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Pep Guardiola has revealed Leroy Sane is returning to boost Manchester City’s Champions League mission, just over two weeks since suffering ankle ligament damage. Sane has flown out with City’s squad to Basel for the round of 16 tie and could even start at St. Jakob-Park as City return to European competition. It was initially feared that the Germany international could be sidelined until late March after he was the victim of a dreadful challenge from Cardiff defender Joe Bennett in the FA Cup tie between the two clubs last month. The tackle infuriated Guardiola and sparked off an angry tirade from the City manager over the standard of refereeing and absence of protection for his players. But Sane has only missed Premier League games against West Bromwich Albion, Burnley and Leicester and has made himself available as Guardiola pursues the quadruple. David Silva is also back from injury Credit: Action Images David Silva and Fabian Delph are also in City’s squad, after returning from injuries, but it is the swift return of Sane that has stunned Guardiola. If the winger does appear against FC Basel, it will ensure he has returned five weeks ahead of schedule. Guardiola said: "I'm surprised but he has worked a lot. I couldn’t expect it with a young guy, to be so professional. “He's not in perfect condition but he has run a lot and he wants to help us. He is with us and that's good news. They have done a good job, both the physio’s and himself.” When asked if Sane could start, Guardiola smiled and replied simply: “He’s young”. Sitting next to Guardiola was Vincent Kompany and there was a wonderful moment when the City captain remarked on Sane’s swift return by admitting “a bit longer than I usually take”, in reference to his persistent injury problems. Kompany is likely to be involved against the Swiss champions and has admitted it is now City’s time to finally issue a statement of intent in this competition. The Belgium international knows from painful experience how City have struggled during previous European excursions: his career with the club began in 2008 when City competed in the Uefa League. Last season they were knocked out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage on away goals by Monaco but Kompany believes this year could be different. “We've been caught out in Europe on occasions we shouldn't have but things have changed. If there is a year, a moment when the club is ready to feel at home, then it is now,” he said. “Some clubs never win it, but if every year we can go with this kind of confidence then if not this year or next year, eventually we'll get there. I'm sure of it. “We are trying to break into a well-established order - Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, - any team who has tried it has failed. First it's Basel and then getting to the stage where we can measure ourselves against these teams and feel like we can beat them." City will face an Basel team who embarrassed Manchester United in the group stages, while they also recorded an impressive 5-0 home victory over Benfica. The Swiss team have been league winners eight times in a row but manager Raphael Wicky is acutely aware that his side face a daunting task. “I think the team has no weaknesses, they show that every three days in all competitions,” he said. “They are a very flexible team and are able to react very well to the opposition. We don't have to talk about the quality of the opponents or the coach. “If we fight in such competitions, we need a perfect night, with a lot of courage, emotion, and the fans have to be there, for us to stage a surprise. “We have the belief that we can do it, but there is no great tactical plan behind it.”
Leroy Sane returns to Man City squad for Champions League trip to Basel
Pep Guardiola has revealed Leroy Sane is returning to boost Manchester City’s Champions League mission, just over two weeks since suffering ankle ligament damage. Sane has flown out with City’s squad to Basel for the round of 16 tie and could even start at St. Jakob-Park as City return to European competition. It was initially feared that the Germany international could be sidelined until late March after he was the victim of a dreadful challenge from Cardiff defender Joe Bennett in the FA Cup tie between the two clubs last month. The tackle infuriated Guardiola and sparked off an angry tirade from the City manager over the standard of refereeing and absence of protection for his players. But Sane has only missed Premier League games against West Bromwich Albion, Burnley and Leicester and has made himself available as Guardiola pursues the quadruple. David Silva is also back from injury Credit: Action Images David Silva and Fabian Delph are also in City’s squad, after returning from injuries, but it is the swift return of Sane that has stunned Guardiola. If the winger does appear against FC Basel, it will ensure he has returned five weeks ahead of schedule. Guardiola said: "I'm surprised but he has worked a lot. I couldn’t expect it with a young guy, to be so professional. “He's not in perfect condition but he has run a lot and he wants to help us. He is with us and that's good news. They have done a good job, both the physio’s and himself.” When asked if Sane could start, Guardiola smiled and replied simply: “He’s young”. Sitting next to Guardiola was Vincent Kompany and there was a wonderful moment when the City captain remarked on Sane’s swift return by admitting “a bit longer than I usually take”, in reference to his persistent injury problems. Kompany is likely to be involved against the Swiss champions and has admitted it is now City’s time to finally issue a statement of intent in this competition. The Belgium international knows from painful experience how City have struggled during previous European excursions: his career with the club began in 2008 when City competed in the Uefa League. Last season they were knocked out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage on away goals by Monaco but Kompany believes this year could be different. “We've been caught out in Europe on occasions we shouldn't have but things have changed. If there is a year, a moment when the club is ready to feel at home, then it is now,” he said. “Some clubs never win it, but if every year we can go with this kind of confidence then if not this year or next year, eventually we'll get there. I'm sure of it. “We are trying to break into a well-established order - Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, - any team who has tried it has failed. First it's Basel and then getting to the stage where we can measure ourselves against these teams and feel like we can beat them." City will face an Basel team who embarrassed Manchester United in the group stages, while they also recorded an impressive 5-0 home victory over Benfica. The Swiss team have been league winners eight times in a row but manager Raphael Wicky is acutely aware that his side face a daunting task. “I think the team has no weaknesses, they show that every three days in all competitions,” he said. “They are a very flexible team and are able to react very well to the opposition. We don't have to talk about the quality of the opponents or the coach. “If we fight in such competitions, we need a perfect night, with a lot of courage, emotion, and the fans have to be there, for us to stage a surprise. “We have the belief that we can do it, but there is no great tactical plan behind it.”
Pep Guardiola has revealed Leroy Sane is returning to boost Manchester City’s Champions League mission, just over two weeks since suffering ankle ligament damage. Sane has flown out with City’s squad to Basel for the round of 16 tie and could even start at St. Jakob-Park as City return to European competition. It was initially feared that the Germany international could be sidelined until late March after he was the victim of a dreadful challenge from Cardiff defender Joe Bennett in the FA Cup tie between the two clubs last month. The tackle infuriated Guardiola and sparked off an angry tirade from the City manager over the standard of refereeing and absence of protection for his players. But Sane has only missed Premier League games against West Bromwich Albion, Burnley and Leicester and has made himself available as Guardiola pursues the quadruple. David Silva is also back from injury Credit: Action Images David Silva and Fabian Delph are also in City’s squad, after returning from injuries, but it is the swift return of Sane that has stunned Guardiola. If the winger does appear against FC Basel, it will ensure he has returned five weeks ahead of schedule. Guardiola said: "I'm surprised but he has worked a lot. I couldn’t expect it with a young guy, to be so professional. “He's not in perfect condition but he has run a lot and he wants to help us. He is with us and that's good news. They have done a good job, both the physio’s and himself.” When asked if Sane could start, Guardiola smiled and replied simply: “He’s young”. Sitting next to Guardiola was Vincent Kompany and there was a wonderful moment when the City captain remarked on Sane’s swift return by admitting “a bit longer than I usually take”, in reference to his persistent injury problems. Kompany is likely to be involved against the Swiss champions and has admitted it is now City’s time to finally issue a statement of intent in this competition. The Belgium international knows from painful experience how City have struggled during previous European excursions: his career with the club began in 2008 when City competed in the Uefa League. Last season they were knocked out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage on away goals by Monaco but Kompany believes this year could be different. “We've been caught out in Europe on occasions we shouldn't have but things have changed. If there is a year, a moment when the club is ready to feel at home, then it is now,” he said. “Some clubs never win it, but if every year we can go with this kind of confidence then if not this year or next year, eventually we'll get there. I'm sure of it. “We are trying to break into a well-established order - Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, - any team who has tried it has failed. First it's Basel and then getting to the stage where we can measure ourselves against these teams and feel like we can beat them." City will face an Basel team who embarrassed Manchester United in the group stages, while they also recorded an impressive 5-0 home victory over Benfica. The Swiss team have been league winners eight times in a row but manager Raphael Wicky is acutely aware that his side face a daunting task. “I think the team has no weaknesses, they show that every three days in all competitions,” he said. “They are a very flexible team and are able to react very well to the opposition. We don't have to talk about the quality of the opponents or the coach. “If we fight in such competitions, we need a perfect night, with a lot of courage, emotion, and the fans have to be there, for us to stage a surprise. “We have the belief that we can do it, but there is no great tactical plan behind it.”
Leroy Sane returns to Man City squad for Champions League trip to Basel
Pep Guardiola has revealed Leroy Sane is returning to boost Manchester City’s Champions League mission, just over two weeks since suffering ankle ligament damage. Sane has flown out with City’s squad to Basel for the round of 16 tie and could even start at St. Jakob-Park as City return to European competition. It was initially feared that the Germany international could be sidelined until late March after he was the victim of a dreadful challenge from Cardiff defender Joe Bennett in the FA Cup tie between the two clubs last month. The tackle infuriated Guardiola and sparked off an angry tirade from the City manager over the standard of refereeing and absence of protection for his players. But Sane has only missed Premier League games against West Bromwich Albion, Burnley and Leicester and has made himself available as Guardiola pursues the quadruple. David Silva is also back from injury Credit: Action Images David Silva and Fabian Delph are also in City’s squad, after returning from injuries, but it is the swift return of Sane that has stunned Guardiola. If the winger does appear against FC Basel, it will ensure he has returned five weeks ahead of schedule. Guardiola said: "I'm surprised but he has worked a lot. I couldn’t expect it with a young guy, to be so professional. “He's not in perfect condition but he has run a lot and he wants to help us. He is with us and that's good news. They have done a good job, both the physio’s and himself.” When asked if Sane could start, Guardiola smiled and replied simply: “He’s young”. Sitting next to Guardiola was Vincent Kompany and there was a wonderful moment when the City captain remarked on Sane’s swift return by admitting “a bit longer than I usually take”, in reference to his persistent injury problems. Kompany is likely to be involved against the Swiss champions and has admitted it is now City’s time to finally issue a statement of intent in this competition. The Belgium international knows from painful experience how City have struggled during previous European excursions: his career with the club began in 2008 when City competed in the Uefa League. Last season they were knocked out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage on away goals by Monaco but Kompany believes this year could be different. “We've been caught out in Europe on occasions we shouldn't have but things have changed. If there is a year, a moment when the club is ready to feel at home, then it is now,” he said. “Some clubs never win it, but if every year we can go with this kind of confidence then if not this year or next year, eventually we'll get there. I'm sure of it. “We are trying to break into a well-established order - Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, - any team who has tried it has failed. First it's Basel and then getting to the stage where we can measure ourselves against these teams and feel like we can beat them." City will face an Basel team who embarrassed Manchester United in the group stages, while they also recorded an impressive 5-0 home victory over Benfica. The Swiss team have been league winners eight times in a row but manager Raphael Wicky is acutely aware that his side face a daunting task. “I think the team has no weaknesses, they show that every three days in all competitions,” he said. “They are a very flexible team and are able to react very well to the opposition. We don't have to talk about the quality of the opponents or the coach. “If we fight in such competitions, we need a perfect night, with a lot of courage, emotion, and the fans have to be there, for us to stage a surprise. “We have the belief that we can do it, but there is no great tactical plan behind it.”
With the 22nd goal of an already extraordinary first season at Liverpool, Mohamed Salah jumped to the top of an elite list of goal-scorers. It was his 19th strike with his left foot, making his first season back in England the joint-most prolific the Premier League has ever seen when it comes to left-footed goals. Only fellow Red Robbie Fowler has scored as many in a single season, and he did so when the top flight had 22 teams and so each side played four extra matches. Salah, though, has equalled the Premier League record with 11 matches to spare in a shorter, 38-game season. His 19 left-footed goals is only one fewer than Swansea City's overall total in the 'Goals For' column, and only two behind seventh-placed Burnley. Goals scored | Premier League 2017/18 This is only the 16th time in Premier League history that a player has made it past 10 left-footed goals in a season, and only the sixth time someone has made it to 15. It has been an astonishing campaign by anyone's standards, let alone for a player only just being given their first proper run at English football having previously been disregarded. But if there was one criticism - though even calling it a criticism seems just a tad harsh - of Salah, it might be that it has been slightly too left-footed. Of the 73 instances of a player scoring 20 or more goals in a Premier League season, Salah's debut campaign at Liverpool is the most left-foot 'heavy'. That is, 86.4 per cent of his goals have come from his left boot - the highest proportion of any 20-goal Premier League season, by some distance. Highest proportion of goals scored with left foot | Premier League seasons Gareth Bale in 2012/13 and Robbie Fowler's 1994/95 come closest to challenging Salah in this regard, but beyond that, the other great left-footed forwards of the Premier League era - Robin van Persie, Daniel Sturridge, Romelu Lukaku and Louis Saha - are all remarkably two-footed. In Van Persie's most prolific season - his final year at Arsenal - he scored 30 goals, but just 17 were with his rocket of a left foot. Meanwhile, he scored 12 with his right; more than right-footers Mario Balotelli, Frank Lampard, Jermaine Defoe, Theo Walcott and Edin Dzeko to name a handful. The presence of Harry Kane in that list is quite something. The current campaign has seen Kane race to 23 league goals, with nine coming via each foot: take away his two penalties and he has had a more effective season with his left than his right. 39.1 per cent of Kane's goals this season have been left-footed Credit: Getty images Kane, a right-footed player who has worked tremendously hard on honing other skills to make him a more complete player, has had the 10th-most left foot-heavy 20-goal season in Premier League history. Right-footers, on the other hand are markedly more one-footed. Of the 73 times a player has scored 20 or more Premier League goals in a season, the most right-footed was Sergio Aguero in 2011/12, when 91.3 per cent of his goals came via his right boot. Even the 10th-most right-footed season saw Andrew Johnson net 81 per cent of his goals with his right. Perhaps left-footed players grow up being 'shown onto to their weaker foot' more often, and so become more accustomed to finding other routes to goal. A player with a decent shot is usually pretty easy to spot, so defenders do all they can to make sure that opponent cannot get a clear sight of goal on their strong foot. pic.twitter.com/hUFiD4YR2T— Mohamed Salah (@22mosalah) February 11, 2018 Teams have obviously tried to get Kane onto his left foot more, but as he becomes more two-footed, he just adapts and scores more with his left. For Salah, meanwhile, the pace at which he can move means defenders have even less chance to get him onto his significantly weaker right. He can burst into half a yard of space with such ease that he gets as many shooting opportunities on his left as he needs. It may have been a one-footed season so far for Salah, but it is frightfully effective, and six months in, nobody has found a way to stop him on his favoured side.
Mohamed Salah is having the most left-footed Premier League season ever
With the 22nd goal of an already extraordinary first season at Liverpool, Mohamed Salah jumped to the top of an elite list of goal-scorers. It was his 19th strike with his left foot, making his first season back in England the joint-most prolific the Premier League has ever seen when it comes to left-footed goals. Only fellow Red Robbie Fowler has scored as many in a single season, and he did so when the top flight had 22 teams and so each side played four extra matches. Salah, though, has equalled the Premier League record with 11 matches to spare in a shorter, 38-game season. His 19 left-footed goals is only one fewer than Swansea City's overall total in the 'Goals For' column, and only two behind seventh-placed Burnley. Goals scored | Premier League 2017/18 This is only the 16th time in Premier League history that a player has made it past 10 left-footed goals in a season, and only the sixth time someone has made it to 15. It has been an astonishing campaign by anyone's standards, let alone for a player only just being given their first proper run at English football having previously been disregarded. But if there was one criticism - though even calling it a criticism seems just a tad harsh - of Salah, it might be that it has been slightly too left-footed. Of the 73 instances of a player scoring 20 or more goals in a Premier League season, Salah's debut campaign at Liverpool is the most left-foot 'heavy'. That is, 86.4 per cent of his goals have come from his left boot - the highest proportion of any 20-goal Premier League season, by some distance. Highest proportion of goals scored with left foot | Premier League seasons Gareth Bale in 2012/13 and Robbie Fowler's 1994/95 come closest to challenging Salah in this regard, but beyond that, the other great left-footed forwards of the Premier League era - Robin van Persie, Daniel Sturridge, Romelu Lukaku and Louis Saha - are all remarkably two-footed. In Van Persie's most prolific season - his final year at Arsenal - he scored 30 goals, but just 17 were with his rocket of a left foot. Meanwhile, he scored 12 with his right; more than right-footers Mario Balotelli, Frank Lampard, Jermaine Defoe, Theo Walcott and Edin Dzeko to name a handful. The presence of Harry Kane in that list is quite something. The current campaign has seen Kane race to 23 league goals, with nine coming via each foot: take away his two penalties and he has had a more effective season with his left than his right. 39.1 per cent of Kane's goals this season have been left-footed Credit: Getty images Kane, a right-footed player who has worked tremendously hard on honing other skills to make him a more complete player, has had the 10th-most left foot-heavy 20-goal season in Premier League history. Right-footers, on the other hand are markedly more one-footed. Of the 73 times a player has scored 20 or more Premier League goals in a season, the most right-footed was Sergio Aguero in 2011/12, when 91.3 per cent of his goals came via his right boot. Even the 10th-most right-footed season saw Andrew Johnson net 81 per cent of his goals with his right. Perhaps left-footed players grow up being 'shown onto to their weaker foot' more often, and so become more accustomed to finding other routes to goal. A player with a decent shot is usually pretty easy to spot, so defenders do all they can to make sure that opponent cannot get a clear sight of goal on their strong foot. pic.twitter.com/hUFiD4YR2T— Mohamed Salah (@22mosalah) February 11, 2018 Teams have obviously tried to get Kane onto his left foot more, but as he becomes more two-footed, he just adapts and scores more with his left. For Salah, meanwhile, the pace at which he can move means defenders have even less chance to get him onto his significantly weaker right. He can burst into half a yard of space with such ease that he gets as many shooting opportunities on his left as he needs. It may have been a one-footed season so far for Salah, but it is frightfully effective, and six months in, nobody has found a way to stop him on his favoured side.
With the 22nd goal of an already extraordinary first season at Liverpool, Mohamed Salah jumped to the top of an elite list of goal-scorers. It was his 19th strike with his left foot, making his first season back in England the joint-most prolific the Premier League has ever seen when it comes to left-footed goals. Only fellow Red Robbie Fowler has scored as many in a single season, and he did so when the top flight had 22 teams and so each side played four extra matches. Salah, though, has equalled the Premier League record with 11 matches to spare in a shorter, 38-game season. His 19 left-footed goals is only one fewer than Swansea City's overall total in the 'Goals For' column, and only two behind seventh-placed Burnley. Goals scored | Premier League 2017/18 This is only the 16th time in Premier League history that a player has made it past 10 left-footed goals in a season, and only the sixth time someone has made it to 15. It has been an astonishing campaign by anyone's standards, let alone for a player only just being given their first proper run at English football having previously been disregarded. But if there was one criticism - though even calling it a criticism seems just a tad harsh - of Salah, it might be that it has been slightly too left-footed. Of the 73 instances of a player scoring 20 or more goals in a Premier League season, Salah's debut campaign at Liverpool is the most left-foot 'heavy'. That is, 86.4 per cent of his goals have come from his left boot - the highest proportion of any 20-goal Premier League season, by some distance. Highest proportion of goals scored with left foot | Premier League seasons Gareth Bale in 2012/13 and Robbie Fowler's 1994/95 come closest to challenging Salah in this regard, but beyond that, the other great left-footed forwards of the Premier League era - Robin van Persie, Daniel Sturridge, Romelu Lukaku and Louis Saha - are all remarkably two-footed. In Van Persie's most prolific season - his final year at Arsenal - he scored 30 goals, but just 17 were with his rocket of a left foot. Meanwhile, he scored 12 with his right; more than right-footers Mario Balotelli, Frank Lampard, Jermaine Defoe, Theo Walcott and Edin Dzeko to name a handful. The presence of Harry Kane in that list is quite something. The current campaign has seen Kane race to 23 league goals, with nine coming via each foot: take away his two penalties and he has had a more effective season with his left than his right. 39.1 per cent of Kane's goals this season have been left-footed Credit: Getty images Kane, a right-footed player who has worked tremendously hard on honing other skills to make him a more complete player, has had the 10th-most left foot-heavy 20-goal season in Premier League history. Right-footers, on the other hand are markedly more one-footed. Of the 73 times a player has scored 20 or more Premier League goals in a season, the most right-footed was Sergio Aguero in 2011/12, when 91.3 per cent of his goals came via his right boot. Even the 10th-most right-footed season saw Andrew Johnson net 81 per cent of his goals with his right. Perhaps left-footed players grow up being 'shown onto to their weaker foot' more often, and so become more accustomed to finding other routes to goal. A player with a decent shot is usually pretty easy to spot, so defenders do all they can to make sure that opponent cannot get a clear sight of goal on their strong foot. pic.twitter.com/hUFiD4YR2T— Mohamed Salah (@22mosalah) February 11, 2018 Teams have obviously tried to get Kane onto his left foot more, but as he becomes more two-footed, he just adapts and scores more with his left. For Salah, meanwhile, the pace at which he can move means defenders have even less chance to get him onto his significantly weaker right. He can burst into half a yard of space with such ease that he gets as many shooting opportunities on his left as he needs. It may have been a one-footed season so far for Salah, but it is frightfully effective, and six months in, nobody has found a way to stop him on his favoured side.
Mohamed Salah is having the most left-footed Premier League season ever
With the 22nd goal of an already extraordinary first season at Liverpool, Mohamed Salah jumped to the top of an elite list of goal-scorers. It was his 19th strike with his left foot, making his first season back in England the joint-most prolific the Premier League has ever seen when it comes to left-footed goals. Only fellow Red Robbie Fowler has scored as many in a single season, and he did so when the top flight had 22 teams and so each side played four extra matches. Salah, though, has equalled the Premier League record with 11 matches to spare in a shorter, 38-game season. His 19 left-footed goals is only one fewer than Swansea City's overall total in the 'Goals For' column, and only two behind seventh-placed Burnley. Goals scored | Premier League 2017/18 This is only the 16th time in Premier League history that a player has made it past 10 left-footed goals in a season, and only the sixth time someone has made it to 15. It has been an astonishing campaign by anyone's standards, let alone for a player only just being given their first proper run at English football having previously been disregarded. But if there was one criticism - though even calling it a criticism seems just a tad harsh - of Salah, it might be that it has been slightly too left-footed. Of the 73 instances of a player scoring 20 or more goals in a Premier League season, Salah's debut campaign at Liverpool is the most left-foot 'heavy'. That is, 86.4 per cent of his goals have come from his left boot - the highest proportion of any 20-goal Premier League season, by some distance. Highest proportion of goals scored with left foot | Premier League seasons Gareth Bale in 2012/13 and Robbie Fowler's 1994/95 come closest to challenging Salah in this regard, but beyond that, the other great left-footed forwards of the Premier League era - Robin van Persie, Daniel Sturridge, Romelu Lukaku and Louis Saha - are all remarkably two-footed. In Van Persie's most prolific season - his final year at Arsenal - he scored 30 goals, but just 17 were with his rocket of a left foot. Meanwhile, he scored 12 with his right; more than right-footers Mario Balotelli, Frank Lampard, Jermaine Defoe, Theo Walcott and Edin Dzeko to name a handful. The presence of Harry Kane in that list is quite something. The current campaign has seen Kane race to 23 league goals, with nine coming via each foot: take away his two penalties and he has had a more effective season with his left than his right. 39.1 per cent of Kane's goals this season have been left-footed Credit: Getty images Kane, a right-footed player who has worked tremendously hard on honing other skills to make him a more complete player, has had the 10th-most left foot-heavy 20-goal season in Premier League history. Right-footers, on the other hand are markedly more one-footed. Of the 73 times a player has scored 20 or more Premier League goals in a season, the most right-footed was Sergio Aguero in 2011/12, when 91.3 per cent of his goals came via his right boot. Even the 10th-most right-footed season saw Andrew Johnson net 81 per cent of his goals with his right. Perhaps left-footed players grow up being 'shown onto to their weaker foot' more often, and so become more accustomed to finding other routes to goal. A player with a decent shot is usually pretty easy to spot, so defenders do all they can to make sure that opponent cannot get a clear sight of goal on their strong foot. pic.twitter.com/hUFiD4YR2T— Mohamed Salah (@22mosalah) February 11, 2018 Teams have obviously tried to get Kane onto his left foot more, but as he becomes more two-footed, he just adapts and scores more with his left. For Salah, meanwhile, the pace at which he can move means defenders have even less chance to get him onto his significantly weaker right. He can burst into half a yard of space with such ease that he gets as many shooting opportunities on his left as he needs. It may have been a one-footed season so far for Salah, but it is frightfully effective, and six months in, nobody has found a way to stop him on his favoured side.
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
Man City 5 Leicester 1: Sergio Aguero scores four as show-stopping City stretch their Premier League lead
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
Man City 5 Leicester 1: Sergio Aguero scores four as show-stopping City stretch their Premier League lead
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
Man City 5 Leicester 1: Sergio Aguero scores four as show-stopping City stretch their Premier League lead
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
Man City 5 Leicester 1: Sergio Aguero scores four as show-stopping City stretch their Premier League lead
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
Man City 5 Leicester 1: Sergio Aguero scores four as show-stopping City stretch their Premier League lead
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
Man City 5 Leicester 1: Sergio Aguero scores four as show-stopping City stretch their Premier League lead
No wonder Riyad Mahrez was desperate to join this lot. Another win, another avalanche of goals, their lead at the top of the Premier League stretched to a scarcely believable 16 points and another show stopping turn from that serial slaughterer of defenders. When Sergio Aguero received the ball from Phil Foden just outside the penalty area as the clock hit 90 minutes, the young Manchester City midfielder was screaming for it back. Aguero, though, had only one thing in mind at that point and crashed a thunderous strike in off the underside of the crossbar for his fourth goal of an arresting afternoon. The Argentina striker is now just three goals short of a double century for Manchester City and just six shy of bettering his season best goals tally for the club of 33. It is only early February and Aguero already has 28 goals in 32 appearances, half of which have come in his last seven games at the Etihad. Do not let anyone tell you this man is past his best. “When one guy is able to score four goals, he deserves all the credit,” Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, said. Guardiola’s side now have 72 points and are unbeaten at the Etihad since December 2016. Seven more wins will guarantee the title. The Premier League is widely as the most competitive in Europe but Guardiola is in danger of turning it into a one horse show like Scotland and could become the first to smash the 100 point barrier. When it was put to Guardiola he was making it look easy, he replied: “So far, yeah. I would like to take that question after 38 games. So far we have 72 points in February so it is a lot. We’ve enjoyed the last six or seven months but to be admired and loved we have to win the title.” Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised against the run of play. Guardiola will have been disappointed that the goal originated from a misplaced pass from Nicolas Otamendi, who had actually done well to dispossess Fousseni Diabate but he will have admired the subsequent brilliance of Jamie Vardy. Collecting Otamendi’s stray pass, Vardy rode challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan, both of whom had slid in to try to win the ball back, before careering towards the penalty area. With Aymeric Laporte backing off, Vardy fired expertly into the far bottom corner. It was a terrific piece of centre-forward play. Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) “He perhaps made a mistake but it’s important to have our best players with us,” Claude Puel, the Leicester City manager, said of Mahrez. “The most important thing is that he came back to the training session, to the game. Now it’s important to look forward and put this behind us.” If Aguero stole the headlines, Kevin De Bruyne ran him close for the man-of-the-match award. It was De Bruyne who fashioned the first three goals with characteristically sublime passes. The match was only three minutes old when Raheem Sterling gave the hosts the lead. Bernardo Silva pulled the ball back to De Bruyne on the right and the Belgian swung in a wonderful cross that eluded Leicester City’s defence, the ball flying across the six yard box to the far post where Sterling nipped ahead of Marc Albrighton to steer home. Guardiola – who named three academy graduates among his substitutes a week after being criticised by Gary Neville for denying a youth team player a chance by only naming six substitutes against Burnley - had substituted Sterling immediately after the England forward missed a golden chance at Turf Moor but there was no mistake here. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) Leicester City had barely gained a foothold in the game before they equalised thanks to a terrific piece of centre-forward play from Jamie Vardy, who capitalised on a stray pass from Nicolas Otamendi before riding challenges from Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ilkay Gundogan as he strode forward and fired expertly into the bottom corner. Yet any hope of causing an upset evaporated within the space of five minutes early in the second half when Puel’s move to a back four was undone by two moments of ingenuity from De Bruyne. Exchanging a quick one-two with Sterling, De Bruyne’s pass to give Aguero a simple tap in was sublime, a clipped swipe of the side-foot that swerved past Danny Simpson and beyond Harry Maguire. Riyad Mahrez was a substitute for Leicester Credit: GETTY IMAGES Two became three soon after. Credit must go to Kyle Walker for chasing down Maguire, who played an angled pass to Kasper Schmeichel that the goalkeeper hurriedly tried to clear. Fernandinho intercepted, passed to De Bruyne who, in turn, played through Aguero to shoot in off Schmeichel. It would get a whole lot worse for Schmeichel. When Maguire played a simple back pass to Schmeichel, the Dane had time and options but elected to play a rushed pass intended for Aleksandar Dragovic that Aguero intercepted before dinking a lovely lobbed finish over the embarrassed Leicester City goalkeeper. Then came that fabulous fourth. 7:32PM Kevin De Bruyne tries to steal the match ball KDB tries to wind up Aguero at the final whistle by claiming the match ball for his three assists. Aguero makes sure he gets it and tells Sky Sports his favourite of his four goals was the fourth because it's been a while since he scored from outside the box. 7:24PM Average positions Average touch positions (0 min) 7:20PM FULL TIME It turns out a few days rest does wonders for this team! They looked a little lethargic in the first half, as though they couldn't quite build up the steam needed to punish Leicester's mistakes but in the second half have obliterated them. Clinical, powerful, fast, decisive. A great performance - Aguero and De Bruyne have been exceptional. 7:19PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero 4th He's just completely binned Schmeichel there. The power on that shot is ridiculous. Aguero's dipping, bending shot from 20 yards... how has he done that?! It's unsaveable but hit straight down the middle. Insane. Man City 5 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 90 min) 7:17PM 89 mins De Bruyne takes a sore one as Maguire clumsily kicks him trying to take the ball away. De Bruyne knows he's coming but still takes the hit. 7:14PM 87 mins Leicester have a free-kick, Mahrez plays it short and his pass is dreadful. James can't do anything with it and suddenly they're in trouble. Ederson launches a long ball towards Aguero but it's just slightly too heavy and Schmeichel is able to gather. This time he decides not to pass to Aguero. A wise choice, if I may say so. 7:12PM 85 mins De Bruyne attempts a first-time shot from 30 yards but puts it miles into the air. He can be forgiven. This time. 7:10PM 83 mins Vardy is having an argument with Laporte and the referee books them both. Vardy has a sly kick at the defender while trying to win the ball and Laporte tells him to wise up, Vardy doesn't like it and gets in his face. Gentlemen, please, won't you think of the example you'll set? 7:07PM 81 mins Phil Foden is on for Fernandinho. That should mean Gundogan drops into the holding midfield role. Otamendi is replaced by John Stones - two left-footed ball-playing defenders side by side. 7:06PM GOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL! Aguero fourth Schmeichel. What. On. Earth. Was. That. He passes the ball straight to Aguero on the edge of his own penalty area and though Aguero's finish is superb, a controlled chip high over the goalkeeper, it is entirely Schmeichel's fault for trying to be Ederson. You aren't Ederson, Kasper. Man City 4 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 77 min) 7:04PM 77 mins Aguero wins a corner with a deflected shot. De Bruyne walks over to take it, goes short, then hits it low into the area. Gundogan chips to the back post for Otamendi, who controls on the chest and hits a volley straight at Schmeichel. Leicester try to counter-attack but Ederson times his save perfectly and takes the ball away from Vardy before he can go round and win a penalty. 7:01PM 75 mins Laporte goes down under a challenge, slips and holds his leg. Mahrez attacks, Gundogan brings him down and complains that it should have been a foul on Laporte. Mahrez can shoot from here. Albrighton chips it into the box instead, meaning Leicester have still only had one shot on goal. Although, technically, Maguire's sneaky attempt to tuck a cross/shot inside the near post should probably count as one. 6:58PM 72 mins Bernardo Silva cuts inside from the right, Fuchs doesn't predict - somehow - that he will do so and Bernardo shoots form 20 yards, bending his effort wide of the top corner. Ndidi is booked for a frustrated challenge on Gundogan. This is quite funny: Man City vs Leicester shots on goal Man City vs Leicester shots on goal 6:56PM 69 mins Mahrez hasn't scored any goals yet nor tried putting it in his own net in protest. There's still time. Which way will he swing? At the moment, Leicester are in damage control mode and Man City being allowed to patiently pass around their half. 6:53PM 66 mins Zinchenko is replaced by Danilo. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:50PM 63 mins THE NARRATIVE! Riyad Mahrez is about to come on! Credit: GETTY IMAGES He replaces Diabate, who I thought had a pretty decent game but was unlucky with some passes and dribbing attempts. Chilwell is replaced by Iheanacho. That might mean a 4-4-2 for Leicester now. The Man City fans cheer Mahrez's substitution. 6:47PM 61 mins Credit: REUTERS 6:45PM 59 mins Manchester City are the helmet of bees, Leicester City are Nicolas Cage, begging for mercy— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) February 10, 2018 Sterling is dragging defenders around at the back and is so quick that they barely have time to react to what he's doing. Gundogan arrives to try and finish off a cut-back at the edge of the area but it's deflected over for a corner. Otamendi attacks the corner AND IT'S JUST WIDE! Schmeichel doesn't even dive but got his angles right. 6:43PM 57 mins I'm pretty sure Leicester are out of this one now. That half time change hasn't worked - City are all over them. 6:41PM GOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLL!!!!! Aguero goal 2 OOOOCHA! Aguero fires that in with pure power. De Bruyne gets the assist (a hat-trick?) but Schmeichel can do absolutely nothing to stop the ball landing in the back of the net despite getting in the way of it. Man City 3 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 53 min) 6:38PM 52 mins Leicester are in a back four now with Chilwell playing ahead of Fuchs. Adrien Silva is off for Danny Simpson to make it happen. That happened at half time but City scored too quickly for me to tell you. Selfish. 6:37PM GOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLL! Aguero goal City are back in front! Aguero scores but this is all about Kevin De Bruyne's pass. It is unbelievable. As in I struggle to believe he is that good at passing. How does he do it? He's fed a ball inches away from the defender's boots to hand Aguero a tap-in. Ridiculous. Man City 2 - 1 Leicester (Sergio Agüero, 48 min) 6:32PM KICK-OFF 2 We're back! What will we see in this half? 6:21PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) De Bruyne and Gundogan have spent most of their time on the left of the attack, making this shape look a little imbalanced. Guardiola will likely try to get one of them closer to Bernardo Silva in the second, if anything, to make him a little more effective. Leicester have an easy read on his movement and it means City lack bite down that wing. 6:18PM The stats that matter Man City vs Leicester shots on goal There's another goal in this game but it could genuinely go to either team. City don't quite have the momentum they need. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:16PM HALF TIME And that's that. Leicester have one shot on goal, get it on target and it's 1-1. Man City need to do a bit more to win the three points here. 6:13PM 44 mins I'm not sure if Bernardo Silva realises he's allowed to use his right foot but if he ever does, he'll be some player. At the moment he's too easy to read and the constant cut backs onto his left to pass backwards are slowing down moves on that right wing. Walker wins a free-kick wide right, De Bruyne comes across to take it. Leicester head away. 6:11PM 42 mins Chilwell has been impressive on the Leicester left - he's another young English player with huge potential. His attempt to win a corner doesn't work as Otamendi refuses to buy the dummy and Man City attack. Sterling is in! He goes around Schmeichel but has a tight angle to shoot from... and Maguire slides into block! Corner. City end up passing all the way back to Ederson. 6:09PM 40 mins Leicester have done well to get back into this one. They've grown in confidence and City are wary of the counter-attack now. Bernardo Silva overhits a pass to Aguero during another swift Man City attack. The final ball hasn't been quite good enough from Sterling and Bernardo today. Possession: Man City vs Leicester 6:06PM 38 mins Sterling is so frustrating to watch at times - he's so nearly a great player. He pulls away into a brilliant position out wide, takes the ball down with a superb first touch and then runs at goal before passing inside to absolutely nobody. He does win a free-kick in the end and De Bruyne powers the cross into the box but nobody can get a touch to turn it at goal. "No player in world football is better at crossing the ball than Kevin De Bruyne", says Jamie Carragher. 6:04PM 35 mins De Bruyne comes inside onto his right foot and absolutely thunders a shot towards the near post. Schmeichel does really well to get behind that and parry it away! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Kevin De Bruyne, 33 min) 6:02PM 33 mins Credit: REUTERS De Bruyne finds Sterling, who runs into the box and then goes down. That looks like a foul... which would mean it's a penalty... but the referee doesn't care. I suspect that might have been a free-kick anywhere else on the pitch. 6:01PM 31 mins City piling on the pressure now. Fernandinho tries a shot but Schmeichel saves, Bernardo skips past Fuchs in the penalty area and shoots from near the touchline and Schmeichel saves. Zinchenko is in the right position to cut out a pass to Diabte on the right of Leicester's attack. If he hadn't... it would have been bad. 5:58PM 28 mins Man City go on the attack immediately and Gundogan shoots from range... saved! Attempt Saved: Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Ilkay Gündogan, 25 min) Will that goal give Leicester the confidence they need to attack Man City a bit here? They look capable of scoring on the counter-attack and are getting wide players forward quickly. 5:56PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLL! vardy goal But that's what happens when you don't pay attention! City break quickly, De Bruyne and Sterling lead the charge but the pass from Sterling is poor and Aguero loses out. Wrong decision from Sterling. Leicester move forward, three separate players see the opportunity to slide into stop Vardy as Otamendi passes the ball straight to him, but he skips each one, gets to the area and finishes superbly into the bottom corner. Brilliant from Vardy! Man City 1 - 1 Leicester (Jamie Vardy, 24 min) 5:52PM 23 mins Ohhhhh it's so good. One touch pass and move football and City have taken advantage of a turnover in possession near the centre-circle and almost created a scoring chance within seconds. Aguero can't quite keep the ball inside the box and Leicester survive. Look at this average positions graphic: Average touch positions (10 min) Leicester are being forced so deep. But they've managed to get into the City half now and a promising move results in a corner as Fernandinho clears up the danger. 5:49PM 20 mins Maguire wins the tackle, knocks it forward, City win possession back. Possession: Man City vs Leicester The most difficult thing about this match for Man City will be staying alert and driven. It already seems pretty easy. 5:47PM 18 mins Sterling is so quick, it's ridiculous. It looks like the ball is out of play but Sterling roadrunners it and touches inside, then aims a low ball into the middle. Schmeichel parries. Credit: AFP 5:46PM 16 mins Man City home games are pretty strange. They're so completely in control of the match that the crowd quietens down as though watching theatre, the opposition sit back and patiently wait to either try and capitalise on a mistake or await their inevitable demise. When stuff actually happens they get loud, of course, but most matches are like attack vs defence and the supporters have to watch a training match. 5:44PM 13 mins City stroking the ball around, Leicester are terrified of them and keep dropping further backwards to defend. Zinchenko accidentally hits a pass straight out for a throw-in but Man City win it aback immediately and Aguero finds Sterling to his left on the edge of the box. Some tidy feet and Sterling almost creates a chance to shoot for himself by putting the ball around the side of a defender and sprinting to win it. The goalkeeper wins. 5:40PM 10 mins De Bruyne is running the show early on, moving all around the pitch. Leicester have a chance to get forward, hit it into the channel for Vardy to chase and Ederson comes 30 yards off his line, controls on the chest, settles it down and chips a ball across the pitch right onto Walker's foot. 5:37PM 7 mins Albrighton is down with a problem, catching Gundogan on the knee (I think) while going for the ball. It's just a wee clash, nothing serious, but enough to make him take a time out. Leicester are trying to pass out from the back but City's press is forcing them into errors everywhere. Man City look so good here. 5:33PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Sterling goal Leicester haven't started well at all. They're playing a three man defence and don't seem certain of it - and Man City are in the mood. Bernardo plays it to De Bruyne who has far too much time and picks out Sterling at the back post with an unbelievable pass. It's all about De Bruyne's vision and Sterling's running at the back post. Man City 1 - 0 Leicester (Raheem Sterling, 3 min) 5:32PM 3 mins Leicester are a little clumsy with the ball in their own defensive third and City steal it back. Bernardo Silva cuts onto his left... City could be in here! 5:31PM 1 mins Straight away Leicester win the ball deep and look to hit it forward over the top for Jamie Vardy to chase. Aymeric Laporte has to be alert to deal with the early threat. 5:30PM KICK-OFF And they're off! City get us started. 5:30PM Here come the players Sky Sports have had technical difficulties apparently and so we have been denied pre-match analysis and Graeme Souness' frightening demeanour. It's been quite nice. 5:18PM A million photos of Mahrez Credit: AFP The picture database I have access to is full of photos of Mahrez warming up. Meanwhile, Sky Sports are running a montage VT of Leicester's title winning season. That was a fun time, wasn't it? 4:56PM No David Silva again Guardiola has named all seven of his allowed substitutes today, putting young striker Lukas Nmecha next to Phil Foden on the bench. One very important man who will miss out is Silva, who has been one of the best players in the league this season. I wrote this on him a while ago: What makes David Silva Manchester City's most important player? 4:51PM Mahrez on the bench! And so, here we are. Riyad Mahrez has made the bench after all that noise during the week. Could he be the protagonist of this game for all the right reasons? Will I try many more cliche narrative lines throughout this liveblog? Nobody knows! 4:34PM Starting lineups Man City How we line-up against the Foxes! #cityvlcfc City XI | Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho (C), Gündogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Agüero Subs | Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Stones, Nmecha, Foden, Diaz Presented by @HaysWorldwide#mancitypic.twitter.com/tlBLjj5nsX— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 10, 2018 Ederson, Walker, Laporte, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Fernandinho, Gundogan, De Bruyne, Sterling, Bernardo, Aguero Leicester Today's starting XI: Schmeichel (c), Dragović, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabaté, Vardy. Subs: Jakupović, Simpson, Benalouane, Iborra, Gray, Mahrez, Iheanacho. #MciLeipic.twitter.com/qoxMH6cx1p— Leicester City (@LCFC) February 10, 2018 Schmeichel, Dragovic, Maguire, Fuchs, Albrighton, Silva, Ndidi, James, Chilwell, Diabate, Vardy
Burnley's injury problems have played a part in their 10-game winless run in the Premier League, says Sean Dyche.
