Home-grown players made the difference for Arsenal in north London derby

Arsenal fans could have hardly wished for a better north London derby as they watched their club take Tottenham apart at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Aside from conceding what turned out to be a consolation in the second half, it was pretty much the perfect game for Arsenal and it was won in the absolute ‘right’ way for a derby match.

Supporters want to see intensity from their team, especially against fierce rivals. The Gunners didn’t have that in the first few weeks of the season when they were losing games, but after back-to-back wins earlier this month it was there from the start this time.

Spurs couldn’t get settled into any sort of rhythm in the first half because Arsenal’s attackers and midfielders were on them straight away. On the occasion that Spurs did get the ball forward, the Gunners proved to be deadly on the counter attack.

That is how a derby match should be played, but the victory is made even more special because young home-grown players who have been at the club since childhood had such a major role.

Emile Smith Rowe was the best player on the pitch. Arsenal fought hard to keep him during the summer, with Aston Villa having more than one sizeable bid rejected, handing him a new long-term contract and underlining that faith with the iconic number 10 shirt once worn by Dennis Bergkamp.

His movement proved impossible for Spurs defenders to pick up and that was what yielded the opening goal just 12 minutes in as he ghosted in from the left to turn home a square pass from fellow home-grown star Bukayo Saka.

Smith Rowe soon laid on the second Arsenal goal for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in a fast, flowing move that left Spurs for dead. Saka scored the third for Arsenal soon after.

If Smith Rowe was the best player on the pitch, Saka was a close second. Both players, who joined the academy ranks aged 10 and seven respectively, finished with a goal and assist and offer huge hope both for now and the future.

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Source : 90min