Spurs Review: So, How’s That Power Shift Going?

Arsenal 2 – 0 Tottenham Hotspur

The ghosts of Arsenal past nodded their approval. Arsenal hassled, harried, and hustled Tottenham out of their stride; talk of a ‘power shift’ was awfully premature in the lead-up to the match and so it proved.

Weakness is ingrained into their psyche. When a moment of destiny presents itself, the Sunday roast is served on a punctured beach ball.

Arsenal thoroughly deserved the win. You can point to statistics all you want but it was a match which underlines just how meaningless they are beyond the final score and the Premier League table. The visitors were overwhelmed physically and so bereft of belief as the match played out, that they could not take advantage of Francis Coquelin’s introduction for Alexandre Lacazette.

So bad was their afternoon that even the post-match bleating went against them. Mike Dean was the centre of attention and on the receiving end of the White Hart pain.

It wasn’t a foul on Sanchez by Sanchez, Pochettino mumbled. It was; as soon as his arm went across Alexis’ chest as they were running for the ball; he gave flakey Dean a decision to make and we all know how good he is at that.

Mustafi and Lacazette were both offside; their arms were beyond the last defender, he said. Sadly, arms and hands don’t count when deciding if a player is offside (Law 11, Laws of the Game). Sad for Tottenham, that is.

Not for Arsenal. Mustafi’s header was excellent, landing against the inside of the post and rolling along the onion bag. I bet it made that satisfying whirring sound a ball always makes against the wet netting. It had to, just to rub salt into Lloris’ wounds.

Fortune Favours the Brave

Perfectly placed, the header came from a well-timed jump. You wonder why we don’t do that more often when these moves work out. Steve Bould looked on approvingly from the bench.

Less than five minutes later, Alexis sealed the win. Graeme Souness called Lloris “not a brave goalkeeper”; a fair comment given he failed to challenge the Chilean as he slammed the ball into the roof of the net from inside his six-yard box.

Where this performance differed is that it’s impossible to criticise any of the players for their efforts. Hard work, diligence, and tenacity; all missing on a regular basis were evident in every position for the whole 90 minutes. Yes, there were mistakes but you won’t criticise them because you know that ten seconds later, another player was covering for it.

Everything we want from the team, we got. The question now is why can’t they produce that intensity in every performance. If they did, we’d be a damn sight closer to the top of the table than we currently are.

If you go through each member of the team, there is a lot to credit. Cech for an excellent save from Dier late in the game, not just clawing the ball away from goal but putting it to safety. The full backs for marauding displays up and down the touchline in support of the attack and when they got to the final third, for delivering a pass rather than hitting the brakes, or hitting the bloke in row 28 full in the face and breaking his glasses.

Thinking Man’s Football

The central defensive trio were outstanding. Koscielny led by example, not putting a foot wrong. If he was injured or feeling any effects of his Achilles, it didn’t show. Monreal, so consistent, was uber-consistent on the day while Mustafi put in a Man of the Match performance. When not scoring, he threw himself into every challenge.

The trio marked Kane out of the game, for the most part, while quelling the threat of Comical Alli. For once, the defence combined to make the penalty area a fortress. Yes, Tottenham had chances but every team will during a game. We minimised those opportunities with a sheer determination missing on so many occasions.

Why? This was the performance level champions engage every week. Getting a point at Stamford Bridge with determination, beating Tottenham more comfortably than the 2 – 0 scoreline reflects, shouldn’t be the highlights, they should be the norm.

Granit Xhaka took a yellow for the team and then stayed out of trouble, staying on his feet yet tackling tenaciously. Bravo, sir; now for that every week, if you don’t mind. Ramsey and Sanchez flew forward in support of Lacazette while the former also maintained a presence in midfield in support of the defence.

Özil, voted Man of the Match, left the field to a standing ovation. Deserved it as well and put in a shift reminiscent of the cup semi and final; every week for a £42m player ought to be the standard, not a one-off that we’re desperate for him to put in.

