In Friday's U21 Premier League clash between North London rivals, an early red card for Arsenal's Isaac Hayden turned the tie into a one-sided affair, as hosts Tottenham Hotspur eased to a 2-0 win.
FT at the Lane - Spurs U21s 2-0 Arsenal. Dominated from start to finish and Vlad Chiriches completed 90 minutes. #COYS— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 28, 2014
Hayden brought down Ruben Lameiras in the box and was shown a straight red, and Souleymane Coulibaly converted the spot-kick to put the hosts up 1-0.
With the man advantage, Tottenham dominated proceedings and had plenty of chances to put the game to bed, but a valiant effort from the Gunners kept the score close until Harry Winks slotted home from the edge of the box with less than 10 minutes left on the clock.
Matt Macey was undoubtedly Arsenal's best player, the young goalkeeper responding well to a flurry of chances for Lameiras and Coulibaly and keeping his club alive in this game.
Vlad Chiriches captained the hosts in his first action since back problems sidelined the Romanian in January, and he put together an impressive performance, regularly contributing in front of goal and making life miserable on Arsenal's midfielders.
But the club's best performer was undoubtedly Lameiras, who was able to find acres of space once Hayden was dismissed and orchestrated Tottenham's attack to perfection. Always threatening, the Portuguese midfielder kept the overwhelmed Gunners on their heels all game long.
Callum Hoare noticed the midfielder's performance as well:
2:0 win for Spurs, against a 10-man Arsenal. Star performance from Lameiras! pic.twitter.com/ayQuzi6Ulw— Callum Hoare (@CallumHoare_) March 28, 2014
The Highbury Clock's Frankie Hobbs wondered perhaps it was time for the Portuguese youngster to get his chance at a higher level:
Lameiras has been the best player on the pitch. If Bentaleb keeps getting chances, why not this guy?— Frankie Hobbs (@Frankie_Hobbs) March 28, 2014
Coulibaly ranks as one of Tottenham's most interesting prospects and scored the opening goal, but fans will be disappointed the Ivorian striker was unable to make full use of the space that became available after Hayden's red. Coulibaly had several good looks at goal, but a phenomenal Macey denied the 20-year-old every single time.
Understandably, Arsenal fans were disappointed at the result:
Arsenal, you're killing me! RT @Arsenal: Full time: Tottenham 2-0 Arsenal— Mark Brown (@markbrownwriter) March 28, 2014
Even in an U21 game, losing to Tottenham stings for a fan base that has had to deal with some difficult results in recent weeks, including the hammering the senior squad took from Chelsea.
Macey's performance deserves a ton of praise, however. The young stopper, who joined the club at the beginning of the season, had a very busy night as Tottenham were able to muster chance after chance, only to see find Macey in their path each and every time.
The Highbury Clock also noted Macey's excellent performance, with an emphasis on his command of the box:
Matt Macey is looking very confident in the area and has already gathered three crosses. Dominant.— The Highbury Clock (@HighburyClock) March 28, 2014
Arsenal will have to shake off this loss quickly as the team will be looking at another difficult matchup when competition resumes, hosting Manchester City on Monday, April 7. Tottenham meanwhile will travel to the Stadium of Light to take on Sunderland.