What David Luiz shouted at Jose Mourinho as Emile Smith Rowe embarrasses the Tottenham squad – OhMyArsenal
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What David Luiz shouted at Jose Mourinho as Emile Smith Rowe embarrasses the Tottenham squad



Arsenal’s major talking points from their 2-1 victory over Spurs in the North London Derby

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Lacazette is right on time for Arsenal

Before the match it seemed as though a story so big had emerged from the Mikel Arteta’s team selection that it would something extraordinary within the match to stop it being among the talking points at full time.

As the teams for the match were revealed the fact that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang wasn’t included among the starters wasn’t exactly a shock in itself.

Arsenal have rested the Gabonese striker before after a Europa League game and with Champions League qualification through the Premier League looking unlikely it looked like Arteta was making a statement over which competition he would be prioritising for the remainder of the season.

But it was the Spaniard’s interview before the game explaining the decision that sent social media into a frenzy.

“He was going to start the game. We had a disciplinary issue, we have drawn the line and we move on, he’s on the bench,” Arteta told Sky Sports.

“We have a process we have to respect for every game and that’s it. It’s a decision made after evaluating everything about what Auba has done and that’s it.

“We have other players and we’ve had to change the team recently quite a lot and we have players that are willing to play and deserve the chance, so I am confident with that.”

It was a bold call from the Gunners boss for whom it seems discipline off the pitch is as important as what is done on it.

Matteo Guendouzi and Mesut Ozil have already fallen foul of this hard lined approach, although it could have been argued that Arteta had hardened his stance in particular for those two given that they weren’t in his long term plans.

However, in subjecting his captain and top scorer to the same treatment as everyone else in the squad the Spaniard reminded everyone exactly what the lay of the land was.

“For me it’s the foundations and the platform that we can build something medium and long term that is sustainable and that can bring us joy and happiness,” he said when asked after the game about his commitment to high standard of discipline within the squad.

“Without that I don’t believed it will happen so that’s why I keep talking about it and acting on it.”

The decision was reportedly due to Aubameyang’s lateness for the squad meet up before the game, which apparently is not his first transgression.

The decision worked out well overall though as Alexandre Lacazette stepped up to score the match winning penalty on the day.

It’s a show of authority from Arteta who having captained the Arsenal dressing room himself not too long ago will know how easily things can start to run riot if order is not maintained.

It was the issue that ultimately brought down his predecessor Unai Emery, and Arteta is determined that that will not happen to him.


Smith Rowe shines

Away from the Aubameyang controversy the team news also represented a return for Emile Smith Rowe.

The Hale Ender burst onto the scene on Boxing Day and had been more or less a fixture in Arteta’s line up ever since registering four assists and one goal.

Smith Rowe smash the Croos Bar Early in the game

The 20-year-old is a player though who has been plagued with injuries in his short career so far though, and when he came off against Leicester two weeks ago there were some fears that this might halt his rapid ascent to first team status in its tracks.

However, on his return to the side in the game he would have dreamed about playing most growing up as a Gooner Smith Rowe was simply outstanding.

Smith Rowe in action for Arsenal against Tottenham in the North London Derby

Drifting in from the left the Croydon De Bruyne linked perfectly with Kieran Tierney, the man who gave him that nickname and, was a threat throughout.

His impressive display was unlucky not to be rewarded with a goal as his 15th minute strike from distance cannoned off the bar.

Overall though he is in the side to form opportunities for his teammates as much as he is to score them.

“I think he shows not only quality but his personality on the pitch. His energy gave us something different.

“Today in a derby you need some big individual performances and for sure he had one.”

It is not long till the England squad is announced and with James Maddison and Jack Grealish both injured, Smith Rowe will fancy his chances of following his fellow Hale Ender Bukayo Saka into Gareth Southgate ‘s set up for the international break.

Arsenal moving forward while Spurs stand still

Jose Mourinho and Mikel Arteta are managers whose projects on either end of the Seven Sisters Road.

Going into the match it seemed as though Tottenham were the team who were the favourites and having the objectively better season.

Spurs have a real chance of finally breaking their trophy drought when they play Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final next month, while they are also more or less into the quarter finals of the Europa League and only six points off the Champions League spots with a game in hand over fourth placed Chelsea.

Arsenal on the other hand lie 10th, out of both domestic cup competitions and are seemingly heading towards putting all their eggs into the Europa League basket despite Arteta’s protestations to the contrary.

And yet once kick off came it was the Gunners who looked the side firmly on the up.

Spurs, as is a general custom of Mourinho sides in big games, sat back and looked to contain their hosts, riding their luck as Smith Rowe’s early effort cannoned back off the cross bar.

It looked as though this plan was working when Erik Lamela ‘s cheeky rabona put them in front with their first effort of the match.

However, as the game subsequently turned on its head Tottenham were left to question what might have happened if they had tried to attack a bit earlier.

But put simply it is clear that Arsenal manager has a tactical project that he is trying to impose upon his side. Mourinho on the other hand does not.

The game plan for the North London Derby, as it has been so often this season, was to shift the ball quickly out of defence and get the ball to left hand side of the pitch, where Kieran Tierney’s attacking threat could be used to create opportunities.

It worked a treat for Martin Odegaard’s equaliser and has done on several occasions this season.




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Tottenham meanwhile didn’t look as though they knew what they were supposed to be doing towards the end of the match.


They had five shots on goal during the match four of which came after they fell behind, as their reactive approach failed to pay dividends.


The Arteta-Mourinho comparisons will continue to be made due to the times they took over and the clubs they manage. But from Sunday’s game between the pair, it is clear that the Arsenal boss is one further ahead in his project.


Derby still has its fire

With the stakes relatively low and fans absent for this North London Derby there were some concerns that the edge may end up being taken off the game somewhat.


Before the game Mourinho admitted that the game would lose some of its venom due to the unusual circumstances.


“I believe that without fans, without that atmosphere maybe you don’t even feel it so deep that rivalry,” he said.


From early on though it was pretty clear that wasn’t going to be the case.




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Tackles were flying in that a full Emirates Stadium would have greeted with cheers and boos that make you hope that this first North London Derby in the venue turns out to be the last.


Erik Lamela and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in particular were culprits of some let’s say more traditional challenges, while Harry Kane ‘s late challenge on Gabriel in the second half was inexplicably not punished with a yellow.


In times of old Arsenal may well have wilted against these tactics.


On Sunday though they stood up and proved they were more than ready for the fight.



Granit Xhaka tackles Lucas Moura during Arsenal’s 2-1 victory over Tottenham in the North London Derby

Granit Xhaka led the charge with a few hefty challenges of his own, while David Luiz was not afraid to argue his case as the Tottenham bench complained to the officials.


As Mourinho contested Michael Oliver’s decision to award a penalty for Davinson Sanchez ‘s foul on Alexandre Lacazette, the Brazilian was heard yelling “it was a penalty” with a wry grin towards his former coach.


The verbal exchange between Luiz and the Spurs bench continued throughout the game as Arsenal stood up and showed their character against their wiley opponents.


After the game Arteta praised his side for the character they had shown to stand up to the challenge.


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