I Find Myself in Reverie

Every member of the starting line-up showed us what they are capable of, now it’s up to Wenger to get that consistently from the players. It’s in their, like a shy alter-ego which needs cajoling out. A few more of these performances and the contractual mess we’re in would not be an issue.

If, buts, and maybes; the hallmarks of Wenger’s second decade. It elicits a wistfulness which ought not to be the case but it is.

So for the moment, I shall enjoy the reverie this victory has brought, as well as the playlist on Dad’s Jukebox where 2009 is the order of the day.

’til Tomorrow.

46 thoughts on “Spurs Review: So, How’s That Power Shift Going?

  1. 🎵🎵🎵 The Sun has got his hat on Hip hip hip hooray 🎵🎵🎵

    🎵🎵🎵 The Sun has got his hat on and we taught Spurs how to play 🎵🎵🎵

  2. Two offside goals and a ref that gave you everything including fouls that weren’t, offsides etc and playing a side that had 3 players unfit and didn’t turn up, quite a hollow victory but pretend everything is rosy i’m going to laugh when you go back to losing to the likes of Watford, your the most fickle bunch giving Ozil a standing ovation next week you will want him out and as for your manager is it in or out this week? joke club.

  3. Great review.

    Awesome game, awesome result. Now if we could figure out how to do that more often. Neither Ozil and Sanchez would divided opinions if they played like yesterday a lot more often.

    Its interesting that the other team has had a significant majority of the ball possession in almost all of the unexpected “signature wins” we have produced in the last 3-4 years. Yesterday, despite having only 42% of the ball we were clearly the better team. Same thing in the memorable games when we have beat ManU, ManCity and Bayern in the last few years. In all of those games the ball possession difference was even greater. I am not saying that ball possession is necessarily bad, but Wengerball which often features ball possession for own sake is not effective. We are a much more effective team on both ends of the pitch when we transition quickly even if that means we don’t have as much of the ball and we don’t complete 10,000 short passes. Ball possession has never been an effective form of defense.

  4. Morning (just),

    A fantastic result and performance.

    Just need to do it every game. We need to consistent with the odd blip, not weak with the odd stellar performance.

  5. Bill,

    Most good attacking games are direct in their approach. They cut through teams with decisive quick balls rather than fannying around the edge of the opponent’s area, trying to thread that killer ball right onto the boot if the man a yard out from goal. Wenger seems to think that if we have the ball for long periods our opponents can’t go up the other end and score, but it only takes a few seconds to switch from defence to attack and many teams are practiced in the art of the counterattack.

  6. Yesterday was another example of the fact that the questionable calls by refs really do even out over time. Its another example of the fact that if we are going to use slow motion replays to judge the refs performances then its utterly impossible for them to get calls consistently correct. Its clear that every reasonably close offside call is at best a 50/50 guess. We just have to accept that this sort of inconsistency is just part of football.

    Pocchintino sounds like just as much of wanker to the rest of the world when he is complaining about the refs as Arsene did after the ManCity game. I am 100% confident that somewhere on some Spurs blog there is a group of fans moaning about how the refs always favor Arsene Wenger teams and complaining about the bias/conspiracy which is holding back the Spurs

  7. Make sure this win is not a one off otherwise there will be
    calls for Wenger’s head. The thing is why cant the gunners
    deliver this performance on aweekly basis.

  8. It is a bit late in the day, I guess, but who knows – perhaps common sense will prevail?

    If we let Sanchez and Özil go at the end of the season, we will lose some £90m because we did not reach a contractual agreement with them.

    So, what if;
    a) we give Sanchez the requested £400K per week? (£21m p.a.) * 4 years = £83m

    b) we give Mesut the requested £300K per week? (£16m p.a.) * 4 = £63m

    The justification would be that we will lose £90m and get nothing in return by letting them both go.
    Or we pay them £83m + £63m = £146m between them, and get their services for 4 more years for the ‘additional’ £56m. (the difference between the lost £90m and the new contracts £146m)
    And if we want to sell them in 2 years time we will have them for those two years, and recoup some, if not all, of that ‘additional £56m’.