Dyche hoping for an end to injury nightmare
Burnley's injury problems have played a part in their 10-game winless run in the Premier League, says Sean Dyche.
Carlos Carvalhal hailed Swansea City's continued revival after Saturday's win over Burnley, which lifted them to 15th in the Premier League.
Swansea breathing fresh air and swimming for safety, Carvalhal proclaims
Carlos Carvalhal hailed Swansea City's continued revival after Saturday's win over Burnley, which lifted them to 15th in the Premier League.
Soccer Football - Premier League - Swansea City vs Burnley - Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Britain - February 10, 2018 Swansea City's Ki Sung Yueng celebrates after the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Premier League - Swansea City vs Burnley
Soccer Football - Premier League - Swansea City vs Burnley - Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Britain - February 10, 2018 Swansea City's Ki Sung Yueng celebrates after the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Soccer Football - Premier League - Swansea City vs Burnley - Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Britain - February 10, 2018 Swansea City's Ki Sung Yueng scores their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Premier League - Swansea City vs Burnley
Soccer Football - Premier League - Swansea City vs Burnley - Liberty Stadium, Swansea, Britain - February 10, 2018 Swansea City's Ki Sung Yueng scores their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Boyers
Ki Sung-yueng hands Swansea crucial victory over Burnley to continue revival under Carlos Carvalhal
Ki Sung-yueng hands Swansea crucial victory over Burnley to continue revival under Carlos Carvalhal
Ki Sung-yueng hands Swansea crucial victory over Burnley to continue revival under Carlos Carvalhal
Ki Sung-yueng hands Swansea crucial victory over Burnley to continue revival under Carlos Carvalhal
Ki Sung-yueng hands Swansea crucial victory over Burnley to continue revival under Carlos Carvalhal
Ki Sung-yueng hands Swansea crucial victory over Burnley to continue revival under Carlos Carvalhal
Swansea 1 Burnley 0: Carlos Carvalhal effect working as Ki Sung-Yeung strikes late to lift Swans away from relegation gloom
Swansea 1 Burnley 0: Carlos Carvalhal effect working as Ki Sung-Yeung strikes late to lift Swans away from relegation gloom
Swansea 1 Burnley 0: Carlos Carvalhal effect working as Ki Sung-Yeung strikes late to lift Swans away from relegation gloom
Ki Sung-Yeung struck late to clinch a crucial 1-0 triumph over Burnley to lift Swansea away from the relegation gloom. The South Korean midfielder dealt Burnley a hammer blow with eight minutes on the clock to send the Swans into 15th place and two points clear of the bottom three. Carlos Carvalhal has masterminded three victories in their last four matches, in stark contrast with Burnley, who remain in seventh spot despite their 10th match without a win. Their recent barren run looked like it was going to come to an end as Sean Dyche's men looked most likely to break the deadlock at a rain soaked Liberty Stadium. Johann Berg Gudmundson found space down the left flank and pulled the ball back for Jeff Hendrick to shoot straight into the torso of the onrushing Alfie Mawson. Sam Vokes’ strength was proving troublesome for the Swansea back three and he used his body weight to full effect to shield the ball from Federico Fernandez before swivelling and shooting just wide. The home fans had to wait 37 minutes for their first chance on goal when Seung-Yung found Sam Clucas in the box, but the wet conditions were a factor as he sliced his shot high and wide. Neither side managed to get a single shot on target before Andre Marriner called time on the first period. Jordan Ayew looked to add the attacking impetus when he ran at the Burnley defence and fired the ball across the face of goal but nobody was there to convert the cross. Tom Carroll lost a midfield tussle with Cork moments later, the ball broke to Barnes, who bent the ball inches wide. The first shot on target came in the 56th minute when Gudmundsson forced Fabianksi to tip over after he unleashed a snap-shot on the half volley. Tammy Abraham was thrust into the action and almost made an instant impact when his flick-on flashed in front of Ayew, but Pope stuck out a hand to thwart the in-form frontman. But the breakthrough finally came in the 82nd minute when Kyle Naughton danced into the box and fed Ki. The South Korean took a touch and fired a shot into the bottom corner to score his first goal since May 2016, and the Swans held on for another crucial victory.
Swansea 1 Burnley 0: Carlos Carvalhal effect working as Ki Sung-Yeung strikes late to lift Swans away from relegation gloom
Ki Sung-Yeung struck late to clinch a crucial 1-0 triumph over Burnley to lift Swansea away from the relegation gloom. The South Korean midfielder dealt Burnley a hammer blow with eight minutes on the clock to send the Swans into 15th place and two points clear of the bottom three. Carlos Carvalhal has masterminded three victories in their last four matches, in stark contrast with Burnley, who remain in seventh spot despite their 10th match without a win. Their recent barren run looked like it was going to come to an end as Sean Dyche's men looked most likely to break the deadlock at a rain soaked Liberty Stadium. Johann Berg Gudmundson found space down the left flank and pulled the ball back for Jeff Hendrick to shoot straight into the torso of the onrushing Alfie Mawson. Sam Vokes’ strength was proving troublesome for the Swansea back three and he used his body weight to full effect to shield the ball from Federico Fernandez before swivelling and shooting just wide. The home fans had to wait 37 minutes for their first chance on goal when Seung-Yung found Sam Clucas in the box, but the wet conditions were a factor as he sliced his shot high and wide. Neither side managed to get a single shot on target before Andre Marriner called time on the first period. Jordan Ayew looked to add the attacking impetus when he ran at the Burnley defence and fired the ball across the face of goal but nobody was there to convert the cross. Tom Carroll lost a midfield tussle with Cork moments later, the ball broke to Barnes, who bent the ball inches wide. The first shot on target came in the 56th minute when Gudmundsson forced Fabianksi to tip over after he unleashed a snap-shot on the half volley. Tammy Abraham was thrust into the action and almost made an instant impact when his flick-on flashed in front of Ayew, but Pope stuck out a hand to thwart the in-form frontman. But the breakthrough finally came in the 82nd minute when Kyle Naughton danced into the box and fed Ki. The South Korean took a touch and fired a shot into the bottom corner to score his first goal since May 2016, and the Swans held on for another crucial victory.
Swansea City's remarkable revival continued apace at the Liberty Stadium as Burnley were beaten 1-0 in the Premier League.
Swansea City 1 Burnley 0: Ki unlocks Clarets defence
Swansea City's remarkable revival continued apace at the Liberty Stadium as Burnley were beaten 1-0 in the Premier League.
Carlos Carvalhal has given an update on his new recruit ahead of the fixture with Burnley
Swansea boss declares Ayew ready for Saturday action in Premier League
Carlos Carvalhal has given an update on his new recruit ahead of the fixture with Burnley
Everton vs Crystal Palace, West Ham vs Watford, Swansea vs Burnley, Stoke vs Brighton – Premier League LIVE!
Everton vs Crystal Palace, West Ham vs Watford, Swansea vs Burnley, Stoke vs Brighton – Premier League LIVE!
Everton vs Crystal Palace, West Ham vs Watford, Swansea vs Burnley, Stoke vs Brighton – Premier League LIVE!
Everton vs Crystal Palace, West Ham vs Watford, Swansea vs Burnley, Stoke vs Brighton – Premier League LIVE!
Everton vs Crystal Palace, West Ham vs Watford, Swansea vs Burnley, Stoke vs Brighton – Premier League LIVE!
Everton vs Crystal Palace, West Ham vs Watford, Swansea vs Burnley, Stoke vs Brighton – Premier League LIVE!
Harry Kane was famously told aged eight that he was no longer required by Arsenal. Yet in the last seven months alone, the club he left 16 years ago have spent around £102 million on two ­strikers who may never reach the ­levels of Tottenham Hotspur’s main man. A sobering thought for the team that were second best in this north London derby by some distance in terms of ­performance but were beaten by the slender margin of one Kane goal, his seventh in this, his seventh derby match. “A super striker who is one of the best in the world and he scores against everybody,” was the day’s most telling description of Kane, who had a magnificent game, and it was offered by Arsene Wenger in defence of his own players’ shortcomings against the Spurs striker. Kane symbolises the new Tottenham, still without a trophy in the ­Mauricio Pochettino era but a dynamic, high-pressing team who face Juventus in Turin on Tuesday with ­renewed ­belief that they can compete against the best teams in Europe. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Lacazette missed two huge chances to equalise late on Credit: REUTERS As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Average touch positions (0 min) As for Wenger, the picture as regards the Champions League is that much more grim after this, a defeat in a game he admitted Arsenal could not afford to lose. Asked whether the Europa League was the best route for his team back into the Champions League, Wenger said dolefully that it was “too early” to say. “Football is not about switching off for three games and switching it on for one game,” he said. “Manchester United decided that [about the Europa League] once they were in the semi-­final but we are far from the semi-final. I think we have to fight to have a chance to come back. Overall it is a very disappointing result because the priority has to be to get to the Champions League through the Premier League. “I am not a great fan of the Europa League being a qualifier for the Champions League because I think it is not right. If it is an opportunity we will have to try to take it but the priority is still the Premier League.” His team have won just three away games this season, against Crystal ­Palace, Everton and Burnley, and lost their last three in a row. It is early days yet for Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan but the newly-minted Ozil again looked less than the indispensable player his contract suggests he should be. The gap is seven points to Spurs, which is not unbridgeable but on this day it looked like a very long way indeed. 2:43PM Expected goals xG map for the North London Derby. Tottenham utterly dominated the second half, then escaped in stoppage time after some poor finishing. pic.twitter.com/s0whMf54P4— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) February 10, 2018 2:42PM Mauricio Pochettino says "First half both teams have good energy, they were so compact, they tried to find the space and it was difficult to break down them. I think we dominate first half. Second half we had same shape but we were much better, moved the ball better and found space, create problems. "I think the score should be 3-0 but in football if you don't kill the games then you can concede some chances and suffer but I am so happy for three massive games, the performance was amazing. [Kane]'s our future. It's amazing all he's achieving and we are so proud he's in our side." 2:39PM Rio Ferdinand laying into Koscielny The ex-defender has shredded the midfield organisation, pointing out how dreadful it was in the second half but the panel is now onto the January transfer window. Buying Jonny Evans may have made a difference but Arsenal's problem isn't the centre-backs, it is the entire team's approach to defending. Kane didn't score because Koscielny lost him, but because Davies was able to angle the exact ball needed to set up the header. Had Ozil closed down his man properly, that goal wouldn't have happened. 2:32PM Kane post-match "It was nice to score, I had a few headers int he game. I thought we deserved it, should have finished it off. "I look forward to these games, it was a great performance by the team. We're a fit squad and know if we keep playing chances will come. We had chances, they had a few chances, we're really pleased with the win. "We had tough fixtures, United, Liverpool, Arsenal all in a row and we got seven points from them. Champions League now, we just need to keep the momentum going. I can't wait for Juventus." 2:23PM Wenger's team talk What could Wenger have said to them at half time? Spurs came out aggressive, enthusiastic, determined while Arsenal slithered to a start. They were caught dozing, lost every duel, were second to every challenge - Spurs were better in every department. 2:21PM FULL TIME OZIL HITS THE WALL! Spurs win the North London Derby! A deserved win too. They battered Arsenal for most of this one and Arsenal's expensive flops missed golden chances at the end to make it 1-1. Don't forget the million easy ones that Spurs missed too! Spurs are without doubt the superior north London force in the modern day. 2:20PM 90 mins +4 Oooohhhhhhh but there's one chance left! Dembele brings down Welbeck in the D! Arsenal have one last chance to shoot from a perfect free-kick position!!! The tension... Spurs are scared here. 2:19PM 90 mins +3 OH MY GOD LACAZETTE IS IN! BUT HE'S MISSED FROM SIX YARDS! The long through ball from Iwobi is amazing, it bypasses everyone and Lacazette is clean in behind every single defender. He only has the goalkeeper to beat and shoots wide. That is dreadful. Wenger can't believe it. I can't believe it. That's a gift. 2:17PM 90 mins +2 LACAZETTTTTEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! Oh dear. That was Arsenal's one chance. They counter, Bellerin sends a beautiful ball into the area and Lacazette can line up his volley from 12 yards... and puts it miles over the bar. Awful effort. He stares at the floor. That boy hasn't looked quite right for a while now. 2:15PM 90 mins Kane covers for Davies at left-back and buys a free-kick from Bellerin. And all of a sudden, Lamela is completely in behind the Arsenal defence with one pass from deep - how on earth has that happened?! Lamela doesn't even know what to do and ends up shooting wide but that is... that shouldn't happen. 2:13PM 88 mins Wilshere has been the best Arsenal player, except Cech today, and he has just nearly threaded Welbeck into a one-on-one chance to shoot in the Spurs box. The substitute isn't aware or alert and doesn't control it - had he done so, that would have been a huge opportunity. 2:11PM 86 mins Wenger has abandoned team shape and strategy now and thrown on Welbeck for Xhaka. That means they have three central strikers, an Iwobi, an Ozil and a Wilshere all on the pitch. Instructions: do the football, score them goals. 2:10PM 85 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal Aubameyang is just offside as he threatens to sprint in behind. Arsenal might have been second best all over the pitch but they're not done here yet! Spurs vs Arsenal Monreal slides in from behind on Kane and concedes a corner, getting a good chunk out of Kane in doing so. Dele Alli knows he's coming off but looks away from the touchline and gets ready for the corner. Arsenal players get annoyed and urge him to leave the pitch with a friendly shove in the back. Wanyama on. 2:07PM 82 mins Iwobi gives it away again! He goes on a dribble towards Spurs players and runs into trouble, spreads play to the left but doesn't put any conviction in the pass and nearly hands a counter-attack to Spurs. 2:05PM 80 mins Wilshere is getting wound up. Lamela swipes at him with a lunging tackle - leaping into it - and is booked. What can Arsenal do to get back into this game? Iwobi has been caught in possession a few times since coming on and done almost nothing of note. Not really an impact substitution... 2:03PM 77 mins What did Wenger even say to his players at half time? They've come out all soggy and pathetic. Spurs are winning every battle, every 50/50, running more, tackling harder, passing better. And Cech has just made another brilliant save to keep it 1-0! Trippier is denied this time at the near post, though his shot is hit far too centrally and at waist height, giving the keeper a good chance of stopping it. 2:00PM 75 mins Arsenal briefly enjoy a spell of possession in Spurs' half and then Aubameyang fouls Sanchez. The absolute state of this graphic (from an Arsenal point of view): Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal 1:58PM 73 mins And LAMELA IS IN! Kane is wiped out, play continues, Lamela comes inside the left-back and the centre-backs can't get close... Cech makes a great save! Arsenal have been dreadful in this second half. 1:57PM 72 mins OOOOOOCHA! Mustafi passes inside to Cech, Alli closes him down and Cech passes back to Mustafi. BUT HE'S PASSED IT STRAIGHT TO ALLI! Luckily for him it's out for a goal kick. What are Arsenal playing at here?! And Alli is in again! A defence splitting pass puts him one on one with Cech but he taps it wide of the goal. Oohhhhh my word he's just missed a golden chance to make it 2-0. You get the feeling Spurs are going to regret missing all these chance - I'd love to know the expected goals figures for today. 1:55PM 71 mins Son isn't on his game today. Spurs take advantage of sloppy Arsenal play and Alli passes wide to him on the edge of the area. He lines up a top corner smash but puts his foot way under the ball and it flies over the top of the stadium roof. That's his last touch too. Lamela comes on in his place. 1:54PM 69 mins Kane wins a header as Mustafi jumps for it like a salmon leaping out of water and flops to the floor. Wilshere loses control and Kane uses his body well to win the tackle but the referee sees it as a foul. Kane cuts inside and Son sprints wide left. He's in here it Kane can get the pass through... and he does! But Son doesn't control it! Arsenal counter attack, get to the box and Wilshere lines up a shot on the edge of the area on his left foot. SAVED BY LLORIS! It's a powerful effort to the top corner but Lloris reads it early. Attempt Saved: Arsenal ( 68 min ) 1:51PM 67 mins Aubameyang has gone wide left, Lacazette through the middle and Ozil wide right. Iwobi, Xhaka and Wilshere in midfield? It's probably a 4-2-3-1. Lacazette has been caught offside because he's busy doing his socks - what on earth has been doing on the subs bench for the last 65 minutes? Put your football clothes on, pal. 1:50PM 65 mins The attendance is 83,222 at Wembley, which makes it the highest attendance of any Premier League player ever. Mkhitaryan and Elneny come off, Lacazette and Iwobi are on. That'll be a change of shape as well but I'm not quite sure what it is. 1:49PM 64 mins Eriksen fires a free-kick from wide left into the area, aiming it into a sea of bodies at speed. He wins a corner and sends that to the six yard box, but Cech heads clear. Eriksen has another chance to cross but Cech gathers. Ozil passes inside and is so, so, so close to handing Spurs a four on two in Arsenal's half. Steve McManaman does his trademark off-mic 'Woooooohhhhhhhhh' noise for about the fifth time today as a result of Arsenal's passing. Wenger is about to make some substitutions. 1:46PM 61 mins Credit: AFP Arsenal are in Spurs' half but the passing in the final third has been shocking all game long. Ozil gives it away, Wilshere gives it away, Spurs battle and win it back. Xhaka's control lets him down, Arsenal consider pressing from the front but abandon the idea quickly. Eriksen wins a throw deep in Arsenal's half near the box. 1:43PM 58 mins Vertonghen wins the header! Arsenal are being beaten to every single high ball. Arsene Wenger thinks Arsenal should have won a free-kick for Kane's goal, with the striker appearing to nudge Koscielny in the back. It's never a foul. Arsenal can't get hold of the ball. Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal But they're not out of it yet. 1:42PM 57 mins Eriksen takes it... and Cech tips over at the top corner! Great effort. Spurs corner. 1:41PM 56 mins Arsenal are still sitting deep, inviting pressure and hoping they can counter-attack but Spurs are pressing them intensely and winning the ball back quickly. Bellerin doesn't go in hard enough on Son and loses the ball, Son then dribbles to the box and goes down in the D. It's a foul, play-on says the ref... and it's pulled back for a free-kick in a very dangerous area. 1:39PM 55 mins Spurs have all the momentum, Arsenal on the back foot. Trippier completely bins a player on the right and crosses to the centre. The ball sits up perfectly for Kane to smash the volley! It must be!!!! But he strikes straight at Cech! The rebound falls to Alli, he can't react in time. Neither can Son... chance gone. Arsenal are all over the place. 1:37PM 52 mins KANE MUST SCORE!!!!!! He's just missed another chance seconds after the first goal but heads wide from six yards! Arsenal's defence are all over the place! 1:37PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Kane goal Spurs have the lead and what brilliant header this is! Kane, or Shearer 2.0 as he should be known, rises to power a shot past Cech, who stays rooted to the spot. Spurs have started this half superbly. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) 1:34PM 48 mins Mkhitaryan wins a free-kick over on the left wing, Arsenal keep the ball but are put under heavy pressure from Spurs' forward press. Cech has the ball AND KANE IS CLOSING HIM DOWN! The goalkeeper has to stretch to quickly clear that away from the area just as it looked like he might get caught out. 1:31PM 46 mins Spurs attack from the start of the half and Davies overlaps Son and drills a low ball into the box. Arsenal defend it well but that was a promising attack from the home side. 1:30PM KICK-OFF 2 And we're back! 1:19PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) 1:16PM Team talks "Where's the passion, lads?"— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) February 10, 2018 I’m going angry, “where’s the passion lads!”— Jack Waterston (@JackWaterston) February 10, 2018 1:16PM HALF TIME That was pretty good. There's been a lack of quality in the final third with both teams getting far too excited when near the goal, but for the majority they've cancelled each other out. One of those passes will work at some point and it very nearly did for Aubameyang earlier. 1:15PM 45 mins Spurs are passing around the halfway line. Arsenal closing them down once they get near the final third but Spurs are still able to find space and keep the ball. 1:13PM 43 mins This is amazing. South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 On the pitch Son's had a lot of the ball but Arsenal are closing him down quickly, giving Bellerin a hand. He needs it too. Arsenal are lacking a lot of width on that right side since Bellerin can't steam up the wing like he usually does, preoccupied by defending against Son. 1:10PM 40 mins Bellerin shoots from 25 yards on the angle, mistaking real life for FIFA 95 on the Megadrive. It's over the bar. Out: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Héctor Bellerín, 41 min) 1:10PM 39 mins Spurs win a free-kick wide left about 30 yards out. Eriksen stands over it... and it's a good delivery. Kane attacks but Mustafi jumps and wins the header, then Arsenal win a throw. Arsenal counter quickly, Mkhitaryan bursts through the middle and plays a disguised pass out to Ozil on the right. He looks up and drifts the ball to the left towards Monreal but it slows the move down and Spurs get back. Sanchez is able to bundle it to the keeper. 1:06PM 37 mins Credit: AFP Spurs have the chance to break, Wilshere tracks Eriksen back and intercepts, Xhaka doesn't read the play and Arsenal lose the ball in Spurs' half. 1:04PM 35 mins Wenger may have told his players to knock the ball forward at every possible opportunity and take advantage of their pace upfront. There's been very little tip-tap passing in the centre of the pitch and their sitting deep when out of possession, letting Spurs play with the ball and acting as the counter-attackers themselves. It's like the strategy is to force Spurs out of being the counter-attack team since that is their strength. Mkhitaryan's not found his touch today and ballooned another pass miles away from anyone. 1:01PM 32 mins Credit: REUTERS Kane looks offside as the ball is chipped over the top for him but he controls and threads in Alli, who looks for Eriksen on the underlap with a through-ball. Cech gathers. Arsenal have drifted out of this one. 12:59PM 30 mins Alli's first touch isn't great but he rescues it and wins a corner as Mustafi nervously deals with him. It's sent deep to the corner of the box, Trippier taps it back inside and Dembele swings at the shot and doesn't get decent contact. Cech is relieved to gather the ball before Kane can pounce. 12:58PM 27 mins Eriksen gets on the ball on the left and drops a couple of yards away from the defenders into the half space. This is where he's most effective and he whips a cross into the area... and KANE IS THERE! But he heads over from close range! Huge chance missed for Spurs. It was difficult to get that ball on target with pace but Kane usually does much better with those. Miss: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 27 min) 12:56PM 26 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal The pace has slowed down ever so slightly. Sanchez gives the ball away to Aubameyang but his control lets him down and they get away with it. 12:53PM 23 mins Look how much space Trippier is finding. This is meant to keep Monreal back and is sort of working. It means that when Spurs concentrate play on one side of the pitch they can instantly switch to the other, something Barcelona used to do a lot under Guardiola. 12:49PM 20 mins Wilshere kicks the air when a very decent chance to shoot presents itself and the Spurs fans love it. Credit: REUTERS 12:48PM 19 mins Son is causing problems on the left for Spurs - Bellerin doesn't like him. He skips past a Wilshere challenge in the box, the kind that makes you think a penalty is on its way, and tries to get a cross low into the box. Arsenal clear. Trippier is finding loads of space on the right wing, making the team shape a weird sort of 3-3-3-1 in possession. Average touch positions (17 min) 12:45PM 16 mins Spurs have another corner, Arsenal have everyone in the area... but Dier still gets a header on goal. Wide. Three defenders have surrounded him but don't win the aerial challenge. Arsenal decide not to play out from the back and Cech launches a goal kick up the pitch. Spurs win it back immediately. That might actually be part of the plan today... Possession: Spurs vs Arsenal 12:43PM 13 mins AUBAMEYANG IS IN! Oooooh he's offside. Just offside. Wilshere finds him with an absolutely superb through-pass. 12:41PM 12 mins Aubameyang looks dangerous here. His movement is so smart and Arsenal's wide players are looking for him with early crosses from the wings. Kane barges Mustafi and concedes a foul... but on replay that looks a little weak. This is a fascinating counter-attack game at the moment. Both teams looking to break quickly in numbers. 12:39PM 10 mins Monreal curls the ball into the area and it's an awkward one to deal with. It bounces just in front of Wilshere and then looks like it might bounce onto the arm of a defender, Spurs seem panicked. And then they're away! Alli breaks down the left, Kane takes the ball inside and Cech parries it behind for a corner. And now Arsenal are on the counter! Mkhitaryan takes it on the left and chips just slightly too far ahead of Aubameyang. What a game this is already. Pass: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 9 min) Arsenal passing around the Spurs final third now. 12:37PM 7 mins Son has space on the left! The crowd rise to their feet, he takes his man on... but has to go backwards. Spurs get forward and join in and a great ball out to Trippier sets up a cross. He whips towards the near post but it's cleared. Spurs win a corner. Arsenal deal with it well and have a counter-attack on! They have one Spurs defender to beat and three forwards chasing... but the pass is poor. Mkhitaryan is then caught by Trippier. 12:35PM 5 mins Both teams a little nervy on the ball, first touches aren't quite settled yet and passes are being overhit. That'll calm later on but at the moment both sides are testing each other out. A long ball down the wing for Aubameyang, he holds off Sanchez and wins a corner. Great play! Dele Alli heads the ball clear, Elneny tidies up but his searching pass for Ozil on the right is straight out for a throw-in. 12:32PM 3 mins It's a frantic start to the game. Both teams are a little excited and getting the ball forward too quickly, moving it when there isn't really an option. Son is hugging the left wing, Trippier the right, Arsenal dropping deep behind the ball early on. 12:30PM KICK-OFF We're underway. 12:29PM Aubameyang's shinpads Allegedly. A person off Twitter said it so it must be true. Aubameyang's shinpads �� pic.twitter.com/vYGo0XVXmm— James Benge (@jamesbenge) February 10, 2018 12:27PM Here come the players It's almost football time. Wembley is rammed, the BT Sport cameras have just focused on a bunch of Arsenal fans giving rival supporters instructions on how best to empty a stubborn bottle of ketchup... and it's Clive! 12:22PM Elneny and the 4-3-3 This guy could be key today. Why Mohamed Elneny could be key to an Arsenal return to 4-3-3 against Chelsea As we've touched on, Arsenal need a bit of help in defence from time to time and Elneny's role is something between a holding midfield player who recycles the ball and starts moves, and a half-back, dropping deep between the centre-backs as a sort of sweeper. Doing this gives Arsenal a back three and makes one of the attacking midfielder drop back into central midfield to give a bit of stability. Both teams have a player that does this. For Spurs it's Eric Dier. 12:17PM Jan Vertonghen Rio Ferdinand has just said that he reckons Jan Vertonghen is the best defender in the league and I'd be inclined to agree with him. A solid defender, he's also superb at taking the ball out from the back, going past players and spotting a pass - in his younger days he was often a left-back, which must have helped develop his sense of positioning and ability to go past players. 12:02PM Arsenal players arriving Credit: GETTY IMAGES They're warming up now but here's some photos from before, Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:54AM Goooooood afternoon (almost)! This is going to be ace, isn't it? Are you excited? By Jove, I am. Quite how players get properly revved up at a time I'm still enjoying a morning coffee is something for them to deal with but for us, the viewers, it's sure to be an end-to-end battle. Spurs will make lots of little fouls to stop Arsenal counter-attacking, Arsenal need to be DRILLED into not sending too many players forward on the attack, as is their natural tendency. The reason for this is that Spurs will actively look for chances to hit them on the break... and one player in particular will do a lot of damage if given the space. Why Son Heung-min is Tottenham's not-so-secret weapon 11:35AM Team news is in Toby Alderweireld is not fit enough to make the Tottenham squad, while Aaron Ramsey has picked up an injury and misses out. #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/vawK6Mfta3— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 10, 2018 �� Here it us - our team for this afternoon's north London derby at Wembley#THFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/DhBPWoOaVe— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 10, 2018 11:21AM Match preview: Arsene Wenger on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned it is too early to make comparisons between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thierry Henry. Club-record signing Aubameyang shone on his Gunners debut last weekend, scoring in a 5-1 victory over Everton. The Gabon international has taken the number 14 shirt at Arsenal previously worn by Henry - the club's all-time leading goalscorer. Having joined the club from Borussia Dortmund on transfer deadline day, Aubameyang compared his style to Henry and said the Frenchman is "an example" to strikers. Ahead of Arsenal's north London derby against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday, Wenger urged caution over likening the pair - although he was pleased Aubameyang has set such lofty aspirations. Aubameyang scored on his Arsenal debut last week Credit: Getty Images "It is an ambitious statement but it is a good one," he said. "(Henry is) the best goalscorer ever in Arsenal's history, so it doesn't mean he will score as many goals but why not? "I would say (Aubameyang is most like) Thierry Henry with his quality of runs. But it's a bit too early to compare him to the best player ever who played here. "He has played one game. But it's a good example to follow. His finish was brilliant. His finishing is good. You don't score by coincidence for so many years, if you score many goals." PA
Tottenham 1 Arsenal 0: Harry Kane goal confirms power shift in North London
Harry Kane was famously told aged eight that he was no longer required by Arsenal. Yet in the last seven months alone, the club he left 16 years ago have spent around £102 million on two ­strikers who may never reach the ­levels of Tottenham Hotspur’s main man. A sobering thought for the team that were second best in this north London derby by some distance in terms of ­performance but were beaten by the slender margin of one Kane goal, his seventh in this, his seventh derby match. “A super striker who is one of the best in the world and he scores against everybody,” was the day’s most telling description of Kane, who had a magnificent game, and it was offered by Arsene Wenger in defence of his own players’ shortcomings against the Spurs striker. Kane symbolises the new Tottenham, still without a trophy in the ­Mauricio Pochettino era but a dynamic, high-pressing team who face Juventus in Turin on Tuesday with ­renewed ­belief that they can compete against the best teams in Europe. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Lacazette missed two huge chances to equalise late on Credit: REUTERS As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Average touch positions (0 min) As for Wenger, the picture as regards the Champions League is that much more grim after this, a defeat in a game he admitted Arsenal could not afford to lose. Asked whether the Europa League was the best route for his team back into the Champions League, Wenger said dolefully that it was “too early” to say. “Football is not about switching off for three games and switching it on for one game,” he said. “Manchester United decided that [about the Europa League] once they were in the semi-­final but we are far from the semi-final. I think we have to fight to have a chance to come back. Overall it is a very disappointing result because the priority has to be to get to the Champions League through the Premier League. “I am not a great fan of the Europa League being a qualifier for the Champions League because I think it is not right. If it is an opportunity we will have to try to take it but the priority is still the Premier League.” His team have won just three away games this season, against Crystal ­Palace, Everton and Burnley, and lost their last three in a row. It is early days yet for Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan but the newly-minted Ozil again looked less than the indispensable player his contract suggests he should be. The gap is seven points to Spurs, which is not unbridgeable but on this day it looked like a very long way indeed. 2:43PM Expected goals xG map for the North London Derby. Tottenham utterly dominated the second half, then escaped in stoppage time after some poor finishing. pic.twitter.com/s0whMf54P4— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) February 10, 2018 2:42PM Mauricio Pochettino says "First half both teams have good energy, they were so compact, they tried to find the space and it was difficult to break down them. I think we dominate first half. Second half we had same shape but we were much better, moved the ball better and found space, create problems. "I think the score should be 3-0 but in football if you don't kill the games then you can concede some chances and suffer but I am so happy for three massive games, the performance was amazing. [Kane]'s our future. It's amazing all he's achieving and we are so proud he's in our side." 2:39PM Rio Ferdinand laying into Koscielny The ex-defender has shredded the midfield organisation, pointing out how dreadful it was in the second half but the panel is now onto the January transfer window. Buying Jonny Evans may have made a difference but Arsenal's problem isn't the centre-backs, it is the entire team's approach to defending. Kane didn't score because Koscielny lost him, but because Davies was able to angle the exact ball needed to set up the header. Had Ozil closed down his man properly, that goal wouldn't have happened. 2:32PM Kane post-match "It was nice to score, I had a few headers int he game. I thought we deserved it, should have finished it off. "I look forward to these games, it was a great performance by the team. We're a fit squad and know if we keep playing chances will come. We had chances, they had a few chances, we're really pleased with the win. "We had tough fixtures, United, Liverpool, Arsenal all in a row and we got seven points from them. Champions League now, we just need to keep the momentum going. I can't wait for Juventus." 2:23PM Wenger's team talk What could Wenger have said to them at half time? Spurs came out aggressive, enthusiastic, determined while Arsenal slithered to a start. They were caught dozing, lost every duel, were second to every challenge - Spurs were better in every department. 2:21PM FULL TIME OZIL HITS THE WALL! Spurs win the North London Derby! A deserved win too. They battered Arsenal for most of this one and Arsenal's expensive flops missed golden chances at the end to make it 1-1. Don't forget the million easy ones that Spurs missed too! Spurs are without doubt the superior north London force in the modern day. 2:20PM 90 mins +4 Oooohhhhhhh but there's one chance left! Dembele brings down Welbeck in the D! Arsenal have one last chance to shoot from a perfect free-kick position!!! The tension... Spurs are scared here. 2:19PM 90 mins +3 OH MY GOD LACAZETTE IS IN! BUT HE'S MISSED FROM SIX YARDS! The long through ball from Iwobi is amazing, it bypasses everyone and Lacazette is clean in behind every single defender. He only has the goalkeeper to beat and shoots wide. That is dreadful. Wenger can't believe it. I can't believe it. That's a gift. 2:17PM 90 mins +2 LACAZETTTTTEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! Oh dear. That was Arsenal's one chance. They counter, Bellerin sends a beautiful ball into the area and Lacazette can line up his volley from 12 yards... and puts it miles over the bar. Awful effort. He stares at the floor. That boy hasn't looked quite right for a while now. 2:15PM 90 mins Kane covers for Davies at left-back and buys a free-kick from Bellerin. And all of a sudden, Lamela is completely in behind the Arsenal defence with one pass from deep - how on earth has that happened?! Lamela doesn't even know what to do and ends up shooting wide but that is... that shouldn't happen. 2:13PM 88 mins Wilshere has been the best Arsenal player, except Cech today, and he has just nearly threaded Welbeck into a one-on-one chance to shoot in the Spurs box. The substitute isn't aware or alert and doesn't control it - had he done so, that would have been a huge opportunity. 2:11PM 86 mins Wenger has abandoned team shape and strategy now and thrown on Welbeck for Xhaka. That means they have three central strikers, an Iwobi, an Ozil and a Wilshere all on the pitch. Instructions: do the football, score them goals. 2:10PM 85 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal Aubameyang is just offside as he threatens to sprint in behind. Arsenal might have been second best all over the pitch but they're not done here yet! Spurs vs Arsenal Monreal slides in from behind on Kane and concedes a corner, getting a good chunk out of Kane in doing so. Dele Alli knows he's coming off but looks away from the touchline and gets ready for the corner. Arsenal players get annoyed and urge him to leave the pitch with a friendly shove in the back. Wanyama on. 2:07PM 82 mins Iwobi gives it away again! He goes on a dribble towards Spurs players and runs into trouble, spreads play to the left but doesn't put any conviction in the pass and nearly hands a counter-attack to Spurs. 2:05PM 80 mins Wilshere is getting wound up. Lamela swipes at him with a lunging tackle - leaping into it - and is booked. What can Arsenal do to get back into this game? Iwobi has been caught in possession a few times since coming on and done almost nothing of note. Not really an impact substitution... 2:03PM 77 mins What did Wenger even say to his players at half time? They've come out all soggy and pathetic. Spurs are winning every battle, every 50/50, running more, tackling harder, passing better. And Cech has just made another brilliant save to keep it 1-0! Trippier is denied this time at the near post, though his shot is hit far too centrally and at waist height, giving the keeper a good chance of stopping it. 2:00PM 75 mins Arsenal briefly enjoy a spell of possession in Spurs' half and then Aubameyang fouls Sanchez. The absolute state of this graphic (from an Arsenal point of view): Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal 1:58PM 73 mins And LAMELA IS IN! Kane is wiped out, play continues, Lamela comes inside the left-back and the centre-backs can't get close... Cech makes a great save! Arsenal have been dreadful in this second half. 1:57PM 72 mins OOOOOOCHA! Mustafi passes inside to Cech, Alli closes him down and Cech passes back to Mustafi. BUT HE'S PASSED IT STRAIGHT TO ALLI! Luckily for him it's out for a goal kick. What are Arsenal playing at here?! And Alli is in again! A defence splitting pass puts him one on one with Cech but he taps it wide of the goal. Oohhhhh my word he's just missed a golden chance to make it 2-0. You get the feeling Spurs are going to regret missing all these chance - I'd love to know the expected goals figures for today. 1:55PM 71 mins Son isn't on his game today. Spurs take advantage of sloppy Arsenal play and Alli passes wide to him on the edge of the area. He lines up a top corner smash but puts his foot way under the ball and it flies over the top of the stadium roof. That's his last touch too. Lamela comes on in his place. 1:54PM 69 mins Kane wins a header as Mustafi jumps for it like a salmon leaping out of water and flops to the floor. Wilshere loses control and Kane uses his body well to win the tackle but the referee sees it as a foul. Kane cuts inside and Son sprints wide left. He's in here it Kane can get the pass through... and he does! But Son doesn't control it! Arsenal counter attack, get to the box and Wilshere lines up a shot on the edge of the area on his left foot. SAVED BY LLORIS! It's a powerful effort to the top corner but Lloris reads it early. Attempt Saved: Arsenal ( 68 min ) 1:51PM 67 mins Aubameyang has gone wide left, Lacazette through the middle and Ozil wide right. Iwobi, Xhaka and Wilshere in midfield? It's probably a 4-2-3-1. Lacazette has been caught offside because he's busy doing his socks - what on earth has been doing on the subs bench for the last 65 minutes? Put your football clothes on, pal. 1:50PM 65 mins The attendance is 83,222 at Wembley, which makes it the highest attendance of any Premier League player ever. Mkhitaryan and Elneny come off, Lacazette and Iwobi are on. That'll be a change of shape as well but I'm not quite sure what it is. 1:49PM 64 mins Eriksen fires a free-kick from wide left into the area, aiming it into a sea of bodies at speed. He wins a corner and sends that to the six yard box, but Cech heads clear. Eriksen has another chance to cross but Cech gathers. Ozil passes inside and is so, so, so close to handing Spurs a four on two in Arsenal's half. Steve McManaman does his trademark off-mic 'Woooooohhhhhhhhh' noise for about the fifth time today as a result of Arsenal's passing. Wenger is about to make some substitutions. 1:46PM 61 mins Credit: AFP Arsenal are in Spurs' half but the passing in the final third has been shocking all game long. Ozil gives it away, Wilshere gives it away, Spurs battle and win it back. Xhaka's control lets him down, Arsenal consider pressing from the front but abandon the idea quickly. Eriksen wins a throw deep in Arsenal's half near the box. 1:43PM 58 mins Vertonghen wins the header! Arsenal are being beaten to every single high ball. Arsene Wenger thinks Arsenal should have won a free-kick for Kane's goal, with the striker appearing to nudge Koscielny in the back. It's never a foul. Arsenal can't get hold of the ball. Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal But they're not out of it yet. 1:42PM 57 mins Eriksen takes it... and Cech tips over at the top corner! Great effort. Spurs corner. 1:41PM 56 mins Arsenal are still sitting deep, inviting pressure and hoping they can counter-attack but Spurs are pressing them intensely and winning the ball back quickly. Bellerin doesn't go in hard enough on Son and loses the ball, Son then dribbles to the box and goes down in the D. It's a foul, play-on says the ref... and it's pulled back for a free-kick in a very dangerous area. 1:39PM 55 mins Spurs have all the momentum, Arsenal on the back foot. Trippier completely bins a player on the right and crosses to the centre. The ball sits up perfectly for Kane to smash the volley! It must be!!!! But he strikes straight at Cech! The rebound falls to Alli, he can't react in time. Neither can Son... chance gone. Arsenal are all over the place. 1:37PM 52 mins KANE MUST SCORE!!!!!! He's just missed another chance seconds after the first goal but heads wide from six yards! Arsenal's defence are all over the place! 1:37PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Kane goal Spurs have the lead and what brilliant header this is! Kane, or Shearer 2.0 as he should be known, rises to power a shot past Cech, who stays rooted to the spot. Spurs have started this half superbly. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) 1:34PM 48 mins Mkhitaryan wins a free-kick over on the left wing, Arsenal keep the ball but are put under heavy pressure from Spurs' forward press. Cech has the ball AND KANE IS CLOSING HIM DOWN! The goalkeeper has to stretch to quickly clear that away from the area just as it looked like he might get caught out. 1:31PM 46 mins Spurs attack from the start of the half and Davies overlaps Son and drills a low ball into the box. Arsenal defend it well but that was a promising attack from the home side. 1:30PM KICK-OFF 2 And we're back! 1:19PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) 1:16PM Team talks "Where's the passion, lads?"— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) February 10, 2018 I’m going angry, “where’s the passion lads!”— Jack Waterston (@JackWaterston) February 10, 2018 1:16PM HALF TIME That was pretty good. There's been a lack of quality in the final third with both teams getting far too excited when near the goal, but for the majority they've cancelled each other out. One of those passes will work at some point and it very nearly did for Aubameyang earlier. 