Antonio Conte felt his Tottenham side missed a massive opportunity to do some damage in the north London derby and that he gave up on getting a result after Emerson Royal saw red in the 3-1 defeat.
The home side retained their place at the top of the Premier League with a fine victory over 10-man Spurs, who largely disappointed and had Emerson Royal sent-off in the second half.
A rare Thomas Partey strike and goals from Gabriel Jesus and Granit Xhaka secured a well-deserved 3-1 win, Spurs losing for the first time in the league this season having equalised through Harry Kane’s penalty.
Partey got the ball rolling with his first Arsenal goal from outside the box in his 65th match for the Gunners, with Kane levelling from the spot to take his tally in this fixture to 14 in 18 appearances.
But the second half belonged to the hosts, Jesus striking on his north London derby debut and Xhaka continuing a fine run of form either side of Emerson’s red card for Spurs.
And speaking after the game, Conte felt Tottenham did not take advantage of their first-half opportunities.
He told BT Sport: “I think the first half was in the balance. We had many chances to score. We made a big mistake with the last pass because we had great space. In the second half we conceded a second goal early and we could do much better.
Red card the killer for Conte
“With the red card, [went] the game. It was a really difficult game after that. We had to change totally then. It was the referee’s decision and I don’t want to comment.
“We had the opportunity to exploit much better and stay up and I repeat that I think we made big mistakes in the last pass and with easy passes but it happens and straight after the national team it is a bit difficult because players arrive at a different time.
“Now we have to move on but we know our role in this league and we have to try and do our best to stay close to the other teams at the top. I tried to give minutes to players because the game had ended and also to try and save energy.
“I wanted to give players time especially [Oliver] Skipp and [Matt] Doherty because we need the whole squad because we have many games in front of us in a short period.”
It may be scrappy but a goal is a goal…
Gabriel Jesus nets his first goal in a north London derby to put Arsenal in the lead!! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/8z8EqtRxBF
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) October 1, 2022
Emerson also came under fire for the tackle he made on Martinelli to effectively end Tottenham’s chances.
BT Sport commentator Jermaine Jenas said: “It was some pent-up frustration. There’s no other reason he would do that.
“Maybe he’s thinking he’s had the mick taken out of him all day. Martinelli has been in good form today and given him a torrid time. There’s no other explanation for it.”
Fellow commentator Martin Keown added: “It had been a clean game until that point, but he’s let his emotions get the better of him.”
Referee analyst Peter Walton added in the studio: “He gave Anthony Taylor no other choice. It was a clear red card.”