Only Spurs could come to the Emirates, score two goals without reply, and walk away with only one point in a 1-1 draw. Then again, this is a team that managed to finish third in a two-horse race for the League last year, so not too many heads are likely to be turned by this. A Kevin Wimmer own-goal and a Harry Kane penalty ensured this fixture ended in yet another stalemate, the third consecutive draw between the two clubs in the League, as both sides lost ground in the title race.
The general consensus 24 hours on from the final whistle is one of missed opportunity for the Gunners. Although they have moved on from the laughing stock of a team they were during the days of Juande Ramos, and now represent a very serious challenge, this was a Spurs side without a win in six. A victory here would have created a six point-buffer between us in our favor, which, although relatively early in the season, would have provided a major psychological edge, but it was not to be.
Much has been said in the wake of game of the change of tactics employed by the white-side of North London. Pochettino opted for a back three, rather than his traditional back four, in an attempt to cope with the new high press we have been employing in recent weeks. While Harry Redknapp claims Arsenal ‘didn’t even have a foothold in the game in the opening twenty minutes’, I myself claim that this claim, made by a fomer spurs manager, so clearly unbiased, is complete rubbish.
Whilst Alexis, and Iwobi in particular, did not impose themselves on the game in the same manner they have been during the season up to this point, this was through fault of their own, rather than a tactical masterstroke by Spurs. Alexis was still able to collect the ball in pockets of space between midfield and defense, as has become his trademark, and the chances he created for both Iwobi and Coquelin illustrate how he was not nullified as a threat, he just lacked a killer edge. Iwobi too was able to drift from wide and central areas without challenge, but, in what was his first North London Derby, the pressure now placed on him as first-choice winger seemed to weigh on his shoulders. Although he did not look out of place, which is a testament to a man who this time last year had only one senior appearance to his name, he misplaced a handful of passes and spurned our best chance of the first half (other than the goal). This was surprising to see, especially for a man who shone on a start at the Nou Camp last year, and without a goal or assist in his previous five outings, it looks like the international break has come at the right time for the Hale-End graduate.
In what was certainly a candidate for the most sanitized post-match interview of all-time, Theo Walcott summed up the game about as well as any self-professed blogger such as myself would be able to. Simply put, the winger who wants to be a striker but asks to be played on the wing, stated that the team ‘didn’t create enough to win the game’. Whilst the pace and intensity of the game was unrelenting from the first to last whistle, we failed to regularly test Lloris between the sticks, and threatened with half chances rather than golden ones.Good saves from Cech against Eriksen and a monstrous last ditch tackle from Monreal on Kane mean that, in truth, and it is through gritted-teeth I have to admit this,a draw was a painfully fair result.
Despite the annoyance however, the frustration from this result must be quickly forgotten, and the league table must become the priority again. We are just two points from the league summit, three points ahead of Spurs, and United, who will be without Zlatan for our visit later in the month, are below Everton, a team who themselves lost 5-0 this weekend.
So, here’s to Kevin Wimmer, another man who could not resist a Mesut Ozil assist.