In pictures: Arsenal v Tottenham
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Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has cited a crucial squad meeting after they were thrashed 5-0 against Manchester City as the turning point in their season. Since that result, the Gunners have put together four successive wins, including a resounding 3-1 triumph over Tottenham in Sunday’s crunch North London Derby.
It was a fairy-tale first half for the Gunners, kicked off by Emile Smith-Rowe after 12 minutes when he converted a Bukayo Saka cutback.
Aubameyang himself doubled the lead a few minutes later, finishing off a superb counter-attack with the kind of clinical strike Arsenal have been missing all season.
Bukayo Saka added gloss to the scoreline before half time, sending the Emirates into raptures and leaving Spurs players wondering what on Earth was going on.
Arsenal’s positive performance continued after the break, although they could not add to their tally and Heung-min Son pulled back a consolation 10 minutes from time.
“I think we are doing a good run of games now,” said the Arsenal captain after the game.
“I think after the game against City it was time to have a chat between us players and this is what we did.
“We want to go forward and win games, this was important for us to make things clear and I think we are doing well right now and the feeling is good.”
Indeed, the Gunners fell to a 5-0 defeat at the Etihad without putting up so much as a fight.
They have certainly kicked on since then, and the north London rivals’ seasons have practically been mirror images of each other.
While Tottenham powered to three successive victories under new boss Nuno Espirito Santo, Arsenal struggled to three consecutive defeats without notching a single goal.
The proceeding three Premier League games have seen the exact opposite.
In fact, Spurs are only the second side in Premier League history to win their opening three games and then lose the next three. Everton were the others in 1993/94 and they ended up finishing 17th.
Crucially for Mikel Arteta, his side’s third successive victory will get the critics off his back for a few backs and restore some feel-good atmosphere around the club as they trudge their way back up the table.
For Nuno, meanwhile, serious questions will be asked about the convincing nature of Tottenham’s defeat.
Even more worrying is the fact that their three victories at the start of the campaign, while their three most recent defeats have all been resounding.
Whichever manager lost this crucial North London Derby was bound to come under a mountain of pressure, and this time Arteta comes through unscathed.
The team meeting post-City worked, and Arsenal can now press on.
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