Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur: Erik Lamela scores rabona but is later red-carded in derby

Erik Lamela.
Erik Lamela’s ‘rabona’ finish came just 14 minutes after he replaced the injured Son Heung-min

Arsenal came from behind to secure a fully deserved north London derby win and inflict damage on Tottenham’s hopes of a place in the Premier League’s top four.

The Gunners were vastly superior until a Spurs rally in the closing stages but fell behind to a piece of genius from Erik Lamela – on for the injured Son Heung-min – when he curved a magnificent ‘rabona’ finish beyond Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno in the 33rd minute.

Arsenal, who had seen Emile Smith Rowe’s long-range shot smack against the bar, then suffered more ill-luck when Cedric Soares hit the post, but were level on the stroke of half-time when Martin Odegaard’s effort was deflected out of the reach of Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris.

Mikel Arteta’s side continued to dominate a largely dreadful Spurs and took the lead from the penalty spot after 64 minutes when Alexandre Lacazette missed his kick but was fouled by Davinson Sanchez.

Lacazette recovered to send Lloris the wrong way for his 12th goal of the season.

Spurs’ day got worse when Lamela was sent off for a second yellow card, shown by referee Michael Oliver for a hand-off into the face of Kieran Tierney with 14 minutes left.

But they almost snatched a point in the closing moments when Harry Kane’s free-kick bounced off the post, with Arsenal defender Gabriel heading Sanchez’s goal-bound shot off the line from the rebound.

Arsenal, who dropped captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for the game for disciplinary reasons, stay in 10th place but Spurs are now six points adrift of Chelsea in fourth, although with a game in hand.

Arteta rewarded for brave selection call

Arteta showed discipline is paramount – and no one is above his law – by dropping skipper and main striker Aubameyang to the bench for what Arsenal described as “a breach of pre-match protocol”.

It was a big game to have to make this choice but Arteta demonstrated who was boss and was rewarded not just with an important derby victory but also a fine performance, watched from the sidelines by the solemn figure of the chastened Aubameyang.

Arsenal, even without their captain and most prolific marksman, were by far the more dangerous side, taking control from the start and only showing signs of nerves when Spurs mounted a belated late surge which almost brought them a point they did not merit.

Smith Rowe was outstanding for Arsenal while Odegaard got his first Premier League goal and Lacazette won and scored the decisive penalty.

Arsenal remain a team in transition but they played some fine football here and this will surely boost confidence and self-belief as they try to navigate a route into Europe next season, the three points tasting even sweeter as they were taken at the expense of their arch-rivals.

Aubameyang will no doubt return in due course, punishment served, but Arteta showed the courage of his convictions and this turned out to be a highly satisfactory day for Arsenal’s manager.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was not used from the bench by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was not used from the bench by Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

Spurs pay price for negative approach

Jose Mourinho has been subjected to criticism this season for a perceived negativity in big games – and this was another when he deserves to have his approach questioned.

This was a miserable day all round for Mourinho and Spurs as they lost Son early on to a hamstring injury, goalscorer Lamela was sent off and they wasted the opportunity to make up ground on the top four with a performance that was, for the most part, abject and negative.

Lamela’s moment of genius, his rabona finish, a rare shaft of light for Spurs, ultimately counted for nothing as the visitors left it far too late to raise the tempo.

Indeed, it was only after Lamela was sent off and they were at a numerical disadvantage that Spurs applied any serious pressure, although that almost brought a point as Kane hit the post and Sanchez’s shot was cleared off the line by Gabriel.

Why Spurs waited until their backs were against the wall and their cause desperate to show any urgency is a mystery. They must see this as a missed opportunity.

Gareth Bale’s long cross in the build-up to Lamela’s goal was his only serious contribution before he was substituted in the second half and Spurs failed to get any meaningful service to Kane.

Spurs have now lost six and drawn four of their past 10 Premier League games at Arsenal and have now been beaten in nine league games this season, the joint most Mourinho has lost in a campaign in his managerial career.

This was a day that did not contain much good news for either Mourinho or Spurs.

‘I draw the line’ – what they said

Arsenal manager Arteta says Aubameyang will be available for selection having sat out Spurs win

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta speaking to BBC Sport:

“We had a really strong performance right from the beginning, we created many chances and went a goal down with their first shot.

“But I love the reaction of the team, we stayed composed and in the end we won the game. Scoring before half-time was really important as it put us in a good position for the second half.

“We scored the second goal, we got a bit nervy in the final 10 minutes and that is one of the things we need to improve as a team.”

On Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: “As I said before the game, I draw the line, it’s done, we move on and enjoy this victory.”

