And, while even the most stubborn of Spurs supporters will likely admit that the Gunners were the better side on the day, it is undeniable that one player’s actions played a huge part in Tottenham’s eventual defeat.
Indeed, at the 62-minute mark, with the Lilywhites looking for a way back into the game, Emerson Royal clumsily lunged in on Gabriel Martinelli, catching the Brazilian on the ankle and subsequently receiving his marching orders from Anthony Taylor.
In truth, the wing-back had been having something of a stinker even before his sending off, losing the ball on eight separate occasions, being beaten by an opponent twice and losing six of his 10 duels – a failure rate of 60%.
However, it was undoubtedly his incredibly wreckless challenge on a player running towards his own goal that ensured the 23-year-old would receive the lion’s share of the blame for Spurs’ defeat in the north London derby, with the media wasting no time on piling onto the wing-back.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Tottenham legend Clive Allen was incensed by the defender’s challenge, stating his belief that Emerson had jeopardised Spurs’ chance of taking a result out of the game – something that ultimately proved correct.
“That is a ridiculous challenge,” Allen said. “Raises his boot, six studs, and he’s just jeopardised the whole game for his club in this north London derby.”
“Emerson doesn’t play it anywhere near the ball, he just flips Martinelli’s legs from underneath him. It’s dreadful, a stupid challenge and the referee Anthony Taylor is spot on with his decision. That is crazy.”
Ex-Arsenal winger Perry Groves was also unimpressed by the challenge of the £42k-per-week flanker, with the 57-year-old suggesting that Emerson could have broken his compatriot’s ankle.
“At first look, I thought it was just a trip – not much in it,” Groves told talkSPORT. “But looking at it again, it’s studs up – that’s an ankle breaker.”
As such, considering the fact that Emerson’s 5.7 rated display against Arsenal was just the latest in a long line of below-par performances in a Tottenham shirt, following the Brazilian’s three-match suspension, Conte simply must drop the 23-year-old from his starting XI – as Saturday concretely proved that defender is more of a liability than anything else for Spurs.