Match Review - Tottenham 2 Arsenal 1 - Premier League
Arsenal top the lead and were then trapped in their own half and lost in the second half at White Hart Lane on Saturday lunchtime. That is the long and short of it all really.
Welbeck who was a surprise starter showed Danny Rose the proverbial clean pair of heals and cut the ball back to Giroud who miss hit a shot straight to Mesut Özil who looked fractionally offside, but the German side footed his 3rd goal in 3 games since his return from injury. In hindsight you wonder if that goal affected our mentality somewhat. Tottenham had already been forcing us into mistakes so the goal against the run of play could have allowed minds to wonder back to last season's defensive 1-0 victory or our more recent 2-0 victory at the Etihad. So it wouldn't seem crazy to hold onto what we had at that point and try and weather the storm.
The trouble is, when we had the ball we simply could not escape their high intensity pressing game. It isn't the first time that we've suffered from this. Borussia Dortmund away this season is the perfect example. On that night in Germany we were completely nullified, our building from the back was destroyed and the ball kept coming back. It was similar at Anfield this season, we struggled for possession and were pushed back inside our half.
David Moyes' Everton used to play that way against us at the Emirates and we often found it difficult to play our game. You could argue that Mikel Arteta's distribution was missed from deep but Cazorla has done very well until now when dropping deep.
Before this turns into a 'thing', we are going to have to be able to deal with it and offer a way out to our defence and midfield. With Giroud and Welbeck in the starting 11, you would have thought we had the option of playing a little longer and starting from a higher part of the pitch but not a lot stuck. Credit must be given (reluctantly) to Tottenham who were superb on the day, they played with commitment, energy and purpose which ultimately forced us into the positions of the pitch they wanted us to be in.
Our midfield were very poor which is a surprise given the recent form of Cazorla at least. He was nowhere near his best and I'm sure the plan was to stop him from dictating the game. It worked.
Arsenal fan Harry Kane kept up his excellent form this season with another two goals. The marking for the first was poor and for his second his header was top quality but what on earth were we thinking by allowing Bentaleb all the time in the world to control the ball, adjust his feet, take a look up and weigh up his inch perfect cross? Time that we were not offered for the entire day and it cost us.
Referee Mark Atkinson had a poor game which didn't make life easy for us but in truth, we were worse. Not that the two are mutually exclusive of course.
I don't think quality of player was the issue with this one. Even if many were not anywhere near their best. I think this is a training ground issue that needs consideration before the next side who play us who approach the game in a similar way.
But as I mentioned on the Post Match Podcast, let's not get too down with this result. It hurts because of whom the opposition are but Tottenham have been strong at home of late. So much so that they smashed 5 past Chelsea. We are still in good form and have a healthy squad.
Our fixtures in the next few games are: Leicester City (h), Middlesbrough (h), Crystal Palace (a), AS Monaco (h), Everton (h) & QPR (a)
We have enough about us to get back on track if we play like we know we can.
We can get this out of our systems somewhat with an Alexis inspired victory on Tuesday so let's look ahead to then.
Some other match related stuff to check out if you so wish.
Arsenal Vision Post Match Podcast - EP15: Tottenham 2 Arsenal 1 - Bad Day At The Office
Tottenham (a) "Losing is crap but losing to Spurs feels infinitely worse" - Q&A