An early afternoon game at Wembley between Tottenham and Arsenal had all the hype it could this week. Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 9 at Spurs “home” ground this year, making for more of a cup final atmosphere than a true road test.
Some bad news to begin the day, as the Welsh hat-trick wonder Aaron Ramsey had a minor groin injury that saw him replaced on the team sheet by Elneny. Disappointing considering the form he was in last week against Everton. Wilshere played in the place of Iwobi, but the other 9 players on the pitch were the same as last week against the Toffees.
Here it us - our team for this afternoon's north London derby at Wembley#THFCvAFC pic.twitter.com/DhBPWoOaVe— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) February 10, 2018
Today makes 200 appearances for Nacho Monreal, but he will be leaving Wembley wishing he had more to celebrate after the game.
It was a lifeless first half at Wembley. Not exactly a box to box game, and there was little action on goal. The talking point was an offside call that should not have been, when Jack Wilshere put Aubameyang in on goal and you have to ask “what if”. It was a tight call, but he looks onside from this angle.
Perhaps the most controversial incident of the first-half: Jack Wilshere slides a ball through to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, although the linesman flagged him for offside. [NBC] #afc pic.twitter.com/3KI7IdPi1L— afcstuff (@afcstuff) February 10, 2018
Mkhitaryan struggled to control the ball and was inaccurate in his passing throughout the first 45 minutes. Between both teams only 1 shot was recorded in the first half.
This half was more interesting, but also left us heartbroken at the end of the day. Spurs came out fast in the second half and never stopped. Arsenal struggled to get possession and were locked into their own side. On the 49th minute, there was a serious defensive lapse that led to a Kane header.
It started in the midfield where Dembele received and sent a ball wide. Ozil went in to challenge Dembele, and left Ben Davies open to do what he does best - put a ball into Kane. Davies dribbled forward, and the left back sent a whipping cross into Kane who rose above Koscielny and put it into the bottom left corner. Cech was helpless and Arsenal fans were mortified.
Great ball from Davies and Kane gets in the middle of Koscielny and Monreal to head home. What a goal. pic.twitter.com/5G896P83A9— Mootaz Chehade (@MHChehade) February 10, 2018
You simply cannot give Tottenham that much room on the sides of the field. 7 minutes later, a free kick in a dangerous area gave Tottenham a glimpse of extending the lead. Although he has been poor lately, Petr Cech looked great today in search of that 200th clean sheet. His save on the free kick was classy, as Eriksen couldn’t have shot it any better. Just take a look at this one.
Arsene Wenger saw there were issues that needed addressing. Elneny and Mkhitaryan had games to forget, and gave way to Iwobi and Lacazette in the 65th minute. The defensive contribution was not there from the Egyptian and the quality was not there from the Armenian. They will look to bounce back Thursday in the Europa League.
The lack of creativity moving forward prevented Aubameyang from getting in the game, there simply was nothing happening to facilitate the new number 9 getting in on goal. Again he was played in from a deep ball and was called offside in a decision that could have gone either way. Other than the offside calls, it was difficult to remember he was on the pitch. This gave Lacazette a chance to make his presence felt, and we will get to that in a moment.
Spurs were relentless in the second half, bottling chances that should have put them up 3 or 4 to nil. Cech kept making great saves, but the defense was too spread out to stop Kane & co. from creating chances. It pains me more than anything to say that the result was deserved and Arsenal were outplayed. 1-0 final does not appear to be a thrashing, but it felt like it watching this game.
Tottenham vs Arsenal Running xG, xG plot and simulated result.— Scott Willis (@oh_that_crab) February 10, 2018
Arsenal were lucky this was 1-0 and not worse. Dreadful performance. pic.twitter.com/7Lde2QoGbP
There were chances to steal points at the end though, and Arsenal fans around the world are saddened by Lacazette’s two missed chances.
First was a cross in from the side which he attempted to volley. A touch may have been a better option considering he skied that into the cheap seats. It was arguably Arsenal’s best chance until the 90 + 3.
In stoppage time, Iwobi sent a beautiful pass that deleted every Spurs player on the pitch. Lacazette was put in on goal. A chance to steal a point against the biggest rivals Arsenal have. It was the chance he had been waiting for... But there was something missing from the finish. Lacazette rolled the ball just outside the far post. This can only be described as catastrophic considering the benching he has seen in the past week with the arrival of Aubameyang. Arsenal fans went mad and this did not do anything to help a man with low confidence in front of goal.
How do you miss this pic.twitter.com/rGX79Fh4SC— Terje (@ArsenalTerje) February 10, 2018
And thus, the game ended 1-0. Some scenes occurred after the game where Lamela and Wilshere got into a bit of a tussle, and were split up following an exchange of pleasantries.
Arsenal have won 13 points from 14 away games this season pic.twitter.com/IXoxBklrhN— ArsenalGIF (@ArsenalGIF) February 10, 2018
Arsenal see a steep road to the top 4 after dropping the points against Tottenham today. Europa League action is back on Thursday to try and get this team in a run of form moving forward.
Please try and be merciful with your comments.