Three things Arsenal got wrong in the North London Derby

We had hoped to paint North London red, but we weren’t able to. Spurs fought back in a tense North London derby to ensure the game ended 2-2, denying us all three points.

Bukayo Saka’s strike was deflected in by Tottenham’s Cristian Romero in the 26th minute, giving us the lead. Tottenham equalised three minutes before halftime, with Son Heung-min tapping in from James Maddison’s defensive-splitting pass from the byline.

Saka scored a penalty after Romero blocked Ben White’s shot with his hand right after halftime to give us a 2-1 lead. Our lead, however, did not last long. Seconds after we scored, Jorginho lost the ball to Maddison, who found Son for his second goal of the game.

We tried to add a third goal, as did the Spurs, but the game finished 2-2.

There are certain things we got right about the Derby, but some we got wrong, and here are some of them:

Not targeting Spurs left back enough

Destiny Udogie, 20, was getting a taste of his first North London derby. Although he impressed many, I felt we never tested him as much as we should have; we didn’t put him under pressure. Bukayo Saka did not target the left back as much as he should have in the second half. Notably, the Spurs fullback was on a yellow card, which should have reduced his effectiveness. We didn’t utilise Saka as much as we should have in the second half as we hunted for the game-winning goal. Even Spurs’ boss Ange Postecoglu noted Udogie had a better game, saying after the game, “Destiny picked up a yellow card, but I felt he dealt with it well and ended up as the dominant player on that side. It will have been a great learning experience for him.”

Letting Maddison in the game

James Maddison has been revitalised at Spurs. The Englishman has become reliable. When he has the ball, he can’t help but do something great with it in terms of attacking. We let him settle into the game in the first half. We should have neutralised him, Rice should have dealt with him in the first half, and Jorginho could have done better for Spurs’ second goal. Maddison is playing his finest football right now, and he shows why he was the Premier League August player of the month. Before he left, Harry Kane was the player to be neutralised versus the Spurs; now teams ought to do that to Maddison if they want to throw the Spurs’ attack out of their game.

Sending Havertz on

The substitution of Jorginho for Rice due to the 24-year-old’s injury was understandable. But I didn’t understand why Vieira was subbed off for Havertz. Apparently, it was a tactical manoeuvre, according to Arteta. Even so, the Portuguese playmaker was lively in the first half, with his drifting in midfield and on the left wing making the Gunners dangerous in attack. Havertz didn’t shine once more; unfortunately, his introduction was pointless.

Darren N

CALLING ALL ARSENAL FANS! Anyone who would like to contribute an Article or Video opinion piece on JustArsenal, please contact us through this link

Tags Arsenal v Tottenham


  1. I agree with points 1 and 2, to a certain extent, but disagree with 3 as Havertz won a few aerial battles, tackled back effectively and had a couple of chances, which he unfortunately spurned. By the way, we are The Arsenal, the other team is just spurs, small ‘s’ and no ‘the’.

      1. Havertz improving?
        Sorry I must have blinked and missed it.
        He is most effective staying on the bench and not moving from it or better still on the injury table so ESR or some other talented young player can be given an opportunity.

        1. I think Arteta game plan was clear. He did want to change the formation after Rice sabstitute. Sometime situations may force to chang initial tactical plan. When Saka score the penalty that was when Arteta supposed to convert 4-5-1, keeping Jesus upfront introducing kuwari.

      2. And when or if he finally arrives, we could be 20 points of the leaders. Six games only and we are four points down. EPL glory seems out of reach, sooner MA acknowledges this the better for him and us. Havs will cost us the cups as well.
        Havs is used to see his managers packing their bags, unfortunately MA does not see Havs ruining his chances of silverware. I’d say good riddance to both. AFC first. No place for sentiments.

    1. Can you hear yourselves. He is an expensive signing on absolutely massive wages. He has Zero goal involvements so far and has been a total disappointment. He isn’t wet behind the ears or yet to improve. This is Haverz, not good enough. His presence and lack of real involvement is costing us big time.

      1. Whilst every point you make is right Reggie, it is what it is and we now have to make the most of it. The price tag should now be irrelevant, either as a stck to beat the player with or a reason to start him when he doesn’t deserve it. I’m not sure what the solution is ATM unless we try ESR because Vieira isn’t convincing me either. I think Arteta (who quite frankly was the worst performer of all) realised we needed to press better as I don’t see Kai being good for much else atm.