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho, speaking to BBC Sport:

“First half we were poor, 1-1 is not a reflection of what happened on the pitch. They were more intense, aggressive, moving the ball better than us.

“In the second half we recovered control of the game. In our good moments we made changes to try to win the game and when the game was there to be played, the referee made a wrong decision [awarding the Arsenal penalty], the VAR confirmed the wrong decision from the referee.

“And then at 2-1 it was time for the team to step up and show a good reaction to get an equaliser, but I cannot say much more than this.”

On Lamela’s goal: “The goal was sensational no doubt. But the most important thing is the result and we lost the game.

“Trying to be honest and pragmatic: the first half was their half. The second half: Michael Oliver and Paul Tierney, the VAR. They decided the game.”

Referee made a wrong decision – Mourinho

Gunners continue home derby dominance – the stats

  • Arsenal are unbeaten in their past 10 Premier League home games against Spurs (W6 D4).
  • Spurs have dropped 45 points from winning positions against Arsenal in the Premier League – the most of any team against a specific opponent in the competition.
  • Since losing his first London derby at the Emirates in the Premier League (2-1 v Chelsea in December 2019), Mikel Arteta is unbeaten in his past five such games, picking up four victories (D1).
  • Alexandre Lacazette is the first Arsenal player to score in three consecutive home league games against Spurs since Emmanuel Adebayor in October 2008.
  • Martin Odegaard is the fourth player to score his first Premier League goal in a north London derby for Arsenal, after Nicklas Bendtner (2007), Per Mertesacker (2012) and Lucas Torreira (2018).
  • Erik Lamela became just the fifth substitute in Premier League history to score and be sent off in the same game, after David Lee (1993), Bobby Zamora (2007), Ivan Klasnic (2010) and Hal Robson-Kanu (2017).

What’s next?

Arsenal will bid to protect a 3-1 lead when they welcome Olympiakos to The Emirates for a Europa League last-16 second-leg tie on Thursday (17:55 GMT), while Tottenham will kick off in Dinamo Zagreb at the same time, taking a 2-0 advantage to Croatia.

The Gunners’ next Premier League assignment is a trip to West Ham United on Sunday (15:00 GMT) with Tottenham travelling to Aston Villa later that same evening (19:30 GMT).



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Leno
  • 17Cédric Soares
  • 23David Luiz
  • 6Gabriel
  • 3Tierney
  • 18Partey
  • 34XhakaBooked at 82mins
  • 7SakaSubstituted forPépéat 45′minutes
  • 11Ødegaard
  • 32Smith RoweSubstituted forWillianat 77′minutes
  • 9LacazetteSubstituted forElnenyat 88′minutes


  • 2Bellerín
  • 8Ceballos
  • 12Willian
  • 14Aubameyang
  • 16Holding
  • 19Pépé
  • 21Chambers
  • 25Elneny
  • 33Ryan


Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Lloris
  • 2Doherty
  • 6D SánchezBooked at 63mins
  • 4Alderweireld
  • 3ReguilónBooked at 40mins
  • 5Højbjerg
  • 28NdombeleSubstituted forAlliat 62′minutes
  • 9BaleSubstituted forSissokoat 57′minutes
  • 27Lucas Moura
  • 7Son Heung-MinSubstituted forLamelaat 19′minutesBooked at 76mins
  • 10Kane


  • 8Winks
  • 11Lamela
  • 12Hart
  • 15Dier
  • 17Sissoko
  • 20Alli
  • 24Aurier
  • 33Davies
  • 45Alves Morais

Michael Oliver

Match Stats

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Arsenal 2, Tottenham Hotspur 1.

  2. Second Half ends, Arsenal 2, Tottenham Hotspur 1.

  3. Attempt missed. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.

  4. Foul by Gabriel Magalhães (Arsenal).

  5. Lucas Moura (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  6. Attempt blocked. Davinson Sánchez (Tottenham Hotspur) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  7. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) hits the right post with a right footed shot from outside the box from a direct free kick.

  8. Foul by Thomas Partey (Arsenal).

  9. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  10. Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

  11. Lucas Moura (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  12. Substitution, Arsenal. Mohamed Elneny replaces Alexandre Lacazette.

  13. Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by David Luiz.

  14. Offside, Tottenham Hotspur. Lucas Moura tries a through ball, but Harry Kane is caught offside.

  15. Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  16. Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

  17. Lucas Moura (Tottenham Hotspur) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  18. Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Thomas Partey.

  19. Attempt saved. Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Lucas Moura with a cross.

  20. Corner, Tottenham Hotspur. Conceded by Granit Xhaka.

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