Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier says football needs games like the feisty north London derby with Arsenal.
The Gunners won an enthralling contest 4-2 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, thanks in part to two goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Although the occasion was soured by trouble in the stands, which saw a Spurs fan arrested for throwing a banana skin in the direction of Aubameyang, it was impossible to take your eyes off the action on the pitch.
After Aubameyang celebrated his first goal in front of Tottenham’s supporters, Dier returned the favour when he equalised and that sparked a massive brawl, which saw Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino sprint down the touchline to play peacemaker.
There were further confrontations after Spurs were awarded a penalty when Heung-min Son went down easily and referee Mike Dean dished out seven yellow cards and a red.
There was no love lost between these two rivals and England international Dier believes that is how derbies should be played to avoid “ruining” football.
“The nice thing about Sunday is that it felt like a derby again,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s felt like that for quite a few years and football needs these kind of games.
“If you take the emotion out of these games then you’re ruining football.
“It can go for or against you at times but at least it felt like it felt like a derby again from everyone’s point of view.
“That’s really good for football. But we’re not happy when we lose any game and it’s no different.”
Spurs were winning 2-1 at half-time after Dier and Harry Kane overturned Aubameyang’s opener, but they were blown away after the break.
Aubameyang grabbed a second and then goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Lucas Torreira gave Unai Emery the win in his first north London derby and saw Spurs’ six-game winning run ended.
“We started the game really badly and all the goals we gave away were sloppy,” Dier added.
“The first 10 to 15 minutes we were not good enough. But we managed to find ourselves and get back in the game and at half-time we were in a very good position.
“Second half we just weren’t good enough. It’s hard to say why straight after a game. But they were better than us and deserved to win.
“But there’s so long to go in this league and we’re very confident in ourselves. We were in the same position last year after we came here.”