Belfast Telegraph

Bottle throwing incident just makes Spurs' win sweeter: Alli

Arsenal 0 Tottenham 2

Chipping in: Dele Alli gets the better of Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech to put Spurs 2-0 up
Chipping in: Dele Alli gets the better of Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech to put Spurs 2-0 up
Dele Alli reacts after being struck by a plastic bottle thrown from the crowd
Son Heung-min

By Jonathan Veal

Tottenham attacker Dele Alli revealed being hit on the head by a plastic bottle thrown by an Arsenal fan made his brilliant goal in the 2-0 Carabao Cup win all the more sweeter.

The Gunners are analysing CCTV footage in a bid to identify the supporter who launched the missile at Alli in the second half of Spurs' quarter-final win at the Emirates Stadium.

It came not long after the England international scored a sublime goal to add to Son Heung-min's first-half effort as Spurs set up a two-legged semi-final tie with Chelsea in January.

And it was another unsavoury episode, coming just 17 days after a Spurs fan was arrested for throwing a banana skin at Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang in the Premier League fixture which the Gunners won 4-2.

Spurs got their revenge for that loss in what was the first game since Manchester United's reported interest in boss Mauricio Pochettino and this result would have strengthened opinion in the north west that he is the man to take over from Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford.

Alli said: "It is what it is. It made the goal a little bit sweeter and the win."

Pochettino, who on Tuesday declined the chance to distance himself from those United rumours, hopes the culprit can be caught but was keen not to tarnish the whole Arsenal fanbase.

"It was lucky that it wasn't a big issue," the Argentinian said.

"For me, okay we play a derby and we hate each other in a good way but that is in a bad way when you go to damage some people or an opponent.

"I cannot talk in general because only one stupid person made a mistake. I respect the Arsenal fans, like I respect the professionals from Arsenal and I respect our fans.

"For one you cannot talk about everyone. I hope that Arsenal take responsibility and through the camera they can identify because it wasn't a problem but it can happen to be a big problem."

It was another big game where Alli stepped up as he also set up Son's opener with a great throughball and Pochettino revealed he thrives playing in the pressure games.

"I think I explained before, Dele is very competitive," he said. "He loves to compete. I explained to you that in easy situations he gets bored easily.

"He feels so comfortable when he's in a very competitive space and situation he always gives his best.

"Yes, that is a quality he has and you cannot buy that in the supermarket of course."

It was just Tottenham's second ever win at the Emirates Stadium and after Arsenal posted a 22-game unbeaten run in all competitions, they have now lost two on the spin.

The hosts had found an early goal in that recent league game but this time Spurs weathered the storm and they were the ones who took a 21st-minute lead.

Gazzaniga fired a long ball up the field, which Arsenal's defence could not deal with, and it fell to Alli who set Son clear to convert.

Spurs were fortunate to take their lead into the half-time interval as the Gunners piled on the pressure and only a brilliant stop from Gazzaniga kept them at bay as he somehow tipped Ramsey's first-time effort onto the post.

Pochettino's men would not have been complacent as they were overrun by a strong second-half showing here and after weathering another storm they doubled their lead in sublime fashion on the hour.

With what were Harry Kane's first touches after coming off the bench, the striker had pinpoint vision to play Alli through and the England international then produced an outrageous finish, scooping over goalkeeper Petr Cech with the outside of his boot.

Arsenal had to act quickly if they were going to mount a recovery and they came very close straight away but Alexandre Lacazette hit the outside of the post from eight yards.

Then came the sour moment of the night as Alli chased a ball down the left, it went out of play and he was struck on the back of the head by a plastic bottle.

Mesut Ozil's non-selection was again the main talking point after the game and boss Unai Emery was particularly evasive when asked about his future.

Ozil was not included in the matchday squad and his future at the club looks bleak.

Emery said: "It was a tactical decision, I thought the players today that are with us, were for us the best for this match.

"We have 24 or 25 players and when they are playing in one or not playing in another it is for me the decision and today it is tactical."

Belfast Telegraph


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