Alexandre Lacazette admits Arsenal were lucky to be awarded the penalty he converted to win Sunday’s north London derby clash with Tottenham.
Referee Michael Oliver gave Arsenal a spot-kick for Davinson Sanchez’s clumsy foul on Lacazette after the French striker had failed to connect with a shot.
Lacazette finished beyond compatriot and former Lyon club-mate Hugo Lloris to seal a 2-1 comeback victory for Arsenal, with Martin Odegaard having cancelled out Erik Lamela’s sublime rabona opener.
However, Lacazetted accepts the Gunners were fortunate to be awarded the decisive penalty.
“We are lucky to get the penalty, I think. Sometimes it is good to have a good decision from the referee,” he told Sky Sports.
“Of course I am happy. Back in the day, I have taken a lot of penalties against [Hugo] but I was confident. You have to be confident.”
3 – Mikel Arteta is the third consecutive Arsenal boss to win his first home league meeting with Spurs, following Arsène Wenger and Unai Emery. Tradition. pic.twitter.com/FW3eEo7Zt5
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Lacazette’s penalty was the 20th to be scored in a Premier League north London derby, with this fixture now having the most goals scored from the spot in the competition.
Tottenham rallied late on and nearly snatched a point through a Harry Kane free-kick that hit the post, while Spurs’ talisman also had a header ruled out for offside.
Lamela was sent off with Spurs 2-1 down after receiving two yellow cards, the second for a hand-off in the face of Kieran Tierney.
In doing so, Lamela became the first player to score and be sent off in a Premier League game for Tottenham since Emmanuel Adebayor in November 2012, also against Arsenal.
The penalty awarded to Arsenal at a pivotal moment in the match was undoubtedly the big talking point, though, and Jose Mourinho was unhappy with the decision.
“No post-match interviews for referees? That is a pity,” he told Sky Sports. “We played really bad in the first half – 1-1 was not a fair reflection of the first half. We were poor. Defending bad.
“No intensity or pressing. Some important players hiding. Really bad. In the second half we only had space to improve which we did.
“Then it is a question – but an impossible one as [the officials] don’t speak – for the referee Michael Oliver to answer. Probably Paul Tierney too as he was the VAR.
“According to [fourth official] Kevin Friend, the referee told him he had a clear decision and the VAR does not want to go against.”
Spurs have conceded seven penalty goals in the Premier League this season, which is the most by a Mourinho side in a single campaign in the competition.
Mourinho added: “What I see from the bench is just a feeling at first. I am 40-50 metres away. I saw it on the iPad. Referees have a difficult job sometimes.
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“I did not complain but when I watch back on the iPad it is what it is. If somebody has a different opinion to me it has to be one of the big Arsenal fans with a season ticket.
“It is the only one I accept as it is the passion speaking. Other than that I don’t accept a different view as it is obvious.
“If the players don’t do better it is because they can’t do better. I belong to the team so I am as guilty for the first half as the players but the best thing is we improve in the second half.
“Players get tired, coaches get tired, maybe referees get tired too. My record with Michael Oliver on penalties with Chelsea, [Manchester] United and Tottenham is unlucky.”
Tottenham have now dropped 45 points from winning positions against Arsenal in the Premier League, the most of any team against a specific opponent in the competition.
“The game was under control in the second half so we recovered,” Mourinho said.
“We made changes to try and win and then it is a penalty and after that a second yellow for Lamela. It meant the last 20 minutes was 11 v 10 and we couldn’t get the result.”