Two first-half goals from Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis just 305 seconds apart helped seal a pulsating north London derby victory on Saturday.
It had been six long games since we had beaten our nearest rivals, but how we delivered here – a performance that owed as much to steel as the silk with which we are usually associated.
The match started with all the intensity and fire you would expect from a derby, and the way we harried and hounded the visitors soon had the fans on their feet.
Alexandre Lacazette had an early opportunity that he fired over the bar, before his opposite number, Harry Kane, tested Petr Cech from inside the area.
With 19 minutes on the clock we created the first clear-cut opportunity of a fiery affair, Aaron Ramsey releasing Hector Bellerin with a peach of a pass but Lacazette unable to slide on to the wing-back’s inviting cross.
We were on top, although Mauricio Pochettino’s side still posed a threat on the counter, with Christian Eriksen soon hitting the post and Kane’s header well held by Cech.
We kept knocking on the door though and eventually we made the breakthrough, Ozil curling in a free kick that Mustafi headed across goal and in via the far post.
The goal spark jubilant scenes, and the noise levels increased even further when, moments later, Alexis doubled our advantage from close range after Lacazette picked him out at the near post.
As expected, Tottenham upped their game after the restart and we were soon indebted to Mustafi for a fabulous last-ditch tackle to deny Kane inside the six-yard box.
Cech made a fine save near the end to deny Eric Dier from close range, but in truth that was as threatening as the visitors got.
This was our day – and once again, north London is red.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Alexandre Lacazette experienced his first north London derby on Saturday – and he made quite an impression.
The French striker led the high press right from the front, and was at the heart of many of our most dangerous moments. Here are some of his key moments:
5 – Alexis pounces on a defensive error and feeds Lacazette to the left of the area, he cuts back on to his right foot but blasts his shot over the bar
19 – Ramsey plays a lovely pass in behind the Tottenham defence to Bellerin charging into the area, and his low ball across just evades Lacazette on the slide
27 – Sanchez plays a poor backpass and Lacazette chases it down but Lloris comes flying out and slides in to clear just before the striker
42 – Lacazette is played in and he picks out Alexis at the near post, with the Chilean firing into the roof of the net to make it 2-0
73 – Lacazette comes off for Coquelin, as Arsene Wenger loo
WHAT IT MEANS
We head to Cologne on Thursday for Matchday Five of the Europa League, needing just a point to seal first place in Group H.
We beat the Bundesliga side 3-1 in the reverse fixture in September, with second-half goals from Sead Kolasinac, Alexis and Hector Bellerin sealing the points.
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