Tag Archives: Tottenham

Response to draw highlights expectation gap between Arsenal and Tottenham

Upon leaving the ground on Saturday, Tottenham fans were celebrating the 1-1 draw with Arsenal as if they had won the game. Meanwhile in the away end, fans left disappointed, frustrated. You would have thought they had just seen their team lose.

With Tottenham fans and the media so often trying to talk about a power shift from the red side of North London to the white corner; the response of the fans shows how far off the mark these claims were.

Arsenal fans were disappointed with a draw
Tottenham fans were ecstatic with a draw

Spurs fans were celebrating not losing a game, ignoring the fact that this year they had failed to beat Arsenal in the league. Had take just 1 point from a possible 6.

Arsenal fans were frustrated about not making it 2 wins from 2, 6 points from 6.

Whilst Tottenham still strive for top 4 finishes, and put a lot of weight on finishing above Arsenal; Arsenal strive to win trophies, to be successful.

Mauricio Pochettino recently said it could take another 10 years to build a title challenging team. Most will expect Unai Emery to build one within 3 years.

And ultimately it is the expectation of both teams, their supporters and the media that shows that their is no power shift.

Tottenham have failed to win a trophy this decade, yet it is deemed a decade of success.
Arsenal have won 3 FA Cups this decade, yet it is deemed a decade of failure.

There will not be a power shift in North London whilst the minimum expectations of both clubs differ so much. There will not be a power shift in North London whilst one side deems a draw a good result and the other deem it a poor result.

Saturday just confirmed what we all know. That Tottenham are in Arsenal’s shadow.



Match Report: Tottenham 1 – 1 Arsenal

Tottenham Hotspur (0) 1 Arsenal (1) 1
Premier League
Wembley Stadium, London HA9 0WS
Saturday, 2nd March 2019. Kick-off time: 12.30pm
(4-2-3-1) Leno; Mustafi, Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Mkhitaryan, Ramsey, Iwobi; Lacazette.
Substitutes: Čech, Özil, Torreira, Aubameyang, Maitland-Niles, Suárez, Kolašinac.
Scorer: Ramsey
Red Card: Torreira
Yellow Cards: Mkhitaryan, Xhaka
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Attendance: 81,332
When, at the end of the season, we cast a critical eye over the peaks and troughs of this campaign, surely the North London derby of today will be looked at as one of missed opportunity for us. How can this be? Arsenal did everything correctly; the tactics were spot-on, the attitude was first-class and the players did all that was asked of them over the course of the match here at Wembley Stadium.
After just a quarter of an hour, Arsenal capitalised on an appalling Davison Sánchez error, and in a blink of an eye, Alexandre Lacazette dispossessed him and made a crucial pass through the chasm of the Spurs defence for Aaron Ramsey to run onto. He sprinted like a gazelle through the Tottenham Hotspur half, and with the hapless Victor Wanyama in chase, rounded Hugo Lloris to slot the ball home to take a well-deserved lead. We found their Achilles heel; time and time again with the Spurs players stranded in our half after yet another attack that had broken down, smash-and-grab became our forte, and at times our play became breathtaking in its inception, cruel in delivery.
Undoubtedly the moment of the latter stages of the first half was the incredible double stop save from Bernd Leno, who played the match of his life between the sticks today. This save was other worldly; how on earth did he manage to stop the ball from ending up in the net? Two minutes before the break, Harry Kane slotted the ball through to Christian Eriksen who hit the ball on the volley, which the Arsenal goalkeeper saved and the rebound fell to Moussa Sissoko, whose subsequent shot Bernd Leno saved athletically and superbly.
Alexandre Lacazette fluffed his lines badly today, and it was no surprise when Mr. Emery substituted him for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang just eleven minutes after the restart. This had the effect of a defibrillator on the chest of the team. Pow! We sprang back to life. Our midfield were winning balls and dictating the pace and direction of the match again. Alex Iwobi was moving in and out of the Spurs defence at will, and the excellent Henrikh Mkhitaryan was causing the not-so cocky Cockerels endless problems all over the pitch.
Arsenal smelled the rancid odour of a Tottenham defeat in their nostrils, and after Mesut Özil replaced Aaron Ramsey with just under twenty minutes remaining on the clock, Arsenal were running the show.Then it happened. A free-kick from Christian Eriksen whipped in behind the Arsenal defence, and in the ensuing melee, Shkodran Mustafi tumbled into Harry Kane; referee Anthony Taylor gave the penalty, Harry Kane converted it, and the N17 gang got out of jail. The television replay showed the England captain to be in an offside position when the ball came over, but it wasn’t spotted by the officials, sadly. More drama was yet to come when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was brought down in the penalty area by Davison Sánchez; now came our moment to change the direction of the match. Not quite. The subsequent penalty, taken by the victim of the foul, was timid and one that was easily saved by Hugo Lloris. Wait a minute! The ball was thundered in by young Alex Iwobi, and just at the point of contact by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, the Spurs centre-half Jan Vertonghen (who was encroaching inside the box when our penalty was taken) saved the day (and the match too) for the lucky Lilywhites. Right at the end of the match, another one of our substitutes, Lucas Torreira (who replaced the fatigued Mattéo Guendouzi just after the break) recklessly challenged Danny Rose (who was fortunate to still be on the pitch after his sixteen-stud challenge into the chest of Bernd Leno earlier), and we unfortunately finished this exhausting match with ten men.
We deserved more out of this match than we got, but hey, we’ll take the point as we move onwards and upwards from here. On another day, we would have thoroughly beaten Spurs with this spirit and Mr. Emery’s tactical brilliance, but that will happen in another time, another place. This match is gone; we meet Rennes on Thursday evening, Manchester United on Sunday afternoon. Keep going boys, let’s aim for the stars. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as these early days are going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Victoria Concordia Crescit.


Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.

Unai Emery with selection headache ahead of North London Derby

Tomorrow is the big one. Tottenham. And it is important that Unai Emery gets his selection right.

The big criticism of the Spaniards first season is his chopping and changing of formation and personnel. He is the new tinkerman.

At times this season he has got it right – the home games against Chelsea and Tottenham being his two biggest wins of the season. At other times he has got it wrong. Get it right on Saturday and we win.

The first selection headache is what to do about Mesut Ozil.

Ozil fell out of favour over the Christmas period. Reports of him missing training sessions and numerous requests to take days off sick. However he has performed well in the last couple of weeks, adding the creativity that we have missed at times this season.

At £350,000 a week, Ozil is our highest paid player. If he does not start – and perform – against the likes of Tottenham and Manchester United; his future has to be questioned.

Performing against Bournemouth is all well and good, but it is the big games where you need the big players to turn up.

I would start Ozil against Tottenham.

Firstly it might surprise everyone, be a big boast to the fans and give Spurs something else to think about.,

Secondly if he fails to perform against Spurs and Manchester United next week, it would clear up the decision making at the club on his future.

With Eric Dier out injured and Victor Wanyama out of favour, Tottenham do not really have a defensive midfielder. Neither Harry Winks or Moussa Sissoko are defensively disciplined. Ozil with his excellent movement will be able to exploit the space.

Ahead of Ozil, Emery needs to pick between Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. I would pick the French-born French international over the French-born Gabonese international.

We might only get 2 or 3 chances tomorrow, so we need the best finisher on the pitch. Lacazette is also better at closing down and occupying defenders.

The other side is with Aubameyang’s natural pace, he is better than Lacazette to come off the bench – exploiting a tired defence on the break.

What formation we play could cause Emery a head ache. Do we go 4321, giving the side extra in the middle of the park and less out wide, or 4231. Alternatively will he go 3421 like against Bournemouth?

The way you beat Tottenham is by getting down the side of them. Their wing backs are much better going forward than defending. They leave space.

To exploit this Arsenal need to play wingers. Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan must start.

Both men are high energy and capable of putting in a shift. This will enable Arsenal to press Tottenham’s defence, halting the transition of the ball from defence to midfield.

Alongside Lacazette, Iwobi and Mkhitaryan will put pressure on the Tottenham defenders when on the ball.

Both men have the technical ability to exploit the space left by Tottenham’s defenders, and are able to drop back and assist Arsenal’s full-backs defensively. They will be able to track back Tottenham’s full backs and force them back the other way.

Our goals tomorrow will come from Ozil finding space, getting the ball outwide and cut backs to Lacazette in the box.

Arsenal need to control the midfield tomorrow. With Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira they can do just that.

It might bea tough decision to leave Matteo Guendouzi out, but Xhaka and Torreira are better AND we do not need to play 3 in the middle.

Tottenham’s central midfield is their weak link.

Winks is an OK footballer, but not top class. Sissoko is average. Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli are class going forward, but offer little defensively.

Torreira and Xhaka should be able to control the centre of the park.

Both men will also be able to pick up the runs from Alli (if he is fit) and stick close to Eriksen. You cut the Dane off and Tottenham struggle to create.

That leaves Arsenal playing a flat back 4.

I would take the risk on the left and go for Saed Kolasinac over Nacho Monreal.

Tottenham do not really have out and out wingers. They rely on their full backs to create the width. Kolasinac should be able to deal with Kieran Trippier – and it would also give Arsenal the duel threat of the Bosnian and Iwobi on the left hand side.

In the middle it is Sokratis +1. However is fit. The same scenario is at right back.

Emery has lots of choices to make in the next 24 hours, but I would go:


Jenkinson Mustafi Sokratis Kolasinac

Torreira Xhaka

Mkhitaryan Ozil Iwobi