Mathieu Flamini proved the difference in the latest North London Derby, with the Frenchman bagging a brace to secure a 2-1 win.
Arsene Wenger made a number of changes from our controversial 2-0 loss against Chelsea, some enforced, some by choice. It was a shaky looking starting XI in places, but Tottenham had made more than a few changes themselves.
The game started off a bit stop-start, with a handful of sloppy passes and niggling fouls preventing either side from really getting going.
Things finally started to happen though, and we got the first real chance of the match. Kieran Gibbs put a great ball into the box, with Olivier Giroud racing onto it. Under pressure, the Frenchman could only knock the ball on towards Joel Campbell. The young Costa Rican really should have done better with the chance, but could only head it high over the bar.
Both teams seemed unable to find that final ball, and it looked set to be a long game. That was until we surprisingly took the lead.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain showed quick feet to make himself some space, and drove forward towards the edge of the box. His shot was straight at Michel Vorm, but the Spurs shot-stopper was only able to parry it into a dangerous area. Flamini had anticipated this, and pounced on the loose ball to lash it into the roof of the net. 1-0.
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It would have been good to see us dominate the game after taking the lead, but it was the home side that were motivated by going behind.
They were causing serious problems down our right side, and Mathieu Debuchy was really struggling to deal with Danny Rose and Nacer Chadli. Rose in particular was threatening, and broke through on goal – only to be denied by David Ospina.
Harry Kane is enduring something of a goal drought at the moment, but thought he’d ended it early on in the second half. His goal was correctly ruled out for offside though, and he looked to the heavens with a ‘what do I have to do?‘ expression on his face.
Things were actually leveled up shortly after though, with Calum Chambers putting the ball into his own net. A mistake by Debuchy allowed Chadli time and space, and the Belgian was able to put a cross into a dangerous area. It didn’t look like coming to anything, and Ospina seemed to have it covered. Chambers clearly didn’t get a call though, and stuck out a leg which only turned the ball past the Colombian keeper. 1-1.
We were almost behind shortly after, with Kane’s acrobatic effort looking goalbound. Kieran Gibbs made a phenomenal goal line clearance however, and the Arsenal crowd breathed a sigh of relief as the ref checked his watch.
We were under the cosh from then onwards, and Tottenham looked the more likely to score. We weren’t giving up though, and looked to hit back with a late surge. We got our goal, and surprisingly it was from Flamini once again.
A ball was deflected high into the sky, and Flamini watched it all the way down. He struck the ball sweetly as it fell, and the crowd roared as it rocketed past Vorm and into the back of the net. 2-1.
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Spurs pushed for an equaliser, but we looked comfortable for the most part. There were a couple of tense moments, but after Flamini’s second the result never looked in doubt. On to the fourth round!