Tottenham 1-0 Arsenal

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Interview

'We knew we had to win... it's disappointing'

Petr Cech was in fine form in our north London derby defeat to Tottenham - but was left disappointed to leave Wembley with nothing to show for it.

The Arsenal goalkeeper made several outstanding saves, but told the media after the game that the result will make life difficult in the hunt for a top-four place.

on where the defeat leaves us...
If you look at the table, we needed to win this game to close the gap and we couldn’t do so. I don’t really think you need any comments when you lose this game. It’s very disappointing for everyone.

on the rivalry…
If you don’t support those two clubs then you will not really be able to imagine it, but we all know how much it means to everyone and obviously we are disappointed. Not only because we lost the north London derby, but because it’s very disappointing for the fans. As I said, the position we were in in the table before this game, it put us in a position where we had to win and we didn’t even get a point so it is very disappointing and very difficult.

on a lack of chances…
I think in this type of game you need to take your chances and I know that we had two at the end, but unfortunately we didn’t take them. I said before the game that it was a game with a huge importance, not only because it was the derby and this is the most important game for our fans, but because of the position in the table. We were behind, we needed to close the gap - and we failed to do so.

on whether he felt Kane fouled Koscielny for the goal…
I was watching the ball and concentrating on the action to be able to make a save.

on slipping seven points behind Tottenham now…
We came here with the hope that we could win the game. We did everything to make sure that we were ready to win the game and we failed to do so.

Video

Match video: Tottenham v Arsenal

Despite Petr Cech’s string of fine saves, we slipped to defeat against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday afternoon. 

Harry Kane scored the game’s only goal, heading home from Ben Davies’ cross in the 49th minute to condemn us to defeat. 

Click on the ‘Play' button above to watch our extended highlights. Alternatively, you can scroll down to watch a bitesize cut, Cech’s world-class stop from Christian Eriksen’s free-kick and the full first and second halves.

 

Post-Match Report

Tottenham 1-0 Arsenal: How it happened

WHAT HAPPENED

A Harry Kane goal right at the start of the second half condemned us to defeat in the north London derby at Wembley Stadium.

We were indebted to Petr Cech, who made a string of fine saves, but the veteran goalkeeper could do nothing to prevent the Tottenham striker scoring the only goal of the game.

The match got off to a typically-frantic start, with the hosts determined to impose themselves on the game while we were happy to sit back and soak up the early pressure.

With Jack Wilshere snapping into tackles and stroking the ball about in the centre of the park, we soon settled into the game and created the first chance of any note.

It came as Wilshere collected the ball outside the area and bisected the Tottenham defence with a delightful reverse pass to set Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang clear on goal - but the flag was raised.

It was a desperately tight call, but despite it going against us we continued to push on although the hosts also looked dangerous in possession.

Indeed, they wasted a glorious chance to open the scoring when the lively Heung-Min Son picked out Kane in the area, but the striker headed over from close range.

Just before the break Hector Bellerin went close with a shot from outside the area that flew over the bar, but the two sides couldn't be separated at the interval.

But it was the hosts who started the second period the brighter, and they took full advantage when Kane rose highest in the area to head home a cross from the left.

The Tottenham forward has a fine record against us, and he came close to doubling his side's lead minutes later but glanced a header inches wide of the far post.

The hosts had their tails up, Kane in particular and he sent a stinging volley at goal but Cech was equal to it as we fought to stay in the game - and the Arsenal keeper made a superb stop soon after to palm away a Christian Eriksen free kick.

Alexandre Lacazette and Alex Iwobi were thrown into the mix as we looked to change the shape of the game, and the next chance was ours as Wilshere sent a curling shot at goal but Hugo Lloris was able to make the save.

Son, Dele Alli and Erik Lamela all missed good chances in quick succession as we left space open as we tried to claw our way back into the game.

Cech was certainly the busier of the two goalkeepers and he was called upon again with 15 minutes remaining to make a fine save to deny Kieran Trippier from close range.

Try as we might, we could not find a way back - although Lacazette had a late chance that he put over the bar - and we left the national stadium empty-handed for the first time since 2011.

HOW IT HAPPENED

See how the match unfolded with our play-by-play commentary.

WHAT'S NEXT

We travel to Sweden for the first leg of our Europa League last-32 clash against Ostersunds.

We are considered favourites for the tie, although the conditions could be a factor with temperatures dropping as low as -19c last week, although it is expected to be marginally warmer for our clash.

WILSHERE WATCH

With Aaron Ramsey missing out with a minor groin injury, Jack Wilshere was back in our starting XI - and was at the heart of the derby action.

Here are some of his key moments from an action-packed affair at Wembley Stadium:

12 - Jack collects the ball outside the area and slips a delightful reverse pass in behind the defence for Aubameyang, but the striker is flagged offside - but it looks very tight

19 - Bellerin's ball in from the right is headed up in the air by Vertonghen and drops to Wilshere on the volley, but he mistimes his shot and Tottenham are able to clear

68 - Wilshere pounces on a loose ball outside the area and sends a curling effort at goal, only for Lloris to make a sprawling save

86 - Jack does brilliantly to race back and win the ball from Eriksen, before turning and racing forward and slipping a ball into Welbeck, but Lloris gets down to save

Interview

Why the difference between first and second half?

