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.
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