Spurs Preview: How Do You Solve A Problem Like Mesut?

Mike Dean’s appointment vexes many with his open bias in favour of Tottenham prepped as a reason for defeat. We’re unbeaten in the last three derbies he’s officiated; he isn’t getting enough credit for those results, is he? Of course not. Dean may impact the game but we won’t be the reason lose.

It’s not even the biggest problem facing Unai Emery. That is what to do with Mesut Özil. Last weekend, he wasn’t robust enough to deal with Bournemouth; God knows how he will cope with the North London derby.

Özil is one of English football’s most gifted technicians and ought to be an automatic choice. Unai Emery’s lack of ‘favourites’ is to be applauded; the team is selected for the job in hand and reputations count for nought. However, Özil is surely a player whose ability the team should be built around? 

When you questioned Özil’s commitment previously, a slew of stats appeared showing how far he ran. For Unai Emery, this isn’t enough. It’s where you run and what contribution that makes to the cause. Özil is learning some painful lessons in that respect.

But this is a match which cries out for his talent but he must turn up in the same way Henry, Pires and Nicholas did. To produce the performances of a lifetime and make fools of Tottenham. Winning a derby is satisfying enough but to do so with one play running rings around them is even better.

Does Özil fit that bill? He can do if he’s in the mood. There’s something of a flat-track bully in him which is no bad thing but today needs more than that. This is an occasion, beyond a mere football match. It’s a time when the result matters and winning is the only result in town.

A Quiet Jens Lehmann

Whether Özil plays depends more on the formation than anything else, however. He doesn’t fit with the back three we saw employed at Bournemouth. Given our propensity for defensive cock-ups, Emery may decide the best way to deal with Kane, Eriksen and co is to employ three centre-backs.

With Iwobi on the left ahead of Torreira and Xhaka, that leaves the right-side to be filled. Iwobi on the right, Özil on the left is possible given Mkhitaryan’s form. A partnership of Ramsey and Iwobi on the flanks seems unlikely but more probable than a narrow midfield which offers little protection to Kolasinac on the left.

The one thing which is apparent is that Emery possesses plenty of options and isn’t afraid to use them. At what point, however, does thinking too much about the opposition overrun your own game plan. It must an integral part of it, that’s for sure, but too much thinking causes more than just brainache.

While attention focuses on the outfield players, David Seaman is impressed with Bernd Leno:

So far he has been brilliant. I don’t know what footed he is because he is that good with both. The only way you can tell is if he takes a goal‑kick. I am impressed by his shot-stopping ability and the other thing I like about him is he gets on with the save. He doesn’t try to make it look flash.

A quiet Jens Lehmann? Like Cech, Leno is busier than he expected but he is going about his business quietly and efficiently.

And this is a back three/four which needs a confident goalkeeper behind it. Cech took time to adapt to Emery’s methods and his uncertainty undermined an already unsure defence. Who, it must be said, undermined Cech with their harum-scarum defending.

Random Thoughts

Things are, however, coming together. You don’t get to 18 games unbeaten by fluke. One or two games, yes, but double-digits? Not having it. While the eulogies fly around the back pages, there’s a sense that Emery’s work is being undervalued.

Tottenham can buy into that all they want but in their golden age, they only have a half-finished metal toilet bowl to show for it. And a three-point gap this morning which means nothing at this stage of the season.

If you believe the reports, all the swamp dwellers have to do is turn up today. Phrases like “I genuinely fear for Arsenal” are great soundbites but in the good old days, were pinned to the dressing room wall for inspiration. Forget psychologists, the only thing needed after words like that is the whistle for kick-off.

Which players will cross that line? I’m guessing we’ll revert to a back four:

Leno; Bellerin, Holding, Sokratis, Kolasinac; Torreira, Xhaka; Mkhitaryan, Özil, Iwobi; Aubameyang

Lacazette from the bench to preserve Aubameyang for Wednesday night in a week where the fixture computer had a brainfart much to the delight of the television companies. Three derbies on the same weekend featuring teams in the top six? What are the odds of a random fixture generator coming up with that? Almost as much as a draw in a heavyweight title fight being seen as an honest assessment of the 12 rounds.

It’s the sort of coincidence which makes you wonder if we’ll draw Tottenham in the third round of the FA Cup later today…

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

150 thoughts on “Spurs Preview: How Do You Solve A Problem Like Mesut?

  1. Kane and Alli sure the fuck have been quiet.

    I love Bellerin,stands up for his mates and backs down from nobody amd has been superb today

  2. I made the comment before the Liverpool match that Sead would either show he is our LB or show Emery he needs to bring on in…..since then, now fully fit, he is showing the form that saw him voted best LB/LWB in Germany the year we signed him on a free.

  3. Absolutely loving the way the players are not only enjoying this but celebrating and connecting with the supporters!

    Emery said when he first arrived he wanted to re-connect the club and the supporters…

  4. 2 goal differential to end the game, 3-1 and 4-2 is pretty special and I love how this Arsenal side has made my day.