1:15PM 45 mins Spurs are passing around the halfway line. Arsenal closing them down once they get near the final third but Spurs are still able to find space and keep the ball. 1:13PM 43 mins This is amazing. South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 On the pitch Son's had a lot of the ball but Arsenal are closing him down quickly, giving Bellerin a hand. He needs it too. Arsenal are lacking a lot of width on that right side since Bellerin can't steam up the wing like he usually does, preoccupied by defending against Son. 1:10PM 40 mins Bellerin shoots from 25 yards on the angle, mistaking real life for FIFA 95 on the Megadrive. It's over the bar. Out: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Héctor Bellerín, 41 min) 1:10PM 39 mins Spurs win a free-kick wide left about 30 yards out. Eriksen stands over it... and it's a good delivery. Kane attacks but Mustafi jumps and wins the header, then Arsenal win a throw. Arsenal counter quickly, Mkhitaryan bursts through the middle and plays a disguised pass out to Ozil on the right. He looks up and drifts the ball to the left towards Monreal but it slows the move down and Spurs get back. Sanchez is able to bundle it to the keeper. 1:06PM 37 mins Credit: AFP Spurs have the chance to break, Wilshere tracks Eriksen back and intercepts, Xhaka doesn't read the play and Arsenal lose the ball in Spurs' half. 1:04PM 35 mins Wenger may have told his players to knock the ball forward at every possible opportunity and take advantage of their pace upfront. There's been very little tip-tap passing in the centre of the pitch and their sitting deep when out of possession, letting Spurs play with the ball and acting as the counter-attackers themselves. It's like the strategy is to force Spurs out of being the counter-attack team since that is their strength. Mkhitaryan's not found his touch today and ballooned another pass miles away from anyone. 1:01PM 32 mins Credit: REUTERS Kane looks offside as the ball is chipped over the top for him but he controls and threads in Alli, who looks for Eriksen on the underlap with a through-ball. Cech gathers. Arsenal have drifted out of this one. 12:59PM 30 mins Alli's first touch isn't great but he rescues it and wins a corner as Mustafi nervously deals with him. It's sent deep to the corner of the box, Trippier taps it back inside and Dembele swings at the shot and doesn't get decent contact. Cech is relieved to gather the ball before Kane can pounce. 12:58PM 27 mins Eriksen gets on the ball on the left and drops a couple of yards away from the defenders into the half space. This is where he's most effective and he whips a cross into the area... and KANE IS THERE! But he heads over from close range! Huge chance missed for Spurs. It was difficult to get that ball on target with pace but Kane usually does much better with those. Miss: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 27 min) 12:56PM 26 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal The pace has slowed down ever so slightly. Sanchez gives the ball away to Aubameyang but his control lets him down and they get away with it. 12:53PM 23 mins Look how much space Trippier is finding. This is meant to keep Monreal back and is sort of working. It means that when Spurs concentrate play on one side of the pitch they can instantly switch to the other, something Barcelona used to do a lot under Guardiola. 12:49PM 20 mins Wilshere kicks the air when a very decent chance to shoot presents itself and the Spurs fans love it. Credit: REUTERS 12:48PM 19 mins Son is causing problems on the left for Spurs - Bellerin doesn't like him. He skips past a Wilshere challenge in the box, the kind that makes you think a penalty is on its way, and tries to get a cross low into the box. Arsenal clear. Trippier is finding loads of space on the right wing, making the team shape a weird sort of 3-3-3-1 in possession. Average touch positions (17 min) 12:45PM 16 mins Spurs have another corner, Arsenal have everyone in the area... but Dier still gets a header on goal. Wide. Three defenders have surrounded him but don't win the aerial challenge. Arsenal decide not to play out from the back and Cech launches a goal kick up the pitch. Spurs win it back immediately. That might actually be part of the plan today... Possession: Spurs vs Arsenal 12:43PM 13 mins AUBAMEYANG IS IN! Oooooh he's offside. Just offside. Wilshere finds him with an absolutely superb through-pass. 12:41PM 12 mins Aubameyang looks dangerous here. His movement is so smart and Arsenal's wide players are looking for him with early crosses from the wings. Kane barges Mustafi and concedes a foul... but on replay that looks a little weak. This is a fascinating counter-attack game at the moment. Both teams looking to break quickly in numbers. 12:39PM 10 mins Monreal curls the ball into the area and it's an awkward one to deal with. It bounces just in front of Wilshere and then looks like it might bounce onto the arm of a defender, Spurs seem panicked. And then they're away! Alli breaks down the left, Kane takes the ball inside and Cech parries it behind for a corner. And now Arsenal are on the counter! Mkhitaryan takes it on the left and chips just slightly too far ahead of Aubameyang. What a game this is already. Pass: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 9 min) Arsenal passing around the Spurs final third now. 12:37PM 7 mins Son has space on the left! The crowd rise to their feet, he takes his man on... but has to go backwards. Spurs get forward and join in and a great ball out to Trippier sets up a cross. He whips towards the near post but it's cleared. Spurs win a corner. Arsenal deal with it well and have a counter-attack on! They have one Spurs defender to beat and three forwards chasing... but the pass is poor. Mkhitaryan is then caught by Trippier. 12:35PM 5 mins Both teams a little nervy on the ball, first touches aren't quite settled yet and passes are being overhit. That'll calm later on but at the moment both sides are testing each other out. A long ball down the wing for Aubameyang, he holds off Sanchez and wins a corner. Great play! Dele Alli heads the ball clear, Elneny tidies up but his searching pass for Ozil on the right is straight out for a throw-in. 12:32PM 3 mins It's a frantic start to the game. Both teams are a little excited and getting the ball forward too quickly, moving it when there isn't really an option. Son is hugging the left wing, Trippier the right, Arsenal dropping deep behind the ball early on. 12:30PM KICK-OFF We're underway. 12:29PM Aubameyang's shinpads Allegedly. A person off Twitter said it so it must be true. Aubameyang's shinpads �� pic.twitter.com/vYGo0XVXmm— James Benge (@jamesbenge) February 10, 2018 12:27PM Here come the players It's almost football time. Wembley is rammed, the BT Sport cameras have just focused on a bunch of Arsenal fans giving rival supporters instructions on how best to empty a stubborn bottle of ketchup... and it's Clive! 12:22PM Elneny and the 4-3-3 This guy could be key today. Why Mohamed Elneny could be key to an Arsenal return to 4-3-3 against Chelsea As we've touched on, Arsenal need a bit of help in defence from time to time and Elneny's role is something between a holding midfield player who recycles the ball and starts moves, and a half-back, dropping deep between the centre-backs as a sort of sweeper. Doing this gives Arsenal a back three and makes one of the attacking midfielder drop back into central midfield to give a bit of stability. Both teams have a player that does this. For Spurs it's Eric Dier. 12:17PM Jan Vertonghen Rio Ferdinand has just said that he reckons Jan Vertonghen is the best defender in the league and I'd be inclined to agree with him. A solid defender, he's also superb at taking the ball out from the back, going past players and spotting a pass - in his younger days he was often a left-back, which must have helped develop his sense of positioning and ability to go past players. 12:02PM Arsenal players arriving Credit: GETTY IMAGES They're warming up now but here's some photos from before, Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:54AM Goooooood afternoon (almost)! This is going to be ace, isn't it? Are you excited? By Jove, I am. Quite how players get properly revved up at a time I'm still enjoying a morning coffee is something for them to deal with but for us, the viewers, it's sure to be an end-to-end battle. Spurs will make lots of little fouls to stop Arsenal counter-attacking, Arsenal need to be DRILLED into not sending too many players forward on the attack, as is their natural tendency. The reason for this is that Spurs will actively look for chances to hit them on the break... and one player in particular will do a lot of damage if given the space. Why Son Heung-min is Tottenham's not-so-secret weapon 11:35AM Team news is in Toby Alderweireld is not fit enough to make the Tottenham squad, while Aaron Ramsey has picked up an injury and misses out. #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/vawK6Mfta3— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 10, 2018 �� Here it us - our team for this afternoon's north London derby at Wembley#THFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/DhBPWoOaVe— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 10, 2018 11:21AM Match preview: Arsene Wenger on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned it is too early to make comparisons between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thierry Henry. Club-record signing Aubameyang shone on his Gunners debut last weekend, scoring in a 5-1 victory over Everton. The Gabon international has taken the number 14 shirt at Arsenal previously worn by Henry - the club's all-time leading goalscorer. Having joined the club from Borussia Dortmund on transfer deadline day, Aubameyang compared his style to Henry and said the Frenchman is "an example" to strikers. Ahead of Arsenal's north London derby against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday, Wenger urged caution over likening the pair - although he was pleased Aubameyang has set such lofty aspirations. Aubameyang scored on his Arsenal debut last week Credit: Getty Images "It is an ambitious statement but it is a good one," he said. "(Henry is) the best goalscorer ever in Arsenal's history, so it doesn't mean he will score as many goals but why not? "I would say (Aubameyang is most like) Thierry Henry with his quality of runs. But it's a bit too early to compare him to the best player ever who played here. "He has played one game. But it's a good example to follow. His finish was brilliant. His finishing is good. You don't score by coincidence for so many years, if you score many goals." PA
Harry Kane was famously told aged eight that he was no longer required by Arsenal. Yet in the last seven months alone, the club he left 16 years ago have spent around £102 million on two ­strikers who may never reach the ­levels of Tottenham Hotspur’s main man. A sobering thought for the team that were second best in this north London derby by some distance in terms of ­performance but were beaten by the slender margin of one Kane goal, his seventh in this, his seventh derby match. “A super striker who is one of the best in the world and he scores against everybody,” was the day’s most telling description of Kane, who had a magnificent game, and it was offered by Arsene Wenger in defence of his own players’ shortcomings against the Spurs striker. Kane symbolises the new Tottenham, still without a trophy in the ­Mauricio Pochettino era but a dynamic, high-pressing team who face Juventus in Turin on Tuesday with ­renewed ­belief that they can compete against the best teams in Europe. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Lacazette missed two huge chances to equalise late on Credit: REUTERS As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Average touch positions (0 min) As for Wenger, the picture as regards the Champions League is that much more grim after this, a defeat in a game he admitted Arsenal could not afford to lose. Asked whether the Europa League was the best route for his team back into the Champions League, Wenger said dolefully that it was “too early” to say. “Football is not about switching off for three games and switching it on for one game,” he said. “Manchester United decided that [about the Europa League] once they were in the semi-­final but we are far from the semi-final. I think we have to fight to have a chance to come back. Overall it is a very disappointing result because the priority has to be to get to the Champions League through the Premier League. “I am not a great fan of the Europa League being a qualifier for the Champions League because I think it is not right. If it is an opportunity we will have to try to take it but the priority is still the Premier League.” His team have won just three away games this season, against Crystal ­Palace, Everton and Burnley, and lost their last three in a row. It is early days yet for Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan but the newly-minted Ozil again looked less than the indispensable player his contract suggests he should be. The gap is seven points to Spurs, which is not unbridgeable but on this day it looked like a very long way indeed. 2:43PM Expected goals xG map for the North London Derby. Tottenham utterly dominated the second half, then escaped in stoppage time after some poor finishing. pic.twitter.com/s0whMf54P4— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) February 10, 2018 2:42PM Mauricio Pochettino says "First half both teams have good energy, they were so compact, they tried to find the space and it was difficult to break down them. I think we dominate first half. Second half we had same shape but we were much better, moved the ball better and found space, create problems. "I think the score should be 3-0 but in football if you don't kill the games then you can concede some chances and suffer but I am so happy for three massive games, the performance was amazing. [Kane]'s our future. It's amazing all he's achieving and we are so proud he's in our side." 2:39PM Rio Ferdinand laying into Koscielny The ex-defender has shredded the midfield organisation, pointing out how dreadful it was in the second half but the panel is now onto the January transfer window. Buying Jonny Evans may have made a difference but Arsenal's problem isn't the centre-backs, it is the entire team's approach to defending. Kane didn't score because Koscielny lost him, but because Davies was able to angle the exact ball needed to set up the header. Had Ozil closed down his man properly, that goal wouldn't have happened. 2:32PM Kane post-match "It was nice to score, I had a few headers int he game. I thought we deserved it, should have finished it off. "I look forward to these games, it was a great performance by the team. We're a fit squad and know if we keep playing chances will come. We had chances, they had a few chances, we're really pleased with the win. "We had tough fixtures, United, Liverpool, Arsenal all in a row and we got seven points from them. Champions League now, we just need to keep the momentum going. I can't wait for Juventus." 2:23PM Wenger's team talk What could Wenger have said to them at half time? Spurs came out aggressive, enthusiastic, determined while Arsenal slithered to a start. They were caught dozing, lost every duel, were second to every challenge - Spurs were better in every department. 2:21PM FULL TIME OZIL HITS THE WALL! Spurs win the North London Derby! A deserved win too. They battered Arsenal for most of this one and Arsenal's expensive flops missed golden chances at the end to make it 1-1. Don't forget the million easy ones that Spurs missed too! Spurs are without doubt the superior north London force in the modern day. 2:20PM 90 mins +4 Oooohhhhhhh but there's one chance left! Dembele brings down Welbeck in the D! Arsenal have one last chance to shoot from a perfect free-kick position!!! The tension... Spurs are scared here. 2:19PM 90 mins +3 OH MY GOD LACAZETTE IS IN! BUT HE'S MISSED FROM SIX YARDS! The long through ball from Iwobi is amazing, it bypasses everyone and Lacazette is clean in behind every single defender. He only has the goalkeeper to beat and shoots wide. That is dreadful. Wenger can't believe it. I can't believe it. That's a gift. 2:17PM 90 mins +2 LACAZETTTTTEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! Oh dear. That was Arsenal's one chance. They counter, Bellerin sends a beautiful ball into the area and Lacazette can line up his volley from 12 yards... and puts it miles over the bar. Awful effort. He stares at the floor. That boy hasn't looked quite right for a while now. 2:15PM 90 mins Kane covers for Davies at left-back and buys a free-kick from Bellerin. And all of a sudden, Lamela is completely in behind the Arsenal defence with one pass from deep - how on earth has that happened?! Lamela doesn't even know what to do and ends up shooting wide but that is... that shouldn't happen. 2:13PM 88 mins Wilshere has been the best Arsenal player, except Cech today, and he has just nearly threaded Welbeck into a one-on-one chance to shoot in the Spurs box. The substitute isn't aware or alert and doesn't control it - had he done so, that would have been a huge opportunity. 2:11PM 86 mins Wenger has abandoned team shape and strategy now and thrown on Welbeck for Xhaka. That means they have three central strikers, an Iwobi, an Ozil and a Wilshere all on the pitch. Instructions: do the football, score them goals. 2:10PM 85 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal Aubameyang is just offside as he threatens to sprint in behind. Arsenal might have been second best all over the pitch but they're not done here yet! Spurs vs Arsenal Monreal slides in from behind on Kane and concedes a corner, getting a good chunk out of Kane in doing so. Dele Alli knows he's coming off but looks away from the touchline and gets ready for the corner. Arsenal players get annoyed and urge him to leave the pitch with a friendly shove in the back. Wanyama on. 2:07PM 82 mins Iwobi gives it away again! He goes on a dribble towards Spurs players and runs into trouble, spreads play to the left but doesn't put any conviction in the pass and nearly hands a counter-attack to Spurs. 2:05PM 80 mins Wilshere is getting wound up. Lamela swipes at him with a lunging tackle - leaping into it - and is booked. What can Arsenal do to get back into this game? Iwobi has been caught in possession a few times since coming on and done almost nothing of note. Not really an impact substitution... 2:03PM 77 mins What did Wenger even say to his players at half time? They've come out all soggy and pathetic. Spurs are winning every battle, every 50/50, running more, tackling harder, passing better. And Cech has just made another brilliant save to keep it 1-0! Trippier is denied this time at the near post, though his shot is hit far too centrally and at waist height, giving the keeper a good chance of stopping it. 2:00PM 75 mins Arsenal briefly enjoy a spell of possession in Spurs' half and then Aubameyang fouls Sanchez. The absolute state of this graphic (from an Arsenal point of view): Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal 1:58PM 73 mins And LAMELA IS IN! Kane is wiped out, play continues, Lamela comes inside the left-back and the centre-backs can't get close... Cech makes a great save! Arsenal have been dreadful in this second half. 1:57PM 72 mins OOOOOOCHA! Mustafi passes inside to Cech, Alli closes him down and Cech passes back to Mustafi. BUT HE'S PASSED IT STRAIGHT TO ALLI! Luckily for him it's out for a goal kick. What are Arsenal playing at here?! And Alli is in again! A defence splitting pass puts him one on one with Cech but he taps it wide of the goal. Oohhhhh my word he's just missed a golden chance to make it 2-0. You get the feeling Spurs are going to regret missing all these chance - I'd love to know the expected goals figures for today. 1:55PM 71 mins Son isn't on his game today. Spurs take advantage of sloppy Arsenal play and Alli passes wide to him on the edge of the area. He lines up a top corner smash but puts his foot way under the ball and it flies over the top of the stadium roof. That's his last touch too. Lamela comes on in his place. 1:54PM 69 mins Kane wins a header as Mustafi jumps for it like a salmon leaping out of water and flops to the floor. Wilshere loses control and Kane uses his body well to win the tackle but the referee sees it as a foul. Kane cuts inside and Son sprints wide left. He's in here it Kane can get the pass through... and he does! But Son doesn't control it! Arsenal counter attack, get to the box and Wilshere lines up a shot on the edge of the area on his left foot. SAVED BY LLORIS! It's a powerful effort to the top corner but Lloris reads it early. Attempt Saved: Arsenal ( 68 min ) 1:51PM 67 mins Aubameyang has gone wide left, Lacazette through the middle and Ozil wide right. Iwobi, Xhaka and Wilshere in midfield? It's probably a 4-2-3-1. Lacazette has been caught offside because he's busy doing his socks - what on earth has been doing on the subs bench for the last 65 minutes? Put your football clothes on, pal. 1:50PM 65 mins The attendance is 83,222 at Wembley, which makes it the highest attendance of any Premier League player ever. Mkhitaryan and Elneny come off, Lacazette and Iwobi are on. That'll be a change of shape as well but I'm not quite sure what it is. 1:49PM 64 mins Eriksen fires a free-kick from wide left into the area, aiming it into a sea of bodies at speed. He wins a corner and sends that to the six yard box, but Cech heads clear. Eriksen has another chance to cross but Cech gathers. Ozil passes inside and is so, so, so close to handing Spurs a four on two in Arsenal's half. Steve McManaman does his trademark off-mic 'Woooooohhhhhhhhh' noise for about the fifth time today as a result of Arsenal's passing. Wenger is about to make some substitutions. 1:46PM 61 mins Credit: AFP Arsenal are in Spurs' half but the passing in the final third has been shocking all game long. Ozil gives it away, Wilshere gives it away, Spurs battle and win it back. Xhaka's control lets him down, Arsenal consider pressing from the front but abandon the idea quickly. Eriksen wins a throw deep in Arsenal's half near the box. 1:43PM 58 mins Vertonghen wins the header! Arsenal are being beaten to every single high ball. Arsene Wenger thinks Arsenal should have won a free-kick for Kane's goal, with the striker appearing to nudge Koscielny in the back. It's never a foul. Arsenal can't get hold of the ball. Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal But they're not out of it yet. 1:42PM 57 mins Eriksen takes it... and Cech tips over at the top corner! Great effort. Spurs corner. 1:41PM 56 mins Arsenal are still sitting deep, inviting pressure and hoping they can counter-attack but Spurs are pressing them intensely and winning the ball back quickly. Bellerin doesn't go in hard enough on Son and loses the ball, Son then dribbles to the box and goes down in the D. It's a foul, play-on says the ref... and it's pulled back for a free-kick in a very dangerous area. 1:39PM 55 mins Spurs have all the momentum, Arsenal on the back foot. Trippier completely bins a player on the right and crosses to the centre. The ball sits up perfectly for Kane to smash the volley! It must be!!!! But he strikes straight at Cech! The rebound falls to Alli, he can't react in time. Neither can Son... chance gone. Arsenal are all over the place. 1:37PM 52 mins KANE MUST SCORE!!!!!! He's just missed another chance seconds after the first goal but heads wide from six yards! Arsenal's defence are all over the place! 1:37PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Kane goal Spurs have the lead and what brilliant header this is! Kane, or Shearer 2.0 as he should be known, rises to power a shot past Cech, who stays rooted to the spot. Spurs have started this half superbly. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) 1:34PM 48 mins Mkhitaryan wins a free-kick over on the left wing, Arsenal keep the ball but are put under heavy pressure from Spurs' forward press. Cech has the ball AND KANE IS CLOSING HIM DOWN! The goalkeeper has to stretch to quickly clear that away from the area just as it looked like he might get caught out. 1:31PM 46 mins Spurs attack from the start of the half and Davies overlaps Son and drills a low ball into the box. Arsenal defend it well but that was a promising attack from the home side. 1:30PM KICK-OFF 2 And we're back! 1:19PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) 1:16PM Team talks "Where's the passion, lads?"— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) February 10, 2018 I’m going angry, “where’s the passion lads!”— Jack Waterston (@JackWaterston) February 10, 2018 1:16PM HALF TIME That was pretty good. There's been a lack of quality in the final third with both teams getting far too excited when near the goal, but for the majority they've cancelled each other out. One of those passes will work at some point and it very nearly did for Aubameyang earlier. 1:15PM 45 mins Spurs are passing around the halfway line. Arsenal closing them down once they get near the final third but Spurs are still able to find space and keep the ball. 1:13PM 43 mins This is amazing. South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 On the pitch Son's had a lot of the ball but Arsenal are closing him down quickly, giving Bellerin a hand. He needs it too. Arsenal are lacking a lot of width on that right side since Bellerin can't steam up the wing like he usually does, preoccupied by defending against Son. 1:10PM 40 mins Bellerin shoots from 25 yards on the angle, mistaking real life for FIFA 95 on the Megadrive. It's over the bar. Out: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Héctor Bellerín, 41 min) 1:10PM 39 mins Spurs win a free-kick wide left about 30 yards out. Eriksen stands over it... and it's a good delivery. Kane attacks but Mustafi jumps and wins the header, then Arsenal win a throw. Arsenal counter quickly, Mkhitaryan bursts through the middle and plays a disguised pass out to Ozil on the right. He looks up and drifts the ball to the left towards Monreal but it slows the move down and Spurs get back. Sanchez is able to bundle it to the keeper. 1:06PM 37 mins Credit: AFP Spurs have the chance to break, Wilshere tracks Eriksen back and intercepts, Xhaka doesn't read the play and Arsenal lose the ball in Spurs' half. 1:04PM 35 mins Wenger may have told his players to knock the ball forward at every possible opportunity and take advantage of their pace upfront. There's been very little tip-tap passing in the centre of the pitch and their sitting deep when out of possession, letting Spurs play with the ball and acting as the counter-attackers themselves. It's like the strategy is to force Spurs out of being the counter-attack team since that is their strength. Mkhitaryan's not found his touch today and ballooned another pass miles away from anyone. 1:01PM 32 mins Credit: REUTERS Kane looks offside as the ball is chipped over the top for him but he controls and threads in Alli, who looks for Eriksen on the underlap with a through-ball. Cech gathers. Arsenal have drifted out of this one. 12:59PM 30 mins Alli's first touch isn't great but he rescues it and wins a corner as Mustafi nervously deals with him. It's sent deep to the corner of the box, Trippier taps it back inside and Dembele swings at the shot and doesn't get decent contact. Cech is relieved to gather the ball before Kane can pounce. 12:58PM 27 mins Eriksen gets on the ball on the left and drops a couple of yards away from the defenders into the half space. This is where he's most effective and he whips a cross into the area... and KANE IS THERE! But he heads over from close range! Huge chance missed for Spurs. It was difficult to get that ball on target with pace but Kane usually does much better with those. Miss: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 27 min) 12:56PM 26 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal The pace has slowed down ever so slightly. Sanchez gives the ball away to Aubameyang but his control lets him down and they get away with it. 12:53PM 23 mins Look how much space Trippier is finding. This is meant to keep Monreal back and is sort of working. It means that when Spurs concentrate play on one side of the pitch they can instantly switch to the other, something Barcelona used to do a lot under Guardiola. 12:49PM 20 mins Wilshere kicks the air when a very decent chance to shoot presents itself and the Spurs fans love it. Credit: REUTERS 12:48PM 19 mins Son is causing problems on the left for Spurs - Bellerin doesn't like him. He skips past a Wilshere challenge in the box, the kind that makes you think a penalty is on its way, and tries to get a cross low into the box. Arsenal clear. Trippier is finding loads of space on the right wing, making the team shape a weird sort of 3-3-3-1 in possession. Average touch positions (17 min) 12:45PM 16 mins Spurs have another corner, Arsenal have everyone in the area... but Dier still gets a header on goal. Wide. Three defenders have surrounded him but don't win the aerial challenge. Arsenal decide not to play out from the back and Cech launches a goal kick up the pitch. Spurs win it back immediately. That might actually be part of the plan today... Possession: Spurs vs Arsenal 12:43PM 13 mins AUBAMEYANG IS IN! Oooooh he's offside. Just offside. Wilshere finds him with an absolutely superb through-pass. 12:41PM 12 mins Aubameyang looks dangerous here. His movement is so smart and Arsenal's wide players are looking for him with early crosses from the wings. Kane barges Mustafi and concedes a foul... but on replay that looks a little weak. This is a fascinating counter-attack game at the moment. Both teams looking to break quickly in numbers. 12:39PM 10 mins Monreal curls the ball into the area and it's an awkward one to deal with. It bounces just in front of Wilshere and then looks like it might bounce onto the arm of a defender, Spurs seem panicked. And then they're away! Alli breaks down the left, Kane takes the ball inside and Cech parries it behind for a corner. And now Arsenal are on the counter! Mkhitaryan takes it on the left and chips just slightly too far ahead of Aubameyang. What a game this is already. Pass: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 9 min) Arsenal passing around the Spurs final third now. 12:37PM 7 mins Son has space on the left! The crowd rise to their feet, he takes his man on... but has to go backwards. Spurs get forward and join in and a great ball out to Trippier sets up a cross. He whips towards the near post but it's cleared. Spurs win a corner. Arsenal deal with it well and have a counter-attack on! They have one Spurs defender to beat and three forwards chasing... but the pass is poor. Mkhitaryan is then caught by Trippier. 12:35PM 5 mins Both teams a little nervy on the ball, first touches aren't quite settled yet and passes are being overhit. That'll calm later on but at the moment both sides are testing each other out. A long ball down the wing for Aubameyang, he holds off Sanchez and wins a corner. Great play! Dele Alli heads the ball clear, Elneny tidies up but his searching pass for Ozil on the right is straight out for a throw-in. 12:32PM 3 mins It's a frantic start to the game. Both teams are a little excited and getting the ball forward too quickly, moving it when there isn't really an option. Son is hugging the left wing, Trippier the right, Arsenal dropping deep behind the ball early on. 12:30PM KICK-OFF We're underway. 12:29PM Aubameyang's shinpads Allegedly. A person off Twitter said it so it must be true. Aubameyang's shinpads �� pic.twitter.com/vYGo0XVXmm— James Benge (@jamesbenge) February 10, 2018 12:27PM Here come the players It's almost football time. Wembley is rammed, the BT Sport cameras have just focused on a bunch of Arsenal fans giving rival supporters instructions on how best to empty a stubborn bottle of ketchup... and it's Clive! 12:22PM Elneny and the 4-3-3 This guy could be key today. Why Mohamed Elneny could be key to an Arsenal return to 4-3-3 against Chelsea As we've touched on, Arsenal need a bit of help in defence from time to time and Elneny's role is something between a holding midfield player who recycles the ball and starts moves, and a half-back, dropping deep between the centre-backs as a sort of sweeper. Doing this gives Arsenal a back three and makes one of the attacking midfielder drop back into central midfield to give a bit of stability. Both teams have a player that does this. For Spurs it's Eric Dier. 12:17PM Jan Vertonghen Rio Ferdinand has just said that he reckons Jan Vertonghen is the best defender in the league and I'd be inclined to agree with him. A solid defender, he's also superb at taking the ball out from the back, going past players and spotting a pass - in his younger days he was often a left-back, which must have helped develop his sense of positioning and ability to go past players. 12:02PM Arsenal players arriving Credit: GETTY IMAGES They're warming up now but here's some photos from before, Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:54AM Goooooood afternoon (almost)! This is going to be ace, isn't it? Are you excited? By Jove, I am. Quite how players get properly revved up at a time I'm still enjoying a morning coffee is something for them to deal with but for us, the viewers, it's sure to be an end-to-end battle. Spurs will make lots of little fouls to stop Arsenal counter-attacking, Arsenal need to be DRILLED into not sending too many players forward on the attack, as is their natural tendency. The reason for this is that Spurs will actively look for chances to hit them on the break... and one player in particular will do a lot of damage if given the space. Why Son Heung-min is Tottenham's not-so-secret weapon 11:35AM Team news is in Toby Alderweireld is not fit enough to make the Tottenham squad, while Aaron Ramsey has picked up an injury and misses out. #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/vawK6Mfta3— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 10, 2018 �� Here it us - our team for this afternoon's north London derby at Wembley#THFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/DhBPWoOaVe— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 10, 2018 11:21AM Match preview: Arsene Wenger on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned it is too early to make comparisons between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thierry Henry. Club-record signing Aubameyang shone on his Gunners debut last weekend, scoring in a 5-1 victory over Everton. The Gabon international has taken the number 14 shirt at Arsenal previously worn by Henry - the club's all-time leading goalscorer. Having joined the club from Borussia Dortmund on transfer deadline day, Aubameyang compared his style to Henry and said the Frenchman is "an example" to strikers. Ahead of Arsenal's north London derby against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday, Wenger urged caution over likening the pair - although he was pleased Aubameyang has set such lofty aspirations. Aubameyang scored on his Arsenal debut last week Credit: Getty Images "It is an ambitious statement but it is a good one," he said. "(Henry is) the best goalscorer ever in Arsenal's history, so it doesn't mean he will score as many goals but why not? "I would say (Aubameyang is most like) Thierry Henry with his quality of runs. But it's a bit too early to compare him to the best player ever who played here. "He has played one game. But it's a good example to follow. His finish was brilliant. His finishing is good. You don't score by coincidence for so many years, if you score many goals." PA
Tottenham 1 Arsenal 0: Harry Kane goal confirms power shift in North London
Harry Kane was famously told aged eight that he was no longer required by Arsenal. Yet in the last seven months alone, the club he left 16 years ago have spent around £102 million on two ­strikers who may never reach the ­levels of Tottenham Hotspur’s main man. A sobering thought for the team that were second best in this north London derby by some distance in terms of ­performance but were beaten by the slender margin of one Kane goal, his seventh in this, his seventh derby match. “A super striker who is one of the best in the world and he scores against everybody,” was the day’s most telling description of Kane, who had a magnificent game, and it was offered by Arsene Wenger in defence of his own players’ shortcomings against the Spurs striker. Kane symbolises the new Tottenham, still without a trophy in the ­Mauricio Pochettino era but a dynamic, high-pressing team who face Juventus in Turin on Tuesday with ­renewed ­belief that they can compete against the best teams in Europe. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Lacazette missed two huge chances to equalise late on Credit: REUTERS As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Average touch positions (0 min) As for Wenger, the picture as regards the Champions League is that much more grim after this, a defeat in a game he admitted Arsenal could not afford to lose. Asked whether the Europa League was the best route for his team back into the Champions League, Wenger said dolefully that it was “too early” to say. “Football is not about switching off for three games and switching it on for one game,” he said. “Manchester United decided that [about the Europa League] once they were in the semi-­final but we are far from the semi-final. I think we have to fight to have a chance to come back. Overall it is a very disappointing result because the priority has to be to get to the Champions League through the Premier League. “I am not a great fan of the Europa League being a qualifier for the Champions League because I think it is not right. If it is an opportunity we will have to try to take it but the priority is still the Premier League.” His team have won just three away games this season, against Crystal ­Palace, Everton and Burnley, and lost their last three in a row. It is early days yet for Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan but the newly-minted Ozil again looked less than the indispensable player his contract suggests he should be. The gap is seven points to Spurs, which is not unbridgeable but on this day it looked like a very long way indeed. 2:43PM Expected goals xG map for the North London Derby. Tottenham utterly dominated the second half, then escaped in stoppage time after some poor finishing. pic.twitter.com/s0whMf54P4— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) February 10, 2018 2:42PM Mauricio Pochettino says "First half both teams have good energy, they were so compact, they tried to find the space and it was difficult to break down them. I think we dominate first half. Second half we had same shape but we were much better, moved the ball better and found space, create problems. "I think the score should be 3-0 but in football if you don't kill the games then you can concede some chances and suffer but I am so happy for three massive games, the performance was amazing. [Kane]'s our future. It's amazing all he's achieving and we are so proud he's in our side." 2:39PM Rio Ferdinand laying into Koscielny The ex-defender has shredded the midfield organisation, pointing out how dreadful it was in the second half but the panel is now onto the January transfer window. Buying Jonny Evans may have made a difference but Arsenal's problem isn't the centre-backs, it is the entire team's approach to defending. Kane didn't score because Koscielny lost him, but because Davies was able to angle the exact ball needed to set up the header. Had Ozil closed down his man properly, that goal wouldn't have happened. 2:32PM Kane post-match "It was nice to score, I had a few headers int he game. I thought we deserved it, should have finished it off. "I look forward to these games, it was a great performance by the team. We're a fit squad and know if we keep playing chances will come. We had chances, they had a few chances, we're really pleased with the win. "We had tough fixtures, United, Liverpool, Arsenal all in a row and we got seven points from them. Champions League now, we just need to keep the momentum going. I can't wait for Juventus." 2:23PM Wenger's team talk What could Wenger have said to them at half time? Spurs came out aggressive, enthusiastic, determined while Arsenal slithered to a start. They were caught dozing, lost every duel, were second to every challenge - Spurs were better in every department. 2:21PM FULL TIME OZIL HITS THE WALL! Spurs win the North London Derby! A deserved win too. They battered Arsenal for most of this one and Arsenal's expensive flops missed golden chances at the end to make it 1-1. Don't forget the million easy ones that Spurs missed too! Spurs are without doubt the superior north London force in the modern day. 2:20PM 90 mins +4 Oooohhhhhhh but there's one chance left! Dembele brings down Welbeck in the D! Arsenal have one last chance to shoot from a perfect free-kick position!!! The tension... Spurs are scared here. 2:19PM 90 mins +3 OH MY GOD LACAZETTE IS IN! BUT HE'S MISSED FROM SIX YARDS! The long through ball from Iwobi is amazing, it bypasses everyone and Lacazette is clean in behind every single defender. He only has the goalkeeper to beat and shoots wide. That is dreadful. Wenger can't believe it. I can't believe it. That's a gift. 2:17PM 90 mins +2 LACAZETTTTTEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! Oh dear. That was Arsenal's one chance. They counter, Bellerin sends a beautiful ball into the area and Lacazette can line up his volley from 12 yards... and puts it miles over the bar. Awful effort. He stares at the floor. That boy hasn't looked quite right for a while now. 2:15PM 90 mins Kane covers for Davies at left-back and buys a free-kick from Bellerin. And all of a sudden, Lamela is completely in behind the Arsenal defence with one pass from deep - how on earth has that happened?! Lamela doesn't even know what to do and ends up shooting wide but that is... that shouldn't happen. 2:13PM 88 mins Wilshere has been the best Arsenal player, except Cech today, and he has just nearly threaded Welbeck into a one-on-one chance to shoot in the Spurs box. The substitute isn't aware or alert and doesn't control it - had he done so, that would have been a huge opportunity. 2:11PM 86 mins Wenger has abandoned team shape and strategy now and thrown on Welbeck for Xhaka. That means they have three central strikers, an Iwobi, an Ozil and a Wilshere all on the pitch. Instructions: do the football, score them goals. 2:10PM 85 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal Aubameyang is just offside as he threatens to sprint in behind. Arsenal might have been second best all over the pitch but they're not done here yet! Spurs vs Arsenal Monreal slides in from behind on Kane and concedes a corner, getting a good chunk out of Kane in doing so. Dele Alli knows he's coming off but looks away from the touchline and gets ready for the corner. Arsenal players get annoyed and urge him to leave the pitch with a friendly shove in the back. Wanyama on. 2:07PM 82 mins Iwobi gives it away again! He goes on a dribble towards Spurs players and runs into trouble, spreads play to the left but doesn't put any conviction in the pass and nearly hands a counter-attack to Spurs. 2:05PM 80 mins Wilshere is getting wound up. Lamela swipes at him with a lunging tackle - leaping into it - and is booked. What can Arsenal do to get back into this game? Iwobi has been caught in possession a few times since coming on and done almost nothing of note. Not really an impact substitution... 2:03PM 77 mins What did Wenger even say to his players at half time? They've come out all soggy and pathetic. Spurs are winning every battle, every 50/50, running more, tackling harder, passing better. And Cech has just made another brilliant save to keep it 1-0! Trippier is denied this time at the near post, though his shot is hit far too centrally and at waist height, giving the keeper a good chance of stopping it. 2:00PM 75 mins Arsenal briefly enjoy a spell of possession in Spurs' half and then Aubameyang fouls Sanchez. The absolute state of this graphic (from an Arsenal point of view): Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal 1:58PM 73 mins And LAMELA IS IN! Kane is wiped out, play continues, Lamela comes inside the left-back and the centre-backs can't get close... Cech makes a great save! Arsenal have been dreadful in this second half. 1:57PM 72 mins OOOOOOCHA! Mustafi passes inside to Cech, Alli closes him down and Cech passes back to Mustafi. BUT HE'S PASSED IT STRAIGHT TO ALLI! Luckily for him it's out for a goal kick. What are Arsenal playing at here?! And Alli is in again! A defence splitting pass puts him one on one with Cech but he taps it wide of the goal. Oohhhhh my word he's just missed a golden chance to make it 2-0. You get the feeling Spurs are going to regret missing all these chance - I'd love to know the expected goals figures for today. 1:55PM 71 mins Son isn't on his game today. Spurs take advantage of sloppy Arsenal play and Alli passes wide to him on the edge of the area. He lines up a top corner smash but puts his foot way under the ball and it flies over the top of the stadium roof. That's his last touch too. Lamela comes on in his place. 1:54PM 69 mins Kane wins a header as Mustafi jumps for it like a salmon leaping out of water and flops to the floor. Wilshere loses control and Kane uses his body well to win the tackle but the referee sees it as a foul. Kane cuts inside and Son sprints wide left. He's in here it Kane can get the pass through... and he does! But Son doesn't control it! Arsenal counter attack, get to the box and Wilshere lines up a shot on the edge of the area on his left foot. SAVED BY LLORIS! It's a powerful effort to the top corner but Lloris reads it early. Attempt Saved: Arsenal ( 68 min ) 1:51PM 67 mins Aubameyang has gone wide left, Lacazette through the middle and Ozil wide right. Iwobi, Xhaka and Wilshere in midfield? It's probably a 4-2-3-1. Lacazette has been caught offside because he's busy doing his socks - what on earth has been doing on the subs bench for the last 65 minutes? Put your football clothes on, pal. 1:50PM 65 mins The attendance is 83,222 at Wembley, which makes it the highest attendance of any Premier League player ever. Mkhitaryan and Elneny come off, Lacazette and Iwobi are on. That'll be a change of shape as well but I'm not quite sure what it is. 1:49PM 64 mins Eriksen fires a free-kick from wide left into the area, aiming it into a sea of bodies at speed. He wins a corner and sends that to the six yard box, but Cech heads clear. Eriksen has another chance to cross but Cech gathers. Ozil passes inside and is so, so, so close to handing Spurs a four on two in Arsenal's half. Steve McManaman does his trademark off-mic 'Woooooohhhhhhhhh' noise for about the fifth time today as a result of Arsenal's passing. Wenger is about to make some substitutions. 1:46PM 61 mins Credit: AFP Arsenal are in Spurs' half but the passing in the final third has been shocking all game long. Ozil gives it away, Wilshere gives it away, Spurs battle and win it back. Xhaka's control lets him down, Arsenal consider pressing from the front but abandon the idea quickly. Eriksen wins a throw deep in Arsenal's half near the box. 1:43PM 58 mins Vertonghen wins the header! Arsenal are being beaten to every single high ball. Arsene Wenger thinks Arsenal should have won a free-kick for Kane's goal, with the striker appearing to nudge Koscielny in the back. It's never a foul. Arsenal can't get hold of the ball. Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal But they're not out of it yet. 1:42PM 57 mins Eriksen takes it... and Cech tips over at the top corner! Great effort. Spurs corner. 1:41PM 56 mins Arsenal are still sitting deep, inviting pressure and hoping they can counter-attack but Spurs are pressing them intensely and winning the ball back quickly. Bellerin doesn't go in hard enough on Son and loses the ball, Son then dribbles to the box and goes down in the D. It's a foul, play-on says the ref... and it's pulled back for a free-kick in a very dangerous area. 1:39PM 55 mins Spurs have all the momentum, Arsenal on the back foot. Trippier completely bins a player on the right and crosses to the centre. The ball sits up perfectly for Kane to smash the volley! It must be!!!! But he strikes straight at Cech! The rebound falls to Alli, he can't react in time. Neither can Son... chance gone. Arsenal are all over the place. 