Tottenham were so bad in the NLD that they almost ruined what was my first Derby experience live in person …almost.
I assumed I would have the nerves that normally accompany this fixture, maybe Spurs take the lead before bottling it like they have done in recent years?
Instead Arsenal were 3-0 up at half time and the second period we went through the motions because (understandably) we protected what we had.
Even though I was sat near the away section I couldn’t even banter with them because after half an hour some were going home, after an hour we were singing ‘ is there a fire drill ‘ and by the time Gooners Ieft the stadium, the majority were already on the Tube.
I have been at the Emirates plenty of times and you can be assured travelling supporters will make a noise.
Not on Sunday, Spurs players gave their fans nothing to cheer for.
Many might have wanted Arteta to be less conservative in the second period but where his squad is, I think it was correct to protect what we had.
After a surreal 35 mins, I questioned was this the best 35 mins of his managerial career?
I’m not comparing it to the FA Cup Semi Final or Final in terms of magnitude, but easily it surpasses any performance under his reign?
The successes at Wembley in the past were due to being tactically smart. He would allow the opposition to have the ball and be clinical on the counter.
On those occasions only the result matters. Yet in truth, no one enjoyed watching Arsenal play that way.
That’s the question that hangs over the Spaniard, can he continue the proud ethos our club was known for of playing the game the right way?
On his first day as boss, he impressed gooners with how he spoke, talking of the Gunners having principles that he won’t tolerate not being met.
He immediately increased the intensity of training, wanting his players to press and win back the ball quickly.
When things went wrong though, it wasn’t easy to understand what our identity was.
For a coach who was taught by Pep Guardiola, Arteta seems at times more defensive then offensive.
He might argue that the first department to fix in any team should be the defence and you build from there.
That’s why this weekend was so refreshing.
Just for a moment we looked like the Arsenal of old. All three goals came on the break.
It won’t be a shock if we don’t show up at Brighton.
I can’t guarantee that we will play like this every week. Yet for one afternoon we got our Arsenal back.
For a fan base who haven’t had a lot to sing about, we deserve it.
Was this Arteta’s best performance as manager?
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