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Arsenal Suffer A Disastrous First Half In North London Derby

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Arsenal Suffer A Disastrous First Half In North London Derby

Arsenal suffered a disastrous first half in the north London derby as Tottenham Hotspur looked to reopen the race to finish in fourth in the Premier League.

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Going into the game on Thursday, the visiting Gunners knew a win would end the race for the final Champions League spot, confirming their place in fourth.

Spurs needed a win to close the gap down to one point, with just two games left, and also had the added inspiration of being annoyed about the game originally being delayed in January.

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A relatively quiet opening, in which Rob Holding was pretty lucky not to get booked, soon made way for 15 minutes of utter madness from Mikel Arteta's team.

First there was a spot kick for Antonio Conte's team, which came in controversial circumstances, as Cedric Soares was adjudged to have nudged Son Heung-min in the box, as the forward tried to get on the end of Dejan Kulusevski's cross.

There was little doubt that Harry Kane would put Spurs ahead of Arsenal from the penalty spot in Thursday's north London derby, but the spot kick itself was in some doubt.

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Less than four minutes after the opening goal, Holding did finally go into the referee's book as he hauled Son down near the touchline.

If Arteta was thinking that his team needed to regroup, remain sensible and just get to half time still one goal behind, then the Spaniards plans were soon in complete tatters.

Holding managed to pick up his second yellow in just seven minutes, once again as Son seemed to get the better of their now finished duel.

The South Korean looked to get on the end of a long ball from Eric Dier, that had gone over him, and the Arsenal defender seemed to stop the forward with his elbow.

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Whilst the penalty may have been controversial, in some fans' eyes, Paul Tierney's decision to get a second yellow out was only controversial in the sense it might have been a straight red.

The ref only brandishing a second yellow may save Arsenal in their coming games, as the two yellows means a one game ban instead of three, meaning Holding could still play on the last day of the season, if Arteta even wants that.

However, that's where the good news ended for the visitors on the night, as Conte's team soon doubled their lead, with Kane adding yet another goal in the fixture.

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Just four minutes after the red card, a corner from Son was headed on by Rodrigo Bentancur and the England captain was at the back post to make it 2-0.

Earlier in the season, at the Emirates, it had been Arsenal who'd blown their opponents away in the first half, meaning they could pretty much take their foot off the gas in the second half.

With so much still to play for after this match, it's unlikely that Spurs will take things so easy in the second 45 minutes this time.

Featured Image Credit: Sky Sports

Topics: Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League

Ryan Sidle
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