5 things we learned from Saturday

  1. I will start with this because IMO it is the most important. We had a proper 12th man. The fans were wonderfully raucous from before kick off until well after games end. It makes a massive difference to the players. Just imagine you were on the pitch (a dream, I know), which would inspire you, The Library or Saturday’s passion? We need the same every week.
  2. We work best when we have our first choice 11. Obvious. How many times this season have we lined up with the same defensive 6? Once or twice? People write about how there are open spaces across our defence and we are too gung-ho/undisciplined/tactically naive etc etc. Simple matter is that when we have AW’s chosen men we play better.
  3. Hard work pays. Ramsey led the ranks as usual, but all the players ran tirelessly. Surprisingly Spurs ran more than us! The difference was that our players ran with purpose.
  4. We should have scored more. We totally dominated the last 15 minutes and a 4-0 would have been even more dispiriting to the WHL miscreants. Subbing off Lacazette for Le Coq was unnecessary given how dominant we were. Mr Wenger has developed this habit of securing the points rather than going for the jugular but given the quality of the top 6 teams goal difference could be very important.
  5. Despite rumours to the contrary, Spurs are and always have been … merdre


written by BR


19 Responses to 5 things we learned from Saturday

  1. Big Raddy says:

    Comment carried over from this morning and written by FatGingerGooner:


    Change in tactics? No, the change was that we worked tirelessly off the ball and instead of just getting back into position and watching the opposition play (like we did away at Watford) we actually effected the areas Tottenham had the ball in and we forced them to play how we wanted them to. This included our front 3 pressing as a unit, often backed up by Ramsey, which forced them to chip long balls into Kane. When they did manage to get it centrally we often forced them wide or backwards by packing the central areas and being aggressive when the ball was played towards Kane or Alli’s feet. Defensively it was our best performance in a long long time and it makes it even more frustrating that we don’t put that effort into every game (but let’s save that for another time).

    So often I’ve watched Sanchez run 40 yards across the field chasing defenders on his own, but the key on Saturday was he didn’t have to. He chased in his area, then when the ball went central Lacazette did the same, then when the ball went left Özil was the next man up and so on. We worked as a unit and backed each other up. It’s simple pressing but when applied correctly it works. We also managed to sustain attacks by winning the ball back quickly and making it difficult for Spurs to play out. I think our second goal came from Xhaka or Ramsey snapping into a tackle in their half and feeding Bellerin which meant he was straight onto their back 4 and able to slide the ball through to Lacazette. I also think that Mustafi being fit made a huge difference to our performance. Not just in the fact he had a blinder, but also it allowed us to push up the field a little more which means Ramsey and Xhaka can get closer to their midfield and make it difficult for them to play through.

    I think aswell that Spurs not really playing with any wide attackers played into our hands. We sometimes struggle with balls down the channels stretching the back 3 (Liverpool seem to do this well against us), but Spurs prefer to get the ball into Alli and Eriksen’s feet in between the lines. Kane is usually the one who works the channels but he looked injured to me on Saturday and his movement was nowhere near what it usually is. That allowed us to stay compact as a 3 and meant that our wing backs could tuck in if needed so we had bodies around the edge of the box when they did get close.

    Going forward we did enough to win the game against a usually very good defence, but I don’t think we were outstanding in that respect and often lacked the final ball (it opened up once we scored but it took a set piece to break through and in the first half we didn’t capitalise on some good opportunities).

    A lot of waffle there LB, people may see it different, but my main point is that I just think we worked far better defensively rather than doing anything unique tactically.

  2. chas mobile says:

    Thanks, BR.

    No chance of the same atmosphere every week. Amazing how everyone’s dislike of the knuckle-draggers has a unifying effect. You could even use the c word on Saturday (Ant did frequently) and it got lost in the general hubbub.

    Defensive 6? Either 4, 5 or 7 playing with a back three surely? 🙂 (Depending on whether you count the wingbacks and goalie)

    Not sure about the running bit. We did seem more defensively solid, but what separated us from them in the first half was that we took some chances for a change. (I think the shots stats were slightly in their favour in the first half, but that doesn’t include crosses which just need the slightest touch, of course)

    I wasn’t sure about Coq on for Laca at the game but he was so good when he did come on that, in fact, I think he played a big part in us being so dominant in the last 15 minutes. Brilliant substitution in my opinion.

    100% agree with 5 – even if they ever won the league again, they’d still smell.

  3. GunnerN5 says:

    It’s a pity that we cannot get that level of support each week as it would make an enormous difference to our results. Just look at teams like Crystal Palace; their fans make the ground shake by doing their part as supporters. Our current attendees at games clearly do not do their part in fully supporting our team, their expectations are to high.

  4. Grumpyguts says:

    Thanks Raddy and LB for recent posts. There were a lot of comments to sift through to get the general feelings on here.