    Is there anyone who cannot see the financial worth in that — let alone the benefits to the quality and stability of the team?

  9. Aw, Tony, don’t be a bad sport. Read the post; neither goal was offside.

    Anyway, they need you at Tottenham. The beach ball needs blowing up.

  10. Bill,

    Goes back to the point made previously (after City) that fans and managers can focus on a specific point and blame the result on that, rather than admit they were outplayed on the day. Wenger was laughed out of court when he tried it after City because the difference in class was obvious. Yesterday SPurs were played off the park for the most part, but Potch is never going to admit that to the press. Much easier to hang on a questionable free kick than put your hand up and admit you weren’t good enough. Some fans are so delusional that they will believe it (as some Arsenal fans believe Wenger). I saw one Spurs fan on the BBC website keep going on about the ‘injury ravaged’ Spurs squad in every comment.

  11. Sanchez won’t stay; get the feeling that while it is about money, he also wants to win trophies. CL is missing from his CV

    Ozil, despite a sparkling performance yesterday, hasn’t earned a £300k per week salary. No pay rise warranted.

    Benefits for the team? Keeps the status quo, I suppose. Sanchez, despite his critics, delivers goals. Ozil delivers assists but I’d want to see them play under a different manager.

  12. Tony,

    Wow, when you put it like that I realise what a mistake I made in supporting Arsenal. Thank you for coming onto an Arsenal fan site and putting us all right. It’s helpful guys like you who really make a difference. Thumbs up mate.

    Yeeeaaahhhh, riiiigggghhhhtttt!!!!!

  13. Not the old ‘Offside’ whinge again.

    Both the still photographs and the videos show La Caz’ arm was offside — or was it?

    FIFA law 11 Offside:
    Offside position

    — It is not an offence to be in an offside position.
    — A player is in an offside position if:
    any part of the head, body or feet is in the opponents’ half (excluding the halfway line) and
    any part of the head, body or feet is nearer to the opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the
    second-last opponent
    The hands and arms of all players, including the goalkeepers, are not considered.
    — A player is not in an offside position if level with the second-last opponent or last two opponents

    A bit annoying for those squealing about offside goals — but thems the Laws.

  14. YW @ 12 : 23

    I suppose you were addressing me – and if so – I was expressly talking about the financial benefits accruing to the club in paying the players what they allegedly asked for, and the resulting contiguous benefits arising for the team.

    I have never pretended to be a mind reader, so I have no idea what the players involved think is best for each of them, or what their individual aspirations are — and in any employer / employee negotiation — it would be naïve for a third party, like me, to fail to recognise that there are two sides to these matters, but I was specifically only referring to the the club’s financial position.

    From the players’ points of view, I could not disagree with your opinion, and why would I do so, however, a successful contractual conclusion for the players and the club may not be mutually possible.

    Bit late in the day now anyway — as I originally said.

  15. Like West Ham, Arsenal got motivated for their game against Tottenham. Makes the shocking away performances this year even more disgraceful. Sanchez and Ozil were excellent but will they turn up next week and will they sign their contracts. Reality kicks in. Arsenal are below a Tottenham side who have had an average start to the season and 12 points behind Man City.

  16. Absolutely brilliant performance by the boys yesterday, and Yogi you are spot on, none can be criticized!

    Ozil looked a man that was truly enjoying his futbol yesterday, like he had not a care in the world other than orchestrating everything and did so brilliantly. Hell even won tackles, intercepted balls and was nothing short of sublime in the attack and on the counter. Mustafi was the other, that is more of the defender we got in the first half of last season upon his arrival and the defender we know he could be.

    Brilliance all around and more of that please.

