Good Morning Positives,
We anticipated a keenly fought contest yesterday between two teams determined to secure a Champions League place, if not better, this season and the almost 100 minutes of action did not deviate from the script. Both sets of players left the field drained of energy and great credit to them all. Last game against Bournemouth I noted we had 20 shots and warned we would get far fewer chanced against the pride of Middlesex in the NLD. I see we had 22 shots yesterday. Experts eh – what ARE they like ?
Of the match itself we set about the visitors from the first whistle and battered their defence. Our best opening phase of the season and, almost, inevitably the Totties cracked with Verthongen flailing at the ball amid a jumble of heads. A tidy despatch by PEA and the mood in the crowd around me became more confident. We ‘should’ have added to the opener but a combination of indecisive finishing and desperate defence kept the score at 1-0. And ever so slowly the opposition got off the floor, get over the half way line and put two passes together.
And then calamity, or double calamity as it turned out! A needless free kick given away by Sokratis, a ball whipped in by Eriksen, a glance of Dier’s turnip-shaped head and in off Leno. A real kick to the guts, though followed by some commendable scuffling as the Tottie player foolishly provoked the home crowd in the corner. Our concentration wavered, it was a setback.
As for the second string of misfortune within a minute a needless challenge from Holding on the dishonest Son, Deano points again to the spot and again the net bulges. Consternation, big, big consternation. At the game it looked a sure penalty, as it did to everyone around me. Son was already being shepherded away from the goal. There was no need to slide in. Watching it again last night I don’t know. According to the Sky Jamie ‘contactscope’ multiple slo-mo review showed a positive reading hence although Son clearly chucked himself to the ground a penalty was the correct decision. Bollocks. It was the wrong decision, although the result of calculated cheating on the Korean’s part. There will be no come-back on it for Son, and no doubt Pochettino will give him a pat on the back for his alleged cleverness, but he will find it harder to get away with next season. Bastard. He and his Milton Keynes mate took abuse when they were subbed on 80 minutes, people up on their seats and over the back of the Spurs bench.
Our collective balloon was a bit deflated going into half time and a fan one up from me stormed out at HT, never to return. I was happy to get in at 1-2 to be honest. Going into half time a goal down though ? It is the Arsenal way.
I expected Emery to make changes at HT and Mkhi was top of everyone’s list. The Spaniard was more decisive than expected though with Alex Iwobi also benched. Rambo and Laca were however experienced, strong and more direct players and that is what we required. The opening five minutes of the second phase was a bit scrappy and a third for TH would have really floored us for good. Again however we grappled our way back in, and began to control the ball. Hard work in midfield, decisive defending, and everyone playing as part of the team.
With PEA’s sublime finish for the second we never looked back. We seized the game by the throat, with Lucas dominant in midfield, Aubameyang tormenting Hoyth without mercy and Laca twisting the Spurs Belgian centre back inside and out. The killer tackle then through pass from Rambo to Laca sent us ahead again, courtesy of the finest but decisive touch off Dier to take the ball an inch past the diving Lloris (banned smiley). Lucas topped the contest off on 77 minutes, excellent strike.
They were done for, the points were ours and North London is very, very Red.
No single MotM this week. A team award.