Sanchez-Ozil-Lacazette trident put Spurs ‘on their backside’ in the North London Derby

November 20, 2017 by   Filed under: Arsenal FC, Premier League

Image Source: Premier League via Twitter

The overcast sky above the Emirates on Saturday might have indicated a sense of gloom ahead of the North London derby, with home side Arsenal considerably off the Premier League title pace and scrapping to even be inside the top four, whilst Tottenham were aiming to close the gap on leaders Manchester City.

The sunshine that broke through the clouds came with the starting eleven chosen by Arsene Wenger, especially with his choice of attacking trio. Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez behind Alexandre Lacazette – in theory – is the most potent three-pronged attack he can choose, yet their start against Spurs on Saturday was only the third time this combination has been utilised.

Their impact was telling, as the talented trio caused no end of problems for the visiting defence and right from kick-off, creating fluidity to Arsenal’s play and a constant danger the Spurs defence struggled to deal with. Regardless of the ongoing debates over their respective futures, Wenger’s side are clearly stronger with Ozil and Sanchez than without them, whilst tip of the trident Lacazette looks most effective when they’re on the pitch behind him.

In a derby the football betting experts were predicting would be tightly fought, it was the influence of the trio that brought the two goals that would prove the difference between Arsenal and Tottenham on Saturday. Alexis drew the foul which lead to the opening goal in the 36th minute, with Ozil serving up the perfectly flighted free-kick to the head of Shkodran Mustafi; marking his return to action with a looping header beyond the reach of Hugo Lloris.

Image Source: Premier League via Twitter

Spurs were still grumbling about what they thought was a harsh free-kick decision by referee Mike Dean, when the next Arsenal goal arrived just five minutes later. Sanchez smashed in his finish from close range in the 41st minute, thanks to intelligent work inside the rival area by Lacazette, who crafted the pass back into the path of his arriving teammate.

Throughout the encounter Ozil not only produced the kind of elegance and creativity expected of him, he also tracked back and helped the team to defend; an aspect often lacking from his game that has led to much criticism for the German. “I’m convinced that Mesut Ozil adds physicality to his game and when he needs it, he can produce it. He got a standing ovation because he added to the team,” praised Wenger afterwards.

Highly critical of team performances, Wenger’s tactical choices, and of certain player loyalties; former Arsenal legend Martin Keown was much happier with Saturday’s overall display. “The Gunners were on it from the start, which wasn’t a surprise. Spurs have landed on their backside today,” he commented on BBC’s Final Score.

For Tottenham and Pochettino, this defeat comes as a further blow against another top-six rival, following their recent loss against Manchester United, whilst for Arsenal, the derby win can give them renewed impetus for the fight to finish amongst the Premier League top four. Wenger must also keep faith in the same Ozil-Sanchez-Lacazette attacking trio, because when they combine so effectively as during the derby, they’re a lethal force to be reckoned with.

Image Source: Arsenal FC via Twitter

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