1:37PM 52 mins KANE MUST SCORE!!!!!! He's just missed another chance seconds after the first goal but heads wide from six yards! Arsenal's defence are all over the place! 1:37PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Kane goal Spurs have the lead and what brilliant header this is! Kane, or Shearer 2.0 as he should be known, rises to power a shot past Cech, who stays rooted to the spot. Spurs have started this half superbly. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) 1:34PM 48 mins Mkhitaryan wins a free-kick over on the left wing, Arsenal keep the ball but are put under heavy pressure from Spurs' forward press. Cech has the ball AND KANE IS CLOSING HIM DOWN! The goalkeeper has to stretch to quickly clear that away from the area just as it looked like he might get caught out. 1:31PM 46 mins Spurs attack from the start of the half and Davies overlaps Son and drills a low ball into the box. Arsenal defend it well but that was a promising attack from the home side. 1:30PM KICK-OFF 2 And we're back! 1:19PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) 1:16PM Team talks "Where's the passion, lads?"— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) February 10, 2018 I’m going angry, “where’s the passion lads!”— Jack Waterston (@JackWaterston) February 10, 2018 1:16PM HALF TIME That was pretty good. There's been a lack of quality in the final third with both teams getting far too excited when near the goal, but for the majority they've cancelled each other out. One of those passes will work at some point and it very nearly did for Aubameyang earlier. 1:15PM 45 mins Spurs are passing around the halfway line. Arsenal closing them down once they get near the final third but Spurs are still able to find space and keep the ball. 1:13PM 43 mins This is amazing. South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 On the pitch Son's had a lot of the ball but Arsenal are closing him down quickly, giving Bellerin a hand. He needs it too. Arsenal are lacking a lot of width on that right side since Bellerin can't steam up the wing like he usually does, preoccupied by defending against Son. 1:10PM 40 mins Bellerin shoots from 25 yards on the angle, mistaking real life for FIFA 95 on the Megadrive. It's over the bar. Out: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Héctor Bellerín, 41 min) 1:10PM 39 mins Spurs win a free-kick wide left about 30 yards out. Eriksen stands over it... and it's a good delivery. Kane attacks but Mustafi jumps and wins the header, then Arsenal win a throw. Arsenal counter quickly, Mkhitaryan bursts through the middle and plays a disguised pass out to Ozil on the right. He looks up and drifts the ball to the left towards Monreal but it slows the move down and Spurs get back. Sanchez is able to bundle it to the keeper. 1:06PM 37 mins Credit: AFP Spurs have the chance to break, Wilshere tracks Eriksen back and intercepts, Xhaka doesn't read the play and Arsenal lose the ball in Spurs' half. 1:04PM 35 mins Wenger may have told his players to knock the ball forward at every possible opportunity and take advantage of their pace upfront. There's been very little tip-tap passing in the centre of the pitch and their sitting deep when out of possession, letting Spurs play with the ball and acting as the counter-attackers themselves. It's like the strategy is to force Spurs out of being the counter-attack team since that is their strength. Mkhitaryan's not found his touch today and ballooned another pass miles away from anyone. 1:01PM 32 mins Credit: REUTERS Kane looks offside as the ball is chipped over the top for him but he controls and threads in Alli, who looks for Eriksen on the underlap with a through-ball. Cech gathers. Arsenal have drifted out of this one. 12:59PM 30 mins Alli's first touch isn't great but he rescues it and wins a corner as Mustafi nervously deals with him. It's sent deep to the corner of the box, Trippier taps it back inside and Dembele swings at the shot and doesn't get decent contact. Cech is relieved to gather the ball before Kane can pounce. 12:58PM 27 mins Eriksen gets on the ball on the left and drops a couple of yards away from the defenders into the half space. This is where he's most effective and he whips a cross into the area... and KANE IS THERE! But he heads over from close range! Huge chance missed for Spurs. It was difficult to get that ball on target with pace but Kane usually does much better with those. Miss: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 27 min) 12:56PM 26 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal The pace has slowed down ever so slightly. Sanchez gives the ball away to Aubameyang but his control lets him down and they get away with it. 12:53PM 23 mins Look how much space Trippier is finding. This is meant to keep Monreal back and is sort of working. It means that when Spurs concentrate play on one side of the pitch they can instantly switch to the other, something Barcelona used to do a lot under Guardiola. 12:49PM 20 mins Wilshere kicks the air when a very decent chance to shoot presents itself and the Spurs fans love it. Credit: REUTERS 12:48PM 19 mins Son is causing problems on the left for Spurs - Bellerin doesn't like him. He skips past a Wilshere challenge in the box, the kind that makes you think a penalty is on its way, and tries to get a cross low into the box. Arsenal clear. Trippier is finding loads of space on the right wing, making the team shape a weird sort of 3-3-3-1 in possession. Average touch positions (17 min) 12:45PM 16 mins Spurs have another corner, Arsenal have everyone in the area... but Dier still gets a header on goal. Wide. Three defenders have surrounded him but don't win the aerial challenge. Arsenal decide not to play out from the back and Cech launches a goal kick up the pitch. Spurs win it back immediately. That might actually be part of the plan today... Possession: Spurs vs Arsenal 12:43PM 13 mins AUBAMEYANG IS IN! Oooooh he's offside. Just offside. Wilshere finds him with an absolutely superb through-pass. 12:41PM 12 mins Aubameyang looks dangerous here. His movement is so smart and Arsenal's wide players are looking for him with early crosses from the wings. Kane barges Mustafi and concedes a foul... but on replay that looks a little weak. This is a fascinating counter-attack game at the moment. Both teams looking to break quickly in numbers. 12:39PM 10 mins Monreal curls the ball into the area and it's an awkward one to deal with. It bounces just in front of Wilshere and then looks like it might bounce onto the arm of a defender, Spurs seem panicked. And then they're away! Alli breaks down the left, Kane takes the ball inside and Cech parries it behind for a corner. And now Arsenal are on the counter! Mkhitaryan takes it on the left and chips just slightly too far ahead of Aubameyang. What a game this is already. Pass: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 9 min) Arsenal passing around the Spurs final third now. 12:37PM 7 mins Son has space on the left! The crowd rise to their feet, he takes his man on... but has to go backwards. Spurs get forward and join in and a great ball out to Trippier sets up a cross. He whips towards the near post but it's cleared. Spurs win a corner. Arsenal deal with it well and have a counter-attack on! They have one Spurs defender to beat and three forwards chasing... but the pass is poor. Mkhitaryan is then caught by Trippier. 12:35PM 5 mins Both teams a little nervy on the ball, first touches aren't quite settled yet and passes are being overhit. That'll calm later on but at the moment both sides are testing each other out. A long ball down the wing for Aubameyang, he holds off Sanchez and wins a corner. Great play! Dele Alli heads the ball clear, Elneny tidies up but his searching pass for Ozil on the right is straight out for a throw-in. 12:32PM 3 mins It's a frantic start to the game. Both teams are a little excited and getting the ball forward too quickly, moving it when there isn't really an option. Son is hugging the left wing, Trippier the right, Arsenal dropping deep behind the ball early on. 12:30PM KICK-OFF We're underway. 12:29PM Aubameyang's shinpads Allegedly. A person off Twitter said it so it must be true. Aubameyang's shinpads �� pic.twitter.com/vYGo0XVXmm— James Benge (@jamesbenge) February 10, 2018 12:27PM Here come the players It's almost football time. Wembley is rammed, the BT Sport cameras have just focused on a bunch of Arsenal fans giving rival supporters instructions on how best to empty a stubborn bottle of ketchup... and it's Clive! 12:22PM Elneny and the 4-3-3 This guy could be key today. Why Mohamed Elneny could be key to an Arsenal return to 4-3-3 against Chelsea As we've touched on, Arsenal need a bit of help in defence from time to time and Elneny's role is something between a holding midfield player who recycles the ball and starts moves, and a half-back, dropping deep between the centre-backs as a sort of sweeper. Doing this gives Arsenal a back three and makes one of the attacking midfielder drop back into central midfield to give a bit of stability. Both teams have a player that does this. For Spurs it's Eric Dier. 12:17PM Jan Vertonghen Rio Ferdinand has just said that he reckons Jan Vertonghen is the best defender in the league and I'd be inclined to agree with him. A solid defender, he's also superb at taking the ball out from the back, going past players and spotting a pass - in his younger days he was often a left-back, which must have helped develop his sense of positioning and ability to go past players. 12:02PM Arsenal players arriving Credit: GETTY IMAGES They're warming up now but here's some photos from before, Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:54AM Goooooood afternoon (almost)! This is going to be ace, isn't it? Are you excited? By Jove, I am. Quite how players get properly revved up at a time I'm still enjoying a morning coffee is something for them to deal with but for us, the viewers, it's sure to be an end-to-end battle. Spurs will make lots of little fouls to stop Arsenal counter-attacking, Arsenal need to be DRILLED into not sending too many players forward on the attack, as is their natural tendency. The reason for this is that Spurs will actively look for chances to hit them on the break... and one player in particular will do a lot of damage if given the space. Why Son Heung-min is Tottenham's not-so-secret weapon 11:35AM Team news is in Toby Alderweireld is not fit enough to make the Tottenham squad, while Aaron Ramsey has picked up an injury and misses out. #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/vawK6Mfta3— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 10, 2018 �� Here it us - our team for this afternoon's north London derby at Wembley#THFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/DhBPWoOaVe— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 10, 2018 11:21AM Match preview: Arsene Wenger on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned it is too early to make comparisons between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thierry Henry. Club-record signing Aubameyang shone on his Gunners debut last weekend, scoring in a 5-1 victory over Everton. The Gabon international has taken the number 14 shirt at Arsenal previously worn by Henry - the club's all-time leading goalscorer. Having joined the club from Borussia Dortmund on transfer deadline day, Aubameyang compared his style to Henry and said the Frenchman is "an example" to strikers. Ahead of Arsenal's north London derby against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday, Wenger urged caution over likening the pair - although he was pleased Aubameyang has set such lofty aspirations. Aubameyang scored on his Arsenal debut last week Credit: Getty Images "It is an ambitious statement but it is a good one," he said. "(Henry is) the best goalscorer ever in Arsenal's history, so it doesn't mean he will score as many goals but why not? "I would say (Aubameyang is most like) Thierry Henry with his quality of runs. But it's a bit too early to compare him to the best player ever who played here. "He has played one game. But it's a good example to follow. His finish was brilliant. His finishing is good. You don't score by coincidence for so many years, if you score many goals." PA
Harry Kane was famously told aged eight that he was no longer required by Arsenal. Yet in the last seven months alone, the club he left 16 years ago have spent around £102 million on two ­strikers who may never reach the ­levels of Tottenham Hotspur’s main man. A sobering thought for the team that were second best in this north London derby by some distance in terms of ­performance but were beaten by the slender margin of one Kane goal, his seventh in this, his seventh derby match. “A super striker who is one of the best in the world and he scores against everybody,” was the day’s most telling description of Kane, who had a magnificent game, and it was offered by Arsene Wenger in defence of his own players’ shortcomings against the Spurs striker. Kane symbolises the new Tottenham, still without a trophy in the ­Mauricio Pochettino era but a dynamic, high-pressing team who face Juventus in Turin on Tuesday with ­renewed ­belief that they can compete against the best teams in Europe. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Lacazette missed two huge chances to equalise late on Credit: REUTERS As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Average touch positions (0 min) As for Wenger, the picture as regards the Champions League is that much more grim after this, a defeat in a game he admitted Arsenal could not afford to lose. Asked whether the Europa League was the best route for his team back into the Champions League, Wenger said dolefully that it was “too early” to say. “Football is not about switching off for three games and switching it on for one game,” he said. “Manchester United decided that [about the Europa League] once they were in the semi-­final but we are far from the semi-final. I think we have to fight to have a chance to come back. Overall it is a very disappointing result because the priority has to be to get to the Champions League through the Premier League. “I am not a great fan of the Europa League being a qualifier for the Champions League because I think it is not right. If it is an opportunity we will have to try to take it but the priority is still the Premier League.” His team have won just three away games this season, against Crystal ­Palace, Everton and Burnley, and lost their last three in a row. It is early days yet for Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan but the newly-minted Ozil again looked less than the indispensable player his contract suggests he should be. The gap is seven points to Spurs, which is not unbridgeable but on this day it looked like a very long way indeed. 2:43PM Expected goals xG map for the North London Derby. Tottenham utterly dominated the second half, then escaped in stoppage time after some poor finishing. pic.twitter.com/s0whMf54P4— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) February 10, 2018 2:42PM Mauricio Pochettino says "First half both teams have good energy, they were so compact, they tried to find the space and it was difficult to break down them. I think we dominate first half. Second half we had same shape but we were much better, moved the ball better and found space, create problems. "I think the score should be 3-0 but in football if you don't kill the games then you can concede some chances and suffer but I am so happy for three massive games, the performance was amazing. [Kane]'s our future. It's amazing all he's achieving and we are so proud he's in our side." 2:39PM Rio Ferdinand laying into Koscielny The ex-defender has shredded the midfield organisation, pointing out how dreadful it was in the second half but the panel is now onto the January transfer window. Buying Jonny Evans may have made a difference but Arsenal's problem isn't the centre-backs, it is the entire team's approach to defending. Kane didn't score because Koscielny lost him, but because Davies was able to angle the exact ball needed to set up the header. Had Ozil closed down his man properly, that goal wouldn't have happened. 2:32PM Kane post-match "It was nice to score, I had a few headers int he game. I thought we deserved it, should have finished it off. "I look forward to these games, it was a great performance by the team. We're a fit squad and know if we keep playing chances will come. We had chances, they had a few chances, we're really pleased with the win. "We had tough fixtures, United, Liverpool, Arsenal all in a row and we got seven points from them. Champions League now, we just need to keep the momentum going. I can't wait for Juventus." 2:23PM Wenger's team talk What could Wenger have said to them at half time? Spurs came out aggressive, enthusiastic, determined while Arsenal slithered to a start. They were caught dozing, lost every duel, were second to every challenge - Spurs were better in every department. 2:21PM FULL TIME OZIL HITS THE WALL! Spurs win the North London Derby! A deserved win too. They battered Arsenal for most of this one and Arsenal's expensive flops missed golden chances at the end to make it 1-1. Don't forget the million easy ones that Spurs missed too! Spurs are without doubt the superior north London force in the modern day. 2:20PM 90 mins +4 Oooohhhhhhh but there's one chance left! Dembele brings down Welbeck in the D! Arsenal have one last chance to shoot from a perfect free-kick position!!! The tension... Spurs are scared here. 2:19PM 90 mins +3 OH MY GOD LACAZETTE IS IN! BUT HE'S MISSED FROM SIX YARDS! The long through ball from Iwobi is amazing, it bypasses everyone and Lacazette is clean in behind every single defender. He only has the goalkeeper to beat and shoots wide. That is dreadful. Wenger can't believe it. I can't believe it. That's a gift. 2:17PM 90 mins +2 LACAZETTTTTEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! Oh dear. That was Arsenal's one chance. They counter, Bellerin sends a beautiful ball into the area and Lacazette can line up his volley from 12 yards... and puts it miles over the bar. Awful effort. He stares at the floor. That boy hasn't looked quite right for a while now. 2:15PM 90 mins Kane covers for Davies at left-back and buys a free-kick from Bellerin. And all of a sudden, Lamela is completely in behind the Arsenal defence with one pass from deep - how on earth has that happened?! Lamela doesn't even know what to do and ends up shooting wide but that is... that shouldn't happen. 2:13PM 88 mins Wilshere has been the best Arsenal player, except Cech today, and he has just nearly threaded Welbeck into a one-on-one chance to shoot in the Spurs box. The substitute isn't aware or alert and doesn't control it - had he done so, that would have been a huge opportunity. 2:11PM 86 mins Wenger has abandoned team shape and strategy now and thrown on Welbeck for Xhaka. That means they have three central strikers, an Iwobi, an Ozil and a Wilshere all on the pitch. Instructions: do the football, score them goals. 2:10PM 85 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal Aubameyang is just offside as he threatens to sprint in behind. Arsenal might have been second best all over the pitch but they're not done here yet! Spurs vs Arsenal Monreal slides in from behind on Kane and concedes a corner, getting a good chunk out of Kane in doing so. Dele Alli knows he's coming off but looks away from the touchline and gets ready for the corner. Arsenal players get annoyed and urge him to leave the pitch with a friendly shove in the back. Wanyama on. 2:07PM 82 mins Iwobi gives it away again! He goes on a dribble towards Spurs players and runs into trouble, spreads play to the left but doesn't put any conviction in the pass and nearly hands a counter-attack to Spurs. 2:05PM 80 mins Wilshere is getting wound up. Lamela swipes at him with a lunging tackle - leaping into it - and is booked. What can Arsenal do to get back into this game? Iwobi has been caught in possession a few times since coming on and done almost nothing of note. Not really an impact substitution... 2:03PM 77 mins What did Wenger even say to his players at half time? They've come out all soggy and pathetic. Spurs are winning every battle, every 50/50, running more, tackling harder, passing better. And Cech has just made another brilliant save to keep it 1-0! Trippier is denied this time at the near post, though his shot is hit far too centrally and at waist height, giving the keeper a good chance of stopping it. 2:00PM 75 mins Arsenal briefly enjoy a spell of possession in Spurs' half and then Aubameyang fouls Sanchez. The absolute state of this graphic (from an Arsenal point of view): Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal 1:58PM 73 mins And LAMELA IS IN! Kane is wiped out, play continues, Lamela comes inside the left-back and the centre-backs can't get close... Cech makes a great save! Arsenal have been dreadful in this second half. 1:57PM 72 mins OOOOOOCHA! Mustafi passes inside to Cech, Alli closes him down and Cech passes back to Mustafi. BUT HE'S PASSED IT STRAIGHT TO ALLI! Luckily for him it's out for a goal kick. What are Arsenal playing at here?! And Alli is in again! A defence splitting pass puts him one on one with Cech but he taps it wide of the goal. Oohhhhh my word he's just missed a golden chance to make it 2-0. You get the feeling Spurs are going to regret missing all these chance - I'd love to know the expected goals figures for today. 1:55PM 71 mins Son isn't on his game today. Spurs take advantage of sloppy Arsenal play and Alli passes wide to him on the edge of the area. He lines up a top corner smash but puts his foot way under the ball and it flies over the top of the stadium roof. That's his last touch too. Lamela comes on in his place. 1:54PM 69 mins Kane wins a header as Mustafi jumps for it like a salmon leaping out of water and flops to the floor. Wilshere loses control and Kane uses his body well to win the tackle but the referee sees it as a foul. Kane cuts inside and Son sprints wide left. He's in here it Kane can get the pass through... and he does! But Son doesn't control it! Arsenal counter attack, get to the box and Wilshere lines up a shot on the edge of the area on his left foot. SAVED BY LLORIS! It's a powerful effort to the top corner but Lloris reads it early. Attempt Saved: Arsenal ( 68 min ) 1:51PM 67 mins Aubameyang has gone wide left, Lacazette through the middle and Ozil wide right. Iwobi, Xhaka and Wilshere in midfield? It's probably a 4-2-3-1. Lacazette has been caught offside because he's busy doing his socks - what on earth has been doing on the subs bench for the last 65 minutes? Put your football clothes on, pal. 1:50PM 65 mins The attendance is 83,222 at Wembley, which makes it the highest attendance of any Premier League player ever. Mkhitaryan and Elneny come off, Lacazette and Iwobi are on. That'll be a change of shape as well but I'm not quite sure what it is. 1:49PM 64 mins Eriksen fires a free-kick from wide left into the area, aiming it into a sea of bodies at speed. He wins a corner and sends that to the six yard box, but Cech heads clear. Eriksen has another chance to cross but Cech gathers. Ozil passes inside and is so, so, so close to handing Spurs a four on two in Arsenal's half. Steve McManaman does his trademark off-mic 'Woooooohhhhhhhhh' noise for about the fifth time today as a result of Arsenal's passing. Wenger is about to make some substitutions. 1:46PM 61 mins Credit: AFP Arsenal are in Spurs' half but the passing in the final third has been shocking all game long. Ozil gives it away, Wilshere gives it away, Spurs battle and win it back. Xhaka's control lets him down, Arsenal consider pressing from the front but abandon the idea quickly. Eriksen wins a throw deep in Arsenal's half near the box. 1:43PM 58 mins Vertonghen wins the header! Arsenal are being beaten to every single high ball. Arsene Wenger thinks Arsenal should have won a free-kick for Kane's goal, with the striker appearing to nudge Koscielny in the back. It's never a foul. Arsenal can't get hold of the ball. Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal But they're not out of it yet. 1:42PM 57 mins Eriksen takes it... and Cech tips over at the top corner! Great effort. Spurs corner. 1:41PM 56 mins Arsenal are still sitting deep, inviting pressure and hoping they can counter-attack but Spurs are pressing them intensely and winning the ball back quickly. Bellerin doesn't go in hard enough on Son and loses the ball, Son then dribbles to the box and goes down in the D. It's a foul, play-on says the ref... and it's pulled back for a free-kick in a very dangerous area. 1:39PM 55 mins Spurs have all the momentum, Arsenal on the back foot. Trippier completely bins a player on the right and crosses to the centre. The ball sits up perfectly for Kane to smash the volley! It must be!!!! But he strikes straight at Cech! The rebound falls to Alli, he can't react in time. Neither can Son... chance gone. Arsenal are all over the place. 1:37PM 52 mins KANE MUST SCORE!!!!!! He's just missed another chance seconds after the first goal but heads wide from six yards! Arsenal's defence are all over the place! 1:37PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Kane goal Spurs have the lead and what brilliant header this is! Kane, or Shearer 2.0 as he should be known, rises to power a shot past Cech, who stays rooted to the spot. Spurs have started this half superbly. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) 1:34PM 48 mins Mkhitaryan wins a free-kick over on the left wing, Arsenal keep the ball but are put under heavy pressure from Spurs' forward press. Cech has the ball AND KANE IS CLOSING HIM DOWN! The goalkeeper has to stretch to quickly clear that away from the area just as it looked like he might get caught out. 1:31PM 46 mins Spurs attack from the start of the half and Davies overlaps Son and drills a low ball into the box. Arsenal defend it well but that was a promising attack from the home side. 1:30PM KICK-OFF 2 And we're back! 1:19PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) 1:16PM Team talks "Where's the passion, lads?"— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) February 10, 2018 I’m going angry, “where’s the passion lads!”— Jack Waterston (@JackWaterston) February 10, 2018 1:16PM HALF TIME That was pretty good. There's been a lack of quality in the final third with both teams getting far too excited when near the goal, but for the majority they've cancelled each other out. One of those passes will work at some point and it very nearly did for Aubameyang earlier. 1:15PM 45 mins Spurs are passing around the halfway line. Arsenal closing them down once they get near the final third but Spurs are still able to find space and keep the ball. 1:13PM 43 mins This is amazing. South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 On the pitch Son's had a lot of the ball but Arsenal are closing him down quickly, giving Bellerin a hand. He needs it too. Arsenal are lacking a lot of width on that right side since Bellerin can't steam up the wing like he usually does, preoccupied by defending against Son. 1:10PM 40 mins Bellerin shoots from 25 yards on the angle, mistaking real life for FIFA 95 on the Megadrive. It's over the bar. Out: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Héctor Bellerín, 41 min) 1:10PM 39 mins Spurs win a free-kick wide left about 30 yards out. Eriksen stands over it... and it's a good delivery. Kane attacks but Mustafi jumps and wins the header, then Arsenal win a throw. Arsenal counter quickly, Mkhitaryan bursts through the middle and plays a disguised pass out to Ozil on the right. He looks up and drifts the ball to the left towards Monreal but it slows the move down and Spurs get back. Sanchez is able to bundle it to the keeper. 1:06PM 37 mins Credit: AFP Spurs have the chance to break, Wilshere tracks Eriksen back and intercepts, Xhaka doesn't read the play and Arsenal lose the ball in Spurs' half. 1:04PM 35 mins Wenger may have told his players to knock the ball forward at every possible opportunity and take advantage of their pace upfront. There's been very little tip-tap passing in the centre of the pitch and their sitting deep when out of possession, letting Spurs play with the ball and acting as the counter-attackers themselves. It's like the strategy is to force Spurs out of being the counter-attack team since that is their strength. Mkhitaryan's not found his touch today and ballooned another pass miles away from anyone. 1:01PM 32 mins Credit: REUTERS Kane looks offside as the ball is chipped over the top for him but he controls and threads in Alli, who looks for Eriksen on the underlap with a through-ball. Cech gathers. Arsenal have drifted out of this one. 12:59PM 30 mins Alli's first touch isn't great but he rescues it and wins a corner as Mustafi nervously deals with him. It's sent deep to the corner of the box, Trippier taps it back inside and Dembele swings at the shot and doesn't get decent contact. Cech is relieved to gather the ball before Kane can pounce. 12:58PM 27 mins Eriksen gets on the ball on the left and drops a couple of yards away from the defenders into the half space. This is where he's most effective and he whips a cross into the area... and KANE IS THERE! But he heads over from close range! Huge chance missed for Spurs. It was difficult to get that ball on target with pace but Kane usually does much better with those. Miss: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 27 min) 12:56PM 26 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal The pace has slowed down ever so slightly. Sanchez gives the ball away to Aubameyang but his control lets him down and they get away with it. 12:53PM 23 mins Look how much space Trippier is finding. This is meant to keep Monreal back and is sort of working. It means that when Spurs concentrate play on one side of the pitch they can instantly switch to the other, something Barcelona used to do a lot under Guardiola. 12:49PM 20 mins Wilshere kicks the air when a very decent chance to shoot presents itself and the Spurs fans love it. Credit: REUTERS 12:48PM 19 mins Son is causing problems on the left for Spurs - Bellerin doesn't like him. He skips past a Wilshere challenge in the box, the kind that makes you think a penalty is on its way, and tries to get a cross low into the box. Arsenal clear. Trippier is finding loads of space on the right wing, making the team shape a weird sort of 3-3-3-1 in possession. Average touch positions (17 min) 12:45PM 16 mins Spurs have another corner, Arsenal have everyone in the area... but Dier still gets a header on goal. Wide. Three defenders have surrounded him but don't win the aerial challenge. Arsenal decide not to play out from the back and Cech launches a goal kick up the pitch. Spurs win it back immediately. That might actually be part of the plan today... Possession: Spurs vs Arsenal 12:43PM 13 mins AUBAMEYANG IS IN! Oooooh he's offside. Just offside. Wilshere finds him with an absolutely superb through-pass. 12:41PM 12 mins Aubameyang looks dangerous here. His movement is so smart and Arsenal's wide players are looking for him with early crosses from the wings. Kane barges Mustafi and concedes a foul... but on replay that looks a little weak. This is a fascinating counter-attack game at the moment. Both teams looking to break quickly in numbers. 12:39PM 10 mins Monreal curls the ball into the area and it's an awkward one to deal with. It bounces just in front of Wilshere and then looks like it might bounce onto the arm of a defender, Spurs seem panicked. And then they're away! Alli breaks down the left, Kane takes the ball inside and Cech parries it behind for a corner. And now Arsenal are on the counter! Mkhitaryan takes it on the left and chips just slightly too far ahead of Aubameyang. What a game this is already. Pass: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 9 min) Arsenal passing around the Spurs final third now. 12:37PM 7 mins Son has space on the left! The crowd rise to their feet, he takes his man on... but has to go backwards. Spurs get forward and join in and a great ball out to Trippier sets up a cross. He whips towards the near post but it's cleared. Spurs win a corner. Arsenal deal with it well and have a counter-attack on! They have one Spurs defender to beat and three forwards chasing... but the pass is poor. Mkhitaryan is then caught by Trippier. 12:35PM 5 mins Both teams a little nervy on the ball, first touches aren't quite settled yet and passes are being overhit. That'll calm later on but at the moment both sides are testing each other out. A long ball down the wing for Aubameyang, he holds off Sanchez and wins a corner. Great play! Dele Alli heads the ball clear, Elneny tidies up but his searching pass for Ozil on the right is straight out for a throw-in. 12:32PM 3 mins It's a frantic start to the game. Both teams are a little excited and getting the ball forward too quickly, moving it when there isn't really an option. Son is hugging the left wing, Trippier the right, Arsenal dropping deep behind the ball early on. 12:30PM KICK-OFF We're underway. 12:29PM Aubameyang's shinpads Allegedly. A person off Twitter said it so it must be true. Aubameyang's shinpads �� pic.twitter.com/vYGo0XVXmm— James Benge (@jamesbenge) February 10, 2018 12:27PM Here come the players It's almost football time. Wembley is rammed, the BT Sport cameras have just focused on a bunch of Arsenal fans giving rival supporters instructions on how best to empty a stubborn bottle of ketchup... and it's Clive! 12:22PM Elneny and the 4-3-3 This guy could be key today. Why Mohamed Elneny could be key to an Arsenal return to 4-3-3 against Chelsea As we've touched on, Arsenal need a bit of help in defence from time to time and Elneny's role is something between a holding midfield player who recycles the ball and starts moves, and a half-back, dropping deep between the centre-backs as a sort of sweeper. Doing this gives Arsenal a back three and makes one of the attacking midfielder drop back into central midfield to give a bit of stability. Both teams have a player that does this. For Spurs it's Eric Dier. 12:17PM Jan Vertonghen Rio Ferdinand has just said that he reckons Jan Vertonghen is the best defender in the league and I'd be inclined to agree with him. A solid defender, he's also superb at taking the ball out from the back, going past players and spotting a pass - in his younger days he was often a left-back, which must have helped develop his sense of positioning and ability to go past players. 12:02PM Arsenal players arriving Credit: GETTY IMAGES They're warming up now but here's some photos from before, Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:54AM Goooooood afternoon (almost)! This is going to be ace, isn't it? Are you excited? By Jove, I am. Quite how players get properly revved up at a time I'm still enjoying a morning coffee is something for them to deal with but for us, the viewers, it's sure to be an end-to-end battle. Spurs will make lots of little fouls to stop Arsenal counter-attacking, Arsenal need to be DRILLED into not sending too many players forward on the attack, as is their natural tendency. The reason for this is that Spurs will actively look for chances to hit them on the break... and one player in particular will do a lot of damage if given the space. Why Son Heung-min is Tottenham's not-so-secret weapon 11:35AM Team news is in Toby Alderweireld is not fit enough to make the Tottenham squad, while Aaron Ramsey has picked up an injury and misses out. #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/vawK6Mfta3— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 10, 2018 �� Here it us - our team for this afternoon's north London derby at Wembley#THFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/DhBPWoOaVe— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 10, 2018 11:21AM Match preview: Arsene Wenger on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned it is too early to make comparisons between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thierry Henry. Club-record signing Aubameyang shone on his Gunners debut last weekend, scoring in a 5-1 victory over Everton. The Gabon international has taken the number 14 shirt at Arsenal previously worn by Henry - the club's all-time leading goalscorer. Having joined the club from Borussia Dortmund on transfer deadline day, Aubameyang compared his style to Henry and said the Frenchman is "an example" to strikers. Ahead of Arsenal's north London derby against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday, Wenger urged caution over likening the pair - although he was pleased Aubameyang has set such lofty aspirations. Aubameyang scored on his Arsenal debut last week Credit: Getty Images "It is an ambitious statement but it is a good one," he said. "(Henry is) the best goalscorer ever in Arsenal's history, so it doesn't mean he will score as many goals but why not? "I would say (Aubameyang is most like) Thierry Henry with his quality of runs. But it's a bit too early to compare him to the best player ever who played here. "He has played one game. But it's a good example to follow. His finish was brilliant. His finishing is good. You don't score by coincidence for so many years, if you score many goals." PA
Tottenham 1 Arsenal 0: Harry Kane goal confirms power shift in North London
Harry Kane was famously told aged eight that he was no longer required by Arsenal. Yet in the last seven months alone, the club he left 16 years ago have spent around £102 million on two ­strikers who may never reach the ­levels of Tottenham Hotspur’s main man. A sobering thought for the team that were second best in this north London derby by some distance in terms of ­performance but were beaten by the slender margin of one Kane goal, his seventh in this, his seventh derby match. “A super striker who is one of the best in the world and he scores against everybody,” was the day’s most telling description of Kane, who had a magnificent game, and it was offered by Arsene Wenger in defence of his own players’ shortcomings against the Spurs striker. Kane symbolises the new Tottenham, still without a trophy in the ­Mauricio Pochettino era but a dynamic, high-pressing team who face Juventus in Turin on Tuesday with ­renewed ­belief that they can compete against the best teams in Europe. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Lacazette missed two huge chances to equalise late on Credit: REUTERS As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Average touch positions (0 min) As for Wenger, the picture as regards the Champions League is that much more grim after this, a defeat in a game he admitted Arsenal could not afford to lose. Asked whether the Europa League was the best route for his team back into the Champions League, Wenger said dolefully that it was “too early” to say. “Football is not about switching off for three games and switching it on for one game,” he said. “Manchester United decided that [about the Europa League] once they were in the semi-­final but we are far from the semi-final. I think we have to fight to have a chance to come back. Overall it is a very disappointing result because the priority has to be to get to the Champions League through the Premier League. “I am not a great fan of the Europa League being a qualifier for the Champions League because I think it is not right. If it is an opportunity we will have to try to take it but the priority is still the Premier League.” His team have won just three away games this season, against Crystal ­Palace, Everton and Burnley, and lost their last three in a row. It is early days yet for Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan but the newly-minted Ozil again looked less than the indispensable player his contract suggests he should be. The gap is seven points to Spurs, which is not unbridgeable but on this day it looked like a very long way indeed. 2:43PM Expected goals xG map for the North London Derby. Tottenham utterly dominated the second half, then escaped in stoppage time after some poor finishing. pic.twitter.com/s0whMf54P4— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) February 10, 2018 2:42PM Mauricio Pochettino says "First half both teams have good energy, they were so compact, they tried to find the space and it was difficult to break down them. I think we dominate first half. Second half we had same shape but we were much better, moved the ball better and found space, create problems. "I think the score should be 3-0 but in football if you don't kill the games then you can concede some chances and suffer but I am so happy for three massive games, the performance was amazing. [Kane]'s our future. It's amazing all he's achieving and we are so proud he's in our side." 2:39PM Rio Ferdinand laying into Koscielny The ex-defender has shredded the midfield organisation, pointing out how dreadful it was in the second half but the panel is now onto the January transfer window. Buying Jonny Evans may have made a difference but Arsenal's problem isn't the centre-backs, it is the entire team's approach to defending. Kane didn't score because Koscielny lost him, but because Davies was able to angle the exact ball needed to set up the header. Had Ozil closed down his man properly, that goal wouldn't have happened. 2:32PM Kane post-match "It was nice to score, I had a few headers int he game. I thought we deserved it, should have finished it off. "I look forward to these games, it was a great performance by the team. We're a fit squad and know if we keep playing chances will come. We had chances, they had a few chances, we're really pleased with the win. "We had tough fixtures, United, Liverpool, Arsenal all in a row and we got seven points from them. Champions League now, we just need to keep the momentum going. I can't wait for Juventus." 2:23PM Wenger's team talk What could Wenger have said to them at half time? Spurs came out aggressive, enthusiastic, determined while Arsenal slithered to a start. They were caught dozing, lost every duel, were second to every challenge - Spurs were better in every department. 2:21PM FULL TIME OZIL HITS THE WALL! Spurs win the North London Derby! A deserved win too. They battered Arsenal for most of this one and Arsenal's expensive flops missed golden chances at the end to make it 1-1. Don't forget the million easy ones that Spurs missed too! Spurs are without doubt the superior north London force in the modern day. 2:20PM 90 mins +4 Oooohhhhhhh but there's one chance left! Dembele brings down Welbeck in the D! Arsenal have one last chance to shoot from a perfect free-kick position!!! The tension... Spurs are scared here. 2:19PM 90 mins +3 OH MY GOD LACAZETTE IS IN! BUT HE'S MISSED FROM SIX YARDS! The long through ball from Iwobi is amazing, it bypasses everyone and Lacazette is clean in behind every single defender. He only has the goalkeeper to beat and shoots wide. That is dreadful. Wenger can't believe it. I can't believe it. That's a gift. 2:17PM 90 mins +2 LACAZETTTTTEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! Oh dear. That was Arsenal's one chance. They counter, Bellerin sends a beautiful ball into the area and Lacazette can line up his volley from 12 yards... and puts it miles over the bar. Awful effort. He stares at the floor. That boy hasn't looked quite right for a while now. 2:15PM 90 mins Kane covers for Davies at left-back and buys a free-kick from Bellerin. And all of a sudden, Lamela is completely in behind the Arsenal defence with one pass from deep - how on earth has that happened?! Lamela doesn't even know what to do and ends up shooting wide but that is... that shouldn't happen. 2:13PM 88 mins Wilshere has been the best Arsenal player, except Cech today, and he has just nearly threaded Welbeck into a one-on-one chance to shoot in the Spurs box. The substitute isn't aware or alert and doesn't control it - had he done so, that would have been a huge opportunity. 2:11PM 86 mins Wenger has abandoned team shape and strategy now and thrown on Welbeck for Xhaka. That means they have three central strikers, an Iwobi, an Ozil and a Wilshere all on the pitch. Instructions: do the football, score them goals. 2:10PM 85 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal Aubameyang is just offside as he threatens to sprint in behind. Arsenal might have been second best all over the pitch but they're not done here yet! Spurs vs Arsenal Monreal slides in from behind on Kane and concedes a corner, getting a good chunk out of Kane in doing so. Dele Alli knows he's coming off but looks away from the touchline and gets ready for the corner. Arsenal players get annoyed and urge him to leave the pitch with a friendly shove in the back. Wanyama on. 2:07PM 82 mins Iwobi gives it away again! He goes on a dribble towards Spurs players and runs into trouble, spreads play to the left but doesn't put any conviction in the pass and nearly hands a counter-attack to Spurs. 2:05PM 80 mins Wilshere is getting wound up. Lamela swipes at him with a lunging tackle - leaping into it - and is booked. What can Arsenal do to get back into this game? Iwobi has been caught in possession a few times since coming on and done almost nothing of note. Not really an impact substitution... 2:03PM 77 mins What did Wenger even say to his players at half time? They've come out all soggy and pathetic. Spurs are winning every battle, every 50/50, running more, tackling harder, passing better. And Cech has just made another brilliant save to keep it 1-0! Trippier is denied this time at the near post, though his shot is hit far too centrally and at waist height, giving the keeper a good chance of stopping it. 2:00PM 75 mins Arsenal briefly enjoy a spell of possession in Spurs' half and then Aubameyang fouls Sanchez. The absolute state of this graphic (from an Arsenal point of view): Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal 1:58PM 73 mins And LAMELA IS IN! Kane is wiped out, play continues, Lamela comes inside the left-back and the centre-backs can't get close... Cech makes a great save! Arsenal have been dreadful in this second half. 1:57PM 72 mins OOOOOOCHA! Mustafi passes inside to Cech, Alli closes him down and Cech passes back to Mustafi. BUT HE'S PASSED IT STRAIGHT TO ALLI! Luckily for him it's out for a goal kick. What are Arsenal playing at here?! And Alli is in again! A defence splitting pass puts him one on one with Cech but he taps it wide of the goal. Oohhhhh my word he's just missed a golden chance to make it 2-0. You get the feeling Spurs are going to regret missing all these chance - I'd love to know the expected goals figures for today. 1:55PM 71 mins Son isn't on his game today. Spurs take advantage of sloppy Arsenal play and Alli passes wide to him on the edge of the area. He lines up a top corner smash but puts his foot way under the ball and it flies over the top of the stadium roof. That's his last touch too. Lamela comes on in his place. 1:54PM 69 mins Kane wins a header as Mustafi jumps for it like a salmon leaping out of water and flops to the floor. Wilshere loses control and Kane uses his body well to win the tackle but the referee sees it as a foul. Kane cuts inside and Son sprints wide left. He's in here it Kane can get the pass through... and he does! But Son doesn't control it! Arsenal counter attack, get to the box and Wilshere lines up a shot on the edge of the area on his left foot. SAVED BY LLORIS! It's a powerful effort to the top corner but Lloris reads it early. Attempt Saved: Arsenal ( 68 min ) 1:51PM 67 mins Aubameyang has gone wide left, Lacazette through the middle and Ozil wide right. Iwobi, Xhaka and Wilshere in midfield? It's probably a 4-2-3-1. Lacazette has been caught offside because he's busy doing his socks - what on earth has been doing on the subs bench for the last 65 minutes? Put your football clothes on, pal. 1:50PM 65 mins The attendance is 83,222 at Wembley, which makes it the highest attendance of any Premier League player ever. Mkhitaryan and Elneny come off, Lacazette and Iwobi are on. That'll be a change of shape as well but I'm not quite sure what it is. 1:49PM 64 mins Eriksen fires a free-kick from wide left into the area, aiming it into a sea of bodies at speed. He wins a corner and sends that to the six yard box, but Cech heads clear. Eriksen has another chance to cross but Cech gathers. Ozil passes inside and is so, so, so close to handing Spurs a four on two in Arsenal's half. Steve McManaman does his trademark off-mic 'Woooooohhhhhhhhh' noise for about the fifth time today as a result of Arsenal's passing. Wenger is about to make some substitutions. 