Arsenal extend Premier League lead to eight points with win at Tottenham

Mikel Arteta's side clinch 2-0 victory in North London derby

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Arsenal moved eight points clear at the top of the Premier League with a 2-0 derby win at Tottenham on Sunday.

Mikel Arteta’s side went ahead in the first half after a howler from Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris, who put through his own net, before Gunners captain Martin Odegaard rifled home from 25 yards after 24 minutes.

A first double over their north London rivals since 2014 ensured leaders Arsenal capitalised on defending champions Manchester City losing at Old Trafford on Saturday to further raise hope they could win the title again for the first time in 19 years.

In-form Manchester United are Arsenal’s next opponents and they will now hope for a favour from Antonio Conte’s side, who travel to City on Thursday struggling to stay in the top-four race and with Harry Kane still one goal short of Jimmy Greaves’ club scoring record.

Arsenal captain Odegaard said of his goal: "It is just something we talk about a lot. Rambo [Aaron Ramsdale] tells me to shoot all the time. I did and we saw what happened."

On the title race, he said: "We are in a good position, there is no doubt about that. We've got to stay humble and keep working hard. You saw the difference in the first and second half today so we have things to improve. We have to keep going."

There were unsavoury scenes at full-time with Gunners keeper Ramsdale appearing to be kicked by a Tottenham supporter who jumped on to the advertising hoarding behind the goal of the South Stand before Arteta was able to lead his players away to celebrate with their own fans.

Ramsdale said after the win: "We deserved the two-goal lead and maybe deserved more. We played the way we wanted to play in the first half and got the deserved lead.

"The manager mentioned before the game that in the last few London derbies we haven't kept a clean sheet so that spurred me on a bit."

Both teams had injury concerns ahead of the match and, while Dejan Kulusevski returned for Spurs, Rodrigo Bentancur missed out. Bukayo Saka was able to shake off his minor hamstring issue to start for the visitors.

Results elsewhere this weekend only heightened the importance of the match and it did not take long for the leaders to get into their groove with in-form Eddie Nketiah denied by Lloris in the seventh minute.

Lloris’ hesitancy in possession proved the catalyst for the chance and his next involvement produced the opener after another blunder.

Saka created space by the byline and his cross, which took a slight deflection off Ryan Sessegnon, fooled Lloris, who could only parry the ball into his own net.

It was not the first mistake by the Spurs captain in a big game this season but Tottenham almost levelled instantly when Sessegnon found Son Heung-min inside the area, only for Ramsdale to make a fine low stop with his legs.

It was a fleeting moment of attacking intent from Conte’s side who quickly found themselves back on the ropes.

Lloris saved from Odegaard soon afterwards before Thomas Partey was denied another north London stunner by the woodwork.

Partey, who scored a superb curled effort in the 3-1 win in October, let fly with a volley from 25 yards that thundered against the base of the post after pin-ball in the Spurs area.

A second goal for Arsenal felt inevitable and it arrived eight minutes before the break.

William Saliba won the first ball before Partey and Saka combined to release Odegaard in space and the Gunners captain rifled into the bottom corner from range for his eighth goal this season.

It was fully deserved for the visitors and while Spurs improved, with Kane denied by Ramsdale, it remained 2-0 at the break.

The traditional second-half team were true to their word after the restart with Kulusevski firing over before Kane was denied by another fine Ramsdale save.

Even better was to follow from the Arsenal goalkeeper, who stuck out a boot to deflect a Sessegnon effort wide after a slick one-two with Kane.

Tempers started to boil over when substitute Richarlison had words with Brazil teammate Gabriel Martinelli and Kulusevski collided with Arteta in the technical area.

Yet those incidents and a flurry of yellow cards only proved to take the sting out of Spurs’ attempted comeback.

Nketiah squandered the chance to seal the points with 21 minutes left when Lloris raced out quickly to save his effort following Granit Xhaka’s pass to keep Tottenham’s faint hopes alive.

Despite Richarlison and Ivan Perisic coming on and Kulusevski testing the excellent Ramsdale late on, Arsenal comfortably saw out the final exchanges to move 14 points clear of their rivals.

Updated: January 15, 2023, 7:25 PM
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