1-1 was the scoreline I was expecting before kick off and it is what we got.
The draw was disappointing in the sense that it was a great chance to end Tottenham’s unbeaten run and jump to the top of the table, but as a contest I thought it was a pretty entertaining game.
Both teams wanted to create chances and score goals and that gave the feeling of an end to end 90 minutes, but you can be sure that Tottenham fans would have snatched a big free bet for a draw before the kick off, we wouldn't have been so keen.
Unfortunately we lacked the sharpness of our spanking of Chelsea or a few other high tempo home games we’ve played in this season. It’s difficult to put your finger on why this is but I wonder if rotation played it’s part a little. I mean you cannot really win can you? You play your players too much and tiredness can be used as an excuse, or you bring in too many fresh faces at once and perhaps those players are not ready to play with the same intensity, sharpness and fluidity of a team that perhaps has played 2-3 games of football in a row.
Theo Walcott and Nacho Monreal have not played since we drew against Middlesbrough on October 22nd. Alex Iwobi has been in and out of the side in recent weeks as well as suffering from a slight dip of form which is understandable. Granit Xhaka has missed a few games due to suspension on top of not having a string of matches all season. Maybe this was the reason why our sharpness in passing wasn't quite there on the day.
Perhaps it is why our Septembers and Octobers are often so good. We are fresh enough to stick with a settled 11 but also have shaken off the August rust, it may also say a little about why November has been such a difficult month for us traditionally. Two games a week start to take their toll and injuries start to creep in. We have barely stepped into the month of November and Alexis and Bellerin have joined Santi Cazorla on the slidelnes and are reportedly nursing injuries of some kind. Not too serious I hope.
How different may the game have panned out had Alex Iwobi kept his nerve after a wonderful attack and steered his shot into the corner rather than at a grateful Lloris. It is definitely an area that Alex Iwobi needs to improve in, luckily he is young and has time to hone his craft.
We needed more of our attacks to be in the same mould as the Iwobi chance but they were few and far between. Tottenham had chances of their own including a Harry Kane header from close range that bounced wide of Cech’s post.
But it was Mesut Ozil’s left foot that helped open the scoring, his bending free-kick was far too inviting for Tottenham ’s Austrian centre back Kevin Wimmer to head past his own keeper just before half time.
We needed to build on that and inject some belief back into our game but instead it was Tottenham who came out fighting to get back into the match after the break.
Only four minutes or so after half time, Dembélé who I had been hoping was going to miss this game through injury, managed to bulldozer his way into our box and pretty much straight into Laurent Koscielny’s outstretched right foot. Penalty and Kane played it safe by hitting it down the middle to equalise, 1-1.
Both teams looked for the knock out blow and to be fair it could have gone either way so it’s difficult to argue with a draw.
It would have been lovely to have gone into the International break top of the table but it’s not to be. Liverpool and Chelsea have taken advantage of dropped points this week and it will be up to us to negotiate a very difficult November if we are to get back to the top over the next few weeks.
If we beat Manchester United at Old Trafford I will quickly forget about this one for sure.