  17. Tony,

    If funny that you say the ref gave us everything given the yellow card count. The other thing is, who were your 3 unfit players, I’m wondering? If Kane was unfit then you have to question the logic of the manager in starting Kane along with the other 2, no? The other thing is that Mustafi was just coming back from a long injury lay-off, Ramsey was sent home from Wales for having a bit of a knock and Kos has a permanent problem with his Achilles.

    Guess its what I should have expected…..

  18. Was in a panic before the game. I’d cheaper out on the hotel at my leg of my Myanmar trip and my room was bereft of a TV. I fervently cycled through dangerous Asian traffic looking for any chance of a bar with satellite TV – good luck in conservative Myanmar. But 15 minutes in to the game I found an Indian restaurant owned by a Gooner! Fortune does favor the brave. In a sweaty pile I ordered a great meal and a few too many beers too be cycling back in the dark. Kosczelny was man of my match .-I think. Hard to tell who was who on the low Def crappy reception.

  19. I will say this, it was refreshing to finally get to see our best attacking players and finally our best set of defenders playing together. Please just stop with the experimenting with either set and let them get a run of matches together and lets see where this thing goes.

  20. Whoever Reverie is I am sure it won’t be long before we see Reverinho up there. I am just surprised we haven’t seen Refereenho yet, although a smaller version of Mike Dean’s gaffes would be welcome.

    I thought Lacazette had a pretty average game and I would like to have seen Rambo replaced with Jack. Jack needs more time on the field and Rambo was ineffective.

  21. Hi, C,

    Having had a quick read of yesterday’s comments, I saw you were asking where I and some others were – and altho I cannot tell you of the then whereabouts of the others, I was at the game! 😀

    It was the most wonderful experience to be there among all the other jubilant Gooners, and especially as the performance was against the Spuds.

    Watching on TV is one thing, but being there puts quite a different gloss on matters, and, not for the first time, it makes me quite sad that I had to give up my season tickets.

    Everyone knows how things went, and YW’s Post covers it, but what is not always seen on TV, is that the defence was marshalled brilliantly by Kozzer, and unlike in other matches I have seen, he and Monreal won the ball, but instead of counter attacking with the half backs and the forwards, they looked along the defence line and actually stepped back to keep in line.

    There were very few ‘holes’ in the defence and, together with the much better pressing game, that formed the basis for the tone of the game.
    It really was beautiful to watch.

    The front three of La Caz, Sanchez and Özil worked very well, and let’s hope it stays that way for the rest of the season.

    Our man Özil was simply superb, Alexis had his best game in quite a while, and La Caz brought fluency to the front trio. while Rambo and Granit clicked at last in midfield, and again off the ball, which again does not show on the TV screen, because the TV producers naturally follow the ball, and those two had the Spuds in two minds on how to deal with them.

    I haven’t been to the Emirates for a while, and I must start bending ears to see if I can go a bit more often, as there is nothing quite like being in an excited and deliriously bunch of Gooners.
    Got home after midnight, and stayed up most of the night — so glad you seemed to be really happy blogging – but one day you have to try and get to a game at the Ems – you won’t regret it. 😀

  22. HenryB,

    You lucky bastard you but I am glad that you got to enjoy the game in person.

    I agree, there are some things on TV that I simply can’t see or follow and while you can think and figure out some of the stuff, seeing it live you get to see more. It was superb to see Kos/Mustafi/Nacho because they look so natural together and have quite an understanding. Its great to hear that Nacho and Kos stepped back and stayed back because up to now it has been part of our defensive struggles because all too often we would see the likes of Holding go bombing forward.

    In midfield, you know how much I have criticized Ramsey for his performances but yesterday was more like the Ramsey that we want, he focused more on his midfield duties and quickly getting the ball out of his feet instead of a million touches. Xhaka was much more assured and like he and Ramsey were FINALLY on the same page as they left no time or space for Alli, Ericksen, Sissoko and Dembele.

