Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-0 victory North London rivals Arsenal sparked controversy after Dele Alli was hit by a water bottle when both these sides met in a Carabao Cup quarter-final at The Emirates on Wednesday.
The English midfielder set up Christian Eriksen for the opening goal with a wonderful pass in the 20th minute before also scoring one himself with a delicate chip over Arsenal keeper Petr Cech at the hour mark.
But minutes later he was hit on the head by what looked like a plastic water bottle as Arsenal were about to take a throw-in. The player, however, played it light and later told Sky Sports: “It made the goal a little bit sweeter.”
Arsenal though apologised to Alli and sai that the club was “embarrassed” by the incident. The club, according to Espn also confirmed that they have identified the image of the fan, who was guilty of throwing the bottle at the midfielder and are closely working Metropolitan police to nab the suspect.
“Behaviour of this type has no place at Emirates Stadium and after analysing CCTV footage, which showed him leaving the stadium after throwing the bottle, we have identified an image of the suspect,” Arsenal were reported as saying by Espn through a statement. “We are liaising with the Metropolitan Police and investigations continue in order to apprehend the culprit.
“We are not responsible for the actions of one individual, but send our apologies to Dele Alli and everyone at Tottenham Hotspur for this incident.
“We do not tolerate any anti-social, discriminatory or violent behaviour at Arsenal Football Club. Anyone identified will receive a lengthy club ban and their details will be passed to the police to commence legal proceedings.”
This was not the first time such an incident has occurred in the North London derby. A Tottenham fan was fined and banned from entering the Stadium after he was caught on camera for throwing a banana peel towards Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino, however, remained sceptic about the incident and warned that such incidents should be avoided. “It’s such a dangerous thing. If rather than the bottle hitting him on his head it had been his eyes, we’re then talking about a very bad, serious thing,” he added.
The visitors started well as Son – who started as the lone striker in place of Harry Kane – repaid the faith with a goal inside Minutes into the match and nearly assisted Moussa Sissoko for another. But the Frenchman’s effort, after Eriksen’s through ball has set him clear, flew over the bar.
This was only the second time, Tottenham beat Arsenal at The Emirates. But the home could have well prevented it in the opening 45 minutes when Aaron Ramsey‘s first-time volley from an Alex Iwobi cross was parried off the post by Spurs’ custodian Paulo Gazzaniga. The Argentine shot-stopper also made a crucial save off Henrikh Mkhitaryan towards the ending of the first half.
But Alli would make them pay for those mistakes when he breached the net after picking out a pass from Harry Kane.
Spurs, whose last title came in 2008 when they beat Chelsea to lift the League Cup, will once again have to cross The Blues in the semis for a place in the final. In the other semi-final, Manchester City will face third-tier team Burton.