Arsenal 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0
Scorers: Cazorla, Rosicky
Team: Lloris; Walker, Chiriches, Dawson, Rose; Lennon, Bentaleb, Dembele, Eriksen; Adebayor, Soldado (Chadli) Subs: (unused) Friedel, Fredericks, Fryers, Capoue, Kane, Obika
There might have been a change of manager at White Hart Lane but the result stayed the same with a comfortable win for Arsenal. The crucial second goal gave Arsenal the security they needed and sapped the belief from a Spurs team who battled but were unable to create many clear cut scoring opportunities. Arsenal always looked the more dangerous and creative on the attack while they always managed to get defenders around the Tottenham player on the ball to deny them a telling pass.
Arsenal’s injuries have been much publicised but Spurs were without Paulinho, Sandro, Jan Vertonghen, Erik Lamela, Younis Kaboul, Lewis Holtby, Andros Townsend, Jermain Defoe and Gylfi Sigurdsson. The main talking point of Tim Sherwood’s selection was the inclusion of Nabil Bentaleb for his first start for Spurs with Eienne Capoue on the bench along with Jonathan Obika who hasn’t made a first team appearance since coming on in the Cup defeat at Leeds last January.
Arsenal took the lead after 32 minutes when they caught Spurs on the break and created space for Cazorla on the left and his shot gave Hugo Lloris no chance. It was a deserved lead as Spurs had failed to really threaten in the first half. Their best chance came early when a defensive mistake on the edge of the penalty area allowed Christian Eriksen through on the goalkeeper. With only the keeper to beat his shot was deflected for a corner by the Fabianski after 8 minutes.
Spurs best moments came on the break through Aaron Lennon and Kyle Walker on the right but they were unable to create a clear chance. After 17 minutes a foul on Mousa Dembele brought Spurs a free-kick in a dangerous position but Eriksson put his free-kick over. Six minutes later Walcott was through on Lloris but the goalkeeper got his feet to the shot.After Cazorla’s goal Arsenal grew in confidence and looked the team more likely to add a second goal although a good break by Spurs through Bentaleb, Adebayor and Lennon created space for Walker charging forward but the cross was cleared. In the 44th minute Walker was again the creator for Soldado but he shot across goal and wide. In added time Dawson put in a vital clearance as Arsenal threatened.
The second half started as the first with an early Spurs corner from which they got a second. This time Eriksen sent it deep to the back of the area but Soldado’s shot went over. Dawson put in a clearance and then Eriksen was at the back post to defend a dangerous cross. On the break after 53 minutes Eriksen broke on the left and found Lennon who played it across to Soldado but again he shot past the far post.
Arsenal were much quicker in the challenge and in closing Spurs down. Spurs best chance came on 55 minutes when Adebayor controlled a Lennon cross but as he turned to shoot he slipped and the ball was safely gathered by the goalkeeper. Walker and Chiriches defended well but then Walcott got between Dawson and Lloris but his effort hit the side netting.
On the hour Adebayor won a corner which Arsenal cleared. The ball came to Rose on the half-way line. In trying to play the ball on to his left foot, he was caught in possession by Rocicky who broke into the Spurs area but with Walker chasing back, he coolly lifted the ball over Lloris.It was game over, Nacer Chadli replaced Soldado but Spurs never threatened as Arsenal worked hard to stop them getting the ball forward to the penalty area and then looked to break with pace. On 63 minutes Lloris had to come out of his area to clear and two minutes later Dembele had a low shot saved by the goalkeeper. With 20 minutes to play Walker charged forward and was blocked on the edge of the area but was denied a free-kick.
While Spurs had more possession, their final pass or cross was poor and Arsenal made quick breaks looking for a third goal.With ten minutes to play, Walcott was carried off having twisted his knee. This left Arsenal with ten men as they’d used all their substitutes but Walcott wasn’t too distressed as he signalled the score to Tottenham supporters and applauded the home fans on his way past.
Arsenal settled back to frustrate Spurs which they succeeded in doing and came closest to scoring in the final minutes when Lloris saved well from Ozil.
As had been the case in most north London derbies at the Emirates, Arsenal wanted the result more. Spurs worked hard but their final pass let them down while Arsenal were much more threatening when on the attack.
Back to reality for Tottenham and Tim Sherwood. Out of the Cup, but it will give Sherwood time to work with the players and give them an opportunity to recover from what has been a hectic opening five months to the season.