Hits and Misses: Spurs (h)

After weeks of anticipation, the day of the North London Derby finally arrived — and Arsenal met the occasion wonderfully. Against Antonio Conte’s side, the Gunners dominated for the most part. Despite giving Harry Kane his seventh penalty goal against the club, Arsenal played a far superior brand of football and emerged 3-1 victors. The result sees them once again end the weekend in first. Below are four Hits and two Misses from a lovely derby win.


William Saliba

The Frenchman finished with 100% of his aerial duels won, 96% of his 71 passes completed, 79 touches, 11 ball recoveries, six passes into the final third, five duels won, three tackles made, three clearances, and a terrific nutmeg against Oliver Skipp. On top of all that, Saliba was not dribbled past once on the day. There’s really nothing else to say about him now. He has smashed through every possible ceiling above him this season, and there’s no reason to think that won’t continue. He is one of the best defenders in the Premier League. Arsenal need to sign him up on a new contract posthaste.

Thomas Partey

For two years now, Partey has attempted fruitlessly to score from outside the box. But today, at the best possible time, he finally got it right. Just 20 minutes into the match, the Ghanaian hit the ball as sweetly as possible past Hugo Lloris to put the hosts ahead. In addition to his goal, Partey was imperious in midfield. He completed 51 of 55 passes, managed 14 final third entries, and produced four key passes. When Arsenal needed him to show up, he absolutely did so. Hopefully he can continue that throughout a busy October.

Gabriel Martinelli

Martinelli was unfortunate not to score on the day, especially considering the shot he smacked off the post in the opening minutes of the game. But the Brazilian winger was relentless against Spurs, running Emerson Royal and Cristian Romero ragged to the point where the former cynically went in studs-up and rightfully earned a sending off. His intense performance eventually earned him an assist. Holding off Romero, he cut inside and dribbled towards the top of Spurs’ penalty area before leaving the ball for Granit Xhaka to carry forward and score. Next up is Liverpool and Trent Alexander-Arnold. Martinelli will surely be excited for that matchup.

Ben White

For a guy who doesn’t watch football for fun, he sure is quite good at it, isn’t he? White has been steadily one of Arsenal’s most reliable players for the whole of the season. Having fully adapted to playing right back in Mikel Arteta’s system by now, he was quietly instrumental in the team’s second goal. His overlapping run on the right flank allowed Bukayo Saka a one-on-one opportunity which he used to unleash a venomous shot on goal. Lloris then parried the ball into the path of Gabriel Jesus, and the rest is history. As the cherry on top, White helped keep Heung-min Son from attempting a single shot. Benny Blanco deserves his roses.



To be clear, Gabriel is still a great defender. But his tackle on Richarlison to give away a penalty was rather needless. There were eight other Arsenal players in the box with him, compared to just three for Spurs. The passing lanes were likely blocked off, and there was not much of a shot on for Richarlison either. However, Gabriel panicked and dove in, letting Spurs back into the match. This is not the first time he has made a silly mistake of this sort, but luckily Arsenal have been able to rally to prevent Gabriel’s errors from hindering them too much. Gabriel’s positive contributions still make him worthy of a starting spot, but he needs to minimize these sorts of miscalculations.


A lot of the dialogue preceding the match seemed to indicate that despite playing less exciting, less dominant football than Arsenal were, Spurs were still destined for a better season simply because Conte was at the helm. But the fact of the matter is, their performance in the North London Derby demonstrates that this is just not the case. Spurs’ football relies on the other team making mistakes. They do not create many chances, and they cede control of matches to opponents. They allow a concerning number of final third entries and shots as well. If you dominate possession and refrain from making bad decisions on the ball, you effectively render Spurs powerless, and give yourself a good chance of winning to boot. Arsenal made that clear, to the point that Conte made four substitutions at once because he knew he was beaten. Spurs may have some of the best attackers on the planet, but they are a fragile team.

Sham writes and podcasts regularly about The Arsenal, and currently regrets drafting Kyle Pitts in two of his fantasy football leagues. He can be followed on Twitter @dopegooner.