1:46PM 61 mins Credit: AFP Arsenal are in Spurs' half but the passing in the final third has been shocking all game long. Ozil gives it away, Wilshere gives it away, Spurs battle and win it back. Xhaka's control lets him down, Arsenal consider pressing from the front but abandon the idea quickly. Eriksen wins a throw deep in Arsenal's half near the box. 1:43PM 58 mins Vertonghen wins the header! Arsenal are being beaten to every single high ball. Arsene Wenger thinks Arsenal should have won a free-kick for Kane's goal, with the striker appearing to nudge Koscielny in the back. It's never a foul. Arsenal can't get hold of the ball. Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal But they're not out of it yet. 1:42PM 57 mins Eriksen takes it... and Cech tips over at the top corner! Great effort. Spurs corner. 1:41PM 56 mins Arsenal are still sitting deep, inviting pressure and hoping they can counter-attack but Spurs are pressing them intensely and winning the ball back quickly. Bellerin doesn't go in hard enough on Son and loses the ball, Son then dribbles to the box and goes down in the D. It's a foul, play-on says the ref... and it's pulled back for a free-kick in a very dangerous area. 1:39PM 55 mins Spurs have all the momentum, Arsenal on the back foot. Trippier completely bins a player on the right and crosses to the centre. The ball sits up perfectly for Kane to smash the volley! It must be!!!! But he strikes straight at Cech! The rebound falls to Alli, he can't react in time. Neither can Son... chance gone. Arsenal are all over the place. 1:37PM 52 mins KANE MUST SCORE!!!!!! He's just missed another chance seconds after the first goal but heads wide from six yards! Arsenal's defence are all over the place! 1:37PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Kane goal Spurs have the lead and what brilliant header this is! Kane, or Shearer 2.0 as he should be known, rises to power a shot past Cech, who stays rooted to the spot. Spurs have started this half superbly. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) 1:34PM 48 mins Mkhitaryan wins a free-kick over on the left wing, Arsenal keep the ball but are put under heavy pressure from Spurs' forward press. Cech has the ball AND KANE IS CLOSING HIM DOWN! The goalkeeper has to stretch to quickly clear that away from the area just as it looked like he might get caught out. 1:31PM 46 mins Spurs attack from the start of the half and Davies overlaps Son and drills a low ball into the box. Arsenal defend it well but that was a promising attack from the home side. 1:30PM KICK-OFF 2 And we're back! 1:19PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) 1:16PM Team talks "Where's the passion, lads?"— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) February 10, 2018 I’m going angry, “where’s the passion lads!”— Jack Waterston (@JackWaterston) February 10, 2018 1:16PM HALF TIME That was pretty good. There's been a lack of quality in the final third with both teams getting far too excited when near the goal, but for the majority they've cancelled each other out. One of those passes will work at some point and it very nearly did for Aubameyang earlier. 1:15PM 45 mins Spurs are passing around the halfway line. Arsenal closing them down once they get near the final third but Spurs are still able to find space and keep the ball. 1:13PM 43 mins This is amazing. South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 On the pitch Son's had a lot of the ball but Arsenal are closing him down quickly, giving Bellerin a hand. He needs it too. Arsenal are lacking a lot of width on that right side since Bellerin can't steam up the wing like he usually does, preoccupied by defending against Son. 1:10PM 40 mins Bellerin shoots from 25 yards on the angle, mistaking real life for FIFA 95 on the Megadrive. It's over the bar. Out: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Héctor Bellerín, 41 min) 1:10PM 39 mins Spurs win a free-kick wide left about 30 yards out. Eriksen stands over it... and it's a good delivery. Kane attacks but Mustafi jumps and wins the header, then Arsenal win a throw. Arsenal counter quickly, Mkhitaryan bursts through the middle and plays a disguised pass out to Ozil on the right. He looks up and drifts the ball to the left towards Monreal but it slows the move down and Spurs get back. Sanchez is able to bundle it to the keeper. 1:06PM 37 mins Credit: AFP Spurs have the chance to break, Wilshere tracks Eriksen back and intercepts, Xhaka doesn't read the play and Arsenal lose the ball in Spurs' half. 1:04PM 35 mins Wenger may have told his players to knock the ball forward at every possible opportunity and take advantage of their pace upfront. There's been very little tip-tap passing in the centre of the pitch and their sitting deep when out of possession, letting Spurs play with the ball and acting as the counter-attackers themselves. It's like the strategy is to force Spurs out of being the counter-attack team since that is their strength. Mkhitaryan's not found his touch today and ballooned another pass miles away from anyone. 1:01PM 32 mins Credit: REUTERS Kane looks offside as the ball is chipped over the top for him but he controls and threads in Alli, who looks for Eriksen on the underlap with a through-ball. Cech gathers. Arsenal have drifted out of this one. 12:59PM 30 mins Alli's first touch isn't great but he rescues it and wins a corner as Mustafi nervously deals with him. It's sent deep to the corner of the box, Trippier taps it back inside and Dembele swings at the shot and doesn't get decent contact. Cech is relieved to gather the ball before Kane can pounce. 12:58PM 27 mins Eriksen gets on the ball on the left and drops a couple of yards away from the defenders into the half space. This is where he's most effective and he whips a cross into the area... and KANE IS THERE! But he heads over from close range! Huge chance missed for Spurs. It was difficult to get that ball on target with pace but Kane usually does much better with those. Miss: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 27 min) 12:56PM 26 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal The pace has slowed down ever so slightly. Sanchez gives the ball away to Aubameyang but his control lets him down and they get away with it. 12:53PM 23 mins Look how much space Trippier is finding. This is meant to keep Monreal back and is sort of working. It means that when Spurs concentrate play on one side of the pitch they can instantly switch to the other, something Barcelona used to do a lot under Guardiola. 12:49PM 20 mins Wilshere kicks the air when a very decent chance to shoot presents itself and the Spurs fans love it. Credit: REUTERS 12:48PM 19 mins Son is causing problems on the left for Spurs - Bellerin doesn't like him. He skips past a Wilshere challenge in the box, the kind that makes you think a penalty is on its way, and tries to get a cross low into the box. Arsenal clear. Trippier is finding loads of space on the right wing, making the team shape a weird sort of 3-3-3-1 in possession. Average touch positions (17 min) 12:45PM 16 mins Spurs have another corner, Arsenal have everyone in the area... but Dier still gets a header on goal. Wide. Three defenders have surrounded him but don't win the aerial challenge. Arsenal decide not to play out from the back and Cech launches a goal kick up the pitch. Spurs win it back immediately. That might actually be part of the plan today... Possession: Spurs vs Arsenal 12:43PM 13 mins AUBAMEYANG IS IN! Oooooh he's offside. Just offside. Wilshere finds him with an absolutely superb through-pass. 12:41PM 12 mins Aubameyang looks dangerous here. His movement is so smart and Arsenal's wide players are looking for him with early crosses from the wings. Kane barges Mustafi and concedes a foul... but on replay that looks a little weak. This is a fascinating counter-attack game at the moment. Both teams looking to break quickly in numbers. 12:39PM 10 mins Monreal curls the ball into the area and it's an awkward one to deal with. It bounces just in front of Wilshere and then looks like it might bounce onto the arm of a defender, Spurs seem panicked. And then they're away! Alli breaks down the left, Kane takes the ball inside and Cech parries it behind for a corner. And now Arsenal are on the counter! Mkhitaryan takes it on the left and chips just slightly too far ahead of Aubameyang. What a game this is already. Pass: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 9 min) Arsenal passing around the Spurs final third now. 12:37PM 7 mins Son has space on the left! The crowd rise to their feet, he takes his man on... but has to go backwards. Spurs get forward and join in and a great ball out to Trippier sets up a cross. He whips towards the near post but it's cleared. Spurs win a corner. Arsenal deal with it well and have a counter-attack on! They have one Spurs defender to beat and three forwards chasing... but the pass is poor. Mkhitaryan is then caught by Trippier. 12:35PM 5 mins Both teams a little nervy on the ball, first touches aren't quite settled yet and passes are being overhit. That'll calm later on but at the moment both sides are testing each other out. A long ball down the wing for Aubameyang, he holds off Sanchez and wins a corner. Great play! Dele Alli heads the ball clear, Elneny tidies up but his searching pass for Ozil on the right is straight out for a throw-in. 12:32PM 3 mins It's a frantic start to the game. Both teams are a little excited and getting the ball forward too quickly, moving it when there isn't really an option. Son is hugging the left wing, Trippier the right, Arsenal dropping deep behind the ball early on. 12:30PM KICK-OFF We're underway. 12:29PM Aubameyang's shinpads Allegedly. A person off Twitter said it so it must be true. Aubameyang's shinpads �� pic.twitter.com/vYGo0XVXmm— James Benge (@jamesbenge) February 10, 2018 12:27PM Here come the players It's almost football time. Wembley is rammed, the BT Sport cameras have just focused on a bunch of Arsenal fans giving rival supporters instructions on how best to empty a stubborn bottle of ketchup... and it's Clive! 12:22PM Elneny and the 4-3-3 This guy could be key today. Why Mohamed Elneny could be key to an Arsenal return to 4-3-3 against Chelsea As we've touched on, Arsenal need a bit of help in defence from time to time and Elneny's role is something between a holding midfield player who recycles the ball and starts moves, and a half-back, dropping deep between the centre-backs as a sort of sweeper. Doing this gives Arsenal a back three and makes one of the attacking midfielder drop back into central midfield to give a bit of stability. Both teams have a player that does this. For Spurs it's Eric Dier. 12:17PM Jan Vertonghen Rio Ferdinand has just said that he reckons Jan Vertonghen is the best defender in the league and I'd be inclined to agree with him. A solid defender, he's also superb at taking the ball out from the back, going past players and spotting a pass - in his younger days he was often a left-back, which must have helped develop his sense of positioning and ability to go past players. 12:02PM Arsenal players arriving Credit: GETTY IMAGES They're warming up now but here's some photos from before, Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:54AM Goooooood afternoon (almost)! This is going to be ace, isn't it? Are you excited? By Jove, I am. Quite how players get properly revved up at a time I'm still enjoying a morning coffee is something for them to deal with but for us, the viewers, it's sure to be an end-to-end battle. Spurs will make lots of little fouls to stop Arsenal counter-attacking, Arsenal need to be DRILLED into not sending too many players forward on the attack, as is their natural tendency. The reason for this is that Spurs will actively look for chances to hit them on the break... and one player in particular will do a lot of damage if given the space. Why Son Heung-min is Tottenham's not-so-secret weapon 11:35AM Team news is in Toby Alderweireld is not fit enough to make the Tottenham squad, while Aaron Ramsey has picked up an injury and misses out. #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/vawK6Mfta3— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 10, 2018 �� Here it us - our team for this afternoon's north London derby at Wembley#THFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/DhBPWoOaVe— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 10, 2018 11:21AM Match preview: Arsene Wenger on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned it is too early to make comparisons between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thierry Henry. Club-record signing Aubameyang shone on his Gunners debut last weekend, scoring in a 5-1 victory over Everton. The Gabon international has taken the number 14 shirt at Arsenal previously worn by Henry - the club's all-time leading goalscorer. Having joined the club from Borussia Dortmund on transfer deadline day, Aubameyang compared his style to Henry and said the Frenchman is "an example" to strikers. Ahead of Arsenal's north London derby against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday, Wenger urged caution over likening the pair - although he was pleased Aubameyang has set such lofty aspirations. Aubameyang scored on his Arsenal debut last week Credit: Getty Images "It is an ambitious statement but it is a good one," he said. "(Henry is) the best goalscorer ever in Arsenal's history, so it doesn't mean he will score as many goals but why not? "I would say (Aubameyang is most like) Thierry Henry with his quality of runs. But it's a bit too early to compare him to the best player ever who played here. "He has played one game. But it's a good example to follow. His finish was brilliant. His finishing is good. You don't score by coincidence for so many years, if you score many goals." PA
Harry Kane was famously told aged eight that he was no longer required by Arsenal. Yet in the last seven months alone, the club he left 16 years ago have spent around £102 million on two ­strikers who may never reach the ­levels of Tottenham Hotspur’s main man. A sobering thought for the team that were second best in this north London derby by some distance in terms of ­performance but were beaten by the slender margin of one Kane goal, his seventh in this, his seventh derby match. “A super striker who is one of the best in the world and he scores against everybody,” was the day’s most telling description of Kane, who had a magnificent game, and it was offered by Arsene Wenger in defence of his own players’ shortcomings against the Spurs striker. Kane symbolises the new Tottenham, still without a trophy in the ­Mauricio Pochettino era but a dynamic, high-pressing team who face Juventus in Turin on Tuesday with ­renewed ­belief that they can compete against the best teams in Europe. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Lacazette missed two huge chances to equalise late on Credit: REUTERS As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Average touch positions (0 min) As for Wenger, the picture as regards the Champions League is that much more grim after this, a defeat in a game he admitted Arsenal could not afford to lose. Asked whether the Europa League was the best route for his team back into the Champions League, Wenger said dolefully that it was “too early” to say. “Football is not about switching off for three games and switching it on for one game,” he said. “Manchester United decided that [about the Europa League] once they were in the semi-­final but we are far from the semi-final. I think we have to fight to have a chance to come back. Overall it is a very disappointing result because the priority has to be to get to the Champions League through the Premier League. “I am not a great fan of the Europa League being a qualifier for the Champions League because I think it is not right. If it is an opportunity we will have to try to take it but the priority is still the Premier League.” His team have won just three away games this season, against Crystal ­Palace, Everton and Burnley, and lost their last three in a row. It is early days yet for Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan but the newly-minted Ozil again looked less than the indispensable player his contract suggests he should be. The gap is seven points to Spurs, which is not unbridgeable but on this day it looked like a very long way indeed. 2:43PM Expected goals xG map for the North London Derby. Tottenham utterly dominated the second half, then escaped in stoppage time after some poor finishing. pic.twitter.com/s0whMf54P4— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) February 10, 2018 2:42PM Mauricio Pochettino says "First half both teams have good energy, they were so compact, they tried to find the space and it was difficult to break down them. I think we dominate first half. Second half we had same shape but we were much better, moved the ball better and found space, create problems. "I think the score should be 3-0 but in football if you don't kill the games then you can concede some chances and suffer but I am so happy for three massive games, the performance was amazing. [Kane]'s our future. It's amazing all he's achieving and we are so proud he's in our side." 2:39PM Rio Ferdinand laying into Koscielny The ex-defender has shredded the midfield organisation, pointing out how dreadful it was in the second half but the panel is now onto the January transfer window. Buying Jonny Evans may have made a difference but Arsenal's problem isn't the centre-backs, it is the entire team's approach to defending. Kane didn't score because Koscielny lost him, but because Davies was able to angle the exact ball needed to set up the header. Had Ozil closed down his man properly, that goal wouldn't have happened. 2:32PM Kane post-match "It was nice to score, I had a few headers int he game. I thought we deserved it, should have finished it off. "I look forward to these games, it was a great performance by the team. We're a fit squad and know if we keep playing chances will come. We had chances, they had a few chances, we're really pleased with the win. "We had tough fixtures, United, Liverpool, Arsenal all in a row and we got seven points from them. Champions League now, we just need to keep the momentum going. I can't wait for Juventus." 2:23PM Wenger's team talk What could Wenger have said to them at half time? Spurs came out aggressive, enthusiastic, determined while Arsenal slithered to a start. They were caught dozing, lost every duel, were second to every challenge - Spurs were better in every department. 2:21PM FULL TIME OZIL HITS THE WALL! Spurs win the North London Derby! A deserved win too. They battered Arsenal for most of this one and Arsenal's expensive flops missed golden chances at the end to make it 1-1. Don't forget the million easy ones that Spurs missed too! Spurs are without doubt the superior north London force in the modern day. 2:20PM 90 mins +4 Oooohhhhhhh but there's one chance left! Dembele brings down Welbeck in the D! Arsenal have one last chance to shoot from a perfect free-kick position!!! The tension... Spurs are scared here. 2:19PM 90 mins +3 OH MY GOD LACAZETTE IS IN! BUT HE'S MISSED FROM SIX YARDS! The long through ball from Iwobi is amazing, it bypasses everyone and Lacazette is clean in behind every single defender. He only has the goalkeeper to beat and shoots wide. That is dreadful. Wenger can't believe it. I can't believe it. That's a gift. 2:17PM 90 mins +2 LACAZETTTTTEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! Oh dear. That was Arsenal's one chance. They counter, Bellerin sends a beautiful ball into the area and Lacazette can line up his volley from 12 yards... and puts it miles over the bar. Awful effort. He stares at the floor. That boy hasn't looked quite right for a while now. 2:15PM 90 mins Kane covers for Davies at left-back and buys a free-kick from Bellerin. And all of a sudden, Lamela is completely in behind the Arsenal defence with one pass from deep - how on earth has that happened?! Lamela doesn't even know what to do and ends up shooting wide but that is... that shouldn't happen. 2:13PM 88 mins Wilshere has been the best Arsenal player, except Cech today, and he has just nearly threaded Welbeck into a one-on-one chance to shoot in the Spurs box. The substitute isn't aware or alert and doesn't control it - had he done so, that would have been a huge opportunity. 2:11PM 86 mins Wenger has abandoned team shape and strategy now and thrown on Welbeck for Xhaka. That means they have three central strikers, an Iwobi, an Ozil and a Wilshere all on the pitch. Instructions: do the football, score them goals. 2:10PM 85 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal Aubameyang is just offside as he threatens to sprint in behind. Arsenal might have been second best all over the pitch but they're not done here yet! Spurs vs Arsenal Monreal slides in from behind on Kane and concedes a corner, getting a good chunk out of Kane in doing so. Dele Alli knows he's coming off but looks away from the touchline and gets ready for the corner. Arsenal players get annoyed and urge him to leave the pitch with a friendly shove in the back. Wanyama on. 2:07PM 82 mins Iwobi gives it away again! He goes on a dribble towards Spurs players and runs into trouble, spreads play to the left but doesn't put any conviction in the pass and nearly hands a counter-attack to Spurs. 2:05PM 80 mins Wilshere is getting wound up. Lamela swipes at him with a lunging tackle - leaping into it - and is booked. What can Arsenal do to get back into this game? Iwobi has been caught in possession a few times since coming on and done almost nothing of note. Not really an impact substitution... 2:03PM 77 mins What did Wenger even say to his players at half time? They've come out all soggy and pathetic. Spurs are winning every battle, every 50/50, running more, tackling harder, passing better. And Cech has just made another brilliant save to keep it 1-0! Trippier is denied this time at the near post, though his shot is hit far too centrally and at waist height, giving the keeper a good chance of stopping it. 2:00PM 75 mins Arsenal briefly enjoy a spell of possession in Spurs' half and then Aubameyang fouls Sanchez. The absolute state of this graphic (from an Arsenal point of view): Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal 1:58PM 73 mins And LAMELA IS IN! Kane is wiped out, play continues, Lamela comes inside the left-back and the centre-backs can't get close... Cech makes a great save! Arsenal have been dreadful in this second half. 1:57PM 72 mins OOOOOOCHA! Mustafi passes inside to Cech, Alli closes him down and Cech passes back to Mustafi. BUT HE'S PASSED IT STRAIGHT TO ALLI! Luckily for him it's out for a goal kick. What are Arsenal playing at here?! And Alli is in again! A defence splitting pass puts him one on one with Cech but he taps it wide of the goal. Oohhhhh my word he's just missed a golden chance to make it 2-0. You get the feeling Spurs are going to regret missing all these chance - I'd love to know the expected goals figures for today. 1:55PM 71 mins Son isn't on his game today. Spurs take advantage of sloppy Arsenal play and Alli passes wide to him on the edge of the area. He lines up a top corner smash but puts his foot way under the ball and it flies over the top of the stadium roof. That's his last touch too. Lamela comes on in his place. 1:54PM 69 mins Kane wins a header as Mustafi jumps for it like a salmon leaping out of water and flops to the floor. Wilshere loses control and Kane uses his body well to win the tackle but the referee sees it as a foul. Kane cuts inside and Son sprints wide left. He's in here it Kane can get the pass through... and he does! But Son doesn't control it! Arsenal counter attack, get to the box and Wilshere lines up a shot on the edge of the area on his left foot. SAVED BY LLORIS! It's a powerful effort to the top corner but Lloris reads it early. Attempt Saved: Arsenal ( 68 min ) 1:51PM 67 mins Aubameyang has gone wide left, Lacazette through the middle and Ozil wide right. Iwobi, Xhaka and Wilshere in midfield? It's probably a 4-2-3-1. Lacazette has been caught offside because he's busy doing his socks - what on earth has been doing on the subs bench for the last 65 minutes? Put your football clothes on, pal. 1:50PM 65 mins The attendance is 83,222 at Wembley, which makes it the highest attendance of any Premier League player ever. Mkhitaryan and Elneny come off, Lacazette and Iwobi are on. That'll be a change of shape as well but I'm not quite sure what it is. 1:49PM 64 mins Eriksen fires a free-kick from wide left into the area, aiming it into a sea of bodies at speed. He wins a corner and sends that to the six yard box, but Cech heads clear. Eriksen has another chance to cross but Cech gathers. Ozil passes inside and is so, so, so close to handing Spurs a four on two in Arsenal's half. Steve McManaman does his trademark off-mic 'Woooooohhhhhhhhh' noise for about the fifth time today as a result of Arsenal's passing. Wenger is about to make some substitutions. 1:46PM 61 mins Credit: AFP Arsenal are in Spurs' half but the passing in the final third has been shocking all game long. Ozil gives it away, Wilshere gives it away, Spurs battle and win it back. Xhaka's control lets him down, Arsenal consider pressing from the front but abandon the idea quickly. Eriksen wins a throw deep in Arsenal's half near the box. 1:43PM 58 mins Vertonghen wins the header! Arsenal are being beaten to every single high ball. Arsene Wenger thinks Arsenal should have won a free-kick for Kane's goal, with the striker appearing to nudge Koscielny in the back. It's never a foul. Arsenal can't get hold of the ball. Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal But they're not out of it yet. 1:42PM 57 mins Eriksen takes it... and Cech tips over at the top corner! Great effort. Spurs corner. 1:41PM 56 mins Arsenal are still sitting deep, inviting pressure and hoping they can counter-attack but Spurs are pressing them intensely and winning the ball back quickly. Bellerin doesn't go in hard enough on Son and loses the ball, Son then dribbles to the box and goes down in the D. It's a foul, play-on says the ref... and it's pulled back for a free-kick in a very dangerous area. 1:39PM 55 mins Spurs have all the momentum, Arsenal on the back foot. Trippier completely bins a player on the right and crosses to the centre. The ball sits up perfectly for Kane to smash the volley! It must be!!!! But he strikes straight at Cech! The rebound falls to Alli, he can't react in time. Neither can Son... chance gone. Arsenal are all over the place. 1:37PM 52 mins KANE MUST SCORE!!!!!! He's just missed another chance seconds after the first goal but heads wide from six yards! Arsenal's defence are all over the place! 1:37PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Kane goal Spurs have the lead and what brilliant header this is! Kane, or Shearer 2.0 as he should be known, rises to power a shot past Cech, who stays rooted to the spot. Spurs have started this half superbly. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) 1:34PM 48 mins Mkhitaryan wins a free-kick over on the left wing, Arsenal keep the ball but are put under heavy pressure from Spurs' forward press. Cech has the ball AND KANE IS CLOSING HIM DOWN! The goalkeeper has to stretch to quickly clear that away from the area just as it looked like he might get caught out. 1:31PM 46 mins Spurs attack from the start of the half and Davies overlaps Son and drills a low ball into the box. Arsenal defend it well but that was a promising attack from the home side. 1:30PM KICK-OFF 2 And we're back! 1:19PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) 1:16PM Team talks "Where's the passion, lads?"— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) February 10, 2018 I’m going angry, “where’s the passion lads!”— Jack Waterston (@JackWaterston) February 10, 2018 1:16PM HALF TIME That was pretty good. There's been a lack of quality in the final third with both teams getting far too excited when near the goal, but for the majority they've cancelled each other out. One of those passes will work at some point and it very nearly did for Aubameyang earlier. 1:15PM 45 mins Spurs are passing around the halfway line. Arsenal closing them down once they get near the final third but Spurs are still able to find space and keep the ball. 1:13PM 43 mins This is amazing. South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 On the pitch Son's had a lot of the ball but Arsenal are closing him down quickly, giving Bellerin a hand. He needs it too. Arsenal are lacking a lot of width on that right side since Bellerin can't steam up the wing like he usually does, preoccupied by defending against Son. 1:10PM 40 mins Bellerin shoots from 25 yards on the angle, mistaking real life for FIFA 95 on the Megadrive. It's over the bar. Out: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Héctor Bellerín, 41 min) 1:10PM 39 mins Spurs win a free-kick wide left about 30 yards out. Eriksen stands over it... and it's a good delivery. Kane attacks but Mustafi jumps and wins the header, then Arsenal win a throw. Arsenal counter quickly, Mkhitaryan bursts through the middle and plays a disguised pass out to Ozil on the right. He looks up and drifts the ball to the left towards Monreal but it slows the move down and Spurs get back. Sanchez is able to bundle it to the keeper. 1:06PM 37 mins Credit: AFP Spurs have the chance to break, Wilshere tracks Eriksen back and intercepts, Xhaka doesn't read the play and Arsenal lose the ball in Spurs' half. 1:04PM 35 mins Wenger may have told his players to knock the ball forward at every possible opportunity and take advantage of their pace upfront. There's been very little tip-tap passing in the centre of the pitch and their sitting deep when out of possession, letting Spurs play with the ball and acting as the counter-attackers themselves. It's like the strategy is to force Spurs out of being the counter-attack team since that is their strength. Mkhitaryan's not found his touch today and ballooned another pass miles away from anyone. 1:01PM 32 mins Credit: REUTERS Kane looks offside as the ball is chipped over the top for him but he controls and threads in Alli, who looks for Eriksen on the underlap with a through-ball. Cech gathers. Arsenal have drifted out of this one. 12:59PM 30 mins Alli's first touch isn't great but he rescues it and wins a corner as Mustafi nervously deals with him. It's sent deep to the corner of the box, Trippier taps it back inside and Dembele swings at the shot and doesn't get decent contact. Cech is relieved to gather the ball before Kane can pounce. 12:58PM 27 mins Eriksen gets on the ball on the left and drops a couple of yards away from the defenders into the half space. This is where he's most effective and he whips a cross into the area... and KANE IS THERE! But he heads over from close range! Huge chance missed for Spurs. It was difficult to get that ball on target with pace but Kane usually does much better with those. Miss: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 27 min) 12:56PM 26 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal The pace has slowed down ever so slightly. Sanchez gives the ball away to Aubameyang but his control lets him down and they get away with it. 12:53PM 23 mins Look how much space Trippier is finding. This is meant to keep Monreal back and is sort of working. It means that when Spurs concentrate play on one side of the pitch they can instantly switch to the other, something Barcelona used to do a lot under Guardiola. 12:49PM 20 mins Wilshere kicks the air when a very decent chance to shoot presents itself and the Spurs fans love it. Credit: REUTERS 12:48PM 19 mins Son is causing problems on the left for Spurs - Bellerin doesn't like him. He skips past a Wilshere challenge in the box, the kind that makes you think a penalty is on its way, and tries to get a cross low into the box. Arsenal clear. Trippier is finding loads of space on the right wing, making the team shape a weird sort of 3-3-3-1 in possession. Average touch positions (17 min) 12:45PM 16 mins Spurs have another corner, Arsenal have everyone in the area... but Dier still gets a header on goal. Wide. Three defenders have surrounded him but don't win the aerial challenge. Arsenal decide not to play out from the back and Cech launches a goal kick up the pitch. Spurs win it back immediately. That might actually be part of the plan today... Possession: Spurs vs Arsenal 12:43PM 13 mins AUBAMEYANG IS IN! Oooooh he's offside. Just offside. Wilshere finds him with an absolutely superb through-pass. 12:41PM 12 mins Aubameyang looks dangerous here. His movement is so smart and Arsenal's wide players are looking for him with early crosses from the wings. Kane barges Mustafi and concedes a foul... but on replay that looks a little weak. This is a fascinating counter-attack game at the moment. Both teams looking to break quickly in numbers. 12:39PM 10 mins Monreal curls the ball into the area and it's an awkward one to deal with. It bounces just in front of Wilshere and then looks like it might bounce onto the arm of a defender, Spurs seem panicked. And then they're away! Alli breaks down the left, Kane takes the ball inside and Cech parries it behind for a corner. And now Arsenal are on the counter! Mkhitaryan takes it on the left and chips just slightly too far ahead of Aubameyang. What a game this is already. Pass: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 9 min) Arsenal passing around the Spurs final third now. 12:37PM 7 mins Son has space on the left! The crowd rise to their feet, he takes his man on... but has to go backwards. Spurs get forward and join in and a great ball out to Trippier sets up a cross. He whips towards the near post but it's cleared. Spurs win a corner. Arsenal deal with it well and have a counter-attack on! They have one Spurs defender to beat and three forwards chasing... but the pass is poor. Mkhitaryan is then caught by Trippier. 12:35PM 5 mins Both teams a little nervy on the ball, first touches aren't quite settled yet and passes are being overhit. That'll calm later on but at the moment both sides are testing each other out. A long ball down the wing for Aubameyang, he holds off Sanchez and wins a corner. Great play! Dele Alli heads the ball clear, Elneny tidies up but his searching pass for Ozil on the right is straight out for a throw-in. 12:32PM 3 mins It's a frantic start to the game. Both teams are a little excited and getting the ball forward too quickly, moving it when there isn't really an option. Son is hugging the left wing, Trippier the right, Arsenal dropping deep behind the ball early on. 12:30PM KICK-OFF We're underway. 12:29PM Aubameyang's shinpads Allegedly. A person off Twitter said it so it must be true. Aubameyang's shinpads �� pic.twitter.com/vYGo0XVXmm— James Benge (@jamesbenge) February 10, 2018 12:27PM Here come the players It's almost football time. Wembley is rammed, the BT Sport cameras have just focused on a bunch of Arsenal fans giving rival supporters instructions on how best to empty a stubborn bottle of ketchup... and it's Clive! 12:22PM Elneny and the 4-3-3 This guy could be key today. Why Mohamed Elneny could be key to an Arsenal return to 4-3-3 against Chelsea As we've touched on, Arsenal need a bit of help in defence from time to time and Elneny's role is something between a holding midfield player who recycles the ball and starts moves, and a half-back, dropping deep between the centre-backs as a sort of sweeper. Doing this gives Arsenal a back three and makes one of the attacking midfielder drop back into central midfield to give a bit of stability. Both teams have a player that does this. For Spurs it's Eric Dier. 12:17PM Jan Vertonghen Rio Ferdinand has just said that he reckons Jan Vertonghen is the best defender in the league and I'd be inclined to agree with him. A solid defender, he's also superb at taking the ball out from the back, going past players and spotting a pass - in his younger days he was often a left-back, which must have helped develop his sense of positioning and ability to go past players. 12:02PM Arsenal players arriving Credit: GETTY IMAGES They're warming up now but here's some photos from before, Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:54AM Goooooood afternoon (almost)! This is going to be ace, isn't it? Are you excited? By Jove, I am. Quite how players get properly revved up at a time I'm still enjoying a morning coffee is something for them to deal with but for us, the viewers, it's sure to be an end-to-end battle. Spurs will make lots of little fouls to stop Arsenal counter-attacking, Arsenal need to be DRILLED into not sending too many players forward on the attack, as is their natural tendency. The reason for this is that Spurs will actively look for chances to hit them on the break... and one player in particular will do a lot of damage if given the space. Why Son Heung-min is Tottenham's not-so-secret weapon 11:35AM Team news is in Toby Alderweireld is not fit enough to make the Tottenham squad, while Aaron Ramsey has picked up an injury and misses out. #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/vawK6Mfta3— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 10, 2018 �� Here it us - our team for this afternoon's north London derby at Wembley#THFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/DhBPWoOaVe— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 10, 2018 11:21AM Match preview: Arsene Wenger on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned it is too early to make comparisons between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thierry Henry. Club-record signing Aubameyang shone on his Gunners debut last weekend, scoring in a 5-1 victory over Everton. The Gabon international has taken the number 14 shirt at Arsenal previously worn by Henry - the club's all-time leading goalscorer. Having joined the club from Borussia Dortmund on transfer deadline day, Aubameyang compared his style to Henry and said the Frenchman is "an example" to strikers. Ahead of Arsenal's north London derby against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday, Wenger urged caution over likening the pair - although he was pleased Aubameyang has set such lofty aspirations. Aubameyang scored on his Arsenal debut last week Credit: Getty Images "It is an ambitious statement but it is a good one," he said. "(Henry is) the best goalscorer ever in Arsenal's history, so it doesn't mean he will score as many goals but why not? "I would say (Aubameyang is most like) Thierry Henry with his quality of runs. But it's a bit too early to compare him to the best player ever who played here. "He has played one game. But it's a good example to follow. His finish was brilliant. His finishing is good. You don't score by coincidence for so many years, if you score many goals." PA
Tottenham 1 Arsenal 0: Harry Kane goal confirms power shift in North London
Harry Kane was famously told aged eight that he was no longer required by Arsenal. Yet in the last seven months alone, the club he left 16 years ago have spent around £102 million on two ­strikers who may never reach the ­levels of Tottenham Hotspur’s main man. A sobering thought for the team that were second best in this north London derby by some distance in terms of ­performance but were beaten by the slender margin of one Kane goal, his seventh in this, his seventh derby match. “A super striker who is one of the best in the world and he scores against everybody,” was the day’s most telling description of Kane, who had a magnificent game, and it was offered by Arsene Wenger in defence of his own players’ shortcomings against the Spurs striker. Kane symbolises the new Tottenham, still without a trophy in the ­Mauricio Pochettino era but a dynamic, high-pressing team who face Juventus in Turin on Tuesday with ­renewed ­belief that they can compete against the best teams in Europe. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Lacazette missed two huge chances to equalise late on Credit: REUTERS As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Average touch positions (0 min) As for Wenger, the picture as regards the Champions League is that much more grim after this, a defeat in a game he admitted Arsenal could not afford to lose. Asked whether the Europa League was the best route for his team back into the Champions League, Wenger said dolefully that it was “too early” to say. “Football is not about switching off for three games and switching it on for one game,” he said. “Manchester United decided that [about the Europa League] once they were in the semi-­final but we are far from the semi-final. I think we have to fight to have a chance to come back. Overall it is a very disappointing result because the priority has to be to get to the Champions League through the Premier League. “I am not a great fan of the Europa League being a qualifier for the Champions League because I think it is not right. If it is an opportunity we will have to try to take it but the priority is still the Premier League.” His team have won just three away games this season, against Crystal ­Palace, Everton and Burnley, and lost their last three in a row. It is early days yet for Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan but the newly-minted Ozil again looked less than the indispensable player his contract suggests he should be. The gap is seven points to Spurs, which is not unbridgeable but on this day it looked like a very long way indeed. 2:43PM Expected goals xG map for the North London Derby. Tottenham utterly dominated the second half, then escaped in stoppage time after some poor finishing. pic.twitter.com/s0whMf54P4— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) February 10, 2018 2:42PM Mauricio Pochettino says "First half both teams have good energy, they were so compact, they tried to find the space and it was difficult to break down them. I think we dominate first half. Second half we had same shape but we were much better, moved the ball better and found space, create problems. "I think the score should be 3-0 but in football if you don't kill the games then you can concede some chances and suffer but I am so happy for three massive games, the performance was amazing. [Kane]'s our future. It's amazing all he's achieving and we are so proud he's in our side." 2:39PM Rio Ferdinand laying into Koscielny The ex-defender has shredded the midfield organisation, pointing out how dreadful it was in the second half but the panel is now onto the January transfer window. Buying Jonny Evans may have made a difference but Arsenal's problem isn't the centre-backs, it is the entire team's approach to defending. Kane didn't score because Koscielny lost him, but because Davies was able to angle the exact ball needed to set up the header. Had Ozil closed down his man properly, that goal wouldn't have happened. 2:32PM Kane post-match "It was nice to score, I had a few headers int he game. I thought we deserved it, should have finished it off. "I look forward to these games, it was a great performance by the team. We're a fit squad and know if we keep playing chances will come. We had chances, they had a few chances, we're really pleased with the win. "We had tough fixtures, United, Liverpool, Arsenal all in a row and we got seven points from them. Champions League now, we just need to keep the momentum going. I can't wait for Juventus." 2:23PM Wenger's team talk What could Wenger have said to them at half time? Spurs came out aggressive, enthusiastic, determined while Arsenal slithered to a start. They were caught dozing, lost every duel, were second to every challenge - Spurs were better in every department. 2:21PM FULL TIME OZIL HITS THE WALL! Spurs win the North London Derby! A deserved win too. They battered Arsenal for most of this one and Arsenal's expensive flops missed golden chances at the end to make it 1-1. Don't forget the million easy ones that Spurs missed too! Spurs are without doubt the superior north London force in the modern day. 2:20PM 90 mins +4 Oooohhhhhhh but there's one chance left! Dembele brings down Welbeck in the D! Arsenal have one last chance to shoot from a perfect free-kick position!!! The tension... Spurs are scared here. 2:19PM 90 mins +3 OH MY GOD LACAZETTE IS IN! BUT HE'S MISSED FROM SIX YARDS! The long through ball from Iwobi is amazing, it bypasses everyone and Lacazette is clean in behind every single defender. He only has the goalkeeper to beat and shoots wide. That is dreadful. Wenger can't believe it. I can't believe it. That's a gift. 2:17PM 90 mins +2 LACAZETTTTTEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! Oh dear. That was Arsenal's one chance. They counter, Bellerin sends a beautiful ball into the area and Lacazette can line up his volley from 12 yards... and puts it miles over the bar. Awful effort. He stares at the floor. That boy hasn't looked quite right for a while now. 2:15PM 90 mins Kane covers for Davies at left-back and buys a free-kick from Bellerin. And all of a sudden, Lamela is completely in behind the Arsenal defence with one pass from deep - how on earth has that happened?! Lamela doesn't even know what to do and ends up shooting wide but that is... that shouldn't happen. 2:13PM 88 mins Wilshere has been the best Arsenal player, except Cech today, and he has just nearly threaded Welbeck into a one-on-one chance to shoot in the Spurs box. The substitute isn't aware or alert and doesn't control it - had he done so, that would have been a huge opportunity. 2:11PM 86 mins Wenger has abandoned team shape and strategy now and thrown on Welbeck for Xhaka. That means they have three central strikers, an Iwobi, an Ozil and a Wilshere all on the pitch. Instructions: do the football, score them goals. 2:10PM 85 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal Aubameyang is just offside as he threatens to sprint in behind. Arsenal might have been second best all over the pitch but they're not done here yet! Spurs vs Arsenal Monreal slides in from behind on Kane and concedes a corner, getting a good chunk out of Kane in doing so. Dele Alli knows he's coming off but looks away from the touchline and gets ready for the corner. Arsenal players get annoyed and urge him to leave the pitch with a friendly shove in the back. Wanyama on. 2:07PM 82 mins Iwobi gives it away again! He goes on a dribble towards Spurs players and runs into trouble, spreads play to the left but doesn't put any conviction in the pass and nearly hands a counter-attack to Spurs. 2:05PM 80 mins Wilshere is getting wound up. Lamela swipes at him with a lunging tackle - leaping into it - and is booked. What can Arsenal do to get back into this game? Iwobi has been caught in possession a few times since coming on and done almost nothing of note. Not really an impact substitution... 