    That front 3 needs to play together and Arsene needs to let them gel because we have seen them play together 3 times and 2 of those times they were unplayable and the other time we created plenty of chances. Ozil was sublime, Sanchez was back to being the Sanchez we know and love and Lacazette continues to show that he is complete striker. I think, and it maybe my naivety, but I think when you play quality players together that see the same things, they will figure it out. Lacazette’s hold-up and link-up play are truly a joy to watch and actually works superbly with Sanchez and Ozil who both want the ball played to feet or played into space for them to run into but all of it on the move.

    I am working on making my way to the Emirates, I really am trying or at the very least making it to London on a match day as the couple of times that I have been its never on a match day and generally during the week on business.

  23. I absolutely agree with all that, C. 😀

    Altho others have already said that we need the team to repeat this type of performance more often, I was chuffed with the whole deal, because I was sinking into believing we were in such decline that I could not produce even one game of that quality.

    I was more than delighted to have been proved so wrong with that performance.
    [Don’t tell anyone, but when I first got the offer of a ticket I did hesitate a little because the thought entered my head that the Spuds would win — but the hesitation was only short-lived.] 😀

  24. Ooops.

    Should have read;

    — “we were in such decline that I could not believe that we could produce even one game of that quality.” That’s better!! 🙂

  25. I think we should all be a little sympathetic to the Spud fans. For donkey’s years they’ve had to put up with being second best in North London, now at last they have crept past us and into the Championship League, but they know full well that they won’t win it, just as they know they won’t win the Premiership. They’re just one point ahead of us and, on yesterday’s performance, are running out of gas.

    The status quo will soon be resumed, so let them have their brief moment in the sun, they know it won’t last.

  26. No not the Championship League, the Champions League. Though if they lose Kane and Doolally Alli, their destination may well be the Championship. 😈

  27. HenryB,

    I guess thata where I differ from you, I knew we had it and it all starts for me with the AOL and that back 3, think they set and sort out the team balance. Sead and Bellerin are quality and the thing ia both are still so young that they are developing and learning.

    The issue for me is the midfield and getting that balance and yesterday showed what we need and should expect, balance and focusing on bossing the midfield. Our front 3 is as good as it gets and will score goals so if Xhaka and Ramsey or whoever plays in midfield can replicate the defensive side.

  28. C,

    I think you may have misunderstood my comment, or probably I did not explain myself properly, but my hesitation and prior to that my overall concern was that we were unlikely to improve going forward because 2 out of the three AOL could be gone in January.

    Until that is resolved or similar quality replacements are obtained, I will continue to be concerned.

    AOL are fine now, but looking even a little further forward that will probably all change.

  29. x
    x
    x

    Sven Mislintat
    have you heard about that?
    hard to disguise though as a scout
    bright yellow shirt betrays what he’s about.

  30. HenryB,

    I did misunderstand, but I do completely agree with that.

    Shame is it has taken Arsene this long to play them and yet they it could will be another situation to where we are on the verge and then through mismanagemeny we take steps backwards.

  31. Well said YW and good to hear you are content
    I enjoyed the performance and the result
    As for injuries and offsides
    Hard lines Tony. Hard lines

  32. nicky:
    @Philmar,
    Anywhere near Nhila or Teknaf on the Naf River?
    WW2 memories.

    Hell no. Naf River is ethnic cleansing territory now. Was in a dusty town on the Chindwin River near Mingun. Tomorrow I fly towards Mrauk U via Sittwe which is distressingly close to the Rohingya calamity and the Naf River. From Mrauk U I planned to go up the Kaladan River to visit Chin Villages with face tattooed women but there was a boat with civilians gunned down by Rohingya separatist forces 15 miles rom there…so my plans are evolving.

    WW2 memories? Wow. That sounds like it was an ordeal. Lets hope Arsenal shows one tenth of your fighting spirit.

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