The headline is a little underwhelming to be honest because there are a lot more than five reasons why Arsenal failed to beat Tottenham yesterday at the Emirates but I am going with five because there is no need to write an Opus on what went wrong. It just becomes depressing and we don’t need that.
No creative influence in midfield
Deploying three defensive midfielders made no sense when you are going with a three man attack, they need service and Torreira, Xhaka and Guendouzi are not made that way, Willock and Ceballos are and one of them should have been included from the start.
Failure to exploit the wings
Danny Rose got a yellow card early on and from that minute onwards he was vulnerable defending the Tottenham left side and yet he was never put under any extreme pressure. Davinson Sanchez was very uncomfortable playing in the right-back role, he lacked pace and was found out time and again but the pressure was not consistent and too often he was let off the hook. There was a huge opportunity there and it was not exploited well enough.
Lack of impact from new signings
It was just one of those days but it played a crucial part in Arsenal failing to take Tottenham down, Nicholas Pepe showed signs of his brilliance but it was not enough, he left his shooting boots in the dressing room and drifted in and out of the game. Dani Ceballos was electric for about five minutes and then he seemed to go into his shell, the creativity influence he can bring to the game simply did not follow him onto the pitch when he came on. One great shot is not enough. Both will do better but their lack of impact played a role.
Too much respect given
This Tottenham side is currently in poor form, their last 15 games have seen them collect 15 points, it has been a while since they were at their best, they have internal issues and yet Unai Emery put out a team that was just too respectful, why else would you play three DM’s? Arsenal should have gone for it from word go and while the counter-attack was always a danger it is not as if Spurs have been putting teams to the sword recently. If Unai Emery would have been far more positive with both his tactics and line up then Arsenal would have won the game comfortably and the Tottenham performance proves that.
Not getting the basics right
It is a basic tenent of being a defender that you do not do lunging tackles in the penalty area and Granit Xhaka doing exactly that was amateurish at best. You also do not meekly push the ball out when you make a save, Bernd Leno is experienced enough to know that his save from Lamela that allowed Eriksen to score was poor and was not befitting of a goalie of his quality He was not too stretched and should have been able to push the ball further out to his right. These are basics of the game and yet both these players failed in that respect and it led to two Tottenham goals.