An enthralling North London Derby that Arsenal were unlucky not to win

FT: ARSENAL 2-2 TOTTENHAM by Alfie Culshaw

An enthralling game full of drama, emotion, passion, hot-headedness, quality and defensive mistakes – everything you’d hope to see from a North London Derby.

Emery opted for another cautious starting 11, deploying 3 workmanlike midfielders behind the front 3 we all wanted to see, possibly to compensate for the defensive fragility in our full-backs or in an attempt to emulate the Liverpool model, which requires creativity in the front 3. Unfortunately our front 3 isn’t yet at the level of Liverpool’s, not quite yet possessing the guile, fluidity and chemistry of Klopp’s trio.

We began brightly, pressing Tottenham high up the pitch and penning them in, using our functional but not spectacular midfield. However, a defensive lapse from Sokratis, where he found himself in no man’s land and failed to win a header, resulted in Spurs ruthlessly taking the lead against the run of play. Following this was a short period of sustained Spurs’ counters, which saw us on the ropes as they threatened to increase their lead. In this period, Xhaka’s immobility was exposed as greatly as it ever has been, being deployed as the deepest of the 3 against a dynamic Spurs midfield was possibly a mistake from Emery. Despite this, we recovered quickly and responded by a period of sustained pressure from ourselves, but lacked a player with the creative assets in midfield to get in between the lines and make things happen, meaning we never really possessed the incision to find an equaliser. Xhaka’s moment of madness doubled Spurs lead, before Lacazette’s late goal gave us a foothold.

We improved drastically in the second half offensively and defensively, with the introduction of Ceballos reigniting our attack, giving us a new dimension. This substitution also alleviated the pressure on Xhaka, who was no longer our deepest player. We dominated large periods of the second half, barring a couple of Kane moments, and thoroughly deserved our excellent equaliser when it came. The last 10-15 minutes of the game were stretched, as both sides looked reluctant to fully commit and also appeared heavily fatigued from such an intense opening 75 minutes.

Disappointing that we couldn’t go on to win it, but an impressive comeback where we showed mental resilience, composure and quality. We move on.

PLAYER RATINGS vs Tottenham:

0️⃣1️⃣ Leno 6

1️⃣5️⃣ Maitland-Niles 6

0️⃣5️⃣ Sokratis 5

2️⃣3️⃣ Luiz 5

3️⃣1️⃣ Kolasinac 5

1️⃣1️⃣ Torreira 6

3️⃣4️⃣ Xhaka 4

2️⃣9️⃣ Guendouzi 9 (MOTM)

1️⃣9️⃣ Pepe 6

1️⃣4️⃣ Aubameyang 7

0️⃣9️⃣ Lacazette 8 –

Subs
0️⃣8️⃣ Ceballos 7

0️⃣7️⃣ Mkhitaryan 5 –

Tell me your thoughts below and if you don’t understand some of my ratings, ask below and I’ll give some justification

14 Comments

  1. ramterta says:

    spurs were without foyth dier alli kwp and ndombele. yet they almost beat us

    1. Nonny says:

      Maybe arsenal might have beaten them if all those players where to play

    2. Frank says:

      And we were without Bellerin, Holding and Tiernay.

  2. Nonny says:

    Seems like you knew your rating would be hard for many to translate yet you want comments from us to clarify. Well I agree with the article but leno should have gotten a higher rate as he made 2 spectacular saves

  3. John0711 says:

    Wouldn’t disagree with those ratings
    And Emery 4

    1. gotanidea says:

      Agree with your Emery rating and Alfie’s ratings, except for Leno’s and Sokratis, which should be lower. Leno made two terrible saves, which luckily only one was converted into a Spurs’ goal

      Whereas Sokratis made a stup1d temperamental and exhibitionist’s action, which fortunately was not red-carded. In addition to that, his bad decision in handling Kane with Xhaka was costly

      First half: Spurs should have scored more than two goals
      Second half: Arsenal were finally able to express their creativity, after Spurs released their pressure

      This movie sounds familiar and has been repeated in the last decade, but I hope it would not play again after the international break

      1. John0711 says:

        Good points

  4. ken1945 says:

    Alfie, good article, sounds as if your still re-living it!!!!
    I never get into awarding marks for players as it is a personal view and we all see things differently.

    The one thing you failed to mention was the crowd however…..55, 000 gooners getting behind the team (no matter who is playing) can be the most electrifying experience imaginable.

    We are a crowd that can match ANY other set of supporters and we never gave up on Sunday.
    10/10 for them and didn’t the players show their appreciation after the game?
    Just wish everyone would get back to their seats before the game restarted!!!

    Anyone know how the drum got into the clock end?

    1. Admin says:

      Ask Phil lol

    2. Barbie1945 says:

      ken1945, i think liverpool fc might have something to say about the crowd. i reckon they must be the most vocal fans in the world. but ours are definately improving , great to watch.

    3. Declan says:

      The drum is an introduction by the club ken, if that’s what you mean.
      Or if you mean logistically, perhaps by chopper ??
      Your mention of the crowd reminds me, I read somewhere spurs had to give away 10,000 tickets which were unsold for the Newcastle game ?

      1. ken1945 says:

        Declan, I didn’t realise it was introduced by the club, great idea for the clock end.
        Where did you see/read that, just out of curiosity?

        Just need the Sheffield wednesday “band” equavalent at the north bank and we will be rocking!!

        10,000 unsold tickets? If that’s correct, they must be sh***ng themselves regarding the future, even with the revenue that might come from the NFL franchise.

        For the first time since AW’s last two years, I couldn’t see one empty seat from where I sit, if we can just get it right on the field, the atmosphere will return, that’s for sure.

        1. Admin says:

          Jeez Ken, everyone gonna be fighting over derby tickets. You know that
          A cold Wednesday night against Sheffield United? Hmmmm

          1. ken1945 says:

            Well admin, it was the spuds opening game of the season, so to give away 10,000 tickets was not what they were expecting surely?

            As for Sheffield Utd on a cold wednesday evening…when we were producing the Invicible type of football, one couldn’t get a ticket for love or money.

            That’s why I said,”if we can just get it right on the field”.

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