Arteta gets in on the action
Arsenal and Tottenham coming up against each other was never going to be a ‘friendly’ encounter, despite how the Mind Series match was labelled.
Indeed, the game took place in aid of a good cause with £5 from each ticket sold going to support charitable projects.
On the pitch there was an added intensity from both sides, with the likes of Dele Alli and Alexandre Lacazette roughing up opposition players with strong challenges.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta even got in on the action himself as Tottenham midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg almost collided with the Spaniard during the second half.
Arteta was slightly out of his technical area and the Danish international told him to move back inside it.
The manager responded in an unsurprisingly annoyed fashion and put his finger towards his lips to tell Hojbjerg to be quiet.
Granit Xhaka came over to act as peacemaker before the situation fizzled out, but it was a reminder that Sunday’s match could never have been described as a friendly encounter.
Bellerin’s pre-match chat
Hector Bellerin was deep in conversation with new Arsenal set piece coach Nicolas Jover ahead of the game.
Jover arrived from Manchester City in the summer after Andreas Georgson headed back to Sweden with Malmo.
Bellerin, who is wanted by Inter Milan this summer, was widely expected to leave the club this summer but recent reports suggest he could be about to be offered a new long-term contract.
The Spaniard received criticism for his inability to deliver crosses into the box and inconsistent distribution during Sunday’s game.
But it’s clear that Bellerin takes a keen interest in how to improve specific areas of his game, and speaking with Jover will certainly help him in the long-term – especially if he remains at Arsenal beyond the current transfer window.
Saka’s raucous return
The brightest news for Arsenal at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium came in the second half when a certain Bukayo Saka made his return to first team action.
Saka received a warm round of applause from Tottenham and Arsenal fans when he came onto the pitch for the Gunners in the second half.
Saka, along with England teammates Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, were racially abused on social media after missing penalties for England in the penalty shootout defeat to Italy at Euro 2020.
A banner was also displayed at the game which read: “North London stands with Bukayo Saka and all players against racism and discrimination.”
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Leno’s stark warning
When Bernd Leno went down in the opening stages of the game, a collective sigh could be heard from manager Mikel Arteta and every Arsenal fan watching the match.
There is a clear need for a back-up goalkeeper at Emirates Stadium right now, with Sheffield United shot stopper Aaron Ramsdale being targeted and subject of several offers from the Gunners.
Arsenal are one injury away from being forced to play Alex Runarsson or youngsters Karl Hein or Arthur Okonkwo, a scenario that Arteta won’t be keen on facing with key Premier League games coming up later this month.