Good Tuesday morning, TSFers. I have an important question for you: am I crazy? I feel like I’m losing my mind. In the aftermath of the 2-2 North London Derby draw, there has been such a media love-fest for Spurs, and I just don’t see what they’re seeing.
If you were to remove all references to the scoreline from the articles and commentary, you’d think that Tottenham went into the Emirates and beat Arsenal convincingly. It’s been six matches. Arsenal and Tottenham are both unbeaten with the same record 4-2-0. But from the way people are talking about the two clubs right now, you’d think Tottenham are snapping at Manchester City’s heels and Arsenal are mired in the mid-table.
I’ll grant that some of the commentary on Arsenal is accurate. The Gunners aren’t as good right now as they were last season. The chance creation and scoring is a problem that needs fixing, fast. Something just seems off.
But I just don’t see it with Spurs. Is it just that they were so awful the past few years under Jose Mourinho and then Antonio Conte that, with a normal guy in Ange Postecoglou in charge coaching them to a not terrible start, the improvement is so striking that it blinds everyone to the reality of the football we’re seeing from them?
Spurs were convincingly outplayed by Arsenal with Declan Rice on the pitch. An Arsenal side, I might add, that was missing the two first-choice left wingers and playing their integrally important striker out of position. It took a dreadful mistake for Jorginho for them to equalize, too. They were not impressive at the Emirates in the North London Derby. And I’ll be the first to admit when a team is playing well. Or at least I try to be.
Tottenham look very much like Arsenal when Bukayo Saka and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang playing hero-ball was the only way they produced offense. If James Maddison and Son Heung-min aren’t cooking, Spurs aren’t doing much of anything. I’m told that Spurs play a high line and high pressure style. With Declan Rice on the field, Arsenal had zero trouble breaking the press. Conversely, the Gunners gave Spurs’ defense and midfield fits by pressing high up the pitch.
I’m sorry, but when you can only manage a draw (being gifted a goal) against a middling to poor Arsenal performance, you ain’t impressing me. I think Liverpool are going to crunch Tottenham this weekend.