2:03PM 77 mins What did Wenger even say to his players at half time? They've come out all soggy and pathetic. Spurs are winning every battle, every 50/50, running more, tackling harder, passing better. And Cech has just made another brilliant save to keep it 1-0! Trippier is denied this time at the near post, though his shot is hit far too centrally and at waist height, giving the keeper a good chance of stopping it. 2:00PM 75 mins Arsenal briefly enjoy a spell of possession in Spurs' half and then Aubameyang fouls Sanchez. The absolute state of this graphic (from an Arsenal point of view): Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal 1:58PM 73 mins And LAMELA IS IN! Kane is wiped out, play continues, Lamela comes inside the left-back and the centre-backs can't get close... Cech makes a great save! Arsenal have been dreadful in this second half. 1:57PM 72 mins OOOOOOCHA! Mustafi passes inside to Cech, Alli closes him down and Cech passes back to Mustafi. BUT HE'S PASSED IT STRAIGHT TO ALLI! Luckily for him it's out for a goal kick. What are Arsenal playing at here?! And Alli is in again! A defence splitting pass puts him one on one with Cech but he taps it wide of the goal. Oohhhhh my word he's just missed a golden chance to make it 2-0. You get the feeling Spurs are going to regret missing all these chance - I'd love to know the expected goals figures for today. 1:55PM 71 mins Son isn't on his game today. Spurs take advantage of sloppy Arsenal play and Alli passes wide to him on the edge of the area. He lines up a top corner smash but puts his foot way under the ball and it flies over the top of the stadium roof. That's his last touch too. Lamela comes on in his place. 1:54PM 69 mins Kane wins a header as Mustafi jumps for it like a salmon leaping out of water and flops to the floor. Wilshere loses control and Kane uses his body well to win the tackle but the referee sees it as a foul. Kane cuts inside and Son sprints wide left. He's in here it Kane can get the pass through... and he does! But Son doesn't control it! Arsenal counter attack, get to the box and Wilshere lines up a shot on the edge of the area on his left foot. SAVED BY LLORIS! It's a powerful effort to the top corner but Lloris reads it early. Attempt Saved: Arsenal ( 68 min ) 1:51PM 67 mins Aubameyang has gone wide left, Lacazette through the middle and Ozil wide right. Iwobi, Xhaka and Wilshere in midfield? It's probably a 4-2-3-1. Lacazette has been caught offside because he's busy doing his socks - what on earth has been doing on the subs bench for the last 65 minutes? Put your football clothes on, pal. 1:50PM 65 mins The attendance is 83,222 at Wembley, which makes it the highest attendance of any Premier League player ever. Mkhitaryan and Elneny come off, Lacazette and Iwobi are on. That'll be a change of shape as well but I'm not quite sure what it is. 1:49PM 64 mins Eriksen fires a free-kick from wide left into the area, aiming it into a sea of bodies at speed. He wins a corner and sends that to the six yard box, but Cech heads clear. Eriksen has another chance to cross but Cech gathers. Ozil passes inside and is so, so, so close to handing Spurs a four on two in Arsenal's half. Steve McManaman does his trademark off-mic 'Woooooohhhhhhhhh' noise for about the fifth time today as a result of Arsenal's passing. Wenger is about to make some substitutions. 1:46PM 61 mins Credit: AFP Arsenal are in Spurs' half but the passing in the final third has been shocking all game long. Ozil gives it away, Wilshere gives it away, Spurs battle and win it back. Xhaka's control lets him down, Arsenal consider pressing from the front but abandon the idea quickly. Eriksen wins a throw deep in Arsenal's half near the box. 1:43PM 58 mins Vertonghen wins the header! Arsenal are being beaten to every single high ball. Arsene Wenger thinks Arsenal should have won a free-kick for Kane's goal, with the striker appearing to nudge Koscielny in the back. It's never a foul. Arsenal can't get hold of the ball. Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal But they're not out of it yet. 1:42PM 57 mins Eriksen takes it... and Cech tips over at the top corner! Great effort. Spurs corner. 1:41PM 56 mins Arsenal are still sitting deep, inviting pressure and hoping they can counter-attack but Spurs are pressing them intensely and winning the ball back quickly. Bellerin doesn't go in hard enough on Son and loses the ball, Son then dribbles to the box and goes down in the D. It's a foul, play-on says the ref... and it's pulled back for a free-kick in a very dangerous area. 1:39PM 55 mins Spurs have all the momentum, Arsenal on the back foot. Trippier completely bins a player on the right and crosses to the centre. The ball sits up perfectly for Kane to smash the volley! It must be!!!! But he strikes straight at Cech! The rebound falls to Alli, he can't react in time. Neither can Son... chance gone. Arsenal are all over the place. 1:37PM 52 mins KANE MUST SCORE!!!!!! He's just missed another chance seconds after the first goal but heads wide from six yards! Arsenal's defence are all over the place! 1:37PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Kane goal Spurs have the lead and what brilliant header this is! Kane, or Shearer 2.0 as he should be known, rises to power a shot past Cech, who stays rooted to the spot. Spurs have started this half superbly. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) 1:34PM 48 mins Mkhitaryan wins a free-kick over on the left wing, Arsenal keep the ball but are put under heavy pressure from Spurs' forward press. Cech has the ball AND KANE IS CLOSING HIM DOWN! The goalkeeper has to stretch to quickly clear that away from the area just as it looked like he might get caught out. 1:31PM 46 mins Spurs attack from the start of the half and Davies overlaps Son and drills a low ball into the box. Arsenal defend it well but that was a promising attack from the home side. 1:30PM KICK-OFF 2 And we're back! 1:19PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) 1:16PM Team talks "Where's the passion, lads?"— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) February 10, 2018 I’m going angry, “where’s the passion lads!”— Jack Waterston (@JackWaterston) February 10, 2018 1:16PM HALF TIME That was pretty good. There's been a lack of quality in the final third with both teams getting far too excited when near the goal, but for the majority they've cancelled each other out. One of those passes will work at some point and it very nearly did for Aubameyang earlier. 1:15PM 45 mins Spurs are passing around the halfway line. Arsenal closing them down once they get near the final third but Spurs are still able to find space and keep the ball. 1:13PM 43 mins This is amazing. South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 On the pitch Son's had a lot of the ball but Arsenal are closing him down quickly, giving Bellerin a hand. He needs it too. Arsenal are lacking a lot of width on that right side since Bellerin can't steam up the wing like he usually does, preoccupied by defending against Son. 1:10PM 40 mins Bellerin shoots from 25 yards on the angle, mistaking real life for FIFA 95 on the Megadrive. It's over the bar. Out: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Héctor Bellerín, 41 min) 1:10PM 39 mins Spurs win a free-kick wide left about 30 yards out. Eriksen stands over it... and it's a good delivery. Kane attacks but Mustafi jumps and wins the header, then Arsenal win a throw. Arsenal counter quickly, Mkhitaryan bursts through the middle and plays a disguised pass out to Ozil on the right. He looks up and drifts the ball to the left towards Monreal but it slows the move down and Spurs get back. Sanchez is able to bundle it to the keeper. 1:06PM 37 mins Credit: AFP Spurs have the chance to break, Wilshere tracks Eriksen back and intercepts, Xhaka doesn't read the play and Arsenal lose the ball in Spurs' half. 1:04PM 35 mins Wenger may have told his players to knock the ball forward at every possible opportunity and take advantage of their pace upfront. There's been very little tip-tap passing in the centre of the pitch and their sitting deep when out of possession, letting Spurs play with the ball and acting as the counter-attackers themselves. It's like the strategy is to force Spurs out of being the counter-attack team since that is their strength. Mkhitaryan's not found his touch today and ballooned another pass miles away from anyone. 1:01PM 32 mins Credit: REUTERS Kane looks offside as the ball is chipped over the top for him but he controls and threads in Alli, who looks for Eriksen on the underlap with a through-ball. Cech gathers. Arsenal have drifted out of this one. 12:59PM 30 mins Alli's first touch isn't great but he rescues it and wins a corner as Mustafi nervously deals with him. It's sent deep to the corner of the box, Trippier taps it back inside and Dembele swings at the shot and doesn't get decent contact. Cech is relieved to gather the ball before Kane can pounce. 12:58PM 27 mins Eriksen gets on the ball on the left and drops a couple of yards away from the defenders into the half space. This is where he's most effective and he whips a cross into the area... and KANE IS THERE! But he heads over from close range! Huge chance missed for Spurs. It was difficult to get that ball on target with pace but Kane usually does much better with those. Miss: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 27 min) 12:56PM 26 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal The pace has slowed down ever so slightly. Sanchez gives the ball away to Aubameyang but his control lets him down and they get away with it. 12:53PM 23 mins Look how much space Trippier is finding. This is meant to keep Monreal back and is sort of working. It means that when Spurs concentrate play on one side of the pitch they can instantly switch to the other, something Barcelona used to do a lot under Guardiola. 12:49PM 20 mins Wilshere kicks the air when a very decent chance to shoot presents itself and the Spurs fans love it. Credit: REUTERS 12:48PM 19 mins Son is causing problems on the left for Spurs - Bellerin doesn't like him. He skips past a Wilshere challenge in the box, the kind that makes you think a penalty is on its way, and tries to get a cross low into the box. Arsenal clear. Trippier is finding loads of space on the right wing, making the team shape a weird sort of 3-3-3-1 in possession. Average touch positions (17 min) 12:45PM 16 mins Spurs have another corner, Arsenal have everyone in the area... but Dier still gets a header on goal. Wide. Three defenders have surrounded him but don't win the aerial challenge. Arsenal decide not to play out from the back and Cech launches a goal kick up the pitch. Spurs win it back immediately. That might actually be part of the plan today... Possession: Spurs vs Arsenal 12:43PM 13 mins AUBAMEYANG IS IN! Oooooh he's offside. Just offside. Wilshere finds him with an absolutely superb through-pass. 12:41PM 12 mins Aubameyang looks dangerous here. His movement is so smart and Arsenal's wide players are looking for him with early crosses from the wings. Kane barges Mustafi and concedes a foul... but on replay that looks a little weak. This is a fascinating counter-attack game at the moment. Both teams looking to break quickly in numbers. 12:39PM 10 mins Monreal curls the ball into the area and it's an awkward one to deal with. It bounces just in front of Wilshere and then looks like it might bounce onto the arm of a defender, Spurs seem panicked. And then they're away! Alli breaks down the left, Kane takes the ball inside and Cech parries it behind for a corner. And now Arsenal are on the counter! Mkhitaryan takes it on the left and chips just slightly too far ahead of Aubameyang. What a game this is already. Pass: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 9 min) Arsenal passing around the Spurs final third now. 12:37PM 7 mins Son has space on the left! The crowd rise to their feet, he takes his man on... but has to go backwards. Spurs get forward and join in and a great ball out to Trippier sets up a cross. He whips towards the near post but it's cleared. Spurs win a corner. Arsenal deal with it well and have a counter-attack on! They have one Spurs defender to beat and three forwards chasing... but the pass is poor. Mkhitaryan is then caught by Trippier. 12:35PM 5 mins Both teams a little nervy on the ball, first touches aren't quite settled yet and passes are being overhit. That'll calm later on but at the moment both sides are testing each other out. A long ball down the wing for Aubameyang, he holds off Sanchez and wins a corner. Great play! Dele Alli heads the ball clear, Elneny tidies up but his searching pass for Ozil on the right is straight out for a throw-in. 12:32PM 3 mins It's a frantic start to the game. Both teams are a little excited and getting the ball forward too quickly, moving it when there isn't really an option. Son is hugging the left wing, Trippier the right, Arsenal dropping deep behind the ball early on. 12:30PM KICK-OFF We're underway. 12:29PM Aubameyang's shinpads Allegedly. A person off Twitter said it so it must be true. Aubameyang's shinpads �� pic.twitter.com/vYGo0XVXmm— James Benge (@jamesbenge) February 10, 2018 12:27PM Here come the players It's almost football time. Wembley is rammed, the BT Sport cameras have just focused on a bunch of Arsenal fans giving rival supporters instructions on how best to empty a stubborn bottle of ketchup... and it's Clive! 12:22PM Elneny and the 4-3-3 This guy could be key today. Why Mohamed Elneny could be key to an Arsenal return to 4-3-3 against Chelsea As we've touched on, Arsenal need a bit of help in defence from time to time and Elneny's role is something between a holding midfield player who recycles the ball and starts moves, and a half-back, dropping deep between the centre-backs as a sort of sweeper. Doing this gives Arsenal a back three and makes one of the attacking midfielder drop back into central midfield to give a bit of stability. Both teams have a player that does this. For Spurs it's Eric Dier. 12:17PM Jan Vertonghen Rio Ferdinand has just said that he reckons Jan Vertonghen is the best defender in the league and I'd be inclined to agree with him. A solid defender, he's also superb at taking the ball out from the back, going past players and spotting a pass - in his younger days he was often a left-back, which must have helped develop his sense of positioning and ability to go past players. 12:02PM Arsenal players arriving Credit: GETTY IMAGES They're warming up now but here's some photos from before, Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:54AM Goooooood afternoon (almost)! This is going to be ace, isn't it? Are you excited? By Jove, I am. Quite how players get properly revved up at a time I'm still enjoying a morning coffee is something for them to deal with but for us, the viewers, it's sure to be an end-to-end battle. Spurs will make lots of little fouls to stop Arsenal counter-attacking, Arsenal need to be DRILLED into not sending too many players forward on the attack, as is their natural tendency. The reason for this is that Spurs will actively look for chances to hit them on the break... and one player in particular will do a lot of damage if given the space. Why Son Heung-min is Tottenham's not-so-secret weapon 11:35AM Team news is in Toby Alderweireld is not fit enough to make the Tottenham squad, while Aaron Ramsey has picked up an injury and misses out. #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/vawK6Mfta3— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 10, 2018 �� Here it us - our team for this afternoon's north London derby at Wembley#THFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/DhBPWoOaVe— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 10, 2018 11:21AM Match preview: Arsene Wenger on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned it is too early to make comparisons between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thierry Henry. Club-record signing Aubameyang shone on his Gunners debut last weekend, scoring in a 5-1 victory over Everton. The Gabon international has taken the number 14 shirt at Arsenal previously worn by Henry - the club's all-time leading goalscorer. Having joined the club from Borussia Dortmund on transfer deadline day, Aubameyang compared his style to Henry and said the Frenchman is "an example" to strikers. Ahead of Arsenal's north London derby against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday, Wenger urged caution over likening the pair - although he was pleased Aubameyang has set such lofty aspirations. Aubameyang scored on his Arsenal debut last week Credit: Getty Images "It is an ambitious statement but it is a good one," he said. "(Henry is) the best goalscorer ever in Arsenal's history, so it doesn't mean he will score as many goals but why not? "I would say (Aubameyang is most like) Thierry Henry with his quality of runs. But it's a bit too early to compare him to the best player ever who played here. "He has played one game. But it's a good example to follow. His finish was brilliant. His finishing is good. You don't score by coincidence for so many years, if you score many goals." PA
Harry Kane was famously told aged eight that he was no longer required by Arsenal. Yet in the last seven months alone, the club he left 16 years ago have spent around £102 million on two ­strikers who may never reach the ­levels of Tottenham Hotspur’s main man. A sobering thought for the team that were second best in this north London derby by some distance in terms of ­performance but were beaten by the slender margin of one Kane goal, his seventh in this, his seventh derby match. “A super striker who is one of the best in the world and he scores against everybody,” was the day’s most telling description of Kane, who had a magnificent game, and it was offered by Arsene Wenger in defence of his own players’ shortcomings against the Spurs striker. Kane symbolises the new Tottenham, still without a trophy in the ­Mauricio Pochettino era but a dynamic, high-pressing team who face Juventus in Turin on Tuesday with ­renewed ­belief that they can compete against the best teams in Europe. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Lacazette missed two huge chances to equalise late on Credit: REUTERS As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Average touch positions (0 min) As for Wenger, the picture as regards the Champions League is that much more grim after this, a defeat in a game he admitted Arsenal could not afford to lose. Asked whether the Europa League was the best route for his team back into the Champions League, Wenger said dolefully that it was “too early” to say. “Football is not about switching off for three games and switching it on for one game,” he said. “Manchester United decided that [about the Europa League] once they were in the semi-­final but we are far from the semi-final. I think we have to fight to have a chance to come back. Overall it is a very disappointing result because the priority has to be to get to the Champions League through the Premier League. “I am not a great fan of the Europa League being a qualifier for the Champions League because I think it is not right. If it is an opportunity we will have to try to take it but the priority is still the Premier League.” His team have won just three away games this season, against Crystal ­Palace, Everton and Burnley, and lost their last three in a row. It is early days yet for Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan but the newly-minted Ozil again looked less than the indispensable player his contract suggests he should be. The gap is seven points to Spurs, which is not unbridgeable but on this day it looked like a very long way indeed. 2:43PM Expected goals xG map for the North London Derby. Tottenham utterly dominated the second half, then escaped in stoppage time after some poor finishing. pic.twitter.com/s0whMf54P4— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) February 10, 2018 2:42PM Mauricio Pochettino says "First half both teams have good energy, they were so compact, they tried to find the space and it was difficult to break down them. I think we dominate first half. Second half we had same shape but we were much better, moved the ball better and found space, create problems. "I think the score should be 3-0 but in football if you don't kill the games then you can concede some chances and suffer but I am so happy for three massive games, the performance was amazing. [Kane]'s our future. It's amazing all he's achieving and we are so proud he's in our side." 2:39PM Rio Ferdinand laying into Koscielny The ex-defender has shredded the midfield organisation, pointing out how dreadful it was in the second half but the panel is now onto the January transfer window. Buying Jonny Evans may have made a difference but Arsenal's problem isn't the centre-backs, it is the entire team's approach to defending. Kane didn't score because Koscielny lost him, but because Davies was able to angle the exact ball needed to set up the header. Had Ozil closed down his man properly, that goal wouldn't have happened. 2:32PM Kane post-match "It was nice to score, I had a few headers int he game. I thought we deserved it, should have finished it off. "I look forward to these games, it was a great performance by the team. We're a fit squad and know if we keep playing chances will come. We had chances, they had a few chances, we're really pleased with the win. "We had tough fixtures, United, Liverpool, Arsenal all in a row and we got seven points from them. Champions League now, we just need to keep the momentum going. I can't wait for Juventus." 2:23PM Wenger's team talk What could Wenger have said to them at half time? Spurs came out aggressive, enthusiastic, determined while Arsenal slithered to a start. They were caught dozing, lost every duel, were second to every challenge - Spurs were better in every department. 2:21PM FULL TIME OZIL HITS THE WALL! Spurs win the North London Derby! A deserved win too. They battered Arsenal for most of this one and Arsenal's expensive flops missed golden chances at the end to make it 1-1. Don't forget the million easy ones that Spurs missed too! Spurs are without doubt the superior north London force in the modern day. 2:20PM 90 mins +4 Oooohhhhhhh but there's one chance left! Dembele brings down Welbeck in the D! Arsenal have one last chance to shoot from a perfect free-kick position!!! The tension... Spurs are scared here. 2:19PM 90 mins +3 OH MY GOD LACAZETTE IS IN! BUT HE'S MISSED FROM SIX YARDS! The long through ball from Iwobi is amazing, it bypasses everyone and Lacazette is clean in behind every single defender. He only has the goalkeeper to beat and shoots wide. That is dreadful. Wenger can't believe it. I can't believe it. That's a gift. 2:17PM 90 mins +2 LACAZETTTTTEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! Oh dear. That was Arsenal's one chance. They counter, Bellerin sends a beautiful ball into the area and Lacazette can line up his volley from 12 yards... and puts it miles over the bar. Awful effort. He stares at the floor. That boy hasn't looked quite right for a while now. 2:15PM 90 mins Kane covers for Davies at left-back and buys a free-kick from Bellerin. And all of a sudden, Lamela is completely in behind the Arsenal defence with one pass from deep - how on earth has that happened?! Lamela doesn't even know what to do and ends up shooting wide but that is... that shouldn't happen. 2:13PM 88 mins Wilshere has been the best Arsenal player, except Cech today, and he has just nearly threaded Welbeck into a one-on-one chance to shoot in the Spurs box. The substitute isn't aware or alert and doesn't control it - had he done so, that would have been a huge opportunity. 2:11PM 86 mins Wenger has abandoned team shape and strategy now and thrown on Welbeck for Xhaka. That means they have three central strikers, an Iwobi, an Ozil and a Wilshere all on the pitch. Instructions: do the football, score them goals. 2:10PM 85 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal Aubameyang is just offside as he threatens to sprint in behind. Arsenal might have been second best all over the pitch but they're not done here yet! Spurs vs Arsenal Monreal slides in from behind on Kane and concedes a corner, getting a good chunk out of Kane in doing so. Dele Alli knows he's coming off but looks away from the touchline and gets ready for the corner. Arsenal players get annoyed and urge him to leave the pitch with a friendly shove in the back. Wanyama on. 2:07PM 82 mins Iwobi gives it away again! He goes on a dribble towards Spurs players and runs into trouble, spreads play to the left but doesn't put any conviction in the pass and nearly hands a counter-attack to Spurs. 2:05PM 80 mins Wilshere is getting wound up. Lamela swipes at him with a lunging tackle - leaping into it - and is booked. What can Arsenal do to get back into this game? Iwobi has been caught in possession a few times since coming on and done almost nothing of note. Not really an impact substitution... 2:03PM 77 mins What did Wenger even say to his players at half time? They've come out all soggy and pathetic. Spurs are winning every battle, every 50/50, running more, tackling harder, passing better. And Cech has just made another brilliant save to keep it 1-0! Trippier is denied this time at the near post, though his shot is hit far too centrally and at waist height, giving the keeper a good chance of stopping it. 2:00PM 75 mins Arsenal briefly enjoy a spell of possession in Spurs' half and then Aubameyang fouls Sanchez. The absolute state of this graphic (from an Arsenal point of view): Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal 1:58PM 73 mins And LAMELA IS IN! Kane is wiped out, play continues, Lamela comes inside the left-back and the centre-backs can't get close... Cech makes a great save! Arsenal have been dreadful in this second half. 1:57PM 72 mins OOOOOOCHA! Mustafi passes inside to Cech, Alli closes him down and Cech passes back to Mustafi. BUT HE'S PASSED IT STRAIGHT TO ALLI! Luckily for him it's out for a goal kick. What are Arsenal playing at here?! And Alli is in again! A defence splitting pass puts him one on one with Cech but he taps it wide of the goal. Oohhhhh my word he's just missed a golden chance to make it 2-0. You get the feeling Spurs are going to regret missing all these chance - I'd love to know the expected goals figures for today. 1:55PM 71 mins Son isn't on his game today. Spurs take advantage of sloppy Arsenal play and Alli passes wide to him on the edge of the area. He lines up a top corner smash but puts his foot way under the ball and it flies over the top of the stadium roof. That's his last touch too. Lamela comes on in his place. 1:54PM 69 mins Kane wins a header as Mustafi jumps for it like a salmon leaping out of water and flops to the floor. Wilshere loses control and Kane uses his body well to win the tackle but the referee sees it as a foul. Kane cuts inside and Son sprints wide left. He's in here it Kane can get the pass through... and he does! But Son doesn't control it! Arsenal counter attack, get to the box and Wilshere lines up a shot on the edge of the area on his left foot. SAVED BY LLORIS! It's a powerful effort to the top corner but Lloris reads it early. Attempt Saved: Arsenal ( 68 min ) 1:51PM 67 mins Aubameyang has gone wide left, Lacazette through the middle and Ozil wide right. Iwobi, Xhaka and Wilshere in midfield? It's probably a 4-2-3-1. Lacazette has been caught offside because he's busy doing his socks - what on earth has been doing on the subs bench for the last 65 minutes? Put your football clothes on, pal. 1:50PM 65 mins The attendance is 83,222 at Wembley, which makes it the highest attendance of any Premier League player ever. Mkhitaryan and Elneny come off, Lacazette and Iwobi are on. That'll be a change of shape as well but I'm not quite sure what it is. 1:49PM 64 mins Eriksen fires a free-kick from wide left into the area, aiming it into a sea of bodies at speed. He wins a corner and sends that to the six yard box, but Cech heads clear. Eriksen has another chance to cross but Cech gathers. Ozil passes inside and is so, so, so close to handing Spurs a four on two in Arsenal's half. Steve McManaman does his trademark off-mic 'Woooooohhhhhhhhh' noise for about the fifth time today as a result of Arsenal's passing. Wenger is about to make some substitutions. 1:46PM 61 mins Credit: AFP Arsenal are in Spurs' half but the passing in the final third has been shocking all game long. Ozil gives it away, Wilshere gives it away, Spurs battle and win it back. Xhaka's control lets him down, Arsenal consider pressing from the front but abandon the idea quickly. Eriksen wins a throw deep in Arsenal's half near the box. 1:43PM 58 mins Vertonghen wins the header! Arsenal are being beaten to every single high ball. Arsene Wenger thinks Arsenal should have won a free-kick for Kane's goal, with the striker appearing to nudge Koscielny in the back. It's never a foul. Arsenal can't get hold of the ball. Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal But they're not out of it yet. 1:42PM 57 mins Eriksen takes it... and Cech tips over at the top corner! Great effort. Spurs corner. 1:41PM 56 mins Arsenal are still sitting deep, inviting pressure and hoping they can counter-attack but Spurs are pressing them intensely and winning the ball back quickly. Bellerin doesn't go in hard enough on Son and loses the ball, Son then dribbles to the box and goes down in the D. It's a foul, play-on says the ref... and it's pulled back for a free-kick in a very dangerous area. 1:39PM 55 mins Spurs have all the momentum, Arsenal on the back foot. Trippier completely bins a player on the right and crosses to the centre. The ball sits up perfectly for Kane to smash the volley! It must be!!!! But he strikes straight at Cech! The rebound falls to Alli, he can't react in time. Neither can Son... chance gone. Arsenal are all over the place. 1:37PM 52 mins KANE MUST SCORE!!!!!! He's just missed another chance seconds after the first goal but heads wide from six yards! Arsenal's defence are all over the place! 1:37PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Kane goal Spurs have the lead and what brilliant header this is! Kane, or Shearer 2.0 as he should be known, rises to power a shot past Cech, who stays rooted to the spot. Spurs have started this half superbly. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) 1:34PM 48 mins Mkhitaryan wins a free-kick over on the left wing, Arsenal keep the ball but are put under heavy pressure from Spurs' forward press. Cech has the ball AND KANE IS CLOSING HIM DOWN! The goalkeeper has to stretch to quickly clear that away from the area just as it looked like he might get caught out. 1:31PM 46 mins Spurs attack from the start of the half and Davies overlaps Son and drills a low ball into the box. Arsenal defend it well but that was a promising attack from the home side. 1:30PM KICK-OFF 2 And we're back! 1:19PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) 1:16PM Team talks "Where's the passion, lads?"— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) February 10, 2018 I’m going angry, “where’s the passion lads!”— Jack Waterston (@JackWaterston) February 10, 2018 1:16PM HALF TIME That was pretty good. There's been a lack of quality in the final third with both teams getting far too excited when near the goal, but for the majority they've cancelled each other out. One of those passes will work at some point and it very nearly did for Aubameyang earlier. 1:15PM 45 mins Spurs are passing around the halfway line. Arsenal closing them down once they get near the final third but Spurs are still able to find space and keep the ball. 1:13PM 43 mins This is amazing. South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 On the pitch Son's had a lot of the ball but Arsenal are closing him down quickly, giving Bellerin a hand. He needs it too. Arsenal are lacking a lot of width on that right side since Bellerin can't steam up the wing like he usually does, preoccupied by defending against Son. 1:10PM 40 mins Bellerin shoots from 25 yards on the angle, mistaking real life for FIFA 95 on the Megadrive. It's over the bar. Out: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Héctor Bellerín, 41 min) 1:10PM 39 mins Spurs win a free-kick wide left about 30 yards out. Eriksen stands over it... and it's a good delivery. Kane attacks but Mustafi jumps and wins the header, then Arsenal win a throw. Arsenal counter quickly, Mkhitaryan bursts through the middle and plays a disguised pass out to Ozil on the right. He looks up and drifts the ball to the left towards Monreal but it slows the move down and Spurs get back. Sanchez is able to bundle it to the keeper. 1:06PM 37 mins Credit: AFP Spurs have the chance to break, Wilshere tracks Eriksen back and intercepts, Xhaka doesn't read the play and Arsenal lose the ball in Spurs' half. 1:04PM 35 mins Wenger may have told his players to knock the ball forward at every possible opportunity and take advantage of their pace upfront. There's been very little tip-tap passing in the centre of the pitch and their sitting deep when out of possession, letting Spurs play with the ball and acting as the counter-attackers themselves. It's like the strategy is to force Spurs out of being the counter-attack team since that is their strength. Mkhitaryan's not found his touch today and ballooned another pass miles away from anyone. 1:01PM 32 mins Credit: REUTERS Kane looks offside as the ball is chipped over the top for him but he controls and threads in Alli, who looks for Eriksen on the underlap with a through-ball. Cech gathers. Arsenal have drifted out of this one. 12:59PM 30 mins Alli's first touch isn't great but he rescues it and wins a corner as Mustafi nervously deals with him. It's sent deep to the corner of the box, Trippier taps it back inside and Dembele swings at the shot and doesn't get decent contact. Cech is relieved to gather the ball before Kane can pounce. 12:58PM 27 mins Eriksen gets on the ball on the left and drops a couple of yards away from the defenders into the half space. This is where he's most effective and he whips a cross into the area... and KANE IS THERE! But he heads over from close range! Huge chance missed for Spurs. It was difficult to get that ball on target with pace but Kane usually does much better with those. Miss: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 27 min) 12:56PM 26 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal The pace has slowed down ever so slightly. Sanchez gives the ball away to Aubameyang but his control lets him down and they get away with it. 12:53PM 23 mins Look how much space Trippier is finding. This is meant to keep Monreal back and is sort of working. It means that when Spurs concentrate play on one side of the pitch they can instantly switch to the other, something Barcelona used to do a lot under Guardiola. 12:49PM 20 mins Wilshere kicks the air when a very decent chance to shoot presents itself and the Spurs fans love it. Credit: REUTERS 12:48PM 19 mins Son is causing problems on the left for Spurs - Bellerin doesn't like him. He skips past a Wilshere challenge in the box, the kind that makes you think a penalty is on its way, and tries to get a cross low into the box. Arsenal clear. Trippier is finding loads of space on the right wing, making the team shape a weird sort of 3-3-3-1 in possession. Average touch positions (17 min) 12:45PM 16 mins Spurs have another corner, Arsenal have everyone in the area... but Dier still gets a header on goal. Wide. Three defenders have surrounded him but don't win the aerial challenge. Arsenal decide not to play out from the back and Cech launches a goal kick up the pitch. Spurs win it back immediately. That might actually be part of the plan today... Possession: Spurs vs Arsenal 12:43PM 13 mins AUBAMEYANG IS IN! Oooooh he's offside. Just offside. Wilshere finds him with an absolutely superb through-pass. 12:41PM 12 mins Aubameyang looks dangerous here. His movement is so smart and Arsenal's wide players are looking for him with early crosses from the wings. Kane barges Mustafi and concedes a foul... but on replay that looks a little weak. This is a fascinating counter-attack game at the moment. Both teams looking to break quickly in numbers. 12:39PM 10 mins Monreal curls the ball into the area and it's an awkward one to deal with. It bounces just in front of Wilshere and then looks like it might bounce onto the arm of a defender, Spurs seem panicked. And then they're away! Alli breaks down the left, Kane takes the ball inside and Cech parries it behind for a corner. And now Arsenal are on the counter! Mkhitaryan takes it on the left and chips just slightly too far ahead of Aubameyang. What a game this is already. Pass: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 9 min) Arsenal passing around the Spurs final third now. 12:37PM 7 mins Son has space on the left! The crowd rise to their feet, he takes his man on... but has to go backwards. Spurs get forward and join in and a great ball out to Trippier sets up a cross. He whips towards the near post but it's cleared. Spurs win a corner. Arsenal deal with it well and have a counter-attack on! They have one Spurs defender to beat and three forwards chasing... but the pass is poor. Mkhitaryan is then caught by Trippier. 12:35PM 5 mins Both teams a little nervy on the ball, first touches aren't quite settled yet and passes are being overhit. That'll calm later on but at the moment both sides are testing each other out. A long ball down the wing for Aubameyang, he holds off Sanchez and wins a corner. Great play! Dele Alli heads the ball clear, Elneny tidies up but his searching pass for Ozil on the right is straight out for a throw-in. 12:32PM 3 mins It's a frantic start to the game. Both teams are a little excited and getting the ball forward too quickly, moving it when there isn't really an option. Son is hugging the left wing, Trippier the right, Arsenal dropping deep behind the ball early on. 12:30PM KICK-OFF We're underway. 12:29PM Aubameyang's shinpads Allegedly. A person off Twitter said it so it must be true. Aubameyang's shinpads �� pic.twitter.com/vYGo0XVXmm— James Benge (@jamesbenge) February 10, 2018 12:27PM Here come the players It's almost football time. Wembley is rammed, the BT Sport cameras have just focused on a bunch of Arsenal fans giving rival supporters instructions on how best to empty a stubborn bottle of ketchup... and it's Clive! 12:22PM Elneny and the 4-3-3 This guy could be key today. Why Mohamed Elneny could be key to an Arsenal return to 4-3-3 against Chelsea As we've touched on, Arsenal need a bit of help in defence from time to time and Elneny's role is something between a holding midfield player who recycles the ball and starts moves, and a half-back, dropping deep between the centre-backs as a sort of sweeper. Doing this gives Arsenal a back three and makes one of the attacking midfielder drop back into central midfield to give a bit of stability. Both teams have a player that does this. For Spurs it's Eric Dier. 12:17PM Jan Vertonghen Rio Ferdinand has just said that he reckons Jan Vertonghen is the best defender in the league and I'd be inclined to agree with him. A solid defender, he's also superb at taking the ball out from the back, going past players and spotting a pass - in his younger days he was often a left-back, which must have helped develop his sense of positioning and ability to go past players. 12:02PM Arsenal players arriving Credit: GETTY IMAGES They're warming up now but here's some photos from before, Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:54AM Goooooood afternoon (almost)! This is going to be ace, isn't it? Are you excited? By Jove, I am. Quite how players get properly revved up at a time I'm still enjoying a morning coffee is something for them to deal with but for us, the viewers, it's sure to be an end-to-end battle. Spurs will make lots of little fouls to stop Arsenal counter-attacking, Arsenal need to be DRILLED into not sending too many players forward on the attack, as is their natural tendency. The reason for this is that Spurs will actively look for chances to hit them on the break... and one player in particular will do a lot of damage if given the space. Why Son Heung-min is Tottenham's not-so-secret weapon 11:35AM Team news is in Toby Alderweireld is not fit enough to make the Tottenham squad, while Aaron Ramsey has picked up an injury and misses out. #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/vawK6Mfta3— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 10, 2018 �� Here it us - our team for this afternoon's north London derby at Wembley#THFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/DhBPWoOaVe— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 10, 2018 11:21AM Match preview: Arsene Wenger on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned it is too early to make comparisons between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thierry Henry. Club-record signing Aubameyang shone on his Gunners debut last weekend, scoring in a 5-1 victory over Everton. The Gabon international has taken the number 14 shirt at Arsenal previously worn by Henry - the club's all-time leading goalscorer. Having joined the club from Borussia Dortmund on transfer deadline day, Aubameyang compared his style to Henry and said the Frenchman is "an example" to strikers. Ahead of Arsenal's north London derby against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday, Wenger urged caution over likening the pair - although he was pleased Aubameyang has set such lofty aspirations. Aubameyang scored on his Arsenal debut last week Credit: Getty Images "It is an ambitious statement but it is a good one," he said. "(Henry is) the best goalscorer ever in Arsenal's history, so it doesn't mean he will score as many goals but why not? "I would say (Aubameyang is most like) Thierry Henry with his quality of runs. But it's a bit too early to compare him to the best player ever who played here. "He has played one game. But it's a good example to follow. His finish was brilliant. His finishing is good. You don't score by coincidence for so many years, if you score many goals." PA
Tottenham 1 Arsenal 0: Harry Kane goal confirms power shift in North London
