Five crucial reasons why Arsenal failed to beat a poor Tottenham

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.


    1. Not sure that what MARTIN correctly stated is entirely just hindsight. It required foresight , at least in non selecting Xhaka, to have prevented that ridiculous lunge. Top managers are paid to HAVE foresight. Emery is currently alienating previously strong supporters of him on here. Certainly me, for just one, in NOT showing sufficient FORESIGHT. To play XHAKA IN ANY Prem game, ALL of which demand mobility, pace, brains and awareness, is a huge mistake. All managers make mistakes; the better ones do not make CONTINUED MISTAKES. We shall see but patience is running thin. It is not as though there are no viable alternatives. THERE CLEARLY ARE AND FROM NOW ON THEY MUST BE USED!

      1. @jonfox
        You are not Emery. And neither is he you. Going by his comments, he thought Granit’s display on the day was solid. Its all about perspective,I guess. Another perspective might say,had our forwards been more clinical, we might have won. It’s easy to say what might have happened, afterwards, had we…

      2. Jon you are spot on regarding foresight. Emery seems to be falling behind the learning curve, let me explain.

        Xhaka’s lunge against Son cost us; he continues these rash challenges, yet Emery continues to trust him. Mustafi gets benched, yet Xhaka rewarded with starts? What message does it send to the team?

        Sokratis more wrestler than defender whose positioning is questionable at best. Yet Chambers can’t buy his way into starting 11 after solid preseason?

        Mkhi is a passenger or ghost at best and should be binned with Mustafi. Yet he gets chances better used on Nelson, Saka, or Martinelli.

        I fear he’s losing fans, and how long before Emery loses the locker room as well like PSG?

        If Xhaka starts next game, perhaps it’s time Emery gets called out and questioned. I’m not calling for his sacking, merely wondering why some players get benched yet others seem untouchable.

      3. Jon, I’m glad He Emery is showing you how confused he is with constant selection of Xhaka and the selection of two players he was well aware were leaving.

  1. Simple answer-No belief from the Manage.An ideal opportunity to bury those cave dwellers and he bottled it.If we were on the front foot from the off we would have won the game convincingly.Emery was far too cautious in putting out the midfield that he did and we lost the chance to really go at them.Emery is losing the fan base quickly and if he doesn’t start changing the team pattern and creating an Arsenal identity he will lose his job.He has had his honeymoon period and the clock is now ticking

  2. I think this analysis is interesting but missing the more obvious issue. Number one issue should be “Playing Granit Xhaka”.

    Yes his passing range is rather good but other than that – he is a disaster. The tackling ability of a striker, the tactical positioning of half blind mouse and the mobility of gunnersaurus. Not to mention the extreme stupidity – no-one in any of the top leagues gives away as many penalties as Xhaka and he’s not even a defender.

    I want to give Emery a chance but his continued playing of Xhaka pushes me into the Emery Out club.

  3. I`ll give you just one reason !………………Xhaka Xhaka Xhaka Xhaka Xhaka…………

    I know that looks like I`ve given 5 reasons , but I do suffer from terrible stststuttering …….fffcuk ssssake!

    1. Mhiki came on because Laca was injured and it was either Mhiki or Nelson available for the left ?‍♂️
      Won’t be a problem going forward now Mhiki is off to Roma so personally I’m hoping to see Martinelli or even ESR as backup on the left, Nelson may come good but personally think he could have done with another season on loan getting regular game time.

    1. Couldn’t agree more Sue….. Xhaka and Mustafi are the only two useless fekks left on the squad imo. Mhiki and Ozil at least offer something some of the time ?‍♂️

  4. I am afraid we will have to stick with Xhaka all through the season except he gets injured which I pray he does call me whatever name you want.

