From the off this was never an easy fixture, and also it was not a must win fixture, but in my and many others eyes for any hope of finishing above that lot down the road it was definitely a must not lose fixture.
Fro the start there was an added edge to the play, I thought we did well in possession and moved it well enough through the midfield, in the final third Jack failed to pick passes to Giroud, Cazorla and Walcott unfortunately hardly featured. Spurs were rarely presenting a threat, apart from set pieces from silly free kicks, but they did nothing with them and our defence coped admirably.
A few tackles were flying around and Adebayor was lucky not to see red in consecutive North London Derby’s for an ill timed lunge on Wilshere. The only thing that saved him was that his leading foot was not off the ground, everything else about the challenge was red card worthy, late, out of control, studs up and endangering the safety of others. Clattenberg decided it wasn’t a red and brandished a yellow instead.
0-0 at half time would have been a fair result given the 36 minutes played so far. But then we decided (as we so often have this season) to gift an opening goal to the opposition. Sigurdsson running with the ball had all the time in the world to pick a pass to the through running Bale, who absolutely no one had decided to track. At first glance it looked to me like he was miles offside but to be fair to the linesman he was spot on, BFG had shifted back a couple of yards to track the run of Adebayor, the rest of the defence did not respond and Bale was through with just Szczesny to beat, which he duly did.
1-0 down was not too concerning, yes it had got the home fans up on their feet, but the game was still finely balanced, that was until 2 minutes later and we decided yet again to play a high line when we shouldn’t have, this time Lennon leaving Monreal in his wake and leaving Vermaelen standing still rushed on to a through ball to make it 2-0. To be honest I also felt like Szczesny got caught out of position on this one, but with the defence in front of him parting as regularly as they do I feel sorry for him and can’t be too harsh on the young man.
2-0 down and we had given ourselves a difficult task again.
We started the second half briskly and the deficit was halved by a combination of Mertesacker and Bale, I’d say it was probably a Bale own goal as Mertesacker’s flick was not really going anywhere towards goal. A bit of belief and Arsenal pushed on in search of the equaliser, unfortunately Spurs were ready for the battle and dug in for the following 40 minutes to hold on to victory.
Our players toiled hard, but it is unrealistic to expect the attack and midfield to constantly pull the defensive mistakes round to a positive result on every occasion. Its about time the defence stood up and took some responsibility for the results this season.
I’m sure you all have a lot more to say on the game so i’ll leave it up to you to fill in the blanks, now the big question remains can we qualify for Champions League, but don’t worry its not a trophy so there is no need to get too worked up if we don’t is there?
We can just cruise along to seasons end now, bar performing some miracle in Munich, we have 11 games to go (10 in the league) so we can relax and enjoy them for what they are…meaningless rubbers, and look to build for next season, blood some youngsters and see what improvements are needed throughout the squad.
Szczesny – 7 could have done better with his positioning for the second, good handling all afternoon
Jenkinson – 7 solid from the young man, failed to offer too much support going forward because he was pressed back by Siggurdson
Mertesacker – 7 minus one for the goal against plus one for the goal, rest of his play what we have come to expect
Vermaelen – 5 culpable on both goals
Monreal – 6 undergoing a Premier League baptism of fire, he hasn’t quite found the pace yet.
Arteta – 6 went quietly about his business
Wilshere – 7 runs and works and tries to drag the team forward, maybe a case of trying too hard first half and trying to force the final ball
Ramsey – 7 thought he had a very tidy game, battled hard to win control of the midfield.
Walcott – 6 very quiet
Cazorla – 7 quiet first half, came more into the game second
Giroud – 7 led the line willingly but was well marshalled by their defence and had little support.
Rosciky – 7 be good to get some more regular game time from the pass and move master
Podolski – 7 got involved, unlucky not to pick his way through on a number of occasions.
Written by Gooner in Exile