This weekends North London Derby didn’t quite go to plan for Arsenal, far from it actually.
Before going into the game watching City somehow fail to win at Villa park, an opportunity was there for Arsenal to go top of the pile going into the international break. Beating Spurs to go top would have topped it off, sadly that wasn’t the case.
I thought City dropping points earlier in the day would give Arsenal the extra motivation especially in a Derby game at home to go on and make an early statement to Manchester City.
Unfortunately not, it was the visitors from up the seven sisters road who wanted it a lot more than Arsenal did.
They fought hard off the ball, not letting Arsenal settle, forcing them to make mistakes and they were very good with the ball as well playing some good football and creating some good chances in both half’s.
Tottenham wanted it a lot more than Arsenal did. Tottenham won every 2nd ball, worked hard with and without the ball, looked motivated and determined & Arsenal looked liked they just couldn’t be asked.
Some people might argue Arsenal were tired playing 4 games in 10 days with 3 of them being away from home with 10 players out injured! Maybe the case but Spurs played 3 games in 6 days with very little rotation so it works both ways.
It was a shocking performance and up there with the worst I’ve seen.
I know you can’t play well every week but you can’t play that badly and expect to win games, let alone the championship.
For me when teams press in numbers off the ball and don’t let Arsenal settle we really struggle and that was the case in both league matches last season against Tottenham and the same yesterday.
With Arsenal missing players such as Hector Bellerin, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott & Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Arsenal had no real pace going forward, it was the same problem in Munich as well.
Pace makes such a difference in football it showed when Arsenal brought on Keiran Gibbs for Joel Campbell what a difference somebody with a bit off pace can make.
With no pace in the Arsenal team It allowed the Spurs back line to push much higher up the pitch and make life more difficult for Arsenal.
But let’s give credit were credit is due Tottenham bossed the game and ran the midfield for most of the game and probably had the best chances.
Harry Kane’s goal you could argue comes from a defensive error with a ball played over the top, Mertesacker pushing up and Koscienly sitting deeper and playing Kane onside (which seems to happen to often) Kane was through on goal with only Cech to beat and it was a calm and very good finish.
It was a little better in the 2nd half from Arsenal (couldn’t get much worse) at least they were creating chances Giroud missed two headers from set pieces that he really should be scoring, Joel Campbell cut inside to shoot which produced a very good save from Lloris.
Spurs also created chances in the 2nd half Eriksen, Kane and Alderweireld with good chances to double Spurs lead but they failed to score before Mesut Ozil’s cross was poked in by substitute Keiron Gibbs to save a point for Arsenal.
Spurs fans before the game would have taken a draw all day long but the way the game went they should be disappointed they didn’t get all three. Judging by the way the fans reacted in the clock end after the game they were still happy with the draw.
Talking about Tottenham I think they have a very strong chance at finishing in the top 4 this season their only realistic rivals for a 4th place finish is Liverpool and Chelsea.
Liverpool will take time to get better under new manager Jurgen Klopp and Chelsea show no signs of improving and travel to the lane in 3 weeks and are already 10 points behind Spurs, if Spurs beat Chelsea which is very possible, 13 points at any stage of the season is a big big gap.
Spurs have 2-3 very good players they obviously have a top top goalkeeper in Hugo Lloris, Toby Alderweireld looks like a good Centre half, Deli Alli looks like a very promising youngster and Harry Kane is a very good striker to off the top off my head.
Somebody like Christian Eriksen is technically a very good player who is very good at set pieces and can look good on the ball but for me there is something missing in his game and I don’t know what it is, people may disagree but that’s what I believe.
I do believe Spurs have a very good manager in Pochettino he’s made them into a very well organised team and he’s tactically very good.
Proof off that is their season so far, ok they’ve drawn too many games but they haven’t lost since the opening day of the season so they’re clearly a well organised side who love to press teams high up the pitch and don’t let teams settle. They have turned into a very hard side to beat.
I’m a man who really really dislikes Spurs to put it kindly, so I’m hoping for the usual Spurs to come back in the second half of the season and bottle it. They may not, only time will tell Liverpool may not be good enough yet and Chelsea who are capable off going on a winning run currently sit 10 points behind Spurs but they still have to play each other twice which could be two very big games.
For Arsenal the international break has come at a very good time (for once) & there’s still a few positives to take. We didn’t play well at all and still didn’t lose, were still joint top with Man City, we have a good run of fixtures coming up (on paper) and hopefully we should have the likes off Ramsey, Walcott, Bellerin and the Ox back for the trip to West Brom in a couple of weeks.
Very frustrating and painful to watch on Sunday but no disaster, next 4 games West Brom (A) Norwich (A) Sunderland (H) Aston Villa (A) looking at that were more than capable of getting the maximum 12 points before we welcome Manchester City to the Emirates. Going forward there’s a lot to be positive about in the next few weeks.