Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterSeptember 1, 2013

Arsenal reminded the world of football that they're still here and still strong as they dispensed with North London neighbours Tottenham Hotspur 1-0.

A tightly contested game saw Olivier Giroud nick the winner midway through the first half, converting a near-post finish after great work from Theo Walcott on the right.

Andre Villas-Boas' side saw lots of the ball and gave a debut to Erik Lamela in desperation, but the Gunners held on to claim a vital victory.

Spurs named a much-changed side to the one that comfortably dispensed with Dinamo Tbilisi in the Europa League on Thursday, and the lack of cohesion immediately began to show.

They dominated possession in the opening 15 minutes but failed to string a set of cutting, offensive passes together in the final third.

Andros Townsend, coming in off the right-hand side, forced Wojciech Szczesny into action twice at his near post, while Roberto Soldado squandered the away side's best chance of the half, collecting Kyle Walker's cut-back cross but firing straight into a defender.

Arsenal were playing on the counterattack, and while the Emirates crowd weren't used to seeing it, they certainly weren't complaining when it led to the opening goal.

Walcott stretched the pitch on the right-hand side, committed his marker and fired in a low cross to the near post. Giroud, the man in form, skipped across his defender and stabbed a low effort in to Hugo Lloris' left.

Aaron Ramsey then missed a fantastic chance to make it two by firing well over from 15 yards, and it was only Lloris' incredible sweeping tackle outside the area minutes later that ensured AVB's troops went into the interval only one goal down.

The second half started in a similar fashion to the first, with the Lilywhites dominating the ball—67 percent-33 percent at one stage—but failing to create anything centrally.

Wenger's men looked far the more potent, and twice had promising counters snuffed out at the last second with Lloris having a stormer between the sticks.

Lamela was introduced to spark change along with Sandro, and despite immense pressure in the closing stages, the Gunners held on.

Two left-backs, two right-backs and 11 men inside their own penalty area, they beat back wave after wave of Spurs attacks with the crowd cheering every clearance.

It's by no means a season-changer for either side, but it does stand as a morale-boosting, feel-good three points to Arsenal.


Key Player Grades

Olivier Giroud: A

Giroud was the menace we've come to expect early this season, grabbing a true poacher's goal in the early stages and providing the Spurs defence with a real issue for a full 90 minutes.


Mousa Dembele: D

The Belgian's afternoon ended early, with AVB opting to sub him out due to his inefficiency. He was the furthest forward central midfielder, but he failed to create anything for Soldado.


Theo Walcott: A-

Walcott was wise in possession, made some fantastic runs and, quite frankly, bullied Danny Rose at left-back.


Full Grades


What's Next?

Arsenal travel to Wearside to take on Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on September 14. Tottenham Hotspur host Norwich City on the same day at White Hart Lane.