    1. that is only true if emery is such a sub standard manager that he picks him week in week out when there are clearly better options in which case both will be out come end of season as we will not finish in top 4 .. i have been calling for xhaka to go for 2 years so no hope there … i have my doubts after 15 months that emery will adapt and improve but you never know …

  5. Lest some people have forgotten so soon this is a Spurs team which held Man city to a 2-2 draw at Etihad stadium. What makes anyone imagine that Arsenal should have rolled over them? We should learn to be realistic and put things in a context. On another day they could even have beaten us!

    1. They missed Tanguay Ndombele in midfield, their starting RB for starters.

      Rather than attacking their weakened midfield, Emery goes with 3 DM’s in midfield! Show some managerial courage and trust in your players!

      Ceballos rather than Xhaka would have given us the creativity we lacked, and Guendouzi is showing more than Xhaka is by miles, not to mention consistency as well.

      Emery got it wrong at home, period. Honeymoon is over, time he delivers.

    2. The same Tottenham that got beat by Newcastle at home…

      Emery continues to prove he’s a coward in his team selections

  6. Arsenal played well guys come on.. who wasn’t on the edge of their seats yesterday? Certainly not an Arsenal fan.. I know we want to win every match and win the league but sometimes as you all know it doesn’t quite happen like that.. we got a draw yesterday when we could have won but then again it’s football.. Arsenal played well yesterday if only a few players would have met the performance level of others we would have won.. I loved the formation.. line up.. tactics Unai Emery deployed yesterday.. Luiz was solid.. Sok had no reason to go for that contest between Xhaka and Kane but he went and it caused us the first goal.. Xhaka has given more penalties than any other player in the premiership since 2018 that speaks for itself.. didn’t need to make that tackle but he did and it caused us a second goal.. but who can f**k with the way our front players turned it up for the Spuds to fade.. I enjoyed myself though 3points would have been nice.. we will get it from wembley or wherever the Spuds be at!!!

  7. It was a great derby full of passionate attack
    and ferocious and wild defense.
    2-2 was a totally fair result.
    All 27 players who made the pitch and all 60,000 in the crowd contributed to a wonderful occasion.
    Derbies have a life of their own and make their own rules.
    Reputations mean nothing on Derby day.
    The formation has nothing to do with the result.
    The tactics have nothing to do with the result.
    All plans flew out the window when the game started.
    95% of the game was actually random uncontrollable mayhem.
    No bus parking 0-0 bore draw here.
    This was the classic derby where hearts rule the head.
    Spurs goals came from two bizarre Arsenal defensive errors.
    Arsenals two goals came from two stellar Arsenal attacks.
    It was that sort of game and a fantastic drama it was.
    Tactics formation be damned.
    Rip snorting end to end partisan tribalism at it’s best.

  8. This group of players need patience from fans. I see a group with potential for top 3. My only fear is injuries.
    They just played two of the best 3 teams in England in one week. Even when they are still gelling. Patience, please.Judge them as from January.

    1. I’m going to say amen to that comment and remind everyone on here that we’re still playing without Bellerin and Tierney. Once this team is at 100% I think we’ll compete with both Liverpool and City, but it does take time for the new players to gel. I question leaving Ceballos on the bench as well, but he had a poor game against Pool, so I imagine Emery was protecting him a bit.

  9. Only just watched it. Guendouzi was easily MOTM! An assist, brilliant energy, desire, tackling. Whereas as Xhaka was our worst. Yet another shocker from him. Petulant booking, gives away a pen, which we concede from, and fouls how many times? I literally lost count!

    Awful from Luiz on the first goal. 3 games, zero good performances from him so far. Not sure what he has to do to get dropped? Chambers has an excellent opening game, and our only clean sheet, and hasn’t been seen since. Getting very fed up with Emery’s lineups at the moment.

  10. Our team selection was blizzard, but having said that, the surprise element from a creative midfielder was missing, which would have put spurs on the back foot. The front three will gel well and do good too, it’s just a matter of time, but to expect them to do it all on their own without any service/supply is buzzard. Guendozi and Xhaka did thread a pass it two, but it isn’t enough, and can never match what a CAM can do. When Ceballos came on, he was #10 for a bit but fell into his comfort zone of #8. This is called confusion within the ranks, as there is no system in place.
    We can cry ourselves hoarse but Emery ends up doing what he wants to do, and justifies it on top of that. Atleast I’m glad he didn’t praise Xhaka’s hairstyle.

