Arsenal's English midfielder Bukayo Saka (R) celebrates with teammates on the pitch after the match between Tottenham | Photo: AFP
London: Arsenal extended its Premier League lead to eight points with a 2-0 win at Tottenham in the north London derby on Sunday that was helped by an own-goal by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Lloris turned a cross from Bukayo Saka into his own net in the 14th minute to hand Arsenal the lead and Martin Odegaard doubled the advantage with a low shot from distance in the 36th as the visitors totally dominated the first half against a lackluster Spurs side.
Only two good saves from Lloris and the woodwork prevented Arsenal from taking an even bigger lead, with Thomas Partey smashing a long-distance volley against the post in the 24th. Tottenham improved after the break but Aaron Ramsdale made a total of seven of saves to keep the hosts at bay and strengthen the belief that this could be a special season for Arsenal.
It was Arsenal's first away league win at its fiercest rival since 2014, having lost 3-0 here last year.
“It’s about time,” Odegaard said. “We really remember what happened here last year and we wanted to do a better game, show a different side and show how much we have improved. And I think we did that today.”
The last time Arsenal won the Premier League in the 2003-04 season, the unbeaten “Invincibles” clinched the title at Tottenham's former White Hart Lane stadium — a feat Gunners fans are more than happy to remind Spurs supporters of during their often heated derbies. This was Arsenal's first win at the new stadium that opened in 2019 and while there is still much work for Mikel Arteta's side to do before ending that 19-year title drought, it certainly brings them a bit closer — especially after second-place Manchester City lost Saturday’s derby against Manchester United. Newcastle and Man United are both nine points behind while Tottenham is now 14 points back in fifth place, having played a game more than Arsenal.
Things did turn heated after the final whistle, when a young Tottenham supporter climbed onto an advertising board and appeared to aim a kick at Ramsdale as he was collecting his water bottle behind the goal. That sparked a scuffle involving players and staff from both teams, with Arteta running over to drag Ramsdale and Granit Xhaka back to go celebrate with the away end.
“A fan jumped over and gave me a little (kick) in the back,” Ramsdale told Sky Sports. “Both sets of players tried to bring me away, thankfully nothing actually happened too drastically. It leaves a sour taste but I’m sure we’ll enjoy it when we go back to the dressing room.”
There was plenty for Arsenal to enjoy, especially in the first half.
Eddie Nketiah had the first good chance for the visitors in the seventh minute after Spurs turned the ball over in their own area, but his shot was saved by Lloris.
The veteran goalkeeper was shaking his head in disbelief seven minutes later, though. Saka ran onto a ball from Partey down the flank before breaking into the area, and his attempted cross was deflected by Ryan Sessegnon onto the chest of Lloris, who couldn't react quickly enough to prevent it from going into his own net. It was Lloris' first own-goal in 354 career Premier League games.
At the other end, Ramsdale had to make his first save in the 18th after Sessegnon played Son Heung-min through on goal with a defense-splitting pass, with the Arsenal goalkeeper rushing out to make the stop with his leg.
Lloris then had to dive to his left in the 22nd minute to keep out a shot from distance from Odegaard. But he was beaten again shortly afterward when a perfectly struck volley from Partey from outside crashed against the post.
Odegaard adjusted his aim and deservedly doubled Arsenal’s lead after taking a pass from Saka and drilling another low left-footed shot from 25 yards inside the right post.
It had been all Arsenal but Spurs nearly scored just before the break when Harry Kane met a cross from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and forced another save from Ramsdale.
Tottenham came out rejuvenated after the break and created more in the opening seven minutes of the second half than they did in the entire first, with Ramsdale being called into action twice.
Kane tested his luck with a shot that Ramsdale had to dive to punch away, and the England striker then turned provider as he played Sessegnon through on goal. But Ramsdale stuck out a foot that time to parry his low shot across goal.
Ramsdale wasn't called into action again, though, until the 82nd minute when he saved a low shot from Richarlison following another stint of sustained pressure from Spurs.