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 By Ben Pearce

Dele Alli's day to forget as Tottenham endure derby day misery at Arsenal

Tottenham returned to Premier League action with a chastening 2-0 defeat to bitter rivals Arsenal in Saturday's north London derby.

The damage was done before the interval as Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez struck five minutes apart.

Spurs can justifiably question referee Mike Dean's performance and bemoan key decisions that went against them -- the free kick that produced the opening goal should not have been given and there was a suspicion of offside about both goals.

But the north Londoners must also reflect on the fact that they were comprehensively outplayed and deservedly beaten.


Arsenal could have won by more.


Spurs never got into their stride, being pegged back early on and making defensive errors while struggling creatively at the other end.

They continue to fall short away against their primary rivals in the Premier League and have now lost at the Emirates and Old Trafford this term while winning just one of their last 17 matches at the homes of the other top-six sides.

With the teams around them all winning in Saturday's 3pm kick-offs, the title is looking even further out of reach and Tottenham have lost ground in the top four fight too.

Manager rating out of 10

6 -- Mauricio Pochettino picked the best side available to him and his substitutions made sense. But his side continues to lose these games. He has to take some of the blame for the fact that Spurs' performance level dropped so markedly while Arsenal rose to the occasion.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Hugo Lloris, 6 -- Conceded twice but came off his line quickly to reach an underhit back-pass in the first half and then head clear in the second, while denying Sanchez at close range late on.

DF Kieran Trippier, 5 -- Seemed to stop too early when Sanchez gathered the ball and scored the second goal, seemingly appealing for offside. Offered little at the other end.

DF Davinson Sanchez, 7 -- Some fine moments and a few worrisome ones. The Colombian made some strong tackles but also played a dodgy backpass and in the closing stages, lost track of the ball as it floated over his head, allowing Sanchez in behind him and nearly conceding a penalty. The decision to penalise him for a foul on the Chilean, which resulted in the opening goal, was bizarre. But he should have been tighter in the first place and stopped Sanchez from bringing the ball down. Nonetheless, he was better than most.

DF Eric Dier, 6 -- Helped to stop Alexandre Lacazette from reaching a low cross at 0-0 and then cut out another dangerous low ball, but Spurs' defence never looked secure. He gave the ball away too.

DF Jan Vertonghen, 5 -- Was out-jumped by Mustafi for the opener and beaten by a through ball for the second. Lacked his usual composure on the ball as well.

DF Ben Davies, 5 -- Set up a chance for Christian Eriksen with a trademark cutback but Arsenal exposed his lack of pace a few times in the first half, playing through balls inside him and getting in behind. That approach produced their second goal.

MF Moussa Sissoko, 6 -- Broke away encouragingly a few times but couldn't make the most of the situations, too often taking a touch too many.

MF Mousa Dembele, 5 -- Started positively but was then unable to stem the tide as Arsenal dominated the midfield battle. Second in line behind Harry Winks now.

MF Christian Eriksen, 5 -- Came back down to earth with a bump after his hat trick for Denmark in midweek. Hit the outside of the post in the first half but otherwise failed to exert his usual influence, and Spurs often looked toothless as a result.

FW Dele Alli, 4 -- Very much on the periphery and the ball rarely stuck when it was played to him. Only looked semi-fit.

FW Harry Kane, 6 -- Did as much as could be expected given Arsenal's general dominance, testing Petr Cech twice in the first half and forcing a good block from Mustafi with a low drive after the break. Booked for a frustrated tackle on Granit Xhaka.

Dele Alli was well below-par as Tottenham lost at Arsenal.


MF Harry Winks, 7 -- Gave Spurs more control when he replaced Dembele after the hour-mark and the visitors fashioned a few chances towards the end, although they were only playing for pride at that stage.

FW Fernando Llorente, N/R -- Entered the fray with 15 minutes to go and created a good chance, heading the ball down to Son Heung-Min.

FW Son Heung-Min N/R -- Wasted that opportunity, volleying over the bar.

Ben is ESPN FC's Tottenham blogger. Follow on Twitter: @BenPearceSpurs.


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