Arsenal lost the North London Derby, as the same old failings at the back cost us dearly.
A late goal - hailing from a corner – headed in by Toby Alderwiereld was enough to take the points and both Tottenham goals can be sourced directly to our backline.
Our attack wasn’t blameless either to be fair, but it is becoming quite tiresome watching good play and maximum effort go to waste with basic play going wrong at the back.
Just imagine how Mikel Arteta feels.
The Spaniard is now the first coach since Bruce Rioch to lose their first NLD in charge of the club. Not exactly a great thing to have by your name but Arteta is definitely taking the club in the right direction – but he will be forever hamstrung with the resources at his disposal in defence.
He named a strong attacking lineup for this game. The same three were in defence, with Kolasinac alongside David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi. Wing-backs were in the form of Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney and our midfield comprised Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos. Attack? Bukayo Saka sat this one out, with Pepe on the right, Aubameyang on the left and Lacazette up top with Nketiah suspended.
It was the home team who got off to the brighter start and they forced Martinez into an early stop through Lucas Moura.
But we weren’t exactly pinned back and Tierney in particular was proving elusive for the spurs defence, whipping in deliveries and making a nuisance of himself.
Then, after a bad Pepe touch, the ball ended up with Harry Kane clean through. The striker tried to lift it over Martinez, probably because he thought our keeper would go to ground. Martinez stood his ground though and thwarted him.
Then we had our own golden chance. Hector Bellerin strode forward and put in a ball that found Aubameyang dead centre. You would have put money on him scoring, but he got his footing all wrong and the chance went begging.
We weren’t done though.
Granit Xhaka reclaimed possession and the ball squirmed through for Lacazette. After taking a touch to set himself, he launched an Exocet toward the top corner. Lloris couldn’t lay a hand on it and we had the lead.
Then, we capitulated.
Kolasinac had time but he played a blind pass back. It was on the wrong side of Luiz who hadn’t anticipated anything, and it left Son through by himself to chip Martinez.
Three minutes, that was all it took for us to gift spurs parity.
Lacazette was dropping deep to get us going and it was working as the Frenchman was working between the lines. We were looking decent and it seemed as if we could cope with what spurs were chucking at us, although Ben Davies unleashed a fierce long range shot that Martinez turned onto the crossbar with an epic save.
That was the last of the action for the half and it was precariously placed. It could go either way, but we looked good value for points at full time.
So the second half got underway and we had the game under control.
The first twenty minutes was all us, but we couldn’t come closer to scoring when Auba rocked the post when put through by Lacazette.
We really needed to make this dominance count.
We didn’t though of course, and it came back to bite us.
A regular corner came in on the 81st minute and Toby Alderweireld took advantage of our slack zonal marking to glance home.
We didn’t manage to come back into the game and Tottenham took the points.
What were the salient points from this game?
Defensive clearout needed.
We know we’re stuck with Luiz for another year, but Mustafi, while recovered from his poor form under Emery, still isn’t quite good enough. Ditto Kolasinac. We have Chambers to come back and he did enough prior to injury to warrant his place, but Kolasinac, Mustafi, Sokratis? They gotta go, and we need to reinvest.
Stop wasting chances.
This game was eerily similar to Brighton in that we created enough to win – but we didn’t take our chances. We need to put teams away when we are on top.
If Aubameyang had taken his two great chances, we would’ve won the game. To be fair, if it wasn’t for him through this season we would be fighting relegation but it still frustrates, especially when it’s Tottenham
Subs Wrong This Time
Saka came on too late with Pepe having an ineffective game. Then Arteta only chose to make any more moves until after we conceded our second and were chasing the game. We should’ve kept our foot on the game and changed at that time.
We have Liverpool next up, followed by our FA Cup semi versus City. It only gets better eh?
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