After a disappointing north London derby defeat at Wembley, Arsene Wenger was in pensive mood as he reflected on the difference between our first and second-half displays.

The boss spoke to Arsenal Media after the match and discussed the performance, the physical drop in his players after the interval and those missed opportunities at the end.

This is what he said:

on the performance…
I felt in the first half that we had enough room to win the game but unfortunately we couldn’t do it. In the second half we dropped physically in midfield and the goal they scored put us in a difficult position. We had to come out and lost some balls which gave them some chances to counter-attack and then we were a bit lucky to stay at 1-0. After that, in the final part of the game, we should have come back to 1-1.

on the difference between the first and second half…
If you look at the physical numbers, in the first half we were quite even but in the second half some players dropped and the distances we covered in the second half was inferior to them. They could maintain it, and some players in our team cannot.

on the chances at the end…
We should have [equalised] but what counts is the facts in these types of games. Lacazette tried to score, you cannot make any specific reproach, but in these games, when you have those type of chances, you want to take them.

Interview

'The game was there for us in the first half'

Jack Wilshere was arguably our standout performer at Wembley on Saturday - but that was scant solace for the midfielder as we lost the north London derby.

Afterwards, he spoke to the media and revealed his regrets at not taking our chances in the first half and why we dropped after the interval.

on what went wrong today…
Well, we missed an opportunity in the first half to take the lead. The game was there in the first half, they were a bit cagey and we defended well. We got down on the counter-attack a few times in the first half and we looked like we could have really hurt them, but then we had our final ball where we rushed it and the chance was gone. We’ll look back and take some positives, but at the end of the day it was a big game for us and we lost. We’re not happy.

on the start of the second half…
They started sharper than us I suppose. It’s something we spoke about as well, so I don’t really know why that happened. But we have to deal with it now. We’ve lost the game and we have to move on and focus on the next game and try to win the next game.

on the importance of bouncing back…
That’s the most important thing. In the past, this team has always shown good character and we need to put a run together now and give ourselves a decent chance of challenging.

Press conference

Wenger - It should’ve been over at half time

One goal proved to be enough to settle the north London derby at Wembley Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with Harry Kane's strike sealing the points for the hosts on this occasion.

In his post-match press conference, Arsene Wenger faced questions on Tottenham's goal, our goalscoring opportunities and his hopes of Champions League qualification - and this is what he said:

on whether he thought we would get something from the game…
Possession is basically 50/50 in this game. Firstly, I think the game should have been finished at half-time for me. We missed opportunities on counter-attacks that are not missable at our level, due to the final ball. In the second half, we should have lost the game by more than one goal at the start. We were destabilised by the goal they scored and they had two or three more opportunities that they could have scored. In the final part of the game, we should have come back to 1-1. That maybe would not have been enough, but would be better than being 1-0 down. Overall, we’ve got mixed feelings because for long periods in the first half, with a bit more quality in our final pass, we would have won this game.

on whether he felt unlucky with the offside decisions in the first half…
I haven’t seen it again. To me, it looked from outside that he was level, but afterwards is the boot in front or not? I will have to watch that on video. I don’t know.

on whether Harry Kane fouled Laurent Koscielny for Spurs’ goal…
I have no complaints. I thought that during the goal but I watched it again and it’s a regular goal. We can only look at ourselves on the goal.

on whether he was disappointed by the lack of chances we created…
I believe that we had opportunities, dangerous situations that we didn’t transform into opportunities. That’s where my regret is, that in the final ball we missed something. When you have two or three opportunities like we had in the final part of the game, you want to take your chances in these kinds of games. You know you will not have 10 chances. If you don’t take them, you will suffer at the end of the day. To be at the level mentally is to be capable of using your opportunities. That’s what the top level is about.

on Martin Keown saying our players lacked hunger to defend…
No, I don’t think they lacked the hunger to defend. They were up against a super striker who is one of the best in the world. He scores against everybody, so all of the defenders who play against him must lack hunger then!

on our poor away record this season…
It’s very poor. Once they had scored the goal, that maybe played a part in it. Football is about scoring goals. You can say, ‘We are not strong enough when defending our goal’, but when you look at the numbers and compare them to the top six, we do not score enough goals away from home. These two weaknesses, one added to the other, explain it.

on the race for the top four…
It’s a game we couldn’t afford to lose, of course. That makes it much more difficult now but we have to fight for as long as we have a mathematical chance. There was more at stake than just the derby, I said that before the game. That’s why it’s so disappointing to lose the game in the way we lost it.

on whether it’s too early to start seeing Europa League as the only way of qualifying for Champions League…
It’s too early, yes. Football is not about switching off for three games and then switching it on for one game. Manchester United decided that once they were in the semi-final. We are far from the semi-final and we have to fight to have a chance to come back. For me, it’s a very disappointing result because the priority has to be to get into the Champions League from the Premier League [top-four finish]. I’m not a great fan of qualifying through the Europa League because I don’t think it’s right. If it’s an opportunity, we’ll have to try to take it as well. The priority is still to be in the Premier League.