Arsenal closed to within a point of Tottenham and maintained their arch-rivals’ miserable record at Emirates Stadium with a comfortable north London derby victory.
The pressure was on Arsene Wenger and the Gunners as they trailed Spurs in the Premier League table – but they responded in style and were superior in all areas of the pitch to win with plenty to spare.
Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez earned Arsenal a convincing 2-0 Premier League win over Tottenham Hotspurs in the North London Derby at the Emirates stadium on Saturday. Mustafi opened the scoring with a superb 36th-minute header and Sanchez doubled the advantage five minutes later with a close-range strike.
Shkodran Mustafi headed a free-kick powerfully past Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris in the 36th minute after referee Mike Dean had contentiously penalized Davinson Sanchez for a challenge on Alexis Sanchez. The German defender also looked to have been offside.
Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said: “I do not need to say anything. It was obvious for everyone here and watching at home. It is not easy to accept because we lost the game but we have to move on and keep going.
“The free-kick for the first goal and the first goal was obvious offside, maybe the second was too. When you play against a team in the top six, the big details are up to you. Sometimes things go against you but that is football.
Wenger added: “The free-kick was a free-kick for me. We have had bad luck away from home – I’ll leave that to the specialists.”
Arsenal’s domination was underlined five minutes later when Sanchez converted Lacazette’s brilliant assist emphatically at the near post, effectively securing the Gunners’ first league win over Spurs since 2014. This was Wenger’s first victory over Pochettino in a league north London derby.
In the first half in particular, Arsenal pushed up into space and pressed as a single unit. They were on top by the midway point of the half and Spurs looked stretched. The crosses from their left side required some drastic interventions from the Spurs defence and Hugo Lloris had to be quick off his line to tackle Sanchez outside the box.
In the second half Pochettino made changes and brought on Harry Winks for the struggling Mousa Dembele and later Heung-min Son and Fernando Llorente but his side continued to play in front of Arsenal rather than get behind them. There was a fine save by Cech from Eric Dier’s header to keep a clean sheet in the match.
Mesut Ozil was in a brilliant form during the match and was awarded as the Man of the Match. The Germany play-maker claimed the 45th assist of his Arsenal career when setting up Shkodran Mustafi’s opener, and made more key passes than anyone on the pitch at Emirates Stadium.
Since his Premier League debut in September 2013, Ozil has provided 45 assists, more than any other player in the competition and 21 more than any other Arsenal player in that time.
Arsenal have won 11 home Premier League games in a row, their best run since winning 13 consecutively at Highbury between February and November 2005.
Arsenal travel to Cologne in the Europa League on Thursday (kick-off 18:00 GMT), while Tottenham face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League on Wednesday (19:45).