Match: Saturday 27th September 2014.
Competition: Premier League.
Venue: Emirates Stadium.
Result: Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham.
Arsenal GoalScorer: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 74′.
Tottenham GoalScorer: Nacer Chadli 56′.
A good, well fought point at the Emirates in the North London Derby. The game was played with desire & fight, and that’s exactly what we wanted from the team. Pochettino set the team out perfectly for this match, we were compact defensively and fast on the counter attack, but lacked that clinical edge in the final third. It wasn’t clicking, but we were looking threatening and we were causing Arsenal problems; something that is difficult to do, especially away from home. We can be proud of a good point and even better performance. It gives us more confidence in big games that we can go to difficult places and get results, stick games out, hang in there, use our grit; something we have lacked in recent times. It’s important we take this result forward and improve even further. We are a good side and under Pochettino we can develop and have a good season; I truly believe that.
In the first half, it took us a while to acclimatise to the situation, but we were still keeping Arsenal out, while trying to find our own passing rhythm. Arsenal were a little sluggish, and so were we. It was scrappy football, but passionate with a lot of tackles, interceptions and blocks being made. Defensively we were superb, composed and full of fight which is extremely pleasing as it’s been one of our main downfalls this season. We had chances in the first half, that’s for sure. On the counter attack we looked able to cut through Arsenal’s defence. Nacer Chadli and Emmanuel Adebayor having chances that really should have been goals, but as I say, we weren’t clinical in taking our chances. Arsenal had opportunities too, but they were long range efforts without really looking terribly threatening. To go in 0-0 at the break was good, we did well.
The second half was much more open, entertaining and exciting. Both teams were attacking with much more intent, and the game was being stretched with the pace of the attacks. Then, a mistake in the Arsenal ranks led to Christian Eriksen intercepting the ball, offloading it to Erik Lamela who composed himself and threaded a ball through to Nacer Chadli who picked his spot past Sczezney. 1-0, 56 minutes. An amazing moment, with the away section going mental. After the goal, it was all about holding on and getting the result. After a goal, it is subconscious to sit back and that’s what happened, Arsenal pushed and we continued to get pushed further and further back, and when that happens you need a hell of a lot of luck and grit to get through with 3 points. The goal came a little early in the end. Score at 70 or 80 minutes and I think we come out victorious but that’s not in our control, and the goal sparked Arsenal into life and the introduction of Alexis Sanchez gave them more pace and directness, making it difficult for us. Unfortunately, on 74 minutes, the ball squirmed it’s way into the box, Danny Welbeck air-shotting and then Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain behind him to power the ball into the top of the net, maybe too easily. We ended up with a point, working very hard and making sure we saw out at least a point, despite intense Arsenal pressure. I’m pleased with the players, the performance and content with a point.
There were a lot of stellar performances out on the field in this match. Non more so than captain Younes Kaboul. His performance was of a typical Tottenham captain; he led by example, giving everything, led with his mouth, ordering and organising, and played magnificently, saving the team on numerous occasions. I can’t express enough how happy I am to see him performing like Younes Kaboul again, the one we all know and love, pre-injury. If he can continue to perform like that, he can be a legendary captain of Tottenham Hotspur. Another incredible performance was from Hugo Lloris; he is a true leader in the team and shows every game that he is worth at least 15 points a season to Tottenham Hotspur, with his incredible agility, quick thinking and control of his box. Without a doubt the best Tottenham goalkeeper in recent history, and one of the best ever. The defence was just brilliant, every single one of them. Jan Vertonghen returned to the Premier League defence and added such composure, quality and fantastic communication with the rest of his defenders. He is in my opinion, very close to being World Class and he backed me up today. Danny Rose has improved incredible amounts this season, and he reached a level I didn’t think he was capable of in his defensive game – he made tackles, blocks, interceptions and everything in-between, a complete left back performance in my view, the addition of Ben Davies has pushed him into new realms of quality I’m sure a lot of people didn’t think he was capable of. Kyle Naughton and substitute Eric Dier were also brilliant, giving everything in such an important game.
A good point! A performance we can be proud of. There is still room for improvement, especially upfront, being more clinical. Let’s use this good point as a springboard to future success now. Starting with Besiktas in the Europa League on Thursday at White Hart Lane, a difficult, intense game on the horizon. Then, in the Premier League, on Sunday we face Pochettino’s old side Southampton at the Lane. Looking forward to it! COYS!!
My player ratings for the team that faced Arsenal:
Lloris – 9
Naughton – 8
Kaboul – 9 – Man of the match.
Vertonghen – 8
Rose – 8
Capoue – 8
Mason – 8
Lamela – 6
Eriksen – 6.5
Chadli – 7
Adebayor – 5.5.
Dier – 7.5
Lennon – 6
Bentaleb – 6.5.
Mauricio Pochettino’s post match press conference:
Ryan Mason Arsenal reaction: