By Dan Ferguson
Spurs 1 Arsenal 0
Tottenham played Arsenal off the park.
They played through, round, over and in-behind Arsenal.
The only thing Spurs needs to really work on here, (and may possibly regret), is that far better sides than Arsenal will not allow those kinds of openings and standing off with such fear in their eyes.
Poch’s team should have scored many more goals and been far more ruthless and they will possibly regret that in their quest for the top 4. Chelsea could hang in there, and Liverpool could too.
Either way, it will be interesting but it won’t feature The Arsenal.
So rather than break down the game, I am going to break down the team selection and leave it at that.
Cech – Made some blinding (but expected) saves, but his footwork and kicking is getting worse each week. He needs replacing soon.
Bellerin – ran his socks off, but so over exposed, his own team mugged him off and made him vulnerable. Perfect example is Xhaka lazy running back for the goal left Hector 2 on 1 with no option than to protect his area.
Mustafi – If the man could read the game consistently, pass the ball consistently and not make really silly fouls, he would be a truly decent defender. He’s nowhere near that, and costs us stability.
Koscielny – Poor. Meek. Confused. Quite unlike himself, and he didn’t have his limp, or Alexis to blame in this game. Just wasn’t clear how to handle Kane.
Monreal – lacked his thrust and didn’t do much to help the cause. His forays up front exposed gaps for Xhaka or Ozil to fill on the counter. That was terrifying at times.
Wilshere – worked hard but was unable to control the game. Until 82 minutes, Cech had more passes than Jack. He was suffocated in that midfield today.
Xhaka – he plods, he fouls, he has a huge pass completion rate, yet he is useless and should no longer play for the club. I have nothing positive to say about the man. He is Championship level.
Elneny – worked hard but was exposed by clueless team mates passing to him in positions where they could have tried to unlock the Spurs defence. If Xhaka is asking Elneny to unlock the defence, there are serious problems.
Mkyhitaryan – anonymous and run out of the game by more industrious Spurs players. He had chances to show his assist ability, but panicked. Not a good day.
Ozil – was he playing? I don’t wish to snipe, but he was really out of the game. He could not find an inch of space.
Aubameyang – scared their defence with his runs, and made them think twice about how to play him, until they realised that he was rarely getting any support or service.
Subs – Iwobi. Really? Is he the answer? No.
Lacazette – the most interesting player. He had two chances, and came off the pitch like the police just discovered where he buried the bodies. He has never looked more ashen and sick.
Welbeck – scared Spurs, and Arsenal in equal measure.
So all in all, a rubbish performance predicated on awful team planning or execution, but also hats off to (a profligate) Spurs who showed passion, control, finesse, consideration, awareness and refinement.
Words I would associate more with an artist, or in a relationship, but they have that kind of dynamic in their team ethos, and Arsenal doesn’t. Spanked 1-0, deservedly. Wenger’s fault again.