A bridge too far. After two tough victories over Chelsea and Inter, winning at the Emirates – where Spurs have such a poor record to begin with – was in the end too much to hope for.
My main concern pre-match was fatigue – with squad injuries especially – would the players be fresh and committed enough to compete? Sadly, as the game wore on, it was clear that Spurs were suffering from a severe Champions League hangover.
Perhaps with fitness concerns in mind, Mauricio Pochettino controversially rested Toby Alderweireld which in the context of the manner in which the game panned out, appeared in hindsight to be a disaster.
Both Juan Foyth and Jan Vertonghen had poor games, with the latter even being red-carded near the end.
Elsewhere on the pitch, none of the fluidity of the play – seen against Chelsea and Inter – was evident as lethargy characterised Spurs’ shoddy performance.
Plainly put – Arsenal players were up for the derby and unfortunately, Spurs players weren’t. Not for first time this has happened in a North London Derby either, especially at the Emirates.
Hopefully, lessons will be learnt. Spurs also lost by two goals at the Emirates last season but still finished above the Gunners at the end of the day, so nothing has been determined at this stage. Mark my words, we WILL finish higher than the gooners this season.
Thankfully, the fixture congestion will let the Spurs team get this defeat out of their system at Southampton. It is clear that the battle for Champion League places this season will be very keen but Spurs are very much still in it, whatever anyone wants to read into this defeat.
COME ON YOU SPURS!!!
It’s a measure of Mauricio Pochettino’s good work that I approach this derby with different considerations compared to say, five years ago.
No longer is it the ‘be all and end all’ it once was but instead it’s really about Premier League points and keeping up the pace for Champions League qualification.
Yes, Champions League qualification NOT the Premier League title. I believe that Citeh have won it already. They won it when they spent a billion pounds on players and brought in Pep.
So for the rest of the so-called top six viz. Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs, it’s a fight for the remaining 3 spots for Champions League qualification.
Of course, winning at the Emirates especially with this being Unai Emery’s first NLD as Arsenal manager is important, both for the three points and also for the significance of setting down a marker.
Spurs need to demonstrate to Arsenal that the latter are no longer in our league and that we have gone above and beyond them as a Premier League club.
And I believe we will do it this time. Our record away to Arsenal is historically poor but we can begin to get things right today.
On the injury front, the likes of Kieron Trippier, Moussa Dembele, Victor Wanyama, Davinson Sanchez continue to be unavailable with Erik Lamela a doubt as well.
The only real factor in Arsenal’s favour is that the gooners had a midweek off with their first team given a rest in their inconsequential Europa League tie whereas Spurs had a tough one against Inter.
So I am going to assume that Poch shakes things up a little as far as team selection is concerned. Will not be much in this game but Spurs to win by a single goal.
Predicated line-up: Lloris, Aurier, Foyth, Vertonghen, Rose, Dier, Winks, Eriksen, Dele, Son, Kane.
COME ON YOU SPURS!!!