With Manchester City dropping unexpected points at bottom club Aston Villa in the earlier kick off, that and our position basically on top of the Premier League table, it is quite surprising that a draw at home against Tottenham had left me feeling somewhat satisfied. Largely because we just did not see the Arsenal that we have become accustomed to over the last few weeks.
In fairness I was expecting this type of performance from Arsenal given the amount of games we have had to play in a short space of time. Basically all with pretty much the same players. I was hoping our defence would put us in the position to win the match. When you don't click as a team then a clean sheet always allows you a chance to win the game with one moment of attacking quality. Unfortunately though a defensive lapse allowed Harry Kane the chance to run in on Cech and narrowly beat his outstretched leg. Laurent Koscielny is an expert at running alongside strikers, pinching the ball away and using the ball to start an Arsenal attack so trying to play offside against a player nowhere near the same speed as him didn't seem like the correct decision to make. Although some portion the blame to Mertesacker for closing down his man rather than hold his position. Isn't there a statistic that says there is an average of 7 mistakes or so before a goal is scored. Well there is possibly two for you right there.
We know now that Santi Cazorla was ill during the game and it showed as he was way below his usual very high standards. Perhaps if Mikel Arteta hadn't have just returned from injury, he would have started in his place. With 645 other injured centre midfielders at the club, Arsène perhaps wanted to chance his arm with Santi but it did not work.
Without Aaron Ramsey tucking inside and a fully fit Cazorla, we were being outplayed in the middle of the pitch and Tottenham started to get a grip of the game. Watching them passing around us felt very wrong indeed. Can that never happen again please? Thanks.
Petr Cech had made some excellent but familiar important stops to thwart the visitors during the game. His influence on this team becomes more and more clear with every passing game.
We were a better side after the break if still not fluent enough to play our usual game but the game could still have been very different had Oliver Giroud converted one of his two headed chances. Giroud has the best record in the Premier League at scoring from his bonce so it was a shame not to see him add to his recent scoring record. His header wide was the most regrettable but at the same time we have to should remember that his conversion rate is either the best or second best in the league this season. Can't really argue with that can you? Well I know you can but you shouldn't.
Arsène spoke post match about the character of his squad and I think he is spot on. It was a game in which we failed to shine but we managed to keep them down to just the one goal and at the other end we have one of the best creative talents in the world. Once again he created our best chances of the afternoon and it was his whipped pass/cross that fell to substitute Kieran Gibbs to bundle the ball in from close range. Six assists in six games for Mesut, breaking Cesc Fabregas' record of five in the process. I just love the way Mesut sweeps the ball when he passes it. Can't explain it but you know what I mean don't you? If he keeps up his form and his development in the PL then we could well be looking at the player of the year.
We had our tails up after that goal and if we were not utterly decimated in attack due to injuries we may have had the firepower from the bench to grab a late winner but as it was, I will take the point gladly.
I don't say this often but I am glad the international break is on it's way. I just wish there were more coaches like Joachim Löw out there, especially for Chile. I am probably donning my red tinted specs a little but it would be nice to see our players wrapped a little in the proverbial cotton wool a tad more often. We will get three players back after the break so fingers crossed we don't lose anyone else at the same time.
No post match Q&A this week unfortunately but there new Podcast is available for your ears.
'till the next time