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Shkodran Mustafi a rock as Arsenal enjoy derby dominance over Spurs

First half goals from Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez were enough to win Arsenal north London supremacy, and the Gunners were able to keep neighbours Tottrenham at arms length in Saturday's 2-0 victory.

There was an element of fortune about both goals, with Mustafi marginally offside before heading home and Alexandre Lacazette in a similarly suspicious position before squaring for Sanchez.

However, Arsenal won't care a jot. This was a huge win which will do wonders for both their confidence and their league position.


This was probably Arsenal's best collective performance since the FA Cup final in May. They were dogged in defence and exciting in attack.

Tottenham were on a decent derby run, and Arsenal have managed to reclaim pride and points. With the Gunners out of the running to win the title, these fixtures are potentially the high points of their season. Arsenal needed to produce something special -- and they delivered.


There's really very little negative so way about such a convincing win on derby day. Perhaps the only thing you could note is that some of the sheen might be taken off the result by Mike Dean's incompetent officiating.

There will also be a tad of frustration that Arsenal have not managed to produce this kind of performance more regularly this season. They clearly have the capacity, so why does it take an occasion like this to motivate them?

Manager rating out of 10

8 -- Arsene Wenger needed a result and his team stepped up when required. Sometimes his ability to motivate his side is questioned, but that did not seem to be an issue here. He also got his team selection spot on, with Mustafi and Lacazette both justifying their inclusion after missing out at Manchester City.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Petr Cech, 7 -- The veteran keeper was the epitome of calm through the game. In truth, he was only really tested late in the match when he pawed away a header from Eric Dier. This was a surprisingly comfortable afternoon for the former Chelsea man.

DF Laurent Koscielny, 8 -- With Per Mertesacker left out, Koscielny wore the armband and delivered a captain's display. He organised the back three and enabled them to keep a precious clean sheet.

DF Shkodran Mustafi, 9 -- What a return to the starting XI for the German international. Picked ahead of club captain Mertesacker, he not only delivered the game's opening goal with a brilliant header but also did a fantastic job keeping Harry Kane relatively quiet.

DF Nacho Monreal, 7 -- The Spaniard recovered from errors against Everton and Manchester City with a typically solid display. The only time he put a foot wrong was when he was booked for a late challenge on Dele Alli -- although the Arsenal fans didn't mind that at all.

MF Hector Bellerin, 7 -- Began his football education as a midfielder, and you could see that in his performance in the derby. While he is renowned for his electric pace, this was an intelligent display from the former Barcelona man. The intelligence and accuracy of his passing impressed more than his remarkable speed.

MF Granit Xhaka, 8 -- If there was an area of the pitch where Arsenal would have been particularly worried, it was surely the middle of the park. However, an aggressive display from Xhaka ensured the Gunners were able to live with Spurs relatively comfortably. After a poor start to the season, this was a big step in the right direction.

MF Aaron Ramsey, 7 -- His tendency to give the ball away in dangerous situations and occasionally abandon his position can lead to Ramsey being the subject of criticism from Arsenal fans. However, it's impossible to question his work rate and desire. If he cold only improve his game-intelligence he'd be a truly top class midfielder.

MF Sead Kolasinac, 7 -- With Kieran Trippier constantly threatening to charge down the right flank, Kolasinac needed to play more defensively than usual. However, he stuck to his task well, adding some invaluable physicality to the Gunners XI.

FW Mesut Ozil, 8 -- Like the rest of his teammates, Ozil was clearly up for this one. You don't get too much time on the ball in the derby, so we didn't see too much of Ozil's playmaking skill. However, he was defensively disciplined and showed an usual willingness to go shoulder-to-shoulder with his opponents in challenges. He also provided the assist for Mustafi's opener with a well-weight dead ball.

FW Alexis Sanchez, 8 -- For most of the first half, Sanchez appeared to be struggling to find a team-mate with even the most simple pass. Then, picked out by a cross from Alexandre Lacazette, he showed brilliant close control and predatory instincts to turn the ball high into the net and double Arsenal's lead. That ability to produce something out of nothing is precisely why Arsenal kept him.

FW Alexandre Lacazette, 8 -- A strong performance from the summer signing. His movement tested Spurs throughout the game, and it was his run and cross that led to the crucial second goal. The decision to withdraw him was greeted with boos from the Arsenal faithful-when will Wenger allow him to complete 90 minutes?


MF Francis Coquelin, N/R -- Came on for Lacazette (73) to shore up the midfield.

FW Alex Iwobi, N/R -- Replaced Ozil (84) and had a decent chance to add a third.

James McNicholas is one of ESPN FC's Arsenal bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter @gunnerblog.


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