Arsenal vs Tottenham: Talking Points

Published 11/08/2015, 3:39 PM EST


Harry Kane and Keiran Gibbs got on the scoresheet as Arsenal and Tottenham played out a thrilling 1-1 draw at the Emirates, ending Arsenal’s 5 match winning streak in the league. The North London Derby was everything it promises to be, a heated affair with chances galore and a fair share of scuffles. Mauricio Pochettino will be happy with the way his team played, dominating for a majority of the match, while Arsenal looked tired and out of ideas. Arsenal had the chance to top the table as Manchester City were held by Aston Villa earlier, but ended up ruining their chances. Let’s look at some of the key talking points.

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Tottenham Are a Side Very Hard to Beat

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Mauricio Pochettino Has done a good job with Tottenham this season

Tottenham have only lost their opening match against Manchester United in the league and have been on a streak of 11 games undefeated since. Mauricio Pochettino has got his side playing some attractive football, with some very good young players stepping up, but at the same time, his team is organised at the back and press well up the pitch, making them very hard to break down, as Arsenal found out today. Arsenal, mostly known for their intricate passing and creativity, had to rely solely on crosses and set pieces for their chances, showing how efficient Tottenham are at the back. Even up front, they looked sharp on the counter and put Arsenal under pressure for most of the game.

Harry Kane is Back

Harry Kane scores yet again!

A few games into the season, people started doubting the young striker, wondering if he was just another one season wonder. But he came into this match with 5 goals in his last 4 games and when he got his opportunity, he took it like a man full of confidence. This is Kane’s third goal in as many North London Derbies and he continues to prove that he is a big match player as well. The England international constantly harried the Arsenal defence and looked sharp throughout. His efforts were regarded as he got a goal late in the first half, running onto a beautiful through ball before slotting home past Petr Cech. With Kane firing all cylinders again, Tottenham fans can look forward to an exciting season, as the team is playing some of the best football they have seen in recent times, and with Chelsea in a crisis and Liverpool also in transition, they will see this as their best opportunity to finish in a Champions League berth come the end of the season

Arsene Wenger Needs to Dip into the January Transfer Market

Arsene Wenger looks on as a depleted Arsenal side battle against Tottenham

A series of injuries saw Arsenal struggle in Europe as Bayern Munich dished out a 5-1 thrashing to the Gunners, and their struggles carried on at home, as they looked tired and bereft of ideas for long patches of the match. Wenger has had a thin squad and seldom had the chance to rotate his players so far, and the effects were visible. Tired legs saw their energy levels drop severely after a good start to the match, with Santi Cazorla probably the best example. The Spaniard had to be replaced by Mathieu Flamini at the break, as he was apparently dizzy.

But if Arsene Wenger wants to mount a serious title challenge, he knows that he needs a strong bench to support his best starting XI, to account for injuries and fatigue. Even though Wenger knows that he has the likes of Wilshere and Welbeck coming back from injury, he should also be aware of the poor fitness records of most players at Arsenal, and some consolidation, especially in the middle of the park would serve his team well.

Arsenal Finally Have a Plan B

Ozil has been deadly with the dead ball

There was a time, till a few years back, when teams would set out to defend deep against Arsenal, and all Wenger’s men would do was try to play the ball into the back of the net. They would be a goal down, and it would be the last minute of the game, and you would see Arsenal players trying to pass around inside the opposition area. You would also notice that most of their corners or free kicks would be cleared by the first defender. But this season has seen a different story. Arsenal seemed unable to break Tottenham down in open play, but created a host of chances from well taken set pieces. Giroud hit the bar from a free kick, and missed three other brilliant chances to score for Arsenal, as Ozil went about wreaking havoc with the dead ball. It is very evident that this is something that is being worked on in the training ground, as they were never that threatening from set pieces.

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Arsene Wenger Still Remains Tactically Astute, Contrary to Popular Belief

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Wenger’s substitution paid off as Gibbs grabbed the equaliser

Arsene Wenger has often taken off his wingers to bring on a fullback while protecting a slender advantage in the last minutes of a match. But not a lot of people imagined him doing it when his team was trailing at home with twenty minutes to go. Self admittedly in his post match presser, he was bereft of attacking options on the bench, but Wenger saw Sanchez struggling on the left and Campbell’s influence waning, and brought Gibbs on, switching Sanchez to the other flank. And Gibbs’ pace and fresh legs made the difference as he managed to run in behind Kyle Walker – who had been brilliant all evening long – to get on the end of Mesut Ozil’s peach of a pass and scurry it home past Lloris. Had it not worked, Wenger in all likelihood would have faced criticism for bringing on a defender for an attacking player, but his strategy worked and Arsenal got a point. It was a tactical risk, but he saw the need for a change and made the best of his limited resources.

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Dhruv George

12017 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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