They say tactics and form are thrown out of the window in these type of games. The notion is true at times especially in the North London Derby, there have been some games where both Arsenal and Spurs throw caution to the wind and play in a gung- ho style. They leave their defence unguarded and it has always thrown some freak results 4-5, 3-3, 4-4 and a couple 5-2’s along the way.
Tottenham under AVB played a high line so as to compress the opposition and control the possession. Lloris would act as a sweeper, time and again he would come off the line to clear the danger. It was evident in the league game at the Emirates when we repeatedly used Theo’s pace to get in behind, were it not for Lloris heroics and our profligacy we would have won comfortably.
However as Spurs found to their utter dismay that unlike the Gunners, Man City and Liverpool were ruthless, they destroyed them on the break. The Spurs faithful would argue that they were reduced to 10 men but that doesn’t hide the fact that they were all over the place before their numerical disadvantage.
On Sunday they played a high line that was so suicidal that when Chamberlain broke through the central defence he ran nearly the entire spurs half unchallenged. Playing a high line is successful only if the players press the opposition.
That comical defending enraged the Spurs boss so much that he hurled his gilet towards the bench and I wonder what he would have done if Chamberlain broke through like that again. I sincerely hope he gets a new contract, the guy is so much fun.
In contrast to our old foes, we were defending much deeper and quite content to let Spurs have the ball. Cazorla and Podolski tracked the runners and were defensively diligent throughout the time they were on the pitch. Arteta was sitting in front of the back four as he usually does and for me, he and Chamberlain are a better midfield pair than the Spaniard and Jack Wilshere. They couldn’t maintain the possession in the second half but held their fort and screened the defence.
But the midfield combination I prefer, if everyone is fit(No worries, it is a hypothetical case) would be Ramsey/Arteta or Ramsey/Flamini.
Mertesacker and Koscielny did an admirable job on Adebayor, if the ball was played in Koscielny would mop up and long diagonal balls would be headed away by our Big German. Bacary Sagna was Bacary Sagna and is there a better backs to the wall defender? Gibbs was a bit overrun at times when Spurs cranked up the pressure but Wenger made a smart substitution in introducing Monreal on the left and that shored things.
Giroud was hapless all day and he couldn’t win a ball against Kaboul and Vertonghen. He must do better than that to relieve the midfield and defence.
It was a bit nervy at times but Arsenal held on to a massive win.
Arsene described the performance as one of ‘special resilience’. Special Resilience – we need that in abundance in the coming weeks.
Stamford Bridge awaits us next week and our attack must improve. If we play with our typical flair, score the first goal, our defensive solidity will win us the game and Arsene’s 1000th match will be a special one against the special/ happy one whatever . COYG