Tottenham – 1 (Son 80) (The MIND Series)
Arsenal – 0
Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal’s preparation for the new Premier League season came to a close as they played out a fiery affair at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with Tottenham coming out on top thanks to a late strike from Son Heung-Min.
In the final part of the trilogy of games in the Mind Series involving Chelsea, Tottenham, and Arsenal, it was Spurs who seized the advantage early on as Son got onto the end of Lucas Moura’s cross from the left-hand side, only for Bernd Leno to deny him from point-blank.
New Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito Santo was hoping for a dream home debut with a win over their North London rivals, and it was the Lilywhites who continued to push for the opener with Dele Alli smashing a shot off the post as Arsenal tried to get a foothold into the game.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had Arsenal’s best chance of a cagey first half for the Gunners, but his shot blazed over the bar.
The second-half continued in the same way with Spurs dominating possession and getting the lion-share of the chances, Dele Alli once again hitting the woodwork as the Lilywhites further showed their dominance.
Needless challenges from Granit Xhaka and Kieran Tierney led to them being booked, as tempers began to flare.
The introduction of the returning Bukayo Saka did little to improve the Gunners’ hopes as Mikel Arteta’s men struggled to deal with the high intensity from Spurs’ midfield and front-line.
But it was Tottenham who broke the deadlock with 10 minutes remaining as they robbed Arsenal of possession, with substitute Giovanni Lo Celso flicking the ball over to Japhet Tanganga who played it across to Son Heung-Min, and he fired it into the bottom right corner to give Spurs a deserved lead.
Young striker Folarin Balogun had Arsenal’s best chance of the second half, but his shot went just wide as Arteta’s men continued to falter.
Eric Dier went close to sealing the win for Spurs as his late freekick scraped the bar, but Nuno’s men held on to win.
Arsenal manager Arteta was satisfied with how his team played despite the defeat to their North London rivals.
“It was a great test for us today, we had some big chances but we were happy with the performance,” Arteta said.
“We had a little problem with our high pressure at the start of the game and we didn’t capitalise on it enough.”
Like Arteta, Nuno Espirito Santo was pleased with how Spurs played throughout the game as he secured a debut home win as the Lilywhites boss.
“It was a good game and a very tough match,” said Espirito Santo.
“It was a great preparation match, I think we finished the game pretty strong.”
Spurs start their season at home against the champions Manchester City on Saturday, while Arsenal’s Premier League campaign gets underway away to newly-promoted Brentford on Friday night.