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Tottenham 1 - 2 Arsenal: Capital One Cup Instant Reaction

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Arsenal, and Mathieu Flamini, you know, uh, just like it was drawn up, you know?

Tom Dulat/Getty Images


0 - 1 Mathieu Flamini 27'
1 - 1 Calum Chambers OG 55'
1 - 2 Flamini 78'

Arsenal saw off a strong Tottenham Hotspur performance today at White Hart Lane in the Capital One Cup, Mathieu Flamini the unlikely hero, scoring a pair to see off Arsenal's rivals away.

Arsene Wenger made many changes from the Premier League side, as one would expect, David Ospina, Flamini, Mathieu Debuchy, and Kieran Gibbs all starting. It was a strong side, nonetheless, but nobody would have expected the outcome to shape up how it did.

Arsenal's first real chance came 13 minutes in, as Aaron Ramsey played a good through ball to Kieran Gibbs, whose cross Olivier Giroud didn't contact well. Joel Campbell's headed follow-up was poor. Neither side generated huge threats for much of the first half; when Tottenham found space, it was generally Danny Rose moving into Mathieu Debuchy's area. Arsenal, for their part, were not generating much, until the 27th minute.

It took a bit of a lucky bounce, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain found himself in possession in space 20 yards from goal, and his shot was ferocious and low. Michel Vorm should have done better, but could only parry it straight out, and Mathieu Flamini, who does look a little bit like a custodian!, was there to smash the rebound into the roof of the net. White Hart Lane wasn't silent so much as like "yo, seriously?"

Spurs were almost immediately in search of their first, though, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane combining well before finding Rose in acres of space (again); Rose cut inside, but pulled his shot wide. Rose again found way too much space, easily besting Debuchy, but the onrushing Ospina forced the left back to shoot about 100 feet over the bar. 37 minutes on, Joel Campbell went into the crowd trying to get on the end of a cross, and Rose, who was covering, was nearly the victim of a Flamini cannonball. Flamini joined Mikel Arteta in the book.

Ox intercepted a Federico Fazio pass 39 minutes in, but his shot was well wide. A minute later, Debuchy finally found a spot in the referee's book, Rose again besting him on the edge of the box.

Spurs had perhaps their best chance after 44 minutes, Tom Carroll's cross falling to Kane at the back post, but Arsenal covered well and smothered any possible shot attempt. The resulting corner came to nothing as well. In stoppage time, an Aaron Ramsey giveaway led to a Kane attempt at the other end, but it was wide of the far post.

Spurs would come out in the second half pretty strongly. Eriksen's low drive was parried by Ospina right to Kane, who tucked home his shot, but was offside. It was a warning, though, coming from a good Spurs counter down Debuchy's flank. Tottenham were attacking time and time again up the same flank. And it was from that flank that their equalizer would come, 55 minutes in. Debuchy couldn't prevent the cross from coming in low and hard from Nacer Chadli. Calum Chambers was in an unenviable spot, but unfortunately, he turned the ball past David Ospina, and the score was level.

65 minutes in, Spurs nearly pulled ahead. From a corner, Kane's overhead kick was headed for the corner, until Kieran Gibbs headed it off the line with his entire body in the net. Arsenal were all at sea in the second half, generating no chances; Alexis Sanchez replaced Joel Campbell in an effort to change that. It didn't take long for Ramsey to find him through a channel on the left, but the Chilean's shot was tame.

Ramsey set Giroud loose in the Spurs area, continuing a fine match from a central position, but the Frenchman couldn't score either.

But it was okay. Because Mathieu Flamini sure could. A deflected Spurs pass skied the ball about 60 feet in the air towards the Spurs penalty area, and Flamini, who, again, thought he was a striker, found himself volleying the ball straight into the bottom corner past Vorm from 18 yards. It was a great strike, the second goal of the game from a lunatic who hasn't played barely all year.

Dele Alli had a decent effort at 87 minutes, but Ospina saved. It was enough--Arsenal emerged victorious and will move on in the Capital One Cup.