Good morning Positive Arsenal fans.
A blustery Monday morning in Norfolk as we move into an interesting week, though the international football is to be our primary focus over the next few days.
Of yesterday’s game? A fair result punched out by two sides that worked hard for 95 minutes. Our visitors had the edge defensively and, other than a 10-15 minute period before half time, shut down just about everything we put together as we got within the final third. I do not think we were on our top game. We did not test Lloris enough. Again we saw our lads struggle in front of goal at home at the weekend, following a free-scoring midweek in Europe. I can’t imagine that sequence is just coincidence, but I would be hard pushed to put down the cause to fatigue. Perhaps even the very best players find it hard to flick backwards and forwards between the different demands of CL and PL football every few days?
Us? Though not classic Wengerball we had good performances from a number of our lads. Hector I thought was Man of the Match, very mobile, very sharp, and looked most likely to get on the score sheet during the second half. Granit performed well and there was no evidence of the red mist descending in what, on a couple of occasions, flared up into the usual NLD handbag waving contest. Theo maintained his good form and was always involved. I was as surprised as he was when he was hooked. On the downside I thought Alex Iwobi did not look comfortable or show us his best. I would have liked to see him take on the donkey Walker more, one on one. Usually he is only too happy to dribble into the box but yesterday that part of his game was missing. I think we needed something “unexpected” like that to crack the Spurs defence. At 20-years old and with his debut just one year ago his form will go up and down so no worry there. I suspect the youngster may get a rest with Aaron coming in.
Did we miss Santi ? I think we did and I look forward to his restoration at Trafford Park for the lunchtime kick off on the 19th.
Them? I read in the mainstream media that the “three at the back” tactical master-stroke devised by Pochettino was our downfall? I don’t think so. I thought one of their “three” was an accident waiting to happen even before his silly own goal. (Excellent call by the linesman btw for our goal – I was convinced it was offside until the third showing on the TV). Dembele earned a lot of praise in the mainstream media as Spuds’ best player, indeed the official MOTM on BT. He did well but Son was a right handful, he left Mustafi trailing on one occasion. He was constantly busy. The Korean also was commendably sporting in not taking Cech’s head off his shoulders after the horrible slip our keeper suffered. Plenty of players would have gone for the ball. That was a bad moment.
Not the send-off into two weeks of the international wilderness that we were hoping for but a point gained nonetheless. I see that Ozil has been given a break by Joachim Low which is helpful to preserve the player for a few more weeks. Fingers crossed the rest come back safe and sound, and ready to nail down the coffin lid of the Portuguese.
Vote early, vote often and enjoy your week.