Arsenal 1 – 1 Tottenham Hotspur
The unlikeliest of points given our form going into the game, has been gratefully received.
Mauricio Pochettino sprang a surprise with a 3 – 4 – 3 formation and the tactical genius of Arsène Wenger couldn’t cope. For the first twenty-five minutes, we were comfortable and the more threatening side.
We didn’t let them settle on the ball and Victor Wanyama was getting involved with quelling the danger from Theo Walcott with a strong physical presence. OK, a forearm smash to the head. Twice. Things threatened to boil over briefly but the ref didn’t think there was any need to book him. It was so typically Arsenal; they don’t like it up ’em.
Despite that, we might have been a goal down when Walcott rattled the post; Lloris was beaten by the power of the shot. At the other end, Harry Kane came close, guiding his header agonisingly wide of the post. Son’s rampaging run down the right typified the first half. Plenty of danger but when the cross came in, the finishing touch couldn’t be found.
And then it happened, as it so often does on these occasions. Arsenal picked up the pace and got a massive slice of luck. Özil slung a hopeful free kick into the box and Wimmer under all sorts of pressure, headed his first goal in the North London Derby. Next time Kevin, try putting it into their net.
There was all manner of talk about offside and certainly Wimmer put on his best pleading face to the officials but there was no change of heart. These are strong-willed people, the sort who wouldn’t think twice about ripping the legs off spiders when they were young.
A breed apart. Who re-joined the human race in the second half. The pattern was the same as the opening forty-five minutes with Arsenal stifled by the 3 – 4 – 3 formation. We were on top and yet the equaliser came out of the blue. A bit of a lull took over the game but when the ball was played into Kane’s feet, he was sent tumbling by Koscielny.
To a crescendo of hysterical catcalls, the referee had not hesitation in pointing to the spot. Kane picked himself up and made no mistake from the spot. 1 – 1 and for all to see, there was only going to be one team to score again: us.
Arsenal were rocking defensively, none more so than Cech who presented Son the chance to rob him as he slipped collecting a backpass. Son wasn’t aggressive enough to claim the ball and they were off the hook again.
Overall, a great point with the formation breathing new energy into the performance. It was the best of recent weeks although that’s a pretty low bar to be honest. But it was a million miles better than Wednesday so hats off to the players and staff for working that out of their systems.
A worrying knock or two, especially as the international bosses won’t have any hesitation in running the players into the ground over the next ten days. We’ll have to wait to see wait state they come back in.
But we’ve gone into the break in better heart than we looked like doing and that’s no bad thing.