Arsenal defended pretty well, restricting the spuds to minor chances. Early on it didn’t seem very likely to be our day when the lino flagged Auba offside when put through brilliantly by Jack. ( I was so looking forward to him bamboozling Lloris).
On the break we were poor. The team had been set up with quick, talented players at the sharp end, ideal for effective counter attacking. Misplaced passes were to prove very costly when we had clear overloads.
We appeared to come out half asleep (as usual). A goal down in the first five minutes to a hopeful punt into the penalty area. Confidence drained, we could have been 2, 3 or 4 down in the next 25 minutes.
Tottenham sat back, alarmed they hadn’t gone further ahead, and we finally created some chances, the best falling to Lacazette almost on the bell.
Things we learnt and thoughts on players.
Forget fourth place.
Mkhitaryan is much better playing on the right, evidence Everton.
Wilshere is not good enough when top level tested.
We just didn’t come out with enough intensity second half and it cost us. Then we fell apart for 20 minutes where we could’ve easily been 3 or 4 down, before finally creating something in the last 5 minutes. Not good enough.
What I learnt today is that whilst we all know we have defensive issues, these last 2 games have shown us how our attacking play is just as much to blame for those defensive frailties. I would argue that we defended much better as a team in the Spurs game (certainly first half) than we did against Everton, but our inability to keep the ball or sustain pressure meant that Spurs had loads of the ball and were able to pin us back in our half. It’s too much to expect our defence to hold out for 90 minutes against the likes of Kane if we are constantly on the back foot. The Everton game showed that when our attack clicks (it’s bound to be inconsistent given how new it is, so I’m not overly worried about the attacking performance) then it’s good enough to cover over defensive frailties.
GIE says :
The defence did well for the majority of the game but were guilty of giving very poor ball to the midfield.
The midfield were pretty good at holding shape and not letting runners go, but were not making most of the ball when at feet.
The attack, when they did get the ball didn’t do enough with it.
Nearly all the above compound each other, and I found it pretty much the reverse of when we played them at the emirates where we were the ones picking up loose balls off their back line and putting them back under pressure, don’t think we did that enough today although they had a plan to go longer from defence to attack so bypassed those passing channels into midfield where we punished them at home.
Cech: kept us in the game but wow has his footwork become embarrassing. 6
Bellerin: tough job dealing with Son although he did it quite well, my beef is that there were too many cheap give away passes which after losing possession forced the pressure back onto Arsenal. Spuds simply didn’t do that. 5
Mustafi: probably one of his best games, very pleased with him. 8
Koscielny: jump man for goodness sake. 6
Monreal: had to stay further back than he normally likes due to out of place Mkhitaryan, did ok. 6
Elneny: used every ounce of his limited talent and was well deployed. 7
Xhaka: never going to be a constant goal threat and never going to offer enough of a defensive shield. 6
Wilshere: ran into blind alleys, made poor passing decisions added very little to the defensive cause, being so slow and short and all. Just not top level materiel. 5
Ozil: the telly Ozil that I saw looked as though he was struggling to get into the game, maybe it was different if you were there. 5
Mkhitaryan: look at the difference when played on the right as per the Everton game with his pin point accurate passing compared to his wayward display today. Easy to get this right after the event but I hope we learn from it. Offered nothing defensively and there was me fearing Iwobi on the left, goodness the left is the Nigerian’s best position and again when he came on he was sent out to the right — why? Both players. 4
Aubameyang: still in his honeymoon period, he gets a pass today, mah. 6
Ratings from LB (written just after the game had ended)