Arsenal survive second-half scare at Spurs to cement place at top


Premier League leaders Arsenal survived a second-half scare at Tottenham to hold on for a 3-2 north London derby victory that cemented their place at the top.

A 23-minute first-half blitz saw the Gunners race into a 3-0 lead through a Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg headed own goal, Bukayo Saka finish and Kai Havertz header.

But with Mikel Arteta’s side in total control, a 64th-minute howler by goalkeeper David Raya allowed Cristian Romero to pull one back after the Spaniard sent a clearance straight to the defender.

Player ratings:

Tottenham: Vicario (6); Porro (6), Romero (7), Van de Ven (6), Davies (6); Hojbjerg (5), Bentancur (6); Kulusevski (6), Maddison (5), Werner (6); Son (7).

Subs: Johnson (6), Sarr (6), Richarlison (6), Bissouma (6).

Arsenal: Raya (5); White (6), Saliba (6), Gabriel (6), Tomiyasu (6); Partey (7), Rice (6), Odegaard (6); Saka (8), Havertz (9), Trossard (6).

Subs: Martinelli (6), Kiwior (n/a)

Player of the Match: Kai Havertz.

An 87th-minute Heung-Min Son penalty then set up a nervy finish for the Gunners, who withstood Spurs’ late pressure to hold on for a potentially season-defining win that keeps their hopes alive of a first Premier League title in 20 years.

The victory had moved Arsenal four points ahead of second-placed Manchester City, but later the defending champions responded with a win at Nottingham Forest to close the gap back to a point with Pep Guardiola’s side having a game in hand.

Tottenham, meanwhile, suffered a second consecutive defeat to fall seven points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa in a further blow to their hopes of Champions League qualification.

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Watch the North London Derby’s impact unfold on former players Jamie O’Hara and Jay Bothroyd from the Soccer Sunday studio.

How Gunners beat fierce rivals to keep title dreams alive

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Sky Sports’ Paul Gilmour and Declan Olley dissect a chaotic North London Derby.

Arsenal made the short trip to the Tottenham Hotspur stadium full of confidence after the midweek thrashing of London rivals Chelsea, but amid an electric atmosphere it was Spurs who made a bright start

The Gunners, though, weathered the early pressure to take the lead in the 15th minute when Hojbjerg headed into his own net from Saka’s cross.

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A Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg own goal edges Arsenal into early the lead at Tottenham.

Spurs responded well as Cristian Romero headed against the post five minutes later and then in the 22nd minute the home side thought they had levelled when Micky Van de Ven hammered home, only for the goal to be disallowed by VAR for a tight offside call.

Spurs then had two penalty claims denied in quick succession in the 27th minute as Dejan Kulusevski fell to a Leandro Trossard trip before James Maddison went down under a Declan Rice tackle.

The home side’s frustrations were immediately compounded as Arsenal launched a devastating counter-attack that saw Havertz brilliantly pick out Saka, who clinically finished low beyond Guglielmo Vicario.

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Guglielmo Vicario denies Bukayo Saka volley.

Arsenal’s set-piece superiority then paid off again as Rice’s corner was headed in by Havertz for the Gunners’ 16th corner goal of the Premier League season – the most by a team in a single campaign since West Brom under Tony Pulis in 2016-17 (16).

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Kai Havertz heads in another for Arsenal who run riot at Tottenham.

With Arsenal in total control, Spurs pushed for a route back into the game but captain Heung-Min Son fired over just before half-time as the home side failed to have a shot on target.

A fine Vicario save from Saka’s close-range effort seven minutes into the second half prevented an Arsenal fourth.

Vicario’s opposite number Raya then handed Tottenham a route back into the game as he passed straight to Romero who fired past the embarrassed Spaniard.

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Raya gifts goal to Romero to bring Spurs back in the game!

Arsenal looked to have seen off Spurs’ pressure for a second until Rice kicked Ben Davies in the box and referee Michael Oliver was sent to the pitchside monitor, where he overturned his original decision to award the home side a penalty.

Son then powered home from the spot in the 87th minute to set up a nervy finish, which Arsenal handled well to claim a third straight win and keep alive their hopes of a first Premier League title in two decades.

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Heung-Min Son slots in penalty for Spurs to put pressure on Arsenal.

Arteta on last 20 minutes: ‘Pray! And defend your box!’

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Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta reflects on his side’s 3-2 victory over Tottenham and how much a North London derby win means to him and the supporters.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta to Sky Sports:

“It’s a really tough place to come. Unbelievable atmosphere and a great team. We were super efficient in the first half, we were really well organised.

“We started the second half really well, in total control of the game, could have scored the fourth one. Then an individual error, and you can feel it, it’s game on. From there, you have to manage the game and have a bit of luck at times.

“We conceded the second one, again with a mistake that is not very usual. And then, pray! Defend your box. They threw everything. Romero was playing as a striker for the last 25-30 minutes and anything can happen.

“To win big things, you have to go through these moments. Super-happy because it’s a day to be proud, a day that means so much to our supporters. Hopefully they can enjoy a beautiful evening.”

Ange: First half not acceptable at this level

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Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou discusses what went wrong for his side following their 3-2 loss to Arsenal and what he looks to improve heading into the final games of the season.

Spurs boss Ange Postecoglou to Sky Sports:

“From our perspective, we allowed them way too easy access to our goal. They got there three or four times and scored three goals in the first half. It’s not acceptable at this level and we paid a price for it against a very good team.

“We showed resilience and fought back but we had to because there was no other choice. We couldn’t come out in the second half and not give our supporters a little bit of hope.

“We’re still not as resilient as we can be, particularly in those kinds of moments [in the first half] where there are transitions or set-pieces.”

Opta stats: Arsenal win consecutive games at Spurs for first time since 1988

  • Arsenal have won consecutive top-flight away games against Spurs for the first time since September 1988 (a run of three under George Graham).
  • This was the second-earliest 3-0 lead in a North London derby in the Premier League (38th minute), with the only quicker instance also being by Arsenal under Mikel Arteta (3-0 after 34 minutes in September 2021).
  • Tottenham are the 16th different team to concede 50+ Premier League goals this term (52) – this is now the most sides to concede 50+ in an English top-flight season consisting of 20 clubs since 1909-10 (17).
  • Three of Arsenal’s last seven goals in this fixture in the Premier League have been own goals by Spurs players.
  • Bukayo Saka has scored 15 goals for Arsenal in the Premier League this season, his most in a single campaign. With his strike today, he also became the first English player to score home and away for Arsenal against Spurs in a league campaign since Ian Wright in 1993-94.
  • Kai Havertz has scored and assisted in four different Premier League games this season; the most by an Arsenal player in a single campaign since Alexis Sánchez in 2016-17 (4).

What’s next?


Thursday 2nd May 7:00pm


Kick off 7:30pm


Arsenal host Bournemouth on May 4, kick-off 12.30pm, while Tottenham face a London derby against Chelsea on Thursday, May 2, live on Sky Sports, kick-off 7.30pm.

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