  5. Well…

    Let’s not go overbiard with this one. It’s normal to beat them in our pkace, no DVDs please. Next one on Wednesday.

    But you have to have a heat of stone not to enjoy this one in amusement.

  6. How do you make mashed Spuds?
    Beast the fuckers.
    What a team performance. From Manager thru to the bench. ThankYou Arsenal.

    From earlier. We’ve got some new heros. Hope your suitably imbibed Yogi.

  7. You lot want a stunning stat, even those that hate stats 👀 will enjoy this:

    Aubameyang’s last 10 shots on target have all ended up in the back of the net. The last save was back in August by Fabianski.

  8. Tim Sherwood must cover his face in shame wherever he is right now. I watched him on TV yesterday saying none of the Arsenal players would make a Spurs’ First Eleven!

  9. consolsbob,

    I completely agree with you but all too often we are told how great they are. I would have Aubameyang and/or Lacazette everyday over Kane and I have said that for the past 4 years.

  10. C,

    Interesting you saying that. I was thinking as I wrote it that our two never go missing. Always looking for the ball and working with it. Both very good players. Best up front that we have had for a long time.

  11. consolsbob,

    🍻
    I’ll drink to that
    Well I have been and shall continue ,with added gusto.
    C. I don’t think our back 3 was our strongest suit today. But I did love Papa outrunning Fatboy at the end there. That was icing on a very well iced cake.
    They did what we have come to accept from them if I’m honest.

  12. consolsbob,

    Exactly and not only that but they can and love playing together and seem to always raise their game when they are on the pitch together. They are easily the beat we have had since RvP and are more available, fitness wise than he was.

  13. ferkov,

    They weren’t the strongest but they were very good in the way they battled and kept the Spuds attack quiet for the most part. Holding shouldn’t have slid to give Dean the chance but they were aggressive and worked extremely hard especially since we have been told that the Spuds front 4 is amongst the best in Europe…so they say.

  14. Just saw a report that a Spuds supporter was rightly arrested after throwing a banana peel at Aubameyang as he celebrated his goal.

  15. Emery:

    “This is a very big victory, we showed our supporters and we give them this victory because it’s a very special match against Tottenham,” he told his post-game press conference.

    “For us it’s the same – special, but above all it’s three points, like last week against Bournemouth, and like Wednesday in Manchester. Now we are happy, we are enjoying it, but short. Why? Because Tottenham lost today but they are on the same points as us in the table.

    “We also need to continue in our way, in our process, and for our confidence it was a very big match. But don’t forget that they beat Chelsea last week in a very big match and today they are close with us. Wednesday is a good example for us, we need to think about Manchester on Wednesday.”

    Emery also seemed to hint that he always had it in mind to introduce Lacazette and Ramsey knowing full well their ability to influence big games.

    “Before I started the match I prepared in my mind different situations in the match,” he explained. “One was this. Why? Because Lacazette has very big efficiency in scoring against every team and because Aaron has experience against Tottenham and in derby matches.

    “He has experience of coming back against big teams.”

  16. .Loads of Spanish treats on Narth Landan dinner tables tonight, But the only ones people are talking about are the Red & White Chorizo 😂

  17. Just saw the score. Hope to watch the game later today. Awesome result. Biggest game of the year and by far our best result. Emery’s half time substitutes must have been game changers. He is such a contrast to Arsene who always seemed to wait until the 70th minute. The other contrast to Arsene is building the team around our goal scoring forwards rather then building our strategy around creative midfielders. Your goal scorers and team defense are the critical factors in getting results.

  18. Last season we often started ozil, Mkhitaryan, wilshere, Ramsey and xhaka with Elneny playing some minutes. I will never understand why Arsene allowed himself to become so obscessed with one facet of football

  19. The whole Mike Dean and PGMOL anti Arsenal bias the guys at Untold Arsenal have been spouting for years was nothing more then a smoke screen to cover for Arsene and it’s all a pile of utter nonsense

  20. Have you seen the new sherif? He’s a Pigmob.
    Should have booked The Dire in first half after the 5 min play on, and was harsh on Xhaka I thought, but really, considering the handbags, did pretty well I thought.

  21. Bill:
    Last season we often started ozil, Mkhitaryan, wilshere, Ramsey and xhaka with Elneny playing some minutes. I will never understand why Arsene allowed himself to become so obscessed with one facet of football
    So ,when will we see Mesut again?

  22. C,

    Life according to C….you are well informed…but rather …….’American’ about it.
    If you stopped being so pontificating about it ,it would be a bit more digestible.

  23. Jonnygunner,

    Thats an interesting take and is you opinion. Strange cause here in America, I have been told that while I am not afraid to share my opinion on things, I’m introverted and rather quiet.

    Unfortunately mate, I am who I am and never mean to offend.

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