    It made my weekend. It was an excellent performance and result and we showed exactly what we can do. I have felt for a while that player for player (on paper) I don’t see any other team as significantly superior to us. Spurs have recently dominated combined 11 teams in many peoples eyes, but I just think that this is because they have consistently played better on a regular basis as a team, so their players have looked better due to a better functioning outfit.

    I think we have a superior squad to Liverpool and probably match Utd and Chelsea. I even think, when analysed on a player for player basis, that City only have a marginal advantage. If we are behind in the EPL it is because of team performances not being good enough on a consistent basis, and tactics and management not being good enough. We got it right on Saturday and FGG’s analysis is spot on for me.

    We should naturally bask in the warmth of that victory but with some caution. We are still behind them in the league in a season where they are competing in the more challenging champions league, something we have used ourselves as an excuse in past seasons.

    We are talking with hope about their team disintegrating as it starts to flourish, but where exactly are we with our team and its future? Ozil / Sanchez / Wilshere throw up a huge question mark, and I think it is difficult to predict a rosy future for us right at this moment, although here’s hoping it may change with some positive news as we approach January.

    Also, 22 points after 12 games in a season with no ECL? if we were to apply a very rudimentary calculation and multiply that by 3 and say we win the 37th and 38th game we are on 72 points. Exactly where we have been for many seasons and some 15 points on average away from challenging for the EPL. Can we argue that we have progressed as a club?

    I think we have learned this weekend that this team can be so much better than it has been Raddy, but then I think a lot of us already knew this. I actually don’t care what Spurs are doing and am only interested in Arsene adding those magical 15-18 EPL points that will allow us to seriously challenge. Do this and they will be irrelevant anyway even if they are having, for them, a good season.

  5. LB says:

    Thanks for the thoughts BR

    I am afraid I am with Chas — brilliant substitution.

  6. LB says:

    Top comment Slim

    The front three working tirelessly as a unit sums things up nicely.

    One thing you pointed out that I hadn’t noticed (and I like these situations) is the following:

    “I also think that Mustafi being fit made a huge difference to our performance. Not just in the fact he had a blinder, but also it allowed us to push up the field a little more which means Ramsey and Xhaka can get closer to their midfield and make it difficult for them to play through.”

    I didn’t notice at the game the positive effect of the back three moving up just that little bit more than usual had on our overall solidity. Good spot.

  7. GoonerB says:

    Cheers Raddy. I was quite interested in the Iwobi debate between Eddie and LB recently, having also criticised him for being behind where I feel he should be. I still think he is a great talent and easy on the eye, but I felt he should be more of a big game player and game changer by now on a more regular basis.

    I compared him to some contemporaries in Martial and Rashford as I felt they seemed to offer more decisive moments in games and are at a similar age to our Alex. Sane is also a good comparison at a similar age who I also feel influences games more.

    Having said that I notice he scored the goal that took Nigeria to the world cup and scored 2 in a 4-2 defeat of Argentina, so those have to be considered as decisive and game changing. Could it be that he is more effective at international level than at club level? Does that then remesind you of anyonezil?

    Personally I felt recently that there is potential evidence pointing to a trend where our promising young players fail to make that final push on once they start knocking on the first team door. It is almost like they are remade again into something else rather than polishing off that promise they showed and turning them into the finished article.

    I am sitting on the fence with Iwobi as I feel it could go either way, but I don’t think it will just down to the player himself and will have as much, if not more, to do with how Arsene handles him.

  8. Big Raddy says:

    OK. I begrudgingly accept it was a good substitution, still would have liked to see Lacazette stay on.

  9. the real chas says:

    Dele Alli has got himself a new dog.

  10. GunnerN5 says:

    He must have got the dog from Rooney.

  11. Big Raddy says:

    Trained by Raheem Sterling

  12. fatgingergooner says:

    Iwobi doesn’t look comfortable in front of goal. I would say he’s more an Özil than a Sanchez in terms of the way he plays. He could be a very good player for us but he does need a season or 2 in the first team to improve. I hope he gets the opportunity in the EL and Cups to show how good he is, as there’s no way Özil or Sanchez will be getting dropped for him.

  13. the real chas says:

    Some good footage of a matchday experience – shame about the music.

  14. Eddie says:

    shame about the music? It makes the video unwatchable

  15. Eddie says:

    I am watching with interest the Mugabe pantomime, reminds me of Arsene Wenger situation 🙂
    Mind you, Mugabe is 92, Wenger is a young man by comparison

  16. chas says:

    Turn your sound off then, you hillock.
    Put this on in the background instead.

  17. chas says:


  18. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi Chas, I just watched the video you posted this morning I could almost smell the onions in the shots from Gillespie Road. It was great to get the street views that I remember so well, makes me yearn for home.

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