Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 1 Arsenal
OK, will every Arsenal fan who thinks VAR is going to be a bad thing, please go and stand in the corner and pick up the conical hat with a ‘D’ on it. The rest of us are shortly going to bitch and moan about the officials yesterday.
Football is a fast-moving game and sometimes a linesman struggles to keep up with play. When it’s a free-kick, however, there is a basic position which should be adopted. One which enables the linesman to decide if a player is offside. Had yesterday’s worthless excuse for an official done so, spotting the THREE Tottenham attackers who were offside – Kane included – and we would still have been 1 – 0 up when Aubameyang took his woeful penalty; it was absolutely terrible and a simple save.
That said, how did the officials not spot that Vertonghen’s encroachment? It wasn’t even marginal! The issue isn’t encroachment per se, but if he isn’t that close to the goal when the kick is saved, he cannot take up such a telling position on the goal-line to stop the winner being scored.
What kind of joke officiating is happening in the Premier League. The richest league in the world is flooded with piss poor officials. No wonder FIFA decided that NONE of the English officials was good enough to go to Russia last summer. Taylor is supposed to be the best referee in the country – or one of them, at least – yet neither he or his compadre saw multiple offences.
Unai Emery’s post-match comments spoke of Taylor’s “big personality” which must see him dance on tables as the life and soul of the party. The Spaniard hoped VAR will “help them to be fair for a match like today.” Unless the VAR is incompetent…
That Said, We Weren’t Guilt-Free
Those were the key decisions they got wrong. Rose left studs into Leno’s chest, puncturing the goalkeeper’s shirt but Torreira – rightly – received a red card for a dangerous follow through after winning the ball. Mr Referee Man, we want consistency in applying the Laws of the Game.
Overall, it was a tremendous performance. We worked hard, pressed, hassled, harried, showing Tottenham as the non-league bums they are. The surprising inclusion of Guendouzi worked well, pushing the much-vaunted midfield into nothingness; avenues of sideways passing or easily throttled attacks.
However, we are masters of our own downfall par excellence. Mustafi added another inexplicable cock-up to his long list of catastrophic decisions. He’s genuinely a bloke who would throw petrol on a fire because it’s liquid and liquids put fires out.
The shove on Kane was needless; Koscielny and Leno took good enough positions to deal with the threat. It’s not as if there was no warning about how easily Kane goes down under contact. During the build-up to Ramsey’s goal, Kane, faced with a couple of defenders, shaped to dive at the merest hint of contact. Little wonder Sokratis won the ball so comfortably.
Ramsey’s goal stemmed directly from Kane losing the ball; he’s one of our own, indeed. Aaron Ramsey finished a fantastic counter-attack after the Tottenham attack broke down. Xhaka thumped the ball to Lacazette near the halfway line whose quick spin and delightful through ball sent Aaron Ramsey sprinting clear of the defence, r
Nobody could argue with the scoreline beyond us; it should have been 2 – 0. Lacazette’s hapless swing at the ball saw it spin wide instead of nestling in the back of the net. It wasn’t the striker’s day. In the second half, a Mkhitaryan pass found him in the area but his path blocked, he went back to Iwobi, to Monreal whose cut-back was blasted wide by Lacazette. Two minutes later, Emery hooked him.
A man having a better day was Bernd Leno. Whatever Tottenham threw at him, he saved, caught, punched and cleared. A double save as half-time approached, summed up his day. As did getting warned for timewasting early on; this was a man whose view is that to win you need to be professional.
Close to the interval, he was alert to danger. Leno blocked Eriksen’s shot with the rebound falling to Sissoko. Flicking his hand out, Leno diverted the midfielder’s net-ripping shot over the bar. Strong wrists and astonishing reactions protected our lead.
Those key moments relied on unsung performances from others. Mkhitaryan worked hard defensively in what was arguably his best performance for the club. Sacrificing attacking instincts, he did more than his fair share of neutering Mustafi’s incompetence.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the pitch, Iwobi taunted Rose and turned him inside out at every opportunity. He too worked hard on the defensive side of the game, resulting in a solid performance.
It’s a good point overall but leaves us needing Chelsea and United to drop points if we’re to finish fourth. Winning next weekend is suddenly imperative in that chase.