After doing the hard yards and slowly starting to build our way back into some kind of form after three successive victories, the hard work was undone after Tottenham managed a 2-1 victory at home in the highly anticipated North London derby.
It was sad to see Redknapp’s claims pre-match that Tottenham have the potential to overtake Arsenal this season come to reality in the match where Tottenham earned their victory and their right to be placed fifth in the Premier League. It was also odd to see Chamberlain had no place on the bench after a good performance in midweek.
It leaves a lot of questions of Arsenal, who yet again go into the international break with speculation over their ability to finish high in the league. One thing is for sure, the title fight is no longer realistic as Arsene finally conceded in his post-match press conference shown below and it looks to be a difficult battle ahead for the lucrative place in the Champions League.
After watching this game, one thing I think that must be considered is Ramsey’s place in the starting eleven. Even though I have been an avid admirer of the lad, there is no way he is ready for big-time games after this performance and simply needs to be loaned out. He gave away possession cheaply on so many occasions. It tells a story when it takes your centre-back, Alex Song, to break the deadlock with a pin-point cross from a surging run forward.
Song’s potential is wasted in defence and part of me feels that after Coquelin’s performance, the midfield should be re-shuffled to have Song play Arteta’s current role and Arteta to play Ramsey’s more prominent role in attack where he is more suited. If anything it would provide a more solid midfield on defence and potentially a more creative one with Song playing balls from a deeper position while Arteta plays the shorter balls near the front three. Song has been playing some magnificent final balls in recent weeks and one feels Arteta would be more suited to Ramsey’s current role in the team. Definitely something to consider when Koscielny returns to action or Miquel gets the nod.
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Lastly, it was another defensive lapse that lead to the second goal. A carbon copy of the Olympiakos goal in midweek with a repeat of the same lack of urgency after a quickly taken set-piece. Defensive urgency has been largely lacking for the gunners and it is imperative that there is high urgency and organisation on defence for the full 90 minutes. You can be onto it for 89 minutes, but that 1 minute where you switch off can be the difference between a loss and draw as it was today.
on a frustrating afternoon…
Yes, because in the first half I felt we played a little but with the handbrake on. Even playing like that we had four chances. At half time we came out and had a go at them and got it back to 1-1. I felt again that we didn’t push on enough and let them get back into the game.
We lack a little bit of confidence at the moment, and we just need to protect a result when we have one.
on Tottenham’s first goal…
It is frustrating as well because their first goal was handball. I wonder what the linesmen do in these situations. It is a second yellow card as well because he already had one – for handball, on purpose.
on the question of Van deer Vaart going into the crowd and not being booked…
I am not a fan of that. I can understand that when a player scores there has to be some spontaneous reaction to a goal.
on the second goal conceded…
We did not defend properly and we were punished for it. I have to see it again, but yes Sczesny certainly looks disappointed.
on title hopes…
I do not think like that, I think at the moment we have to set ourselves a realistic target and to get in touch with the teams who are fighting for the Champions League positions. If you say today we will win the league it is not realistic.
At the moment we are 12 points behind Manchester United and Manchester City – that’s not realistic to say today that we will win the league. We have to fight to come back into a much better position, that’s reality.
Sagna Mertesacker Song Gibbs
Walcott Van Persie (c) Gervinho
Wojciech Szczesny | 7.0: Boy oh boy. He had the man of the match title in the bag after denying Parker, Van der Vaart, Adebayor, Bale and Defoe. His mistake on the long-range shot by Walker was a huge damper on a great performance.
Bacary Sagna | 5.5: Struggled with Gareth Bale’s ability on attack and failed to pick up Van der Vaart’s run for the opening goal. Arsenal have suffered huge blow as his injury will see him sit on the sideline for three months.
PerMertesacker | 6.5: Produced some key interceptions, but showed a lack of communication with Song at times. Perhaps should have made more of an effort to close Van der Vaart for the opening goal.
Alex Song | 7.0: Although the Cameroon midfielder started very poorly he grew into the game as it wore on. Produced an excellent assist for Ramsey after a surging run.
Kieran Gibbs | 6.5: Like Song, he started poorly but became more solid as the match wore on. Was confident on the ball and produced, in the end, a solid peformance.
Francis Coquelin | 7.5: Was easily the best Arsenal player on the pitch and was rightly given the nod ahead of Frimpong. Produced an excellent defensive display and distributed the ball well.
Mikel Arteta | 5.5: Was unusually slow on the ball. Often controlled but looked undecisive on what to do with it after it was at his feet. I feel he is not suited to the deep-lying playmaker role.
Aaron Ramsey | 4.0: Yes he scored the goal, but overall did his job poorly. Lost the ball on numerous occasions and was slow on the ball. You have to feel he is not good enough at this stage to be starting in the Arsenal first-team.
Theo Walcott | 5.0: Had glimpses of brilliance but was largely anonymous for his 71 minute spell. Had two excellent left footed efforts early in the match.
Gervinho | 4.0: Wasteful. One word sums it up.
Robin van Persie | 6.5: With all the speculation around his future, this performance can’t be helping. He produced a perfect run to put the goal on a platter for Gervinho only for him to waste it. Made so many runs that were not picked out. Needs much better service if he is to get back to his lethal self, but you cannot blame him for lack of good service.
- Notable Substitutions