North London is Red

What a wonderful morning and start to the week! I mean, after yesterdays triumphant win over Tottenham, Arsenal fans all over the world are absolutely buzzing and deserve the bragging rights , once again. I myself couldn’t help but wake up with a wide smile, knowing that there are Sp*rs fans out there who woke up salty as f**k.

Going into this match I was confident that we were going to beat them, but I didn’t think we were going to give them a hiding. I knew it was going to be tough, especially because Sp*rs had a 12th man on the pitch in Mike Dean, and oh man I was dreading the controversial decisions he was going to give in Sp*rs’ favour. I caught a glimpse of the line up as we were heading to the Arsenal Supporters Club in Johannesburg, and I was a tad surprised to see Emery go with a back 5 again. I was also dumbfounded when I saw that Özil was nowhere near the squad or the bench, which had me worried a bit if I’ll be honest. Lacazette was also on the bench, which made me think that Emery would use him as a super sub, which he did indeed.

Due to some technical difficulties with generators and Eskom’s load shedding bullsh*t in general, I was forced to watch the opening 20 minutes of the game on my phone, but the way I see it, no data is wasted when you’re watching the Arsenal. The Gunners took an early lead when Jan Vertonghen handled the ball in the box and I was pleasantly surprised when Mike Dean decided not to turn a blind eye to the situation. Yellow card for a Spurs player and a penalty for us meant that this game started exactly the way we would have wanted it to. Up stepped Auba and put away his 9th goal in the Premier League. One nil to the Arsenal!

When the generators came back online, we carried on watching on the televisions and were treated to some very beautiful attacking football from the Gunners. Sead Kolasinac was ripping up the left wing and was the outlet to most of our attacks, but Son from Tottenham was giving us just as much trouble. The South Korean forced Leno into a save after some brilliant dribbling in our box, and later then drew a foul out of Sokratis to win a free kick. That free kick then led to Sp*rs’ equalising goal, with Eric Dier who got on the end of it to put it past Leno, who in my opinion, should have done much better. His celebration of “shushing” the Arsenal fans was deemed disrespectful by our veteran Stephan Lichtsteiner, who tried to calm the situation. Sissoko then pushed the Swiss quite violently and that’s where the Arsenal bench got involved in the bust up. Nothing like a good old fight on Derby Day. I thoroughly enjoy these types of moments when you can see the passion from the players and how much this means to them. I particularly enjoyed some of the new boys getting involved in it all, especially Guendouzi, who has never experienced a North London derby before, but showed enough fight to make a certain Jack Wilshere proud.

Shortly after tensions had cooled down, Sp*rs won a penalty thanks to their good friend Mr Dean deeming Son’s dive in the box to be a “legitimate foul”. This ref had done us in again, and the cheating antics of Tottenham gave them the chance to take the lead. No doubt Harry Kane put the penalty away, and the Spuds went 2-1 up before half time, which extended our run of win-less half time scores. Although I was a bit worried, I knew that we still had the second half to salvage a result. I mean, after all, we’re Second Half FC remember?

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a manager bring on 2 subs at the start of the second half before. Even if I had, it’s something that one doesn’t see every day, but that’s the thing with our new manager you see? He’s prepared to throw his cards down early if it means he can grab a win, and he knows exactly when to make his substitutions. Off came Iwobi and Mhki, to be replaced by two game changers, Lacazette and Ramsey. It didn’t take too long before Ramsey was in the thick of things. Bellerin played an absolute beaut of a pass through to the Welshman, who laid if off for Aubameyang with his first touch. Auba then shot it first time and curled it into the bottom right of the goal from outside the box. Lloris could do nothing but pray that the ball was going wide, but unfortunately for him it didn’t and rippled the back of the net.

