Spurs boss pinpoints crucial third Arsenal goal following Emirates defeat
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The Argentinian felt Unai Emery’s double substitution at half time had a big impact on the derby
Mauricio Pochettino admitted Arsenal’s third goal gave his Tottenham Hotspur side too much of an uphill battle to come back from after the north London bragging rights went to the Gunners following a 4-2 win in a pulsating derby on Sunday.
In a topsy-turvy battle at Emirates Stadium, the score changed a number of times, but the Premier League points went to Unai Emery’s team after they scored three goals in the second half.
First-half efforts by Eric Dier and Harry Kane had given Spurs a 2-1 lead, but Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s stunning second levelled the scores before further strikes by Alexandre Lacazette and Lucas Torreira ensured Arsenal turned it around.
“My assessment is we conceded a penalty in a situation that normally is not good for the team,” Pochettino said, in reference to Jan Vertonghen’s hand ball, which allowed Aubameyang to put the hosts one up after 10 minutes.
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“Of course it was complicated from the beginning of the game. We turned the situation and then it 2-1.
“I think we started the second half very well and until they scored the third goal it was an even game. It was very competitive. Of course in some period better Arsenal and some periods better Tottenham.
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“When we conceded the third goal it was tough for us to come back mentally, to find the energy to go and try to be again in the game.
“Of course in that moment it was tough for the team and we started to pay for the effort from the Champions League game against Inter Milan and Chelsea and we started to suffer.
“In the end when we conceded the fourth and the sending off of Jan Vertonghen, the game was over.”
Spurs started sluggishly at the Emirates and Arsenal fully deserved to take the lead, but slowly the visitors got into the game and two goals in four minutes turned things around.
Dier headed home Christian Eriksen’s free kick with half an hour on the clock before Heung-min Son won a penalty minutes later, which Kane converted to make it 2-1 to the Lilywhites in the 34th minute.
After taking the lead, Tottenham seemed comfortable enough and managed to stay in front at half time, but Emery reacted by introducing Lacazette and Aaron Ramsey at the interval and it was inspired.
Ramsey ran away from Vertonghen in the 56th minute and he passed to Aubameyang before Juan Foyth could intercept and the striker curled around Serge Aurier and into the corner from 22-yards to score a sensational equaliser.
Arsenal had their tails up now and Spurs switched formation with Dier dropping into defence to form a back five, but it didn’t work.
In the 74th minute Gunners made it 3-2 when Foyth lost the ball by the halfway line and Ramsey found Lacazette, who cut inside before his effort took a deflection off Dier and beat Hugo Lloris to find the net.
The Emirates was full of noise now and Torreira wrapped up the win when he got through on goal and fired into the corner with 13 minutes left after Dier had needlessly slide in.
Pochettino said: “They made two changes and put another striker on in Lacazette and Ramsey. They tried to be more aggressive in the second half.
“I thought we controlled the first ten or 15 minutes and we created a few chances, but after we conceded a second goal again the game changed and the energy changed and we were pushing.
“Until then the game had been even and then we conceded the third goal in the way we conceded and in that moment it was tough, it was difficult to come back again.”
Spurs had no answers to Arsenal’s quick-fire third and fourth goals and in the end they only had themselves – you simply cannot afford to make the mistakes they made in a game of this magnitude.
Additional reporting by Layth Yousif.