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Arsenal: 4 key performances against Tottenham

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Arsenal, Auba

4 statement performances from Arsenal against Tottenham as  Mikel Arteta’s side secure North London Derby glory with 3-1 win. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Arsenal needed that. The fans needed that. For a few moments it doesn’t matter what predicament the club finds itself in so long as you win the North London Derby. While the table is what it is, everything takes a back seat when the full-time whistle blows and the three points are secured.

Given there is no European football and the cup competitions have yet to kick into gear, facing Tottenham on home soil may not be topped in terms of importance this season. However you achieve it, just get the win.

Not only did Arsenal do that, they did so in style with a performance that was near enough perfect. Obliterating the visitors with three goals in just 22 minutes and having two of those scored by Hale End graduates was the stuff of pre-match dreams – or one too many pints at lunchtime.

Seeing despondent Spurs fans making their way to the exit doors so soon into proceedings was the cherry on an already divine cake.

4 key performances from Arsenal against Tottenham as  Mikel Arteta’s side secure North London Derby glory with 3-1 win

People will point to Arsenal having precious little joy after the break and conceding large amounts of pressure, all of which is to be expected. This is the North London Derby and no matter how dominant one side may be there is the mental and physical fatigue coupled with the inevitable opposition fightback.

Arsenal managed to squeeze Tottenham into areas of little threat with Son Heung-min’s goal, Harry Kane’s effort from range and Lucas Moura’s deflected strike the only times Aaron Ramsdale was truly tested.

Mikel Arteta’s side got over the line with a performance of clarity, guts and determination backed by a magnificent 12th man, and among that were four individual performances that while not necessarily the ‘best’ four on the day, were key outings that told us a lot.

Arsenal, Ben White

Tottenham Hotspur’s South Korean striker Son Heung-Min is tackled by Arsenal’s English defender Ben White (L) during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Tottenham. (Photo by IAN KINGTON/IKIMAGES/AFP via Getty Images)

1. Ben White Steps Up

When you cost £50m the expectation levels placed upon you, those out of your control and not of your doing, are unavoidably high.

Couple that with the love and adoration for William Saliba who was moved out on loan again with the Englishman favoured and yet even more pressure falls on White’s shoulders. That, however, is external since the 23-year-old is someone who never looks flustered. He had a fine 90 minutes against Tottenham, by far his best in an Arsenal shirt.

After the Burnley win where he was guilty of sloppiness in possession, the balancing act between his undoubted quality on the ball and defensive solidity hadn’t been struck. Bizarrely, his supposed aerial weaknesses were nowhere to be found at Turf Moor while he was found lacking with the ball at feet.

On Sunday he combined everything into one package that, while not perfect, was precisely the performance he needed to produce to silence some doubters.

Harry Kane didn’t get a sniff off him or Gabriel in a commanding first half, with White’s header he won in a duel with his England teammate setting Arsenal en route to scoring the opening goal.

Defensively he made three clearances and three interceptions, with his proactive reach-around tackle particularly effective, while on the ball his ability was clear: White completed seven out of eight long balls, made 13 accurate passes into the opposition half and ended up with a 95% pass accuracy (40/42).

Did Arsenal overpay? No point going there yet. Just enjoy the performances and what he brings to the team (we’ll brush over his fortune in the second half).


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