  11. I don’t understand why people will just be calling for Guendouuzi to displace Xhaka in the team…
    Guendouuzi doesn’t have the tactical discipline of a defensive midfielder to stay ahead the CBs when we are attaccking, he’s not even built for it he’s so adventurous and the idea will be a calamity, I’ve seen that in Lucas Torreira too, none of them can stand to protect the backline like Xhaka does no matter how bad you all thinks that he does it

      1. Xhaka protects our backline?

        Torreira should be deepest as he would be the best in DM role, but gets played further forward. Guendouzi has been more box2box I guess, but would easily do a better job than Xhaka as DM. Xhaka was horrendous today, and shouldn’t even be playing!

    1. Xhaka doesn’t protect the backline. He is the one who is often out of position and causes issues in the backline. Our CBs are constantly stepping out of position to cover the holes he can’t fill. Not to mention he’s extremely reckless and can’t control his emotions.

  12. We failed to beat a very average Spurs team because of schoolboy errors committed by Xhaka and Sokratis who lack the quality needed to represent our Club.They have been sub par since they joined the Club and will never improve.My problem is not with these players, but with our Manager who is apparently oblivious to their on going failings.If we continue to play these guys and for that matter Luiz, we will not improve our League position despite having a tremendous front three.The majority of sensible fans have been patient with Emery particularly in the absence of our best defenders through injury,but patience wears thin when results are below expectations.

  13. Funny how the ‘D’ word wasn’t mentioned while discussing Kane, on ref watch. How on earth can a grown man throw himself to the ground like that, time & time again?? You hear all this crap about him scoring however many goals in the NLD.. but how many were penalties, that he or Son or Alli dived for? Jeez he was awarded an MBE for his heroics (?) at the WC.. now watch him be awarded a knighthood… laughable!!!

    1. Anytime I read about Kane being awarded an MBE for getting 4th place at the world cup and actually winning one difficult match against Colombia I just laugh and Wondered what kind of honor Mbape and Antoine Griezmann should get for actually winning the world cup or the likes of MOdric, Mario Mandžukić should get for defeating some really good team and getting to the final.

  14. I’m okay with a draw.
    1. They are a better team than us. They are Champions League finalists and drew with Man City.

    It’s Arrogance and wishful thinking to believe we should have defeated them.

    Draw is not a terrible result

    2. They have been together longer than our team. Ceballos, Luiz, Pepe need time to adjust

    3. It was a Derby. Notoriously difficult

    4. We don’t seem to have belief in ourselves yet. Also we drew despite playing XHAKA

    We should play Guendouzi or Wilock instead of XHAKA to play with Torreira and Ceballos

    Bench Xhaka

  15. OT:,the word in France is that GUENDOUZY is going to be selected for next french national team instead of Pogba !!

    1. Yes that’s true, its been said that the coach is being pressured to build the midfield around him(pronunciation: ​[mateo ɡenduzi) and Kante, though he still prefers pogba but I don’t think he has a choice than to play him.

    2. No wonder Guendouzie has been called up.
      Pavard Varane Pogba Matuidi Griezmann Mbappe have all been
      dropped because France face the worlds top two
      super powers Andorra and Albania.
      Debuchi Squilacci Diarby Flamini Sanogo Nicholas Anelka
      and now Guendouzie have been called up as France fear
      Andorra and Albania the top 2 Nations in FIFA’S rankings

  16. Grandad, Please, what made that spur team average? is it the fact they were playing at Emirates? That team is better than ours at the moment. City could not beat them at Etihad. Forget the fluke result Newcastle got at their home, they underrated them. they are the second best in Europe bro.

