The North London Derby this year was characterised by strong defensive displays from both sides. Arsenal dominated proceedings, having 69% of the possession in the game. The Tottenham defence displayed their class and maturity by still managing to restrict Arsenal to just one goal, helped of course by a lack of creativity by the Gunners in the final third. Younes Kaboul and Jan Vertonghen in particular stood out for the visitors.
For the Gunners, the defence did not have as much to do, but still had to be alert to stop a few quick Tottenham counter attacks. They also helped in the attack, with Kieran Gibbs and Calum Chambers in particular harassing the opposition down the flanks, and Per Mertesacker connecting with a strong header that would have equalised for us but for a great Hugo Lloris save.
After the game, both Gibbs and Mertesacker took the time to speak to the press. Here is what they had to say.
Gibbs spoke about goalscorer Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and the importance of the fixture. He also said that the team was trying hard to convert their dominance of the opposition into victories.
Alex is a fantastic player and he just needs games. He’s showing what he can do now and his end product is what he wanted to work on. Now it’s time we see it and the results are paying off for him. He’s a good professional and an amazing talent.
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It was important not to lose because of the history of this game. They defended very well in the end, I’m not sure how they managed to hold on but they certainly did and we gave everything so we have to take the positives from the game and move on to the next one. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen. We need to keep doing what we’re doing to create good chances and I’m sure that we will [win].
We want to change them [the draws] into wins and the team is working hard to do that. I think [we will] if we keep knocking on the door like we have been in the last few games.
Mertesacker chose to speak about his defensive partner Calum Chambers and the mood of the Arsenal dressing room.
We knew we would need every single player when Mathieu Debuchy got injured and he [Calum Chambers] stepped in and has done a remarkable job. He’s a good talent and we always try to force him to push up and go forwards. He’s a great talent and he showed that today as well.
We lost two key players in the first half and it was more than a blow. We fought until the end, especially in the second half when they dropped. When they took the lead it was very difficult but we came back in a good way, not in a remarkable way. It could have been a bit more but overall they deserved a point because they defended well.
We know that we have good team spirit in the dressing room so we have to show it on the pitch. Today we showed it in a good way but I think we can do better, much better. Overall it was a good performance and I think confidence is getting back.