  2. You cannot rely on Saka every single game.
    Odegaard did nothing and neither did Jesus. Eddie has proven time and time again he is not good enough to lead the line.
    This leads me to the £65 million transfer fee and £70 million salary that we squandered on Kai Havertz.
    He looks completely out of his depth at Arsenal – his reading of the game is non-existent. He cannot pass, has no creativity, cannot tackle or hit a barn door.
    Kai Havertz will cost a lot more than the £135 million he will cost us.
    People say the likes of Sanogo, Willian, Diawara, Wreh, Mustafi were bad signings and yes, they are – but this is a whole different level of useless.
    What a terrible waste of money…

  3. We move on to the next game please. Nothing can change the outcome again. Let us learn from our mistakes. The season is still young!

  4. The importance of a DMF was highlighted, can’t believe we only have two, a young buck nd a old injury prone fella, we definitely need to invest in another beast in that department, one who doesn’t get injured constantly.
    Think on the Havertz sub, MA wanted a point man coz we was pants after RICE was substituted in the second half nd he knew we were bound to get over-run in the midfield so he put him on. We definitely need a striker coz this business of playing players out of positions is not for everyone, very few exceptional players have what it got to properly excute that.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is that we don’t perform as well at home than we do on the road nd it seemed the players were a bit underperformed to their normal standards, don’t know maybe it’s only me but I don’t think we played to our standards we normally do and come the return leg at Totterz, we gonna bang them proper.


  5. MA is a baby coach, his just learning the trade, so arsenal sould be prepared to give him more time to master the art. Which I think is impossible, because he doesn’t seem like a smart student and I think he will countinue his meaningless and needless spending on useless and unwanted players like Havartz and Jorginho. This is just the beginning he will keep on building with rejected player without ambition and determination.

    1. Wonder jow we were the onlyb team to compete with Man C for the title last season.
      Our manager is useless and the team he has built is even worse…

  6. Think the ‘pressure’ of a NLD got to some of the Arsenal players, more so than it actually should’ve for Spurs?
    Ødegaard & Rice had their quietest games so far & yes, even when Saka did get the ball, didn’t run at Udogie enough to get the 2nd yellow, guess that’s why their manager said what he did?
    Nketiah & Jesus are not clinical enough & dare I say, not up to Arsenal standard!?
    Havertz? ❌️ From ALL the players available for LESS money, was a big decision by Arteta & can only hope it won’t come back to bite him on the Arse-nal!

  7. Udogie may have gone under the radar so far but at twenty he’s already one of the best left backs in the league. Your assumption Saka didn’t put him under more pressure because he couldn’t be bothered is presumptious. Saka may have done all he could. Porro at right back is significantly weaker defensively than Udogie. That’s where the pressure should have been applied if Arsenal had the players to do it. Again no one’s been able to stop Madison so far but there’s this facile assumption it’s easy, the players were just too lazy. Maybe Arsenal’s midfield did what they could, it just wasn’t enough. I do agree about Havertz, my question is though who else could Arsenal have brought on ? To me Viera was struggling with the physical nature of the game so leaving him on wasn’t a good option either.

    1. Really inciteful comments Jod. For me we lost it by pressing poorly and getting passed through. We just about held it together although Rice was getting run ragged, but all uphill when he left. Arteta played powder puff Vieira, Jesus (our best presser) on the left and Eddie centrally who runs a lot but is an undisciplined presser. Jesus central alongside Ode and Havertz (yes he can press!) would have held the press together

  8. Put this all behind us by smashing Brentford and Bournemouth 4 goals apiece before we face city.

    Pipe dreams aside, Arsenal should swallow the humble pie and realize they will get more attention this season and that opponent coaches will delve deeper into the details for their match planning.

    We need to stop playing like champions in waiting and start playing with electric vim like we are mad and affronted for not been taken seriously like we did last season.

  9. History shows that players from Chelsea never gel with the Arsenal system: Petr Zcech, Willian, Jorginho and now Havertz. This is a miskick that Arsenal should never repeat.

  10. I think Arteta game plan was clear. He did want to change the formation after Rice sabstitute. Sometime situations may force to chang initial tactical plan. When Saka score the penalty that was when Arteta supposed to convert 4-5-1, keeping Jesus upfront introducing kuwari.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors