It’s never nice to drop two points at home. I have never been happy after a draw at either Highbury or Emirates because we are ‘The Arsenal’, the greatest London club. However, after Sunday’s 1-1 draw with T0ttenham Hotspur it’s difficult to feel the same level of disappointment like after, say, the Liverpool game. Mauricio Pochettino has done a great job with Tottenham with players like Hugo Lloris, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane all particularly impressive.
Here are the key points from the game.
1. The international break might be an extra transfer window for Arsenal.
Our squad has been wearing thin for a while and multiple injuries to our pacey players (Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Hector Bellerin, Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck) have taken a sting out of our attack.
We should have at least three players back within the fortnight (Ramsey, The Ox and Bellerin) which will transform our team completely. I know that we have all used that famous Arsene Wenger phrase “like a new signing” in a sarcastic way but this time every recovered player will be like a new signing for us.
2.Petr Čech hasn’t equaled David James’ record yet but has kept our head above water one more time.
Čech couldn’t do much about Harry Kane’s clinical finish but he was in the right place to deny a second goal to the visitors that would have put the game to bed. His save of Toby Alderweireld’s header was especially impressive. He had a moment of misunderstanding with the unconvincing Per Mertesacker but it ended without a consequence.
3.Mathieu Debuchy has shown signs of life.
If someone had told that we would soon bite our nails over Hector Bellerin’s fitness when Mathieu Debuchy is available, he/she would have been laughed at. And, only sixteen months after the French international had joined Arsenal from Newcastle, we’ve been counting down the days before the Spaniard’s return.
It should be said that Debuchy was decent in the North London Derby though. He was fighting a difficult battle with Erik Lamela throughout the game but had to come off due to fatigue. It was an encouraging performance from the Frenchman who hasn’t had the best season. With Euro 2016 in his homeland fast approaching, Debuchy will need more first team football to get into Didier Deschamps’ team. Putting a string of fine performances wouldn’t hurt him either. Maybe it would be easier if he had either Ramsey or Oxlade-Chamberlain in front of him however.
4.Nacho Monreal was our best defender.
Even if another Arsenal left full-back grabbed the headlines for himself, Nacho Monreal was our best defender. He did his job at the back well and made a few promising runs forward. Nacho has turned into a real defensive rock in 2015.
5.Our central defenders were shaky.
We have had a bad week with offside traps. Neither Robert Lewandowski nor Harry Kane were in the mood to forgive the mistakes of our defence. Laurent Koscielny’s inclusion in the squad in place of Gabriel didn’t help either as the Frenchman played Kane onside for the visitors goal. Per Mertesacker was a common denominator in both cases though. This time he had been drawn higher up the pitch before Rose delivered a pass for Kane.
The German hasn’t been comfortable whenever we play with a high line and his football this season could and should be better. Perhaps it’s time for Gabriel and Koscielny to play next to each other.
6.Santi Cazorla’s dizziness is a reason for concern.
Given that we had played 45 minutes with 10 men, a point against the Spuds is a good result. A missing man was Santi Cazorla. His first-half performance was absolutely awful but it seems that he shouldn’t have been on the pitch in the first place. Arsene Wenger didn’t offer an answer why Cazorla had felt dizzy and it’s a reason for concern (via Arsenal.com). Hopefully it was just a one-time thing.
7.Alexis Sánchez looked better on the right wing than on the left.
Arsene Wenger did a good job in the second half to change the run of play. One of his changes included switching Alexis Sánchez from the left wing to the right side of the pitch so that Kieran Gibbs could play as a left winger. Alexis looked more lively from that moment on. The Chilean has looked jaded lately and if there is one player that we should be worried about during the international break, it’s Alexis as Chile play Colombia and Uruguay. Hopefully he’ll return without an injury because we can’t afford to lose anyone else, especially a world-class player like him.
8.Kieran Gibbs scored a vital goal for us.
Gibbs has been in the shadow of Nacho Monreal for a while but a brief look at Sunday’s performance offers the Englishman some hope that he will get more playing time in a relatively new role. The England full-back scored the equalizer and was close to grabbing a winner but Lloris was quick enough to deny him. His ability to run behind the defence can be another useful attacking option. Gibbs has played as a winger before but now he might get more games in that role. It was his second goal in the Premier League, his first coming against Aston Villa in March 2012.
9.Olivier Giroud didn’t have the best day at the office.
It should be said that Giroud didn’t have a bad game. He played well, he found himself with a number of chances and should have scored at least once. Unfortunately, his headers ended up anywhere but in the back of the net. It was his fourth game in twelve days though.
10.Mesut Özil is the best player in the Premier League right now.
Our No. 10 deserves No. 10 in this article because he got his assist No. 10 (via Squawka.com). The German created seven chances against Tottenham and could easily have had a hat-trick of assists. His telepathic connection with Olivier Giroud at set-pieces has become our main threat as the German’s deliveries are regularly met by the powerful Frenchman’s head. He looks superb and if he maintains this level of performance, we’ll be top of the table very soon. Fortunately, he won’t play for the national team so he can rest for our forthcoming matches.
Next: Tony Pulis’ West Brom. It’s never easy to break down his teams but we’ll have to do it in order to keep pace with Manchester City. Our man Remi Garde did his job today as his Aston Villa held City to a draw at Villa Park but we have to win the difficult mid-table games against the likes of West Brom in order to challenge for the title. After all, City have already won there.