Us 2-2 Them
Emirates Stadium, September 1, 2019
So it ended all square vs. the Scum.
Despite some apparent faults at Spurs with Pochettino, Eriksen, et al, we weren’t able to capitalise and get the win.
I feel a draw here was fair, in honesty.
The narrative from some fans was that it would be light work, and we’d easily dispatch them.
However, Spurs (especially in the first half) stepped up and capitalised on some defensive weaknesses.
Overall, I have mixed feelings, based on:
His short and long passing, as well as his energy and pressing, were top-notch.
He is still young, and considering he came from Ligue 2 in France to the position he is in now is remarkable.
He is developing and growing all the time – and he will be a star in the future at this rate. His assist for Auba’s goal was outstanding, depicts his increasingly expansive game.
It cannot be long before he is in the full international French squad, and without hyperbole, he is looking akin to Vieira. If he continues on this trajectory, he has a chance to match him in quality and legacy.
He was bright in parts, and was a constant threat on their left-hand side.
A goal should come very soon, and his assist for Lacazette’s goal was well-executed.
He wasn’t outstanding, but was a constant threat on the Spurs left-side.
The game hinged on this factor, and both Leno and Xhaka cost us in the first half.
The move for their first had some other errors between Sokratis and Xhaka, but Leno didn’t handle a shot from Lamela well enough. Eriksen was in the right place at the right time, and they were 1-0 up.
What frustrates me in this capacity is that it’s the same mistakes as always.
We don’t seem to be learning, and is there any real accountability for these errors?
But regarding accountability, Xhaka stupidly slid in on Son and Kane (despite being muted largely in the game) dispatched the resultant penalty well.
After many years, and under both Wenger and Emery, we still possess a self-destructive complex.
If we’re to achieve this season, then we need to cut it out. It seems it’s almost cultural and endemic in our club, which is never right.
This complex is costing us, and it’s seriously hampering us almost game after game.
Formation and midfield configuration
When I first saw the line-up, I had no issue with it. Some fans were not content, given the midfield of Xhaka, Guendouzi and Torreira. I can now see why this was so. We lacked edge and creativity in the first half, and they didn’t really press them well enough.
This allowed Spurs to counter-attack well, and both of their goals stemmed from this.
Ceballos should have started, and largely for his better mobility and technique.
Emery made up for it in the end, but then it should have been utilised properly from the off.
I don’t see what he really offers to our side.
I genuinely don’t.
Yes, his long-range passing is great. He’s also not a DM, but a regista, whose key skill is to create play and chances from deep areas. He does possess some fight, and aggression, which can be key midfield traits. But this perhaps leads to him being a cost more than a boon.
And we haven’t utilised his strengths as a regista well enough since he joined us in 2016.
However, he always makes mistakes. And key mistakes that cost goals or games.
How long will this continue? How long can it be permitted to continue?
He’s a poor player for this reason alone, and we need players with an appropriate concentration level.
Footballers are human beings. And thus they are prone to making errors – who in this world is without fault or flaw? But the amount of penalties that he’s conceded in his time here has been woeful.
And surely this is the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Or the camel has died and it’s just a pile of bones now, or a smelly and decomposing carcass……. It must so, given the quantity of gaffes he’s caused.
It’s unlikely that he will leave before the UEFA-wide window shuts. But I don’t see how he can contribute much more. And perhaps the time for redemption has gone also. He would have to go a LONG time without causing further errors, that’s for sure.
Either way, he did improve somewhat in the second half, but for me this is immaterial.
He cost our side again – and like Mustafi he is way too much of a liability in this context.
This alone is a sobering comparison to make – and it lends really to our scouting and appraisal of players’ temperaments and attributes.
Leno – 5
Emery – 5 – The initial line-up was fine, but the utilisation of players wasn’t. Arsenal lacked creativity in the first half, and this in my view cost us ultimately. He did rectify this, but then he dug himself out of a self-imposed hole.
Man of the match
He is fast emerging as a prime prospect, and his game is growing in intensity and control.
- Emery’s initial line-up wasn’t on point.
- Spurs counter-attacked well, as they realised that our defence was weak.
- Lacazette’s goal, or more specifically the time of it, changed the complexion of the game.
- We lacked the cutting-edge in the second half to kill it off.
- A draw was perhaps fair, as whilst we dominated, Spurs with their fewer chances had some high-quality opportunities.
- Defensive errors MUST be curtailed, as we cannot continue with this continuous Achilles Heel.
- Pepe and Ceballos can both be top players for us.
- Spurs have some real diving c-u-next-Tuesdays….I’m looking at you Kane and Alli……