We were all over Tottenham after that. That equalising goal gave us the strength and determination to search for a winning goal, which came in the 74th minute after Rambo won back possession in Tottenhams half and played Lacazette through. The Frenchman took his time with his shot but thanks to a deflection from the shushing Dier, the ball crept into the bottom left corner to give Arsenal the lead. The stadium erupted after that! I erupted after that! Lacazette’s passionate celebration also showed how much it meant to him to score against Tottenham in the North London Derby. Wow I couldn’t believe it. But the best was still to come… Not long after that goal Aubameyang played Lucas Torreira of all people through and the little Uruguayan fired the ball past Lloris into the bottom corner. Everyone in the room absolutely lost it. The fans in the stadium lost it. I lost it, along with my voice. He chose the right match to score his first goal for Arsenal and he’s fast becoming a lot of peoples favourite player. My word… the scenes that ensued after that were terrific. That wasn’t the last bit of action in this match though, as Jan Vertonghen picked up a second yellow after a naughty followed through tackle on Lacazettes ankle. Laca luckily came out uninjured, but the Tottenham centre back was sent off, much to the delight of the Arsenal fans.

My Player Ratings:

Leno: 7/10

Had a couple of good saves to keep the Spuds out, but was at fault for Tottenhams equaliser. Also seemed to struggle with Eriksen’s crosses.

Bellerin: 8/10

Fast becoming one of my favourites again, and showing that the RWB role is suiting him well. Nearly gave a goal away by passing it to Son, but Leno bailed him out of jail with a good save. Chatted shit to Vertonghen after his red card which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Holding: 7/10

So unlucky to have conceded a penalty due to a Son dive, but had a pretty solid game at the back.

Sokratis: 9/10

Fouled Son which led to the equaliser, but played solidly throughout the game. Showed grit and ugliness during the game which is something we’ve needed for a very long time in matches like these. Also called Son a diving bastard after the match. +1 point for that.

Mustafi: 8/10

Was involved in winning the first penalty for us. Loved his passion after winning the penalty as well as whenever we scored goals. Was extremely dangerous in Tottenhams box during set pieces. I’ve noticed he really thrives in big games like these.

Kolasinac: 8/10

Constant threat down the left hand side and timed his runs really well. Really getting back to his best form, and will probably keep Monreal out of the starting 11 when he returns.

Xhaka: 8/10

Captained the side well today and kept his cool. Solid performance from him.

Torreira: 10/10

Commanded that midfield again and showed grit. Scored his first Arsenal goal to put the nail in Tottenhams coffin. Won man of the match for the 3rd game running. Really happy for him and he’s proving to be the signing of the season.

Mhkitaryan: 6/10

Had a better game on the day but had to make way for Ramsey.

Iwobi: 7/10

Also played quite well in the first half. Came close to scoring but his shot was saved by Lloris.

Aubameyang: 10/10

Put in a stellar performance! I really found it difficult to choose my MOTM, but with 2 goals and an assist, I think Auba just just edged past Torreira.

Subs:

Lacazette: 8/10

Came on and made a difference for the team. Played wide surprisingly and stretched Tottenhams defence. Contributed with a goal to take us ahead of Sp*rs. Loved his celebration.

Ramsey: 9/10

Absolute game changer! Came on and ran riot. Provided the 2 assists that got us level with Sp*rs and then ahead as well. Worked really hard and I enjoyed the beef between him and Dele Alli on the touchline in the first half.

Guendouzi: 7/10

This youngster gets it. Wasn’t on for too long, but played well with the minutes he was given. Also got involved with the touchline bust up and for someone who’s new to this derby, that kind of passion was great to see.

Overall it was a fantastic match to watch and is by far the best match I’ve watched this season so far. It had everything from penalties to red cards to fights and good goals, all of which you’d love to see in a derby. I’m so psyched after that match and can’t wait until we play United on Wednesday night! That’s 19 games unbeaten now, and Emery’s Arsenal is slowly starting to prove that we’re a force to be reckoned with. I’m so excited about the future of our club right now!

Come on you Gunners!