    1. 2nd best in Europe? Based on what, last year’s CL finish? Please. Liverpool and city miles better. You compare them to city off one match, but ignore city PL champs AGAIN, and the gulf in points over a season.

      If you meant best team to never win any silverware, then I agree with you.

      Based on your 1 game standard with city, then Newcastle >>> Spuds

      1. @Durand, Presently they are still the second best team in Europe judging by last European champions league, and don’t forget they eliminated your Man city in that competition last season and also they’ve already taking a point from man city this season,so its not just ” 1 game standard” Please stop saying they are average yes they haven’t won anything for years, but they are still better than us though we are one or two players from getting to them.

        1. LenoHappy it’s not my man city as you ignorantly state my friend. I mentioned them b/c they’re PL champs 2 yrs running.

          Funny how you ignore that, while using spuds runner up finish as a standard.

          I prefer to judge “best in Europe” over the course of 1 or 2 years, not a cherry-picked game here or there.

          Let’s remember we beat spuds 4-2 and drew them at their home, finished 1 point behind.

          By your standard spuds better than Barca, Bayern, Juve, and any other league champion that didn’t make CL final.

          Silly standard that falls apart when properly measured.

          Maybe you’re already convinced spuds better than us, but I’m not. Let’s wait til May, shall we?

  17. Durand, most of us here are emotional in our analysis? You cant claim that this Spurs Team is average looking at how good they’ve been. they played the so called city and Liverpool last season and got respectable results compare to us, they got to CL final, finished above us and someone is saying we should beat them easily because they are average? come on, be realistic.

    1. Spuds finished 1 point above us, we beat them 4-2 and drew away. Head to head we are right there. I’d argue we could or should have finished above them if Emery’s selections the last 6 games were better.

      We lost 2 points yesterday; Xhaka’s gift penalty, and Sokratis mistake plus Leno spilling an easy save.

      I have faith in this team better than spuds, we’ll see in May won’t we?

  18. I stopped reading when I got to the part saying Guendouzi is not a creative influence in midfield!
    So who created the goal for Aubameyang then?

  19. Last season Xhaxa made 4 big mistakes that cost Arsenal 9 points. Needless penalty conceded late at Crystal palace for a foul on zaha; penalty at home against Brighton that sealed arsenal’s fate; loose pass against wolves at home and loose header away to West ham. Why is he still in the team? The reason is simple. There is no one to replace him.Gendouzi has started well, but let us not get carried away. He has been ineffective before. Torreia hasn’t hit form yet. With Ozil out of the team Xhaxa is perhaps the only one left with a good pass. Thank God;I am not Emery. If I were in his shoes I would push David Luiz into defensive mid, and bring chambers to partner Sokratis.He must also figure out how to accommodate Ozil in this team. They are not creating enough.

    1. WINNER, in my own opinion , the only way to accommodate ozil in the team is to send him away to that great team from siberia, is it frozen out they are called ?.

  20. Sirjoe my reference to “average” related to their performance on the day.They were well below their best and their full backs were there for the taking.I hope this clarifies the situation for you.Spurs are a very good team but on the day they were average in my opinion.

  21. Emery is not radically should watch arsenal games very well.Its the same flank movement or one twos and nothing more.If you watch very well at times you see the players having a slow build up going forward without making any meaningful movement on the ball and wasting time in doing so.This gives opposition teams time to track back..emery is not wise to see that there are times u need to go through the middle.that was how genduozi was able to see the space and pass to auba to score.And to me emery was foolish to let’s iwobi go because auba can’t dribble to beat his man and we have youth without much experience.Emery needs to change his tactics and learn new strategies to open up defences instead of his slow Spain build up from the back wish will not help arsenal.look at guadiola he was able to mix both tiki taka and the fast football play of England hence his top performance as we see today even Liverpool break up play fast.thats why we crumble at times when we concede first..finally pepe peep pepe.he should be reminded we didn’t spend 72million for fancy footwork and passes.we have that already.we better start demanding goals from him and he should know that sooner than later.

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