Football Features

“The very best left-back in the Premier League” – Lacazette’s penalty cancels out Lamela’s worldie as Arsenal win North London Derby

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 18:39, 14 March 2021

In a bizarre afternoon of football, Arsenal came from behind to beat 10-man Spurs 2-1 to move into the top half of the Premier League.

Here’s how the players rated at the Emirates Stadium:


Bernd Leno – 5 – Simply wasn’t tested and when he was, got bailed out by the woodwork and his defenders.

Cedric – 7 – Defended well. Struck a sweet shot off the woodwork. A positive display.

David Luiz – 7 – Cool, calm and in control. No, seriously.

Gabriel – 8 – Dominated Spurs in the air and put in a composed display. Came to life late on when he pulled off a frankly miraculous clearance, blocking Davinson Sánchez’s follow-up shot off the goal-line!

Kieran Tierney – 8 – The consummate performance from Tierney. Started with some positive early runs. Absolutely rinsed Doherty to set up Arsenal’s equaliser in particular. Was a constant outlet all night long with his incredible runs and crosses. Got Lamela sent off with a deft bit of exaggeration to being smacked in the chest. Also bagged a team-high for tackles (6) as he continued to make plain that he is the very best left-back in the Premier League right now and, behind Joao Cancelo, the second-best full-back overall.

Thomas Partey – 7 – Played well in general, controlling the tempo of the match. However he also got nutmegged by Lamela’s Rabona Goal.

Granit Xhaka – 7 – Controlled the middle of the pitch superbly. Team-highs for interceptions and possessions won.

Martin Odegaard – 7 – Scored an equaliser with a deflected effort, and looked bright in general as he continues to grow into this Arsenal side.

Bukayo Saka – 5 – A quiet night for Arsenal’s young wonder. Subbed off at half-time.

Emile Smith Rowe – 7 – Another positive night for the youngster, full of impressive movement. He created a game-high 4 chances.

Alexandre Lacazette – 7 – Won and converted a superb penalty to win Arsenal the derby.


Nicolas Pepe (for Saka 46′) – 7 – Looked bright. Pulled off a delicious crossfield pass to lead to Arsenal’s penalty.

Willian (for Smith Rowe 77′) – 5 – Added little.

Mohamed Elneny (for Lacazette 88′) – n/a – Came on late.


Hugo Lloris – 5 – Had nothing to do until conceding and could do nothing about either goal.

Matt Doherty – 4 – Got absolutely stitched up by Kieran Tierney ahead of the Arsenal equaliser. And all game, really. Was poor in attack as well. Just generally not a full-back and it’s fairly obvious.

Davinson Sánchez – 4 – Solid display (7 clearances, 3 tackles, 1 block) until he wildly dove in to try and block a Lacazette shot and ended up taking the striker out, conceding a penalty.

Toby Alderweireld – 5 – Impressive (7 clearances) until he reacted too slowly and deflected Odegaard’s shot beyond Lloris.

Sergio Reguilon – 6 – Worked hard to prevent Arsenal’s advances on his flank and unlike his team-mates, didn’t get rinsed repeatedly or make a mistake. Albeit he was extremely wasteful in possession.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – 4 – The Spurs enforcer was completely overwhelmed in this game and couldn’t enforce a parking permit.

Tanguy Ndombele – 5 – A couple of nice dribbles was the most we got from this usually bright creator.

Gareth Bale – 4 – Did absolutely nothing. Wasn’t helped by Spurs’ set-up, but still; didn’t attack well and couldn’t even he useful defensively by tracking Kieran Tierney. Hauled off before the hour shaking his head.

Lucas Moura – 8 – A buzzsaw as usual, getting stuck in defensively and also picking up an assist for his lovely layoff for Lamela’s strike. A one-man army late in the day as he repeatedly picked up the ball and drove Spurs forward, taking on two or three Arsenal men at a time. His 4 take-ons completed was a game-high.

Heung-min Son – n/a – Had to leave the pitch early to injury.

Harry Kane – 5 – A clearly unfit Kane was a passenger for most of the game, but he kept on plugging away and late in the day had a great header (rightly) disallowed for offside and then even later he smashed a free-kick off the post. Lucky to escapee censure for a nasty bodycheck on Gabriel.


Erik Lamela (for Son 19′) – 8 – Immediately got stuck in after coming on, making tackles and riling Arsenal players up. And then he scored the goal of the season with A RABONA THAT NUTMEGGED THOMAS PARTEY ON THE WAY IN. An absolutely sensational bit of improvisational skill. A RABONA. THAT NUTMEGGED THOMAS PARTEY.

Spurs only had two shots in the first 82 minutes and he had both of them. He also got sent off for two yellows, the second of which was tissue paper soft. An absolute madness of a performance. Truly thrill-a-minute stuff from the Argentine and the goal alone was well worthy of a 9, but given the red card it has to be an 8, sadly.

Moussa Sissoko (for Bale 57′) – 5 – Didn’t really add anything.

Dele Alli (for Ndombele 62′) – n/a – Did nothing.


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