Arsenal show fight in Tottenham win as Torreira, Aubameyang get 9/10
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored two goals and set up another as Arsenal fought back to beat Tottenham 4-2 on Sunday in a pulsating and heated North London derby, their most important win so far of the Unai Emery era, which lifts the Gunners into fourth place in the Premier League.
This was the kind of Arsenal performance fans have been dying to see under Emery -- not just putting four goals past Spurs but doing it while playing an aggressive, physical and fierce brand of football. Arsenal never looked likely to shirk from the fight in this one, even after going 2-1 down thanks to two quick counter-punches.
The atmosphere was rocking at the Emirates throughout the game as well, with fans now having real reason to believe that the good times -- or at least North London Supremacy -- could be coming back to the club.
In Aubameyang, they now have a world-class striker who is capable of deciding these types of games on his own -- making him worth every penny of the £54m Arsenal spent on him last January.
Shkodran Mustafi's hamstring injury adds to Emery's defensive problems, but the pending return of Laurent Koscielny could make that a moot point. Mesut Ozil missing the game because of "back spasms" could be a bigger issue. It will renew the never-ending debate about his role in the team, especially as the German playmaker was hardly missed.
Manager rating out of 10
9 -- There will undoubtedly be speculation over whether Ozil's absence was really down to back spasms or a deeper-lying issue, but there's no doubt Emery got his tactics spot on as Arsenal came roaring out of the gates and dominated the opening 20 minutes. After Spurs' brief fightback, he shuffled the deck again at half-time with two brave substitutions and switched to playing with two up front. It worked a charm as Ramsey and Lacazette helped turn the game around. Emery's first North London derby could not have gone much better.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Bernd Leno, 6 -- Made two good saves to deny Heung-Min Son in the first half but should probably have done better on Eric Dier's equaliser.
DF Shkodran Mustafi, 7 -- Coped well Spurs' pacey attack for most of the game and read the game well to break up attacks high up the pitch. Had to come off with an apparent hamstring injury.
DF Rob Holding, 6 -- Hard to tell, even with replays, whether he actually touched Son to give away the penalty in the first half, but probably could have stayed on his feet. Otherwise a very solid and confident performance.
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 7 -- The vocal and physical leader of Arsenal's defence. The way he celebrated a sliding tackle with the score at 4-2 showed the tone he is setting for this back four.
MF Hector Bellerin, 6 -- A total brain freeze to gift Son a chance at 2-2 was the only real blemish on an otherwise strong defensive performance. Still needs to work on his crossing, though.
MF Lucas Torreira, 9 -- Another supreme performance by Arsenal's ball-winning midfield terrier, who capped it off with his first goal for the club. His relentless energy is priceless in a game like this.
MF Granit Xhaka, 6 -- Stood up well in midfield and helped Arsenal control that area of the pitch. Couldn't find many decisive passes going forward but put in a good performance overall.
MF Sead Kolasinac, 8 -- At the heart of most dangerous Arsenal attacks going forward, he wasn't afraid to get physical with Tottenham's forwards at the other end. His most complete performance of the season.
MF Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 6 -- Looked eager to make an impact straight away, sparking a few early attacks by winning the ball back up high. But his confidence won't be helped by being subbed at the break.
MF Alex Iwobi, 6 -- Great work ethic and a key part in Arsenal's effective press early on, but his chronic lack of an end product cost his team chances to double their lead. Taken off at half-time, somewhat surprisingly.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 9 -- There were shades of Thierry Henry in the way he took his second goal, and shades of Dennis Bergkamp in the way he set up Torreira for the fourth. Delivered a big-game performance when Arsenal needed it most.
FW Alexandre Lacazette, 7 -- Played as part of a front two in the second half, making Arsenal's attack more mobile and fluid. Got a bit of luck with a deflection on his goal, but seized the chance well.
MF Aaron Ramsey 8 -- Made a real impact as a half-time sub and set up both Aubameyang and Lacazette to turn the game around. Could be playing his way back into Emery's good graces.
MF Matteo Guendouzi, NR -- Replaced Mustafi in the 71st and his main task was to help shore things up defensively, which he did well.