How Unai Emery produced a tactical masterclass to guide Arsenal to glory against Spurs

Arsenal produced a fine performance on Sunday to overcome Tottenham Hotspur by a 4-2 scoreline at the Emirates Stadium. Unai Emery will be delighted to have triumphed so emphatically in his first north London derby as the Arsenal boss, and he deserves plenty of credit for the victory which was won off the back of his tactical masterstrokes.

On the chalkboard

Emery persisted with the 3-4-3 formation he had introduced last time out against Bournemouth. He also named the same starting XI, despite the face that his side had struggled for cohesion against the Cherries.

The wing-back formation, though, allows for Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac to push forward aggressively, without leaving their team defensively vulnerable. 

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With this license to attack, the Gunners duo become a key part of the attack, and allow Emery’s side to overwhelm the opposition defence.

Not only did Emery design a system to enhance his squad’s strengths, he was also proactive in realising its flaws and making the necessary changes. 

Making changes

At half-time, with the hosts 2-1 down, Emery replaced Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan with Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette. Ramsey went on to provide two assists, whilst Lacazette scored the goal that put the Gunners back in front.

Spurs boss, Mauricio Pochettino, for his part, waited until the 78th minute to make his first change, at which point his side were 4-2 down, the home side were buoyant and the game had gone.

Emery acted fast to put his team in the ascendancy, and considering the Gunners lead the Premier League in terms of second half goals scored this season, the impact of his changes was no anomaly. 

Between his tactical set-up and his substitutions, Emery deserves as much credit for Arsenal’s triumph as any player on the pitch.