Harry Kane was famously told aged eight that he was no longer required by Arsenal. Yet in the last seven months alone, the club he left 16 years ago have spent around £102 million on two ­strikers who may never reach the ­levels of Tottenham Hotspur’s main man. A sobering thought for the team that were second best in this north London derby by some distance in terms of ­performance but were beaten by the slender margin of one Kane goal, his seventh in this, his seventh derby match. “A super striker who is one of the best in the world and he scores against everybody,” was the day’s most telling description of Kane, who had a magnificent game, and it was offered by Arsene Wenger in defence of his own players’ shortcomings against the Spurs striker. Kane symbolises the new Tottenham, still without a trophy in the ­Mauricio Pochettino era but a dynamic, high-pressing team who face Juventus in Turin on Tuesday with ­renewed ­belief that they can compete against the best teams in Europe. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Lacazette missed two huge chances to equalise late on Credit: REUTERS As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Average touch positions (0 min) As for Wenger, the picture as regards the Champions League is that much more grim after this, a defeat in a game he admitted Arsenal could not afford to lose. Asked whether the Europa League was the best route for his team back into the Champions League, Wenger said dolefully that it was “too early” to say. “Football is not about switching off for three games and switching it on for one game,” he said. “Manchester United decided that [about the Europa League] once they were in the semi-­final but we are far from the semi-final. I think we have to fight to have a chance to come back. Overall it is a very disappointing result because the priority has to be to get to the Champions League through the Premier League. “I am not a great fan of the Europa League being a qualifier for the Champions League because I think it is not right. If it is an opportunity we will have to try to take it but the priority is still the Premier League.” His team have won just three away games this season, against Crystal ­Palace, Everton and Burnley, and lost their last three in a row. It is early days yet for Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan but the newly-minted Ozil again looked less than the indispensable player his contract suggests he should be. The gap is seven points to Spurs, which is not unbridgeable but on this day it looked like a very long way indeed. 2:43PM Expected goals xG map for the North London Derby. Tottenham utterly dominated the second half, then escaped in stoppage time after some poor finishing. pic.twitter.com/s0whMf54P4— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) February 10, 2018 2:42PM Mauricio Pochettino says "First half both teams have good energy, they were so compact, they tried to find the space and it was difficult to break down them. I think we dominate first half. Second half we had same shape but we were much better, moved the ball better and found space, create problems. "I think the score should be 3-0 but in football if you don't kill the games then you can concede some chances and suffer but I am so happy for three massive games, the performance was amazing. [Kane]'s our future. It's amazing all he's achieving and we are so proud he's in our side." 2:39PM Rio Ferdinand laying into Koscielny The ex-defender has shredded the midfield organisation, pointing out how dreadful it was in the second half but the panel is now onto the January transfer window. Buying Jonny Evans may have made a difference but Arsenal's problem isn't the centre-backs, it is the entire team's approach to defending. Kane didn't score because Koscielny lost him, but because Davies was able to angle the exact ball needed to set up the header. Had Ozil closed down his man properly, that goal wouldn't have happened. 2:32PM Kane post-match "It was nice to score, I had a few headers int he game. I thought we deserved it, should have finished it off. "I look forward to these games, it was a great performance by the team. We're a fit squad and know if we keep playing chances will come. We had chances, they had a few chances, we're really pleased with the win. "We had tough fixtures, United, Liverpool, Arsenal all in a row and we got seven points from them. Champions League now, we just need to keep the momentum going. I can't wait for Juventus." 2:23PM Wenger's team talk What could Wenger have said to them at half time? Spurs came out aggressive, enthusiastic, determined while Arsenal slithered to a start. They were caught dozing, lost every duel, were second to every challenge - Spurs were better in every department. 2:21PM FULL TIME OZIL HITS THE WALL! Spurs win the North London Derby! A deserved win too. They battered Arsenal for most of this one and Arsenal's expensive flops missed golden chances at the end to make it 1-1. Don't forget the million easy ones that Spurs missed too! Spurs are without doubt the superior north London force in the modern day. 2:20PM 90 mins +4 Oooohhhhhhh but there's one chance left! Dembele brings down Welbeck in the D! Arsenal have one last chance to shoot from a perfect free-kick position!!! The tension... Spurs are scared here. 2:19PM 90 mins +3 OH MY GOD LACAZETTE IS IN! BUT HE'S MISSED FROM SIX YARDS! The long through ball from Iwobi is amazing, it bypasses everyone and Lacazette is clean in behind every single defender. He only has the goalkeeper to beat and shoots wide. That is dreadful. Wenger can't believe it. I can't believe it. That's a gift. 2:17PM 90 mins +2 LACAZETTTTTEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! Oh dear. That was Arsenal's one chance. They counter, Bellerin sends a beautiful ball into the area and Lacazette can line up his volley from 12 yards... and puts it miles over the bar. Awful effort. He stares at the floor. That boy hasn't looked quite right for a while now. 2:15PM 90 mins Kane covers for Davies at left-back and buys a free-kick from Bellerin. And all of a sudden, Lamela is completely in behind the Arsenal defence with one pass from deep - how on earth has that happened?! Lamela doesn't even know what to do and ends up shooting wide but that is... that shouldn't happen. 2:13PM 88 mins Wilshere has been the best Arsenal player, except Cech today, and he has just nearly threaded Welbeck into a one-on-one chance to shoot in the Spurs box. The substitute isn't aware or alert and doesn't control it - had he done so, that would have been a huge opportunity. 2:11PM 86 mins Wenger has abandoned team shape and strategy now and thrown on Welbeck for Xhaka. That means they have three central strikers, an Iwobi, an Ozil and a Wilshere all on the pitch. Instructions: do the football, score them goals. 2:10PM 85 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal Aubameyang is just offside as he threatens to sprint in behind. Arsenal might have been second best all over the pitch but they're not done here yet! Spurs vs Arsenal Monreal slides in from behind on Kane and concedes a corner, getting a good chunk out of Kane in doing so. Dele Alli knows he's coming off but looks away from the touchline and gets ready for the corner. Arsenal players get annoyed and urge him to leave the pitch with a friendly shove in the back. Wanyama on. 2:07PM 82 mins Iwobi gives it away again! He goes on a dribble towards Spurs players and runs into trouble, spreads play to the left but doesn't put any conviction in the pass and nearly hands a counter-attack to Spurs. 2:05PM 80 mins Wilshere is getting wound up. Lamela swipes at him with a lunging tackle - leaping into it - and is booked. What can Arsenal do to get back into this game? Iwobi has been caught in possession a few times since coming on and done almost nothing of note. Not really an impact substitution... 2:03PM 77 mins What did Wenger even say to his players at half time? They've come out all soggy and pathetic. Spurs are winning every battle, every 50/50, running more, tackling harder, passing better. And Cech has just made another brilliant save to keep it 1-0! Trippier is denied this time at the near post, though his shot is hit far too centrally and at waist height, giving the keeper a good chance of stopping it. 2:00PM 75 mins Arsenal briefly enjoy a spell of possession in Spurs' half and then Aubameyang fouls Sanchez. The absolute state of this graphic (from an Arsenal point of view): Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal 1:58PM 73 mins And LAMELA IS IN! Kane is wiped out, play continues, Lamela comes inside the left-back and the centre-backs can't get close... Cech makes a great save! Arsenal have been dreadful in this second half. 1:57PM 72 mins OOOOOOCHA! Mustafi passes inside to Cech, Alli closes him down and Cech passes back to Mustafi. BUT HE'S PASSED IT STRAIGHT TO ALLI! Luckily for him it's out for a goal kick. What are Arsenal playing at here?! And Alli is in again! A defence splitting pass puts him one on one with Cech but he taps it wide of the goal. Oohhhhh my word he's just missed a golden chance to make it 2-0. You get the feeling Spurs are going to regret missing all these chance - I'd love to know the expected goals figures for today. 1:55PM 71 mins Son isn't on his game today. Spurs take advantage of sloppy Arsenal play and Alli passes wide to him on the edge of the area. He lines up a top corner smash but puts his foot way under the ball and it flies over the top of the stadium roof. That's his last touch too. Lamela comes on in his place. 1:54PM 69 mins Kane wins a header as Mustafi jumps for it like a salmon leaping out of water and flops to the floor. Wilshere loses control and Kane uses his body well to win the tackle but the referee sees it as a foul. Kane cuts inside and Son sprints wide left. He's in here it Kane can get the pass through... and he does! But Son doesn't control it! Arsenal counter attack, get to the box and Wilshere lines up a shot on the edge of the area on his left foot. SAVED BY LLORIS! It's a powerful effort to the top corner but Lloris reads it early. Attempt Saved: Arsenal ( 68 min ) 1:51PM 67 mins Aubameyang has gone wide left, Lacazette through the middle and Ozil wide right. Iwobi, Xhaka and Wilshere in midfield? It's probably a 4-2-3-1. Lacazette has been caught offside because he's busy doing his socks - what on earth has been doing on the subs bench for the last 65 minutes? Put your football clothes on, pal. 1:50PM 65 mins The attendance is 83,222 at Wembley, which makes it the highest attendance of any Premier League player ever. Mkhitaryan and Elneny come off, Lacazette and Iwobi are on. That'll be a change of shape as well but I'm not quite sure what it is. 1:49PM 64 mins Eriksen fires a free-kick from wide left into the area, aiming it into a sea of bodies at speed. He wins a corner and sends that to the six yard box, but Cech heads clear. Eriksen has another chance to cross but Cech gathers. Ozil passes inside and is so, so, so close to handing Spurs a four on two in Arsenal's half. Steve McManaman does his trademark off-mic 'Woooooohhhhhhhhh' noise for about the fifth time today as a result of Arsenal's passing. Wenger is about to make some substitutions. 1:46PM 61 mins Credit: AFP Arsenal are in Spurs' half but the passing in the final third has been shocking all game long. Ozil gives it away, Wilshere gives it away, Spurs battle and win it back. Xhaka's control lets him down, Arsenal consider pressing from the front but abandon the idea quickly. Eriksen wins a throw deep in Arsenal's half near the box. 1:43PM 58 mins Vertonghen wins the header! Arsenal are being beaten to every single high ball. Arsene Wenger thinks Arsenal should have won a free-kick for Kane's goal, with the striker appearing to nudge Koscielny in the back. It's never a foul. Arsenal can't get hold of the ball. Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal But they're not out of it yet. 1:42PM 57 mins Eriksen takes it... and Cech tips over at the top corner! Great effort. Spurs corner. 1:41PM 56 mins Arsenal are still sitting deep, inviting pressure and hoping they can counter-attack but Spurs are pressing them intensely and winning the ball back quickly. Bellerin doesn't go in hard enough on Son and loses the ball, Son then dribbles to the box and goes down in the D. It's a foul, play-on says the ref... and it's pulled back for a free-kick in a very dangerous area. 1:39PM 55 mins Spurs have all the momentum, Arsenal on the back foot. Trippier completely bins a player on the right and crosses to the centre. The ball sits up perfectly for Kane to smash the volley! It must be!!!! But he strikes straight at Cech! The rebound falls to Alli, he can't react in time. Neither can Son... chance gone. Arsenal are all over the place. 1:37PM 52 mins KANE MUST SCORE!!!!!! He's just missed another chance seconds after the first goal but heads wide from six yards! Arsenal's defence are all over the place! 1:37PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Kane goal Spurs have the lead and what brilliant header this is! Kane, or Shearer 2.0 as he should be known, rises to power a shot past Cech, who stays rooted to the spot. Spurs have started this half superbly. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) 1:34PM 48 mins Mkhitaryan wins a free-kick over on the left wing, Arsenal keep the ball but are put under heavy pressure from Spurs' forward press. Cech has the ball AND KANE IS CLOSING HIM DOWN! The goalkeeper has to stretch to quickly clear that away from the area just as it looked like he might get caught out. 1:31PM 46 mins Spurs attack from the start of the half and Davies overlaps Son and drills a low ball into the box. Arsenal defend it well but that was a promising attack from the home side. 1:30PM KICK-OFF 2 And we're back! 1:19PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) 1:16PM Team talks "Where's the passion, lads?"— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) February 10, 2018 I’m going angry, “where’s the passion lads!”— Jack Waterston (@JackWaterston) February 10, 2018 1:16PM HALF TIME That was pretty good. There's been a lack of quality in the final third with both teams getting far too excited when near the goal, but for the majority they've cancelled each other out. One of those passes will work at some point and it very nearly did for Aubameyang earlier. 1:15PM 45 mins Spurs are passing around the halfway line. Arsenal closing them down once they get near the final third but Spurs are still able to find space and keep the ball. 1:13PM 43 mins This is amazing. South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 On the pitch Son's had a lot of the ball but Arsenal are closing him down quickly, giving Bellerin a hand. He needs it too. Arsenal are lacking a lot of width on that right side since Bellerin can't steam up the wing like he usually does, preoccupied by defending against Son. 1:10PM 40 mins Bellerin shoots from 25 yards on the angle, mistaking real life for FIFA 95 on the Megadrive. It's over the bar. Out: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Héctor Bellerín, 41 min) 1:10PM 39 mins Spurs win a free-kick wide left about 30 yards out. Eriksen stands over it... and it's a good delivery. Kane attacks but Mustafi jumps and wins the header, then Arsenal win a throw. Arsenal counter quickly, Mkhitaryan bursts through the middle and plays a disguised pass out to Ozil on the right. He looks up and drifts the ball to the left towards Monreal but it slows the move down and Spurs get back. Sanchez is able to bundle it to the keeper. 1:06PM 37 mins Credit: AFP Spurs have the chance to break, Wilshere tracks Eriksen back and intercepts, Xhaka doesn't read the play and Arsenal lose the ball in Spurs' half. 1:04PM 35 mins Wenger may have told his players to knock the ball forward at every possible opportunity and take advantage of their pace upfront. There's been very little tip-tap passing in the centre of the pitch and their sitting deep when out of possession, letting Spurs play with the ball and acting as the counter-attackers themselves. It's like the strategy is to force Spurs out of being the counter-attack team since that is their strength. Mkhitaryan's not found his touch today and ballooned another pass miles away from anyone. 1:01PM 32 mins Credit: REUTERS Kane looks offside as the ball is chipped over the top for him but he controls and threads in Alli, who looks for Eriksen on the underlap with a through-ball. Cech gathers. Arsenal have drifted out of this one. 12:59PM 30 mins Alli's first touch isn't great but he rescues it and wins a corner as Mustafi nervously deals with him. It's sent deep to the corner of the box, Trippier taps it back inside and Dembele swings at the shot and doesn't get decent contact. Cech is relieved to gather the ball before Kane can pounce. 12:58PM 27 mins Eriksen gets on the ball on the left and drops a couple of yards away from the defenders into the half space. This is where he's most effective and he whips a cross into the area... and KANE IS THERE! But he heads over from close range! Huge chance missed for Spurs. It was difficult to get that ball on target with pace but Kane usually does much better with those. Miss: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 27 min) 12:56PM 26 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal The pace has slowed down ever so slightly. Sanchez gives the ball away to Aubameyang but his control lets him down and they get away with it. 12:53PM 23 mins Look how much space Trippier is finding. This is meant to keep Monreal back and is sort of working. It means that when Spurs concentrate play on one side of the pitch they can instantly switch to the other, something Barcelona used to do a lot under Guardiola. 12:49PM 20 mins Wilshere kicks the air when a very decent chance to shoot presents itself and the Spurs fans love it. Credit: REUTERS 12:48PM 19 mins Son is causing problems on the left for Spurs - Bellerin doesn't like him. He skips past a Wilshere challenge in the box, the kind that makes you think a penalty is on its way, and tries to get a cross low into the box. Arsenal clear. Trippier is finding loads of space on the right wing, making the team shape a weird sort of 3-3-3-1 in possession. Average touch positions (17 min) 12:45PM 16 mins Spurs have another corner, Arsenal have everyone in the area... but Dier still gets a header on goal. Wide. Three defenders have surrounded him but don't win the aerial challenge. Arsenal decide not to play out from the back and Cech launches a goal kick up the pitch. Spurs win it back immediately. That might actually be part of the plan today... Possession: Spurs vs Arsenal 12:43PM 13 mins AUBAMEYANG IS IN! Oooooh he's offside. Just offside. Wilshere finds him with an absolutely superb through-pass. 12:41PM 12 mins Aubameyang looks dangerous here. His movement is so smart and Arsenal's wide players are looking for him with early crosses from the wings. Kane barges Mustafi and concedes a foul... but on replay that looks a little weak. This is a fascinating counter-attack game at the moment. Both teams looking to break quickly in numbers. 12:39PM 10 mins Monreal curls the ball into the area and it's an awkward one to deal with. It bounces just in front of Wilshere and then looks like it might bounce onto the arm of a defender, Spurs seem panicked. And then they're away! Alli breaks down the left, Kane takes the ball inside and Cech parries it behind for a corner. And now Arsenal are on the counter! Mkhitaryan takes it on the left and chips just slightly too far ahead of Aubameyang. What a game this is already. Pass: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 9 min) Arsenal passing around the Spurs final third now. 12:37PM 7 mins Son has space on the left! The crowd rise to their feet, he takes his man on... but has to go backwards. Spurs get forward and join in and a great ball out to Trippier sets up a cross. He whips towards the near post but it's cleared. Spurs win a corner. Arsenal deal with it well and have a counter-attack on! They have one Spurs defender to beat and three forwards chasing... but the pass is poor. Mkhitaryan is then caught by Trippier. 12:35PM 5 mins Both teams a little nervy on the ball, first touches aren't quite settled yet and passes are being overhit. That'll calm later on but at the moment both sides are testing each other out. A long ball down the wing for Aubameyang, he holds off Sanchez and wins a corner. Great play! Dele Alli heads the ball clear, Elneny tidies up but his searching pass for Ozil on the right is straight out for a throw-in. 12:32PM 3 mins It's a frantic start to the game. Both teams are a little excited and getting the ball forward too quickly, moving it when there isn't really an option. Son is hugging the left wing, Trippier the right, Arsenal dropping deep behind the ball early on. 12:30PM KICK-OFF We're underway. 12:29PM Aubameyang's shinpads Allegedly. A person off Twitter said it so it must be true. Aubameyang's shinpads �� pic.twitter.com/vYGo0XVXmm— James Benge (@jamesbenge) February 10, 2018 12:27PM Here come the players It's almost football time. Wembley is rammed, the BT Sport cameras have just focused on a bunch of Arsenal fans giving rival supporters instructions on how best to empty a stubborn bottle of ketchup... and it's Clive! 12:22PM Elneny and the 4-3-3 This guy could be key today. Why Mohamed Elneny could be key to an Arsenal return to 4-3-3 against Chelsea As we've touched on, Arsenal need a bit of help in defence from time to time and Elneny's role is something between a holding midfield player who recycles the ball and starts moves, and a half-back, dropping deep between the centre-backs as a sort of sweeper. Doing this gives Arsenal a back three and makes one of the attacking midfielder drop back into central midfield to give a bit of stability. Both teams have a player that does this. For Spurs it's Eric Dier. 12:17PM Jan Vertonghen Rio Ferdinand has just said that he reckons Jan Vertonghen is the best defender in the league and I'd be inclined to agree with him. A solid defender, he's also superb at taking the ball out from the back, going past players and spotting a pass - in his younger days he was often a left-back, which must have helped develop his sense of positioning and ability to go past players. 12:02PM Arsenal players arriving Credit: GETTY IMAGES They're warming up now but here's some photos from before, Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:54AM Goooooood afternoon (almost)! This is going to be ace, isn't it? Are you excited? By Jove, I am. Quite how players get properly revved up at a time I'm still enjoying a morning coffee is something for them to deal with but for us, the viewers, it's sure to be an end-to-end battle. Spurs will make lots of little fouls to stop Arsenal counter-attacking, Arsenal need to be DRILLED into not sending too many players forward on the attack, as is their natural tendency. The reason for this is that Spurs will actively look for chances to hit them on the break... and one player in particular will do a lot of damage if given the space. Why Son Heung-min is Tottenham's not-so-secret weapon 11:35AM Team news is in Toby Alderweireld is not fit enough to make the Tottenham squad, while Aaron Ramsey has picked up an injury and misses out. #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/vawK6Mfta3— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 10, 2018 �� Here it us - our team for this afternoon's north London derby at Wembley#THFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/DhBPWoOaVe— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 10, 2018 11:21AM Match preview: Arsene Wenger on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned it is too early to make comparisons between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thierry Henry. Club-record signing Aubameyang shone on his Gunners debut last weekend, scoring in a 5-1 victory over Everton. The Gabon international has taken the number 14 shirt at Arsenal previously worn by Henry - the club's all-time leading goalscorer. Having joined the club from Borussia Dortmund on transfer deadline day, Aubameyang compared his style to Henry and said the Frenchman is "an example" to strikers. Ahead of Arsenal's north London derby against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday, Wenger urged caution over likening the pair - although he was pleased Aubameyang has set such lofty aspirations. Aubameyang scored on his Arsenal debut last week Credit: Getty Images "It is an ambitious statement but it is a good one," he said. "(Henry is) the best goalscorer ever in Arsenal's history, so it doesn't mean he will score as many goals but why not? "I would say (Aubameyang is most like) Thierry Henry with his quality of runs. But it's a bit too early to compare him to the best player ever who played here. "He has played one game. But it's a good example to follow. His finish was brilliant. His finishing is good. You don't score by coincidence for so many years, if you score many goals." PA
Harry Kane was famously told aged eight that he was no longer required by Arsenal. Yet in the last seven months alone, the club he left 16 years ago have spent around £102 million on two ­strikers who may never reach the ­levels of Tottenham Hotspur’s main man. A sobering thought for the team that were second best in this north London derby by some distance in terms of ­performance but were beaten by the slender margin of one Kane goal, his seventh in this, his seventh derby match. “A super striker who is one of the best in the world and he scores against everybody,” was the day’s most telling description of Kane, who had a magnificent game, and it was offered by Arsene Wenger in defence of his own players’ shortcomings against the Spurs striker. Kane symbolises the new Tottenham, still without a trophy in the ­Mauricio Pochettino era but a dynamic, high-pressing team who face Juventus in Turin on Tuesday with ­renewed ­belief that they can compete against the best teams in Europe. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Lacazette missed two huge chances to equalise late on Credit: REUTERS As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Average touch positions (0 min) As for Wenger, the picture as regards the Champions League is that much more grim after this, a defeat in a game he admitted Arsenal could not afford to lose. Asked whether the Europa League was the best route for his team back into the Champions League, Wenger said dolefully that it was “too early” to say. “Football is not about switching off for three games and switching it on for one game,” he said. “Manchester United decided that [about the Europa League] once they were in the semi-­final but we are far from the semi-final. I think we have to fight to have a chance to come back. Overall it is a very disappointing result because the priority has to be to get to the Champions League through the Premier League. “I am not a great fan of the Europa League being a qualifier for the Champions League because I think it is not right. If it is an opportunity we will have to try to take it but the priority is still the Premier League.” His team have won just three away games this season, against Crystal ­Palace, Everton and Burnley, and lost their last three in a row. It is early days yet for Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan but the newly-minted Ozil again looked less than the indispensable player his contract suggests he should be. The gap is seven points to Spurs, which is not unbridgeable but on this day it looked like a very long way indeed. 2:43PM Expected goals xG map for the North London Derby. Tottenham utterly dominated the second half, then escaped in stoppage time after some poor finishing. pic.twitter.com/s0whMf54P4— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) February 10, 2018 2:42PM Mauricio Pochettino says "First half both teams have good energy, they were so compact, they tried to find the space and it was difficult to break down them. I think we dominate first half. Second half we had same shape but we were much better, moved the ball better and found space, create problems. "I think the score should be 3-0 but in football if you don't kill the games then you can concede some chances and suffer but I am so happy for three massive games, the performance was amazing. [Kane]'s our future. It's amazing all he's achieving and we are so proud he's in our side." 2:39PM Rio Ferdinand laying into Koscielny The ex-defender has shredded the midfield organisation, pointing out how dreadful it was in the second half but the panel is now onto the January transfer window. Buying Jonny Evans may have made a difference but Arsenal's problem isn't the centre-backs, it is the entire team's approach to defending. Kane didn't score because Koscielny lost him, but because Davies was able to angle the exact ball needed to set up the header. Had Ozil closed down his man properly, that goal wouldn't have happened. 2:32PM Kane post-match "It was nice to score, I had a few headers int he game. I thought we deserved it, should have finished it off. "I look forward to these games, it was a great performance by the team. We're a fit squad and know if we keep playing chances will come. We had chances, they had a few chances, we're really pleased with the win. "We had tough fixtures, United, Liverpool, Arsenal all in a row and we got seven points from them. Champions League now, we just need to keep the momentum going. I can't wait for Juventus." 2:23PM Wenger's team talk What could Wenger have said to them at half time? Spurs came out aggressive, enthusiastic, determined while Arsenal slithered to a start. They were caught dozing, lost every duel, were second to every challenge - Spurs were better in every department. 2:21PM FULL TIME OZIL HITS THE WALL! Spurs win the North London Derby! A deserved win too. They battered Arsenal for most of this one and Arsenal's expensive flops missed golden chances at the end to make it 1-1. Don't forget the million easy ones that Spurs missed too! Spurs are without doubt the superior north London force in the modern day. 2:20PM 90 mins +4 Oooohhhhhhh but there's one chance left! Dembele brings down Welbeck in the D! Arsenal have one last chance to shoot from a perfect free-kick position!!! The tension... Spurs are scared here. 2:19PM 90 mins +3 OH MY GOD LACAZETTE IS IN! BUT HE'S MISSED FROM SIX YARDS! The long through ball from Iwobi is amazing, it bypasses everyone and Lacazette is clean in behind every single defender. He only has the goalkeeper to beat and shoots wide. That is dreadful. Wenger can't believe it. I can't believe it. That's a gift. 2:17PM 90 mins +2 LACAZETTTTTEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! Oh dear. That was Arsenal's one chance. They counter, Bellerin sends a beautiful ball into the area and Lacazette can line up his volley from 12 yards... and puts it miles over the bar. Awful effort. He stares at the floor. That boy hasn't looked quite right for a while now. 2:15PM 90 mins Kane covers for Davies at left-back and buys a free-kick from Bellerin. And all of a sudden, Lamela is completely in behind the Arsenal defence with one pass from deep - how on earth has that happened?! Lamela doesn't even know what to do and ends up shooting wide but that is... that shouldn't happen. 2:13PM 88 mins Wilshere has been the best Arsenal player, except Cech today, and he has just nearly threaded Welbeck into a one-on-one chance to shoot in the Spurs box. The substitute isn't aware or alert and doesn't control it - had he done so, that would have been a huge opportunity. 2:11PM 86 mins Wenger has abandoned team shape and strategy now and thrown on Welbeck for Xhaka. That means they have three central strikers, an Iwobi, an Ozil and a Wilshere all on the pitch. Instructions: do the football, score them goals. 2:10PM 85 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal Aubameyang is just offside as he threatens to sprint in behind. Arsenal might have been second best all over the pitch but they're not done here yet! Spurs vs Arsenal Monreal slides in from behind on Kane and concedes a corner, getting a good chunk out of Kane in doing so. Dele Alli knows he's coming off but looks away from the touchline and gets ready for the corner. Arsenal players get annoyed and urge him to leave the pitch with a friendly shove in the back. Wanyama on. 2:07PM 82 mins Iwobi gives it away again! He goes on a dribble towards Spurs players and runs into trouble, spreads play to the left but doesn't put any conviction in the pass and nearly hands a counter-attack to Spurs. 2:05PM 80 mins Wilshere is getting wound up. Lamela swipes at him with a lunging tackle - leaping into it - and is booked. What can Arsenal do to get back into this game? Iwobi has been caught in possession a few times since coming on and done almost nothing of note. Not really an impact substitution... 2:03PM 77 mins What did Wenger even say to his players at half time? They've come out all soggy and pathetic. Spurs are winning every battle, every 50/50, running more, tackling harder, passing better. And Cech has just made another brilliant save to keep it 1-0! Trippier is denied this time at the near post, though his shot is hit far too centrally and at waist height, giving the keeper a good chance of stopping it. 2:00PM 75 mins Arsenal briefly enjoy a spell of possession in Spurs' half and then Aubameyang fouls Sanchez. The absolute state of this graphic (from an Arsenal point of view): Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal 1:58PM 73 mins And LAMELA IS IN! Kane is wiped out, play continues, Lamela comes inside the left-back and the centre-backs can't get close... Cech makes a great save! Arsenal have been dreadful in this second half. 1:57PM 72 mins OOOOOOCHA! Mustafi passes inside to Cech, Alli closes him down and Cech passes back to Mustafi. BUT HE'S PASSED IT STRAIGHT TO ALLI! Luckily for him it's out for a goal kick. What are Arsenal playing at here?! And Alli is in again! A defence splitting pass puts him one on one with Cech but he taps it wide of the goal. Oohhhhh my word he's just missed a golden chance to make it 2-0. You get the feeling Spurs are going to regret missing all these chance - I'd love to know the expected goals figures for today. 1:55PM 71 mins Son isn't on his game today. Spurs take advantage of sloppy Arsenal play and Alli passes wide to him on the edge of the area. He lines up a top corner smash but puts his foot way under the ball and it flies over the top of the stadium roof. That's his last touch too. Lamela comes on in his place. 1:54PM 69 mins Kane wins a header as Mustafi jumps for it like a salmon leaping out of water and flops to the floor. Wilshere loses control and Kane uses his body well to win the tackle but the referee sees it as a foul. Kane cuts inside and Son sprints wide left. He's in here it Kane can get the pass through... and he does! But Son doesn't control it! Arsenal counter attack, get to the box and Wilshere lines up a shot on the edge of the area on his left foot. SAVED BY LLORIS! It's a powerful effort to the top corner but Lloris reads it early. Attempt Saved: Arsenal ( 68 min ) 1:51PM 67 mins Aubameyang has gone wide left, Lacazette through the middle and Ozil wide right. Iwobi, Xhaka and Wilshere in midfield? It's probably a 4-2-3-1. Lacazette has been caught offside because he's busy doing his socks - what on earth has been doing on the subs bench for the last 65 minutes? Put your football clothes on, pal. 1:50PM 65 mins The attendance is 83,222 at Wembley, which makes it the highest attendance of any Premier League player ever. Mkhitaryan and Elneny come off, Lacazette and Iwobi are on. That'll be a change of shape as well but I'm not quite sure what it is. 1:49PM 64 mins Eriksen fires a free-kick from wide left into the area, aiming it into a sea of bodies at speed. He wins a corner and sends that to the six yard box, but Cech heads clear. Eriksen has another chance to cross but Cech gathers. Ozil passes inside and is so, so, so close to handing Spurs a four on two in Arsenal's half. Steve McManaman does his trademark off-mic 'Woooooohhhhhhhhh' noise for about the fifth time today as a result of Arsenal's passing. Wenger is about to make some substitutions. 1:46PM 61 mins Credit: AFP Arsenal are in Spurs' half but the passing in the final third has been shocking all game long. Ozil gives it away, Wilshere gives it away, Spurs battle and win it back. Xhaka's control lets him down, Arsenal consider pressing from the front but abandon the idea quickly. Eriksen wins a throw deep in Arsenal's half near the box. 1:43PM 58 mins Vertonghen wins the header! Arsenal are being beaten to every single high ball. Arsene Wenger thinks Arsenal should have won a free-kick for Kane's goal, with the striker appearing to nudge Koscielny in the back. It's never a foul. Arsenal can't get hold of the ball. Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal But they're not out of it yet. 1:42PM 57 mins Eriksen takes it... and Cech tips over at the top corner! Great effort. Spurs corner. 1:41PM 56 mins Arsenal are still sitting deep, inviting pressure and hoping they can counter-attack but Spurs are pressing them intensely and winning the ball back quickly. Bellerin doesn't go in hard enough on Son and loses the ball, Son then dribbles to the box and goes down in the D. It's a foul, play-on says the ref... and it's pulled back for a free-kick in a very dangerous area. 1:39PM 55 mins Spurs have all the momentum, Arsenal on the back foot. Trippier completely bins a player on the right and crosses to the centre. The ball sits up perfectly for Kane to smash the volley! It must be!!!! But he strikes straight at Cech! The rebound falls to Alli, he can't react in time. Neither can Son... chance gone. Arsenal are all over the place. 1:37PM 52 mins KANE MUST SCORE!!!!!! He's just missed another chance seconds after the first goal but heads wide from six yards! Arsenal's defence are all over the place! 1:37PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Kane goal Spurs have the lead and what brilliant header this is! Kane, or Shearer 2.0 as he should be known, rises to power a shot past Cech, who stays rooted to the spot. Spurs have started this half superbly. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) 1:34PM 48 mins Mkhitaryan wins a free-kick over on the left wing, Arsenal keep the ball but are put under heavy pressure from Spurs' forward press. Cech has the ball AND KANE IS CLOSING HIM DOWN! The goalkeeper has to stretch to quickly clear that away from the area just as it looked like he might get caught out. 1:31PM 46 mins Spurs attack from the start of the half and Davies overlaps Son and drills a low ball into the box. Arsenal defend it well but that was a promising attack from the home side. 1:30PM KICK-OFF 2 And we're back! 1:19PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) 1:16PM Team talks "Where's the passion, lads?"— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) February 10, 2018 I’m going angry, “where’s the passion lads!”— Jack Waterston (@JackWaterston) February 10, 2018 1:16PM HALF TIME That was pretty good. There's been a lack of quality in the final third with both teams getting far too excited when near the goal, but for the majority they've cancelled each other out. One of those passes will work at some point and it very nearly did for Aubameyang earlier. 1:15PM 45 mins Spurs are passing around the halfway line. Arsenal closing them down once they get near the final third but Spurs are still able to find space and keep the ball. 1:13PM 43 mins This is amazing. South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 On the pitch Son's had a lot of the ball but Arsenal are closing him down quickly, giving Bellerin a hand. He needs it too. Arsenal are lacking a lot of width on that right side since Bellerin can't steam up the wing like he usually does, preoccupied by defending against Son. 1:10PM 40 mins Bellerin shoots from 25 yards on the angle, mistaking real life for FIFA 95 on the Megadrive. It's over the bar. Out: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Héctor Bellerín, 41 min) 1:10PM 39 mins Spurs win a free-kick wide left about 30 yards out. Eriksen stands over it... and it's a good delivery. Kane attacks but Mustafi jumps and wins the header, then Arsenal win a throw. Arsenal counter quickly, Mkhitaryan bursts through the middle and plays a disguised pass out to Ozil on the right. He looks up and drifts the ball to the left towards Monreal but it slows the move down and Spurs get back. Sanchez is able to bundle it to the keeper. 1:06PM 37 mins Credit: AFP Spurs have the chance to break, Wilshere tracks Eriksen back and intercepts, Xhaka doesn't read the play and Arsenal lose the ball in Spurs' half. 1:04PM 35 mins Wenger may have told his players to knock the ball forward at every possible opportunity and take advantage of their pace upfront. There's been very little tip-tap passing in the centre of the pitch and their sitting deep when out of possession, letting Spurs play with the ball and acting as the counter-attackers themselves. It's like the strategy is to force Spurs out of being the counter-attack team since that is their strength. Mkhitaryan's not found his touch today and ballooned another pass miles away from anyone. 1:01PM 32 mins Credit: REUTERS Kane looks offside as the ball is chipped over the top for him but he controls and threads in Alli, who looks for Eriksen on the underlap with a through-ball. Cech gathers. Arsenal have drifted out of this one. 12:59PM 30 mins Alli's first touch isn't great but he rescues it and wins a corner as Mustafi nervously deals with him. It's sent deep to the corner of the box, Trippier taps it back inside and Dembele swings at the shot and doesn't get decent contact. Cech is relieved to gather the ball before Kane can pounce. 12:58PM 27 mins Eriksen gets on the ball on the left and drops a couple of yards away from the defenders into the half space. This is where he's most effective and he whips a cross into the area... and KANE IS THERE! But he heads over from close range! Huge chance missed for Spurs. It was difficult to get that ball on target with pace but Kane usually does much better with those. Miss: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 27 min) 12:56PM 26 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal The pace has slowed down ever so slightly. Sanchez gives the ball away to Aubameyang but his control lets him down and they get away with it. 12:53PM 23 mins Look how much space Trippier is finding. This is meant to keep Monreal back and is sort of working. It means that when Spurs concentrate play on one side of the pitch they can instantly switch to the other, something Barcelona used to do a lot under Guardiola. 12:49PM 20 mins Wilshere kicks the air when a very decent chance to shoot presents itself and the Spurs fans love it. Credit: REUTERS 12:48PM 19 mins Son is causing problems on the left for Spurs - Bellerin doesn't like him. He skips past a Wilshere challenge in the box, the kind that makes you think a penalty is on its way, and tries to get a cross low into the box. Arsenal clear. Trippier is finding loads of space on the right wing, making the team shape a weird sort of 3-3-3-1 in possession. Average touch positions (17 min) 12:45PM 16 mins Spurs have another corner, Arsenal have everyone in the area... but Dier still gets a header on goal. Wide. Three defenders have surrounded him but don't win the aerial challenge. Arsenal decide not to play out from the back and Cech launches a goal kick up the pitch. Spurs win it back immediately. That might actually be part of the plan today... Possession: Spurs vs Arsenal 12:43PM 13 mins AUBAMEYANG IS IN! Oooooh he's offside. Just offside. Wilshere finds him with an absolutely superb through-pass. 12:41PM 12 mins Aubameyang looks dangerous here. His movement is so smart and Arsenal's wide players are looking for him with early crosses from the wings. Kane barges Mustafi and concedes a foul... but on replay that looks a little weak. This is a fascinating counter-attack game at the moment. Both teams looking to break quickly in numbers. 12:39PM 10 mins Monreal curls the ball into the area and it's an awkward one to deal with. It bounces just in front of Wilshere and then looks like it might bounce onto the arm of a defender, Spurs seem panicked. And then they're away! Alli breaks down the left, Kane takes the ball inside and Cech parries it behind for a corner. And now Arsenal are on the counter! Mkhitaryan takes it on the left and chips just slightly too far ahead of Aubameyang. What a game this is already. Pass: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 9 min) Arsenal passing around the Spurs final third now. 12:37PM 7 mins Son has space on the left! The crowd rise to their feet, he takes his man on... but has to go backwards. Spurs get forward and join in and a great ball out to Trippier sets up a cross. He whips towards the near post but it's cleared. Spurs win a corner. Arsenal deal with it well and have a counter-attack on! They have one Spurs defender to beat and three forwards chasing... but the pass is poor. Mkhitaryan is then caught by Trippier. 12:35PM 5 mins Both teams a little nervy on the ball, first touches aren't quite settled yet and passes are being overhit. That'll calm later on but at the moment both sides are testing each other out. A long ball down the wing for Aubameyang, he holds off Sanchez and wins a corner. Great play! Dele Alli heads the ball clear, Elneny tidies up but his searching pass for Ozil on the right is straight out for a throw-in. 12:32PM 3 mins It's a frantic start to the game. Both teams are a little excited and getting the ball forward too quickly, moving it when there isn't really an option. Son is hugging the left wing, Trippier the right, Arsenal dropping deep behind the ball early on. 12:30PM KICK-OFF We're underway. 12:29PM Aubameyang's shinpads Allegedly. A person off Twitter said it so it must be true. Aubameyang's shinpads �� pic.twitter.com/vYGo0XVXmm— James Benge (@jamesbenge) February 10, 2018 12:27PM Here come the players It's almost football time. Wembley is rammed, the BT Sport cameras have just focused on a bunch of Arsenal fans giving rival supporters instructions on how best to empty a stubborn bottle of ketchup... and it's Clive! 12:22PM Elneny and the 4-3-3 This guy could be key today. Why Mohamed Elneny could be key to an Arsenal return to 4-3-3 against Chelsea As we've touched on, Arsenal need a bit of help in defence from time to time and Elneny's role is something between a holding midfield player who recycles the ball and starts moves, and a half-back, dropping deep between the centre-backs as a sort of sweeper. Doing this gives Arsenal a back three and makes one of the attacking midfielder drop back into central midfield to give a bit of stability. Both teams have a player that does this. For Spurs it's Eric Dier. 12:17PM Jan Vertonghen Rio Ferdinand has just said that he reckons Jan Vertonghen is the best defender in the league and I'd be inclined to agree with him. A solid defender, he's also superb at taking the ball out from the back, going past players and spotting a pass - in his younger days he was often a left-back, which must have helped develop his sense of positioning and ability to go past players. 12:02PM Arsenal players arriving Credit: GETTY IMAGES They're warming up now but here's some photos from before, Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:54AM Goooooood afternoon (almost)! This is going to be ace, isn't it? Are you excited? By Jove, I am. Quite how players get properly revved up at a time I'm still enjoying a morning coffee is something for them to deal with but for us, the viewers, it's sure to be an end-to-end battle. Spurs will make lots of little fouls to stop Arsenal counter-attacking, Arsenal need to be DRILLED into not sending too many players forward on the attack, as is their natural tendency. The reason for this is that Spurs will actively look for chances to hit them on the break... and one player in particular will do a lot of damage if given the space. Why Son Heung-min is Tottenham's not-so-secret weapon 11:35AM Team news is in Toby Alderweireld is not fit enough to make the Tottenham squad, while Aaron Ramsey has picked up an injury and misses out. #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/vawK6Mfta3— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 10, 2018 �� Here it us - our team for this afternoon's north London derby at Wembley#THFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/DhBPWoOaVe— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 10, 2018 11:21AM Match preview: Arsene Wenger on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned it is too early to make comparisons between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thierry Henry. Club-record signing Aubameyang shone on his Gunners debut last weekend, scoring in a 5-1 victory over Everton. The Gabon international has taken the number 14 shirt at Arsenal previously worn by Henry - the club's all-time leading goalscorer. Having joined the club from Borussia Dortmund on transfer deadline day, Aubameyang compared his style to Henry and said the Frenchman is "an example" to strikers. Ahead of Arsenal's north London derby against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday, Wenger urged caution over likening the pair - although he was pleased Aubameyang has set such lofty aspirations. Aubameyang scored on his Arsenal debut last week Credit: Getty Images "It is an ambitious statement but it is a good one," he said. "(Henry is) the best goalscorer ever in Arsenal's history, so it doesn't mean he will score as many goals but why not? "I would say (Aubameyang is most like) Thierry Henry with his quality of runs. But it's a bit too early to compare him to the best player ever who played here. "He has played one game. But it's a good example to follow. His finish was brilliant. His finishing is good. You don't score by coincidence for so many years, if you score many goals." PA
Tottenham 1 Arsenal 0: Harry Kane goal confirms power shift in North London
