Anyone associated with Tottenham Hotspur can safely say that Sunday’s North London derby did not go as planned. Unless Erik Lamela came off the bench, scored a rabona, and was sent off on purpose.
Someone not far away had confidently predicted that Harry Kane would be the deciding factor in the big match this weekend. Spurs’ resurgence and Kane’s “stellar relationship with Son Heung Min” were cited as additional proof that Spurs, who had won five games in a row, would leave the Emirates with the points.
Arsenal made a mockery of this theory by dominating their opponents for the majority of the game, with the exception of the final few minutes, when Kane could have saved his team, as well as this writer’s reputation, had he scored a free-kick rather than striking the post.
Kane would not have been the Spurs player being discussed in WhatsApp groups across the country even if he had scored an undeserved equaliser. Erik Lamela, the maverick, had long held that dubious distinction.
Spurs’ belief in victory seemed to fade as the injured Son left the field after 19 minutes.
Box office entertainment, on the other hand, has taken his place. Lamela seemed hell-bent on reducing his time on the field to a bare minimum, slamming and kicking out at a variety of opponents for a variety of non-apparent reasons.
Long before he decided that a simple, weaker-footed goal attempt wouldn’t be any fun on 33 minutes, his reckless attitude was being questioned. Lamela chose the less traditional nutmeg rabona instead. It was a wise choice.
It was perhaps the Argentine wrecking ball’s first and last good decision on Sunday, but what a decision it was. The goal was quickly added to the pantheon of Premier League classics by Sky Sports.
OH MY WORD!!!
What a goal that is!! #Lamela
Esto es Arteee
— ANGÉLICA CAMACHO (@byAngelicaC) March 14, 2021
Twitter went into overdrive, and viewers across the country, whether supporters or neutrals, let out that involuntary squealing sound that only a miracle goal can elicit. It was brilliant, precise, and enjoyable.
The ideal antidote to the forced absence of a derby day atmosphere.
As a result, the Lamela show’s opening act was completed. Arsenal drew level at halftime and went on to win the game. This didn’t sit well with Tottenham’s leading scorer.
It’s unclear how he managed to avoid a yellow until his scythe on Thomas Partey in the 68th minute.
It will never be known whether Mourinho would have acted on the warning signs if he hadn’t used all of his substitutions.
In any case, no one could have been surprised when Lamela threw a forearm into Kieran Tierney’s face to force his early exit.
Erik Lamela’s Sunday performance was a mix of sublime and ridiculous, demonstrating a staggering lack of discipline. His insistence on getting himself sent off disappointed his teammates, and he will no doubt incur the wrath of his overworked manager.
Lamela’s crazy afternoon was a most welcome sideshow for us neutrals, who were waiting for the reintroduction of supporters to breathe some life into a sometimes flat season. Here’s to the rebels!