Tottenham 0 - 1 Arsenal
Following a good performance, but disappointing result away at Bayern, Arsenal were taking part in a Super Sunday against old rivals Tottenham. The title race was still raging, and so three points were an absolute must.
The game - you could say, started rather well.
It took Tomas Rosicky just over 70 seconds to smash in a perfectly executed beauty.
It took Tomas Rosicky just over 70 seconds to smash in a perfectly executed beauty. Chamberlain laid him off just inside the edge of the area, and the Czech hammered it towards the far post, beyond the dive of Lloris. It was the perfect start.
Unfortunately, the rest of the first half was the complete opposite.
Arsenal were sitting back, soaking up the pressure. Spurs were hassling, but not creating. The Gunners were breaking well, but the finishing was atrocious. Chamberlain had most of them, but his shooting boots were well and truly missing.
The second half began a little differently.
Spurs came out charging with quick movement and creative play around the area. Townsend was whipping in crosses, and Adebayor was causing issues with his presence too. With only a slender lead, Arsenal were rueing their missed chances already.
In the end, it was only Arsenal’s stern defences which kept Spurs out until the final whistle.
Arsene Wenger soon made three defensive changes by bringing on Flamini, Monreal and Vermaelen for Podolski, Rosicky and Chamberlain - opting to see out their current lead instead of try to increase it.
As the clock ticked, Spurs were increasing the pressure, and Arsenal were only offering up clearances and poorly organised counter-attacks in response.
The Gunners only had Cazorla left on the pitch to create going forward, and he was making a right hash of it as time went on. Pass after pass went wrong, and in the end, it was only Arsenal’s stern defences which kept Spurs out until the final whistle.
Arsenal Player Ratings
Made a good save or two in the second half and distributed well, but he dropped the ball to the feet of Chadli following a cross, nearly leading to a goal.
Didn’t get forward much at all, and made a very risky challenge on Rose early in the second half. Apart from that, he defended reasonably well.
Mertesacker: [9/10] - MOTM
Outstanding from Per. He read every cross, won every header and was one of the main reasons Arsenal kept a clean sheet. He even managed a very good shot on goal, which was unfortunately saved by Lloris. World class defending, and one of my Men of the Match, which I’m dishing out for two of our players today.
Koscielny: [9/10] - MOTM
Yet more world class defending from Laurent. Alongside Per, he was tackling aggressively, winning headers and blocked a certainly goal off the line after Szczesney dropped it too. One of my Men of the Match because I couldn’t choose between him and Mertesacker.
Like Sagna, he had no freedom to get up the pitch, but his defending was solid against a pacey Townsend.
His first half performance was important, helping to keep the balance between defence and attack for The Gunners. But in the second half, he was slow to the ball, slow to the tackle and limp when Arsenal were in possession. Just looked tired.
The Ox: [6.5/10]
Did brilliantly on the ball in midfield areas, but transformed into Nicklas Bendtner in front of goal. Shots were casual and nowhere near their target, and he only got less effective as the game went on. Subbed.
Started well with good movement and passing, but reverting back to his old self after a very good run of form before today. Passing was poor, energy levels were low, and he created pretty much zilch.
I liked Lukas’ attitude today. He was up for the derby, and he looked eager to get the team forward. He defended well too, but the delvery just wasn’t there for him today.
What a strike. The Czech saved us with a thunderous effort which I will never get tired of looking at, but he did very little thereafter. Although in fairness, he brought the ball forward whenever he had it at his feet in the first half, but he was anonymous in the second period before being subbed off.
Suffered from a lack of delivery and support in the first half, but then suffered a lack of focus and effort in the second. Vertonghen was on his back the entire game, but he showed no desire to win headers or tackles, didn’t track back, and looked uninterested throughout.
Flamini, Monreal, Vermaelen: [N/A]
The Gunners did not play well today.
Spurs were probably the better side over the ninety minutes, but respect must be given to Mertesacker and Koscielny, who both played at the top of their game, forming an impenetrable wall in front of Szczesney’s goal mouth.
A stunner in the opening few seconds turned out to be the Czech Mate move - by our Czech mate Tomas Rosicky. It was an electrifying finish, and it gives Arsenal another three points towards a very, very tasting title race.
Next up, Chelsea away. Bring it on.