Harry Kane was famously told aged eight that he was no longer required by Arsenal. Yet in the last seven months alone, the club he left 16 years ago have spent around £102 million on two ­strikers who may never reach the ­levels of Tottenham Hotspur’s main man. A sobering thought for the team that were second best in this north London derby by some distance in terms of ­performance but were beaten by the slender margin of one Kane goal, his seventh in this, his seventh derby match. “A super striker who is one of the best in the world and he scores against everybody,” was the day’s most telling description of Kane, who had a magnificent game, and it was offered by Arsene Wenger in defence of his own players’ shortcomings against the Spurs striker. Kane symbolises the new Tottenham, still without a trophy in the ­Mauricio Pochettino era but a dynamic, high-pressing team who face Juventus in Turin on Tuesday with ­renewed ­belief that they can compete against the best teams in Europe. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Lacazette missed two huge chances to equalise late on Credit: REUTERS As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Average touch positions (0 min) As for Wenger, the picture as regards the Champions League is that much more grim after this, a defeat in a game he admitted Arsenal could not afford to lose. Asked whether the Europa League was the best route for his team back into the Champions League, Wenger said dolefully that it was “too early” to say. “Football is not about switching off for three games and switching it on for one game,” he said. “Manchester United decided that [about the Europa League] once they were in the semi-­final but we are far from the semi-final. I think we have to fight to have a chance to come back. Overall it is a very disappointing result because the priority has to be to get to the Champions League through the Premier League. “I am not a great fan of the Europa League being a qualifier for the Champions League because I think it is not right. If it is an opportunity we will have to try to take it but the priority is still the Premier League.” His team have won just three away games this season, against Crystal ­Palace, Everton and Burnley, and lost their last three in a row. It is early days yet for Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan but the newly-minted Ozil again looked less than the indispensable player his contract suggests he should be. The gap is seven points to Spurs, which is not unbridgeable but on this day it looked like a very long way indeed. 2:43PM Expected goals xG map for the North London Derby. Tottenham utterly dominated the second half, then escaped in stoppage time after some poor finishing. pic.twitter.com/s0whMf54P4— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) February 10, 2018 2:42PM Mauricio Pochettino says "First half both teams have good energy, they were so compact, they tried to find the space and it was difficult to break down them. I think we dominate first half. Second half we had same shape but we were much better, moved the ball better and found space, create problems. "I think the score should be 3-0 but in football if you don't kill the games then you can concede some chances and suffer but I am so happy for three massive games, the performance was amazing. [Kane]'s our future. It's amazing all he's achieving and we are so proud he's in our side." 2:39PM Rio Ferdinand laying into Koscielny The ex-defender has shredded the midfield organisation, pointing out how dreadful it was in the second half but the panel is now onto the January transfer window. Buying Jonny Evans may have made a difference but Arsenal's problem isn't the centre-backs, it is the entire team's approach to defending. Kane didn't score because Koscielny lost him, but because Davies was able to angle the exact ball needed to set up the header. Had Ozil closed down his man properly, that goal wouldn't have happened. 2:32PM Kane post-match "It was nice to score, I had a few headers int he game. I thought we deserved it, should have finished it off. "I look forward to these games, it was a great performance by the team. We're a fit squad and know if we keep playing chances will come. We had chances, they had a few chances, we're really pleased with the win. "We had tough fixtures, United, Liverpool, Arsenal all in a row and we got seven points from them. Champions League now, we just need to keep the momentum going. I can't wait for Juventus." 2:23PM Wenger's team talk What could Wenger have said to them at half time? Spurs came out aggressive, enthusiastic, determined while Arsenal slithered to a start. They were caught dozing, lost every duel, were second to every challenge - Spurs were better in every department. 2:21PM FULL TIME OZIL HITS THE WALL! Spurs win the North London Derby! A deserved win too. They battered Arsenal for most of this one and Arsenal's expensive flops missed golden chances at the end to make it 1-1. Don't forget the million easy ones that Spurs missed too! Spurs are without doubt the superior north London force in the modern day. 2:20PM 90 mins +4 Oooohhhhhhh but there's one chance left! Dembele brings down Welbeck in the D! Arsenal have one last chance to shoot from a perfect free-kick position!!! The tension... Spurs are scared here. 2:19PM 90 mins +3 OH MY GOD LACAZETTE IS IN! BUT HE'S MISSED FROM SIX YARDS! The long through ball from Iwobi is amazing, it bypasses everyone and Lacazette is clean in behind every single defender. He only has the goalkeeper to beat and shoots wide. That is dreadful. Wenger can't believe it. I can't believe it. That's a gift. 2:17PM 90 mins +2 LACAZETTTTTEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! Oh dear. That was Arsenal's one chance. They counter, Bellerin sends a beautiful ball into the area and Lacazette can line up his volley from 12 yards... and puts it miles over the bar. Awful effort. He stares at the floor. That boy hasn't looked quite right for a while now. 2:15PM 90 mins Kane covers for Davies at left-back and buys a free-kick from Bellerin. And all of a sudden, Lamela is completely in behind the Arsenal defence with one pass from deep - how on earth has that happened?! Lamela doesn't even know what to do and ends up shooting wide but that is... that shouldn't happen. 2:13PM 88 mins Wilshere has been the best Arsenal player, except Cech today, and he has just nearly threaded Welbeck into a one-on-one chance to shoot in the Spurs box. The substitute isn't aware or alert and doesn't control it - had he done so, that would have been a huge opportunity. 2:11PM 86 mins Wenger has abandoned team shape and strategy now and thrown on Welbeck for Xhaka. That means they have three central strikers, an Iwobi, an Ozil and a Wilshere all on the pitch. Instructions: do the football, score them goals. 2:10PM 85 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal Aubameyang is just offside as he threatens to sprint in behind. Arsenal might have been second best all over the pitch but they're not done here yet! Spurs vs Arsenal Monreal slides in from behind on Kane and concedes a corner, getting a good chunk out of Kane in doing so. Dele Alli knows he's coming off but looks away from the touchline and gets ready for the corner. Arsenal players get annoyed and urge him to leave the pitch with a friendly shove in the back. Wanyama on. 2:07PM 82 mins Iwobi gives it away again! He goes on a dribble towards Spurs players and runs into trouble, spreads play to the left but doesn't put any conviction in the pass and nearly hands a counter-attack to Spurs. 2:05PM 80 mins Wilshere is getting wound up. Lamela swipes at him with a lunging tackle - leaping into it - and is booked. What can Arsenal do to get back into this game? Iwobi has been caught in possession a few times since coming on and done almost nothing of note. Not really an impact substitution... 2:03PM 77 mins What did Wenger even say to his players at half time? They've come out all soggy and pathetic. Spurs are winning every battle, every 50/50, running more, tackling harder, passing better. And Cech has just made another brilliant save to keep it 1-0! Trippier is denied this time at the near post, though his shot is hit far too centrally and at waist height, giving the keeper a good chance of stopping it. 2:00PM 75 mins Arsenal briefly enjoy a spell of possession in Spurs' half and then Aubameyang fouls Sanchez. The absolute state of this graphic (from an Arsenal point of view): Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal 1:58PM 73 mins And LAMELA IS IN! Kane is wiped out, play continues, Lamela comes inside the left-back and the centre-backs can't get close... Cech makes a great save! Arsenal have been dreadful in this second half. 1:57PM 72 mins OOOOOOCHA! Mustafi passes inside to Cech, Alli closes him down and Cech passes back to Mustafi. BUT HE'S PASSED IT STRAIGHT TO ALLI! Luckily for him it's out for a goal kick. What are Arsenal playing at here?! And Alli is in again! A defence splitting pass puts him one on one with Cech but he taps it wide of the goal. Oohhhhh my word he's just missed a golden chance to make it 2-0. You get the feeling Spurs are going to regret missing all these chance - I'd love to know the expected goals figures for today. 1:55PM 71 mins Son isn't on his game today. Spurs take advantage of sloppy Arsenal play and Alli passes wide to him on the edge of the area. He lines up a top corner smash but puts his foot way under the ball and it flies over the top of the stadium roof. That's his last touch too. Lamela comes on in his place. 1:54PM 69 mins Kane wins a header as Mustafi jumps for it like a salmon leaping out of water and flops to the floor. Wilshere loses control and Kane uses his body well to win the tackle but the referee sees it as a foul. Kane cuts inside and Son sprints wide left. He's in here it Kane can get the pass through... and he does! But Son doesn't control it! Arsenal counter attack, get to the box and Wilshere lines up a shot on the edge of the area on his left foot. SAVED BY LLORIS! It's a powerful effort to the top corner but Lloris reads it early. Attempt Saved: Arsenal ( 68 min ) 1:51PM 67 mins Aubameyang has gone wide left, Lacazette through the middle and Ozil wide right. Iwobi, Xhaka and Wilshere in midfield? It's probably a 4-2-3-1. Lacazette has been caught offside because he's busy doing his socks - what on earth has been doing on the subs bench for the last 65 minutes? Put your football clothes on, pal. 1:50PM 65 mins The attendance is 83,222 at Wembley, which makes it the highest attendance of any Premier League player ever. Mkhitaryan and Elneny come off, Lacazette and Iwobi are on. That'll be a change of shape as well but I'm not quite sure what it is. 1:49PM 64 mins Eriksen fires a free-kick from wide left into the area, aiming it into a sea of bodies at speed. He wins a corner and sends that to the six yard box, but Cech heads clear. Eriksen has another chance to cross but Cech gathers. Ozil passes inside and is so, so, so close to handing Spurs a four on two in Arsenal's half. Steve McManaman does his trademark off-mic 'Woooooohhhhhhhhh' noise for about the fifth time today as a result of Arsenal's passing. Wenger is about to make some substitutions. 1:46PM 61 mins Credit: AFP Arsenal are in Spurs' half but the passing in the final third has been shocking all game long. Ozil gives it away, Wilshere gives it away, Spurs battle and win it back. Xhaka's control lets him down, Arsenal consider pressing from the front but abandon the idea quickly. Eriksen wins a throw deep in Arsenal's half near the box. 1:43PM 58 mins Vertonghen wins the header! Arsenal are being beaten to every single high ball. Arsene Wenger thinks Arsenal should have won a free-kick for Kane's goal, with the striker appearing to nudge Koscielny in the back. It's never a foul. Arsenal can't get hold of the ball. Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal But they're not out of it yet. 1:42PM 57 mins Eriksen takes it... and Cech tips over at the top corner! Great effort. Spurs corner. 1:41PM 56 mins Arsenal are still sitting deep, inviting pressure and hoping they can counter-attack but Spurs are pressing them intensely and winning the ball back quickly. Bellerin doesn't go in hard enough on Son and loses the ball, Son then dribbles to the box and goes down in the D. It's a foul, play-on says the ref... and it's pulled back for a free-kick in a very dangerous area. 1:39PM 55 mins Spurs have all the momentum, Arsenal on the back foot. Trippier completely bins a player on the right and crosses to the centre. The ball sits up perfectly for Kane to smash the volley! It must be!!!! But he strikes straight at Cech! The rebound falls to Alli, he can't react in time. Neither can Son... chance gone. Arsenal are all over the place. 1:37PM 52 mins KANE MUST SCORE!!!!!! He's just missed another chance seconds after the first goal but heads wide from six yards! Arsenal's defence are all over the place! 1:37PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Kane goal Spurs have the lead and what brilliant header this is! Kane, or Shearer 2.0 as he should be known, rises to power a shot past Cech, who stays rooted to the spot. Spurs have started this half superbly. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) 1:34PM 48 mins Mkhitaryan wins a free-kick over on the left wing, Arsenal keep the ball but are put under heavy pressure from Spurs' forward press. Cech has the ball AND KANE IS CLOSING HIM DOWN! The goalkeeper has to stretch to quickly clear that away from the area just as it looked like he might get caught out. 1:31PM 46 mins Spurs attack from the start of the half and Davies overlaps Son and drills a low ball into the box. Arsenal defend it well but that was a promising attack from the home side. 1:30PM KICK-OFF 2 And we're back! 1:19PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) 1:16PM Team talks "Where's the passion, lads?"— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) February 10, 2018 I’m going angry, “where’s the passion lads!”— Jack Waterston (@JackWaterston) February 10, 2018 1:16PM HALF TIME That was pretty good. There's been a lack of quality in the final third with both teams getting far too excited when near the goal, but for the majority they've cancelled each other out. One of those passes will work at some point and it very nearly did for Aubameyang earlier. 1:15PM 45 mins Spurs are passing around the halfway line. Arsenal closing them down once they get near the final third but Spurs are still able to find space and keep the ball. 1:13PM 43 mins This is amazing. South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 On the pitch Son's had a lot of the ball but Arsenal are closing him down quickly, giving Bellerin a hand. He needs it too. Arsenal are lacking a lot of width on that right side since Bellerin can't steam up the wing like he usually does, preoccupied by defending against Son. 1:10PM 40 mins Bellerin shoots from 25 yards on the angle, mistaking real life for FIFA 95 on the Megadrive. It's over the bar. Out: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Héctor Bellerín, 41 min) 1:10PM 39 mins Spurs win a free-kick wide left about 30 yards out. Eriksen stands over it... and it's a good delivery. Kane attacks but Mustafi jumps and wins the header, then Arsenal win a throw. Arsenal counter quickly, Mkhitaryan bursts through the middle and plays a disguised pass out to Ozil on the right. He looks up and drifts the ball to the left towards Monreal but it slows the move down and Spurs get back. Sanchez is able to bundle it to the keeper. 1:06PM 37 mins Credit: AFP Spurs have the chance to break, Wilshere tracks Eriksen back and intercepts, Xhaka doesn't read the play and Arsenal lose the ball in Spurs' half. 1:04PM 35 mins Wenger may have told his players to knock the ball forward at every possible opportunity and take advantage of their pace upfront. There's been very little tip-tap passing in the centre of the pitch and their sitting deep when out of possession, letting Spurs play with the ball and acting as the counter-attackers themselves. It's like the strategy is to force Spurs out of being the counter-attack team since that is their strength. Mkhitaryan's not found his touch today and ballooned another pass miles away from anyone. 1:01PM 32 mins Credit: REUTERS Kane looks offside as the ball is chipped over the top for him but he controls and threads in Alli, who looks for Eriksen on the underlap with a through-ball. Cech gathers. Arsenal have drifted out of this one. 12:59PM 30 mins Alli's first touch isn't great but he rescues it and wins a corner as Mustafi nervously deals with him. It's sent deep to the corner of the box, Trippier taps it back inside and Dembele swings at the shot and doesn't get decent contact. Cech is relieved to gather the ball before Kane can pounce. 12:58PM 27 mins Eriksen gets on the ball on the left and drops a couple of yards away from the defenders into the half space. This is where he's most effective and he whips a cross into the area... and KANE IS THERE! But he heads over from close range! Huge chance missed for Spurs. It was difficult to get that ball on target with pace but Kane usually does much better with those. Miss: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 27 min) 12:56PM 26 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal The pace has slowed down ever so slightly. Sanchez gives the ball away to Aubameyang but his control lets him down and they get away with it. 12:53PM 23 mins Look how much space Trippier is finding. This is meant to keep Monreal back and is sort of working. It means that when Spurs concentrate play on one side of the pitch they can instantly switch to the other, something Barcelona used to do a lot under Guardiola. 12:49PM 20 mins Wilshere kicks the air when a very decent chance to shoot presents itself and the Spurs fans love it. Credit: REUTERS 12:48PM 19 mins Son is causing problems on the left for Spurs - Bellerin doesn't like him. He skips past a Wilshere challenge in the box, the kind that makes you think a penalty is on its way, and tries to get a cross low into the box. Arsenal clear. Trippier is finding loads of space on the right wing, making the team shape a weird sort of 3-3-3-1 in possession. Average touch positions (17 min) 12:45PM 16 mins Spurs have another corner, Arsenal have everyone in the area... but Dier still gets a header on goal. Wide. Three defenders have surrounded him but don't win the aerial challenge. Arsenal decide not to play out from the back and Cech launches a goal kick up the pitch. Spurs win it back immediately. That might actually be part of the plan today... Possession: Spurs vs Arsenal 12:43PM 13 mins AUBAMEYANG IS IN! Oooooh he's offside. Just offside. Wilshere finds him with an absolutely superb through-pass. 12:41PM 12 mins Aubameyang looks dangerous here. His movement is so smart and Arsenal's wide players are looking for him with early crosses from the wings. Kane barges Mustafi and concedes a foul... but on replay that looks a little weak. This is a fascinating counter-attack game at the moment. Both teams looking to break quickly in numbers. 12:39PM 10 mins Monreal curls the ball into the area and it's an awkward one to deal with. It bounces just in front of Wilshere and then looks like it might bounce onto the arm of a defender, Spurs seem panicked. And then they're away! Alli breaks down the left, Kane takes the ball inside and Cech parries it behind for a corner. And now Arsenal are on the counter! Mkhitaryan takes it on the left and chips just slightly too far ahead of Aubameyang. What a game this is already. Pass: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 9 min) Arsenal passing around the Spurs final third now. 12:37PM 7 mins Son has space on the left! The crowd rise to their feet, he takes his man on... but has to go backwards. Spurs get forward and join in and a great ball out to Trippier sets up a cross. He whips towards the near post but it's cleared. Spurs win a corner. Arsenal deal with it well and have a counter-attack on! They have one Spurs defender to beat and three forwards chasing... but the pass is poor. Mkhitaryan is then caught by Trippier. 12:35PM 5 mins Both teams a little nervy on the ball, first touches aren't quite settled yet and passes are being overhit. That'll calm later on but at the moment both sides are testing each other out. A long ball down the wing for Aubameyang, he holds off Sanchez and wins a corner. Great play! Dele Alli heads the ball clear, Elneny tidies up but his searching pass for Ozil on the right is straight out for a throw-in. 12:32PM 3 mins It's a frantic start to the game. Both teams are a little excited and getting the ball forward too quickly, moving it when there isn't really an option. Son is hugging the left wing, Trippier the right, Arsenal dropping deep behind the ball early on. 12:30PM KICK-OFF We're underway. 12:29PM Aubameyang's shinpads Allegedly. A person off Twitter said it so it must be true. Aubameyang's shinpads �� pic.twitter.com/vYGo0XVXmm— James Benge (@jamesbenge) February 10, 2018 12:27PM Here come the players It's almost football time. Wembley is rammed, the BT Sport cameras have just focused on a bunch of Arsenal fans giving rival supporters instructions on how best to empty a stubborn bottle of ketchup... and it's Clive! 12:22PM Elneny and the 4-3-3 This guy could be key today. Why Mohamed Elneny could be key to an Arsenal return to 4-3-3 against Chelsea As we've touched on, Arsenal need a bit of help in defence from time to time and Elneny's role is something between a holding midfield player who recycles the ball and starts moves, and a half-back, dropping deep between the centre-backs as a sort of sweeper. Doing this gives Arsenal a back three and makes one of the attacking midfielder drop back into central midfield to give a bit of stability. Both teams have a player that does this. For Spurs it's Eric Dier. 12:17PM Jan Vertonghen Rio Ferdinand has just said that he reckons Jan Vertonghen is the best defender in the league and I'd be inclined to agree with him. A solid defender, he's also superb at taking the ball out from the back, going past players and spotting a pass - in his younger days he was often a left-back, which must have helped develop his sense of positioning and ability to go past players. 12:02PM Arsenal players arriving Credit: GETTY IMAGES They're warming up now but here's some photos from before, Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:54AM Goooooood afternoon (almost)! This is going to be ace, isn't it? Are you excited? By Jove, I am. Quite how players get properly revved up at a time I'm still enjoying a morning coffee is something for them to deal with but for us, the viewers, it's sure to be an end-to-end battle. Spurs will make lots of little fouls to stop Arsenal counter-attacking, Arsenal need to be DRILLED into not sending too many players forward on the attack, as is their natural tendency. The reason for this is that Spurs will actively look for chances to hit them on the break... and one player in particular will do a lot of damage if given the space. Why Son Heung-min is Tottenham's not-so-secret weapon 11:35AM Team news is in Toby Alderweireld is not fit enough to make the Tottenham squad, while Aaron Ramsey has picked up an injury and misses out. #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/vawK6Mfta3— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 10, 2018 �� Here it us - our team for this afternoon's north London derby at Wembley#THFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/DhBPWoOaVe— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 10, 2018 11:21AM Match preview: Arsene Wenger on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned it is too early to make comparisons between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thierry Henry. Club-record signing Aubameyang shone on his Gunners debut last weekend, scoring in a 5-1 victory over Everton. The Gabon international has taken the number 14 shirt at Arsenal previously worn by Henry - the club's all-time leading goalscorer. Having joined the club from Borussia Dortmund on transfer deadline day, Aubameyang compared his style to Henry and said the Frenchman is "an example" to strikers. Ahead of Arsenal's north London derby against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday, Wenger urged caution over likening the pair - although he was pleased Aubameyang has set such lofty aspirations. Aubameyang scored on his Arsenal debut last week Credit: Getty Images "It is an ambitious statement but it is a good one," he said. "(Henry is) the best goalscorer ever in Arsenal's history, so it doesn't mean he will score as many goals but why not? "I would say (Aubameyang is most like) Thierry Henry with his quality of runs. But it's a bit too early to compare him to the best player ever who played here. "He has played one game. But it's a good example to follow. His finish was brilliant. His finishing is good. You don't score by coincidence for so many years, if you score many goals." PA
Harry Kane was famously told aged eight that he was no longer required by Arsenal. Yet in the last seven months alone, the club he left 16 years ago have spent around £102 million on two ­strikers who may never reach the ­levels of Tottenham Hotspur’s main man. A sobering thought for the team that were second best in this north London derby by some distance in terms of ­performance but were beaten by the slender margin of one Kane goal, his seventh in this, his seventh derby match. “A super striker who is one of the best in the world and he scores against everybody,” was the day’s most telling description of Kane, who had a magnificent game, and it was offered by Arsene Wenger in defence of his own players’ shortcomings against the Spurs striker. Kane symbolises the new Tottenham, still without a trophy in the ­Mauricio Pochettino era but a dynamic, high-pressing team who face Juventus in Turin on Tuesday with ­renewed ­belief that they can compete against the best teams in Europe. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Their record now stands at seven points in total from their games against Manchester United, Liverpool and ­Arsenal and this was as good as ­anything they produced at Wembley against United, dominating a second half during which they should have put Arsenal away. Lacazette missed two huge chances to equalise late on Credit: REUTERS As it was, Wenger’s team were ­almost given an escape route in the closing stages when the substitute Alexandre Lacazette went through in the third minute of injury time and missed the target. Rattled for the first time, Mousa Dembele conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and with ­practically the final kick of the game, Mesut Ozil, the best-paid player in the history of Arsenal, clipped his shot into the Spurs wall, which was no more than his side deserved. Wenger railed against what he saw as the missed opportunities of the first half with the highly debatable claim that Arsenal should have had the game won by the break. “We missed opportunities on the counter-attack that are not missable at our level with the final ball,” he said. “In the second half we should have lost the game by more than one goal. We were destabilised by their goal and they had two or three opportunities.” The manner in which his team were dominated would have been of great concern, with scarcely any opportunity of note in the game for Pierre-­Emerick Aubameyang, and with Henrikh Mkhitaryan substituted and Lacazette’s confidence betraying him at that final moment. Spurs had squeezed Arsenal relentlessly throughout, and there was no one in the away side with the influence to match that of Christian Eriksen, Dembele of the ­incomparable Kane. Average touch positions (0 min) As for Wenger, the picture as regards the Champions League is that much more grim after this, a defeat in a game he admitted Arsenal could not afford to lose. Asked whether the Europa League was the best route for his team back into the Champions League, Wenger said dolefully that it was “too early” to say. “Football is not about switching off for three games and switching it on for one game,” he said. “Manchester United decided that [about the Europa League] once they were in the semi-­final but we are far from the semi-final. I think we have to fight to have a chance to come back. Overall it is a very disappointing result because the priority has to be to get to the Champions League through the Premier League. “I am not a great fan of the Europa League being a qualifier for the Champions League because I think it is not right. If it is an opportunity we will have to try to take it but the priority is still the Premier League.” His team have won just three away games this season, against Crystal ­Palace, Everton and Burnley, and lost their last three in a row. It is early days yet for Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan but the newly-minted Ozil again looked less than the indispensable player his contract suggests he should be. The gap is seven points to Spurs, which is not unbridgeable but on this day it looked like a very long way indeed. 2:43PM Expected goals xG map for the North London Derby. Tottenham utterly dominated the second half, then escaped in stoppage time after some poor finishing. pic.twitter.com/s0whMf54P4— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) February 10, 2018 2:42PM Mauricio Pochettino says "First half both teams have good energy, they were so compact, they tried to find the space and it was difficult to break down them. I think we dominate first half. Second half we had same shape but we were much better, moved the ball better and found space, create problems. "I think the score should be 3-0 but in football if you don't kill the games then you can concede some chances and suffer but I am so happy for three massive games, the performance was amazing. [Kane]'s our future. It's amazing all he's achieving and we are so proud he's in our side." 2:39PM Rio Ferdinand laying into Koscielny The ex-defender has shredded the midfield organisation, pointing out how dreadful it was in the second half but the panel is now onto the January transfer window. Buying Jonny Evans may have made a difference but Arsenal's problem isn't the centre-backs, it is the entire team's approach to defending. Kane didn't score because Koscielny lost him, but because Davies was able to angle the exact ball needed to set up the header. Had Ozil closed down his man properly, that goal wouldn't have happened. 2:32PM Kane post-match "It was nice to score, I had a few headers int he game. I thought we deserved it, should have finished it off. "I look forward to these games, it was a great performance by the team. We're a fit squad and know if we keep playing chances will come. We had chances, they had a few chances, we're really pleased with the win. "We had tough fixtures, United, Liverpool, Arsenal all in a row and we got seven points from them. Champions League now, we just need to keep the momentum going. I can't wait for Juventus." 2:23PM Wenger's team talk What could Wenger have said to them at half time? Spurs came out aggressive, enthusiastic, determined while Arsenal slithered to a start. They were caught dozing, lost every duel, were second to every challenge - Spurs were better in every department. 2:21PM FULL TIME OZIL HITS THE WALL! Spurs win the North London Derby! A deserved win too. They battered Arsenal for most of this one and Arsenal's expensive flops missed golden chances at the end to make it 1-1. Don't forget the million easy ones that Spurs missed too! Spurs are without doubt the superior north London force in the modern day. 2:20PM 90 mins +4 Oooohhhhhhh but there's one chance left! Dembele brings down Welbeck in the D! Arsenal have one last chance to shoot from a perfect free-kick position!!! The tension... Spurs are scared here. 2:19PM 90 mins +3 OH MY GOD LACAZETTE IS IN! BUT HE'S MISSED FROM SIX YARDS! The long through ball from Iwobi is amazing, it bypasses everyone and Lacazette is clean in behind every single defender. He only has the goalkeeper to beat and shoots wide. That is dreadful. Wenger can't believe it. I can't believe it. That's a gift. 2:17PM 90 mins +2 LACAZETTTTTEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!! Oh dear. That was Arsenal's one chance. They counter, Bellerin sends a beautiful ball into the area and Lacazette can line up his volley from 12 yards... and puts it miles over the bar. Awful effort. He stares at the floor. That boy hasn't looked quite right for a while now. 2:15PM 90 mins Kane covers for Davies at left-back and buys a free-kick from Bellerin. And all of a sudden, Lamela is completely in behind the Arsenal defence with one pass from deep - how on earth has that happened?! Lamela doesn't even know what to do and ends up shooting wide but that is... that shouldn't happen. 2:13PM 88 mins Wilshere has been the best Arsenal player, except Cech today, and he has just nearly threaded Welbeck into a one-on-one chance to shoot in the Spurs box. The substitute isn't aware or alert and doesn't control it - had he done so, that would have been a huge opportunity. 2:11PM 86 mins Wenger has abandoned team shape and strategy now and thrown on Welbeck for Xhaka. That means they have three central strikers, an Iwobi, an Ozil and a Wilshere all on the pitch. Instructions: do the football, score them goals. 2:10PM 85 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal Aubameyang is just offside as he threatens to sprint in behind. Arsenal might have been second best all over the pitch but they're not done here yet! Spurs vs Arsenal Monreal slides in from behind on Kane and concedes a corner, getting a good chunk out of Kane in doing so. Dele Alli knows he's coming off but looks away from the touchline and gets ready for the corner. Arsenal players get annoyed and urge him to leave the pitch with a friendly shove in the back. Wanyama on. 2:07PM 82 mins Iwobi gives it away again! He goes on a dribble towards Spurs players and runs into trouble, spreads play to the left but doesn't put any conviction in the pass and nearly hands a counter-attack to Spurs. 2:05PM 80 mins Wilshere is getting wound up. Lamela swipes at him with a lunging tackle - leaping into it - and is booked. What can Arsenal do to get back into this game? Iwobi has been caught in possession a few times since coming on and done almost nothing of note. Not really an impact substitution... 2:03PM 77 mins What did Wenger even say to his players at half time? They've come out all soggy and pathetic. Spurs are winning every battle, every 50/50, running more, tackling harder, passing better. And Cech has just made another brilliant save to keep it 1-0! Trippier is denied this time at the near post, though his shot is hit far too centrally and at waist height, giving the keeper a good chance of stopping it. 2:00PM 75 mins Arsenal briefly enjoy a spell of possession in Spurs' half and then Aubameyang fouls Sanchez. The absolute state of this graphic (from an Arsenal point of view): Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal 1:58PM 73 mins And LAMELA IS IN! Kane is wiped out, play continues, Lamela comes inside the left-back and the centre-backs can't get close... Cech makes a great save! Arsenal have been dreadful in this second half. 1:57PM 72 mins OOOOOOCHA! Mustafi passes inside to Cech, Alli closes him down and Cech passes back to Mustafi. BUT HE'S PASSED IT STRAIGHT TO ALLI! Luckily for him it's out for a goal kick. What are Arsenal playing at here?! And Alli is in again! A defence splitting pass puts him one on one with Cech but he taps it wide of the goal. Oohhhhh my word he's just missed a golden chance to make it 2-0. You get the feeling Spurs are going to regret missing all these chance - I'd love to know the expected goals figures for today. 1:55PM 71 mins Son isn't on his game today. Spurs take advantage of sloppy Arsenal play and Alli passes wide to him on the edge of the area. He lines up a top corner smash but puts his foot way under the ball and it flies over the top of the stadium roof. That's his last touch too. Lamela comes on in his place. 1:54PM 69 mins Kane wins a header as Mustafi jumps for it like a salmon leaping out of water and flops to the floor. Wilshere loses control and Kane uses his body well to win the tackle but the referee sees it as a foul. Kane cuts inside and Son sprints wide left. He's in here it Kane can get the pass through... and he does! But Son doesn't control it! Arsenal counter attack, get to the box and Wilshere lines up a shot on the edge of the area on his left foot. SAVED BY LLORIS! It's a powerful effort to the top corner but Lloris reads it early. Attempt Saved: Arsenal ( 68 min ) 1:51PM 67 mins Aubameyang has gone wide left, Lacazette through the middle and Ozil wide right. Iwobi, Xhaka and Wilshere in midfield? It's probably a 4-2-3-1. Lacazette has been caught offside because he's busy doing his socks - what on earth has been doing on the subs bench for the last 65 minutes? Put your football clothes on, pal. 1:50PM 65 mins The attendance is 83,222 at Wembley, which makes it the highest attendance of any Premier League player ever. Mkhitaryan and Elneny come off, Lacazette and Iwobi are on. That'll be a change of shape as well but I'm not quite sure what it is. 1:49PM 64 mins Eriksen fires a free-kick from wide left into the area, aiming it into a sea of bodies at speed. He wins a corner and sends that to the six yard box, but Cech heads clear. Eriksen has another chance to cross but Cech gathers. Ozil passes inside and is so, so, so close to handing Spurs a four on two in Arsenal's half. Steve McManaman does his trademark off-mic 'Woooooohhhhhhhhh' noise for about the fifth time today as a result of Arsenal's passing. Wenger is about to make some substitutions. 1:46PM 61 mins Credit: AFP Arsenal are in Spurs' half but the passing in the final third has been shocking all game long. Ozil gives it away, Wilshere gives it away, Spurs battle and win it back. Xhaka's control lets him down, Arsenal consider pressing from the front but abandon the idea quickly. Eriksen wins a throw deep in Arsenal's half near the box. 1:43PM 58 mins Vertonghen wins the header! Arsenal are being beaten to every single high ball. Arsene Wenger thinks Arsenal should have won a free-kick for Kane's goal, with the striker appearing to nudge Koscielny in the back. It's never a foul. Arsenal can't get hold of the ball. Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal But they're not out of it yet. 1:42PM 57 mins Eriksen takes it... and Cech tips over at the top corner! Great effort. Spurs corner. 1:41PM 56 mins Arsenal are still sitting deep, inviting pressure and hoping they can counter-attack but Spurs are pressing them intensely and winning the ball back quickly. Bellerin doesn't go in hard enough on Son and loses the ball, Son then dribbles to the box and goes down in the D. It's a foul, play-on says the ref... and it's pulled back for a free-kick in a very dangerous area. 1:39PM 55 mins Spurs have all the momentum, Arsenal on the back foot. Trippier completely bins a player on the right and crosses to the centre. The ball sits up perfectly for Kane to smash the volley! It must be!!!! But he strikes straight at Cech! The rebound falls to Alli, he can't react in time. Neither can Son... chance gone. Arsenal are all over the place. 1:37PM 52 mins KANE MUST SCORE!!!!!! He's just missed another chance seconds after the first goal but heads wide from six yards! Arsenal's defence are all over the place! 1:37PM GOOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLL! Kane goal Spurs have the lead and what brilliant header this is! Kane, or Shearer 2.0 as he should be known, rises to power a shot past Cech, who stays rooted to the spot. Spurs have started this half superbly. Spurs 1 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 49 min) 1:34PM 48 mins Mkhitaryan wins a free-kick over on the left wing, Arsenal keep the ball but are put under heavy pressure from Spurs' forward press. Cech has the ball AND KANE IS CLOSING HIM DOWN! The goalkeeper has to stretch to quickly clear that away from the area just as it looked like he might get caught out. 1:31PM 46 mins Spurs attack from the start of the half and Davies overlaps Son and drills a low ball into the box. Arsenal defend it well but that was a promising attack from the home side. 1:30PM KICK-OFF 2 And we're back! 1:19PM Average positions Average touch positions (half time) 1:16PM Team talks "Where's the passion, lads?"— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) February 10, 2018 I’m going angry, “where’s the passion lads!”— Jack Waterston (@JackWaterston) February 10, 2018 1:16PM HALF TIME That was pretty good. There's been a lack of quality in the final third with both teams getting far too excited when near the goal, but for the majority they've cancelled each other out. One of those passes will work at some point and it very nearly did for Aubameyang earlier. 1:15PM 45 mins Spurs are passing around the halfway line. Arsenal closing them down once they get near the final third but Spurs are still able to find space and keep the ball. 1:13PM 43 mins This is amazing. South Korea is absolutely fanatical about Son Heung-min. 30-min doco about him on TV on Monday. More tonight. And they don’t show Spurs badge for match, just his head pic.twitter.com/tscL6XMy9L— Simon Austin (@sport_simon) February 10, 2018 On the pitch Son's had a lot of the ball but Arsenal are closing him down quickly, giving Bellerin a hand. He needs it too. Arsenal are lacking a lot of width on that right side since Bellerin can't steam up the wing like he usually does, preoccupied by defending against Son. 1:10PM 40 mins Bellerin shoots from 25 yards on the angle, mistaking real life for FIFA 95 on the Megadrive. It's over the bar. Out: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Héctor Bellerín, 41 min) 1:10PM 39 mins Spurs win a free-kick wide left about 30 yards out. Eriksen stands over it... and it's a good delivery. Kane attacks but Mustafi jumps and wins the header, then Arsenal win a throw. Arsenal counter quickly, Mkhitaryan bursts through the middle and plays a disguised pass out to Ozil on the right. He looks up and drifts the ball to the left towards Monreal but it slows the move down and Spurs get back. Sanchez is able to bundle it to the keeper. 1:06PM 37 mins Credit: AFP Spurs have the chance to break, Wilshere tracks Eriksen back and intercepts, Xhaka doesn't read the play and Arsenal lose the ball in Spurs' half. 1:04PM 35 mins Wenger may have told his players to knock the ball forward at every possible opportunity and take advantage of their pace upfront. There's been very little tip-tap passing in the centre of the pitch and their sitting deep when out of possession, letting Spurs play with the ball and acting as the counter-attackers themselves. It's like the strategy is to force Spurs out of being the counter-attack team since that is their strength. Mkhitaryan's not found his touch today and ballooned another pass miles away from anyone. 1:01PM 32 mins Credit: REUTERS Kane looks offside as the ball is chipped over the top for him but he controls and threads in Alli, who looks for Eriksen on the underlap with a through-ball. Cech gathers. Arsenal have drifted out of this one. 12:59PM 30 mins Alli's first touch isn't great but he rescues it and wins a corner as Mustafi nervously deals with him. It's sent deep to the corner of the box, Trippier taps it back inside and Dembele swings at the shot and doesn't get decent contact. Cech is relieved to gather the ball before Kane can pounce. 12:58PM 27 mins Eriksen gets on the ball on the left and drops a couple of yards away from the defenders into the half space. This is where he's most effective and he whips a cross into the area... and KANE IS THERE! But he heads over from close range! Huge chance missed for Spurs. It was difficult to get that ball on target with pace but Kane usually does much better with those. Miss: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Harry Kane, 27 min) 12:56PM 26 mins Spurs vs Arsenal shots on goal The pace has slowed down ever so slightly. Sanchez gives the ball away to Aubameyang but his control lets him down and they get away with it. 12:53PM 23 mins Look how much space Trippier is finding. This is meant to keep Monreal back and is sort of working. It means that when Spurs concentrate play on one side of the pitch they can instantly switch to the other, something Barcelona used to do a lot under Guardiola. 12:49PM 20 mins Wilshere kicks the air when a very decent chance to shoot presents itself and the Spurs fans love it. Credit: REUTERS 12:48PM 19 mins Son is causing problems on the left for Spurs - Bellerin doesn't like him. He skips past a Wilshere challenge in the box, the kind that makes you think a penalty is on its way, and tries to get a cross low into the box. Arsenal clear. Trippier is finding loads of space on the right wing, making the team shape a weird sort of 3-3-3-1 in possession. Average touch positions (17 min) 12:45PM 16 mins Spurs have another corner, Arsenal have everyone in the area... but Dier still gets a header on goal. Wide. Three defenders have surrounded him but don't win the aerial challenge. Arsenal decide not to play out from the back and Cech launches a goal kick up the pitch. Spurs win it back immediately. That might actually be part of the plan today... Possession: Spurs vs Arsenal 12:43PM 13 mins AUBAMEYANG IS IN! Oooooh he's offside. Just offside. Wilshere finds him with an absolutely superb through-pass. 12:41PM 12 mins Aubameyang looks dangerous here. His movement is so smart and Arsenal's wide players are looking for him with early crosses from the wings. Kane barges Mustafi and concedes a foul... but on replay that looks a little weak. This is a fascinating counter-attack game at the moment. Both teams looking to break quickly in numbers. 12:39PM 10 mins Monreal curls the ball into the area and it's an awkward one to deal with. It bounces just in front of Wilshere and then looks like it might bounce onto the arm of a defender, Spurs seem panicked. And then they're away! Alli breaks down the left, Kane takes the ball inside and Cech parries it behind for a corner. And now Arsenal are on the counter! Mkhitaryan takes it on the left and chips just slightly too far ahead of Aubameyang. What a game this is already. Pass: Spurs 0 - 0 Arsenal (Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 9 min) Arsenal passing around the Spurs final third now. 12:37PM 7 mins Son has space on the left! The crowd rise to their feet, he takes his man on... but has to go backwards. Spurs get forward and join in and a great ball out to Trippier sets up a cross. He whips towards the near post but it's cleared. Spurs win a corner. Arsenal deal with it well and have a counter-attack on! They have one Spurs defender to beat and three forwards chasing... but the pass is poor. Mkhitaryan is then caught by Trippier. 12:35PM 5 mins Both teams a little nervy on the ball, first touches aren't quite settled yet and passes are being overhit. That'll calm later on but at the moment both sides are testing each other out. A long ball down the wing for Aubameyang, he holds off Sanchez and wins a corner. Great play! Dele Alli heads the ball clear, Elneny tidies up but his searching pass for Ozil on the right is straight out for a throw-in. 12:32PM 3 mins It's a frantic start to the game. Both teams are a little excited and getting the ball forward too quickly, moving it when there isn't really an option. Son is hugging the left wing, Trippier the right, Arsenal dropping deep behind the ball early on. 12:30PM KICK-OFF We're underway. 12:29PM Aubameyang's shinpads Allegedly. A person off Twitter said it so it must be true. Aubameyang's shinpads �� pic.twitter.com/vYGo0XVXmm— James Benge (@jamesbenge) February 10, 2018 12:27PM Here come the players It's almost football time. Wembley is rammed, the BT Sport cameras have just focused on a bunch of Arsenal fans giving rival supporters instructions on how best to empty a stubborn bottle of ketchup... and it's Clive! 12:22PM Elneny and the 4-3-3 This guy could be key today. Why Mohamed Elneny could be key to an Arsenal return to 4-3-3 against Chelsea As we've touched on, Arsenal need a bit of help in defence from time to time and Elneny's role is something between a holding midfield player who recycles the ball and starts moves, and a half-back, dropping deep between the centre-backs as a sort of sweeper. Doing this gives Arsenal a back three and makes one of the attacking midfielder drop back into central midfield to give a bit of stability. Both teams have a player that does this. For Spurs it's Eric Dier. 12:17PM Jan Vertonghen Rio Ferdinand has just said that he reckons Jan Vertonghen is the best defender in the league and I'd be inclined to agree with him. A solid defender, he's also superb at taking the ball out from the back, going past players and spotting a pass - in his younger days he was often a left-back, which must have helped develop his sense of positioning and ability to go past players. 12:02PM Arsenal players arriving Credit: GETTY IMAGES They're warming up now but here's some photos from before, Credit: GETTY IMAGES 11:54AM Goooooood afternoon (almost)! This is going to be ace, isn't it? Are you excited? By Jove, I am. Quite how players get properly revved up at a time I'm still enjoying a morning coffee is something for them to deal with but for us, the viewers, it's sure to be an end-to-end battle. Spurs will make lots of little fouls to stop Arsenal counter-attacking, Arsenal need to be DRILLED into not sending too many players forward on the attack, as is their natural tendency. The reason for this is that Spurs will actively look for chances to hit them on the break... and one player in particular will do a lot of damage if given the space. Why Son Heung-min is Tottenham's not-so-secret weapon 11:35AM Team news is in Toby Alderweireld is not fit enough to make the Tottenham squad, while Aaron Ramsey has picked up an injury and misses out. #THFC: Lloris (C), Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane. #COYSpic.twitter.com/vawK6Mfta3— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) February 10, 2018 �� Here it us - our team for this afternoon's north London derby at Wembley#THFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/DhBPWoOaVe— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 10, 2018 11:21AM Match preview: Arsene Wenger on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has warned it is too early to make comparisons between Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Thierry Henry. Club-record signing Aubameyang shone on his Gunners debut last weekend, scoring in a 5-1 victory over Everton. The Gabon international has taken the number 14 shirt at Arsenal previously worn by Henry - the club's all-time leading goalscorer. Having joined the club from Borussia Dortmund on transfer deadline day, Aubameyang compared his style to Henry and said the Frenchman is "an example" to strikers. Ahead of Arsenal's north London derby against Tottenham at Wembley on Saturday, Wenger urged caution over likening the pair - although he was pleased Aubameyang has set such lofty aspirations. Aubameyang scored on his Arsenal debut last week Credit: Getty Images "It is an ambitious statement but it is a good one," he said. "(Henry is) the best goalscorer ever in Arsenal's history, so it doesn't mean he will score as many goals but why not? "I would say (Aubameyang is most like) Thierry Henry with his quality of runs. But it's a bit too early to compare him to the best player ever who played here. "He has played one game. But it's a good example to follow. His finish was brilliant. His finishing is good. You don't score by coincidence for so many years, if you score many goals." PA