and efforts from Bukayo Saka and Kai Havertz put the Gunners in control at halftime and although Spurs fought back through Cristian Romero's strike and a Son Heung-min penalty, the visitors claimed the three points.

Victory kept Mikel Arteta's Gunners ahead of second-placed champions Manchester City, whose 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest later on Sunday put them within a point with a game in hand.

Liverpool are four points behind City in third spot, but like Arsenal having played 35 matches with three games left.

Tottenham's defeat hit their hopes of playing Champions League football next season as they stand seven points off fourth-placed Aston Villa, albeit still with two games in hand.

Erling Haaland celebrates his goal for Man City. Erling Haaland celebrates his goal for Man City. Photo credit: Getty Images

Having built such a commanding lead it looked as though Arsenal could inflict humiliation on their arch-rivals but in the end they were happy to hear the final whistle - the players celebrating in the corner with their fans.

"I was praying at the end. It was a really emotional game. This is a tough place to come and a great team to play against. We had to dig in and suffer," Arteta, who reached 100 Premier League wins as Arsenal manager, told Sky Sports.

Arsenal arrived at the home of their neighbours desperate for a win to boost their title challenge and got the perfect start after 15 minutes when midfielder Hojbjerg headed the ball back into his own net from a corner.

Tottenham reacted to going behind and defender Romero hit the outside of the post from a James Maddison cross.

The hosts thought they had equalised when Micky van de Ven placed the ball past keeper David Raya after Pedro Porro's strike deflected to him and the stadium erupted but after a long delay the goal was ruled out by VAR for offside.

 The Gunners extended their lead just before the half hour mark, though, when a counter-attack was calmly finished by Saka after Spurs' Dejan Kulusevski slipped in the Arsenal area.

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Havertz added the third with a simple header from a corner that eluded the home defence and the visitors were flying.

It was the first time shell-shocked Tottenham had fallen 3-0 behind at home to bitter rivals Arsenal since 1959.

Spurs replaced Rodrigo Bentancur with Pape Matar Sarr at halftime and they pulled a goal back through Romero just past the hour after Raya played the ball straight to him and the Argentine found the bottom corner to lift the home fans.

Tottenham were awarded a penalty after a VAR check in the 87th minute after Declan Rice kicked Ben Davies just inside the area when the Arsenal midfielder tried to clear the ball and Son stepped up to convert the spot-kick as the noise level rose.

Spurs piled on the pressure but could not breach the Arsenal defence again and the visitors were left to celebrate the win.

Tottenham manger Ange Postecoglou was left to rue the mistakes that have dogged his side all season.

"They're (Arsenal) a team that deals with the details well and we aren't," the Australian said.


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