Match Report by John Ellis
For the second year in a row Spurs failed to recognise the importance of the occasion for the home side.
The tables have been turned in recent times with the North London Derby assuming a greater level of importance for the home side than seemingly for Spurs.
This is now our rivals biggest game of the season and they played like it was. This was another big game in amongst many big games for Spurs and it showed.
Pochettino picked a surprising line up with Vertonghen just back from injury paired alongside the inexperienced Foyth and without a ball playing midfielder in the form of Winks to control the tempo of the game.
Foyth started the game badly and played poor pass which gave away possession in his own half. To his credit he atoned for his error with a headed clearance.
Arsenal threatened down both flanks in the early stages.
From a free kick which was at best “won”, Vertonghen handled, the linesman flagged and a penalty was awarded.
Aubamayang’s celebration in front of the away fans was dreadful but so was the provoked reaction of a Spurs fan.
Spurs were very unsettled and should have conceded a second goal from another left wing cross which Aubamyang didn’t connect with cleanly and Vertonghen managed to clear.
The opening 15 minutes unquestionably belonged to the home side.
Two point blank saves from left wing crosses by Lloris kept Spurs in the game.
Spurs finally threatened with Dele down the left wing and passed inside to Eriksen whose attempt at a clever dummy almost came off and would have put him clear.
Son attacked down the same flank, cut inside to force a save which was gathered on the second attempt just ahead of the following up Kane.
Dele won the ball on the edge of his own box to set Spurs off on a counter. Son again caused confusion in the home defence to release Sissoko who whilst improving in confidence isn’t yet so assured in the oppositions penalty box. His floated cross shot was easily gathered.
On the half hour mark, Eriksen’s pinpoint free kick found Dier to bury his header to make it 1-1.
Spurs were now in the ascendency. Son ran at the home defence caused panic yet again and was brought down for a penalty to Spurs!
Kane stepped up and cooly sent the keeper the wrong way to put Spurs 2-1 up! What a turnaround!
The home side showed signs of petulance and of being guilty in giving the ball away close to their own goal. On one such occasion Dele should have done better in crossing to Kane.
After a difficult opening Foyth grew in confidence and made some fine interceptions as the half wore on. There are occasions though he really should release the ball instead of having such confidence in his ball playing skills. He will learn there is a time and place and a North London Derby isn’t it!
In first half added time Lloris kept Spurs lead in tact by clawing out a header which was looping in under the bar.
The half time feeling was of Spurs not being at their best but winning.
Eriksen put in another fine free kick which the home defender only just managed to head clear before Kane could finish.
Dele went down under a heavy challenge and Kane’s free brought a diving tip over save from the keeper.
From out of the blue and excellent through ball and pass inside split Spurs open….
Aubamayang got there ahead of Aurier to shoot first time into the net. 2-2… local rivalries apart it was a good goal.
The momentum changed and it was the home side who took control. Only a Dele intervention prevented a third goal with a good clearance off the line.
A free towering header went over the bar and Spurs badly missed Dembele to have a period of possession.
Vertonghen was then twisted inside out on the Spurs left. Fortunately the striker turned the cross over the bar.
A poor pass out of defence let in Son to bring a diving save. It was Spurs first threat for what felt some considerable time.
A slip from Foyth in his own half let in the home side and Lacazette’s shot deflected off a Spurs defender to squeeze beyond Lloris into the bottom corner of the net.
Two minutes later and the game was effectively over when Dier was slipped on the edge and the ball fired across Lloris into the net.
Spurs were in danger of being overrun.
A rear Spurs corner was won by Moura who headed wide.
A loose pass across the back line led to Vertonghen only just managing to slide in to win the ball and play it out to Rose. Lacazette who had challenged for the ball went down. Mike Dean surprised the away following by not only blowing for a foul but also produced a second yellow card to complete a thoroughly miserable personal and team performance for Vertonghen.
Whilst a different occasion, the realities of how big a task it will be to win in the Nou Camp were brought to mind after this disappointing performance.
Before then, Spurs need to get back on the horse quickly and win back to back Premier League games at home to Southampton and away to Leicester.