Sunday’s North London Derby was riveting and intense for supporters of both clubs but that just goes with the territory. In truth, the clash between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur will largely be forgotten come season’s end as neither side truly covered themselves in glory as they battled to the eventual 1-1 draw.
There was no true drama or skill displayed, with Arsenal taking the lead on an own goal to only give it back with an unnecessary penalty. Both sides hit the woodwork and good chances were few and far between. Skip this one when you review the season.
Hector and Nacho. Both given a rest midweek, Arsenal’s fullbacks were well up for this game. Hector Bellerin was his lively, speedy self and did an excellent job shutting down his side and made a lovely and perfect tackle, coming across to deny an Spurs shot. Nacho Monreal, who admittedly has experienced a drop in form this season, was back to his imperious best and had a similar stranglehold on the Spurs attack. Much of Tottenham’s chances came through the middle, which is worrying in itself, as Arsenal’s flanks were well defended.
Petr Cech. He bailed them out a few times and save a stumble that he thankfully recovered, saving fans from choking on their hearts, it was a solid performance from the Arsenal Keeper.
Undefeated streak continues. Despite not being able to end Tottenham’s undefeated run in the League, Arsenal remain undefeated since opening day in all competitions. They are in touching distance of the top of the table and cruising in all competitions. Can’t complain about that.
No legs. Arsenal were very flat for much of the game. They started slowly and took a long time to get into the game, their first chances not coming until a half hour in. Although they held the lead, they neither assumed a defensive shell nor found an attacking gear. Alex Iwobi, Mesut Özil and Theo Walcott all looked a step behind and Alexis Sanchez couldn’t find the right moves to instigate anything. Spurs were less rested but were the far more positive side, finding much joy through Arsenal’s midfield. By the time substitutions came into play, there just wasn’t enough time or cohesion to grab the game and so went the chances of a win.
Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain. He didn’t start and so was looked for to provide an attacking spark when he came on for Walcott. He didn’t. The Ox misplayed many of his passes, lost possession and provided little when Arsenal truly needed it. It was not a promising sign from a player who wants to find his role in the team.
The penalty. Nothing went right. Dembele had the ball a fair distance out. Francis Coquelin attacked at the ball rather than cut off the run and was brushed aside by the Spurs midfielder as if he didn’t exist, allowing access to the penalty area. The Arsenal centerbacks stepped up to impede his access but rather than just close him down, Laurent Koscielny also stuck out a foot to get the ball. It was all in all, incredibly poor defending from both. Despite their upperhand in attack, Spurs did not yet seem like scoring. Between them, Coq and Kos threw away two points very cheaply.
No more of that.
ANOTHER INTERLULL!? Sheesh... thought we just had one... this is especially annoying because it makes us wait to face a demoralized Manchester United but also pushes back MLS semifinals until Canadian winter for Montreal and Toronto. Ugh. (Go TFC!!)