Monday, 2 September 2013

Arsenal 1-0 Spurs: What Crisis?

The season got off to such a bad start for Arsenal that it's hard to imagine they could have bounced back from that opening day defeat to Villa so quickly. They have done just that though with four victories in a row seeing them rise to fourth in the league and reach the group stages of the Champions League. There is an awful lot of work still to do but those four wins showed there's still a lot of life left in this team. 

Getting past Fenerbahce so easily was great, as was the win away to Fulham, but the win at home to Spurs was the result the fans really wanted and needed. With the transfer window seemingly going so badly wrong for Arsenal they came up against their free spending local rivals with a threadbare squad due to injuries and transfer inaction. The players who were available to play showed that they have a team spirit and togetherness which can form the basis of a squad which could genuinely challenge.

For that squad to challenge they will need some significant additions in the next few hours and that's still got to be possible even at this late stage. Who those players might be is anybody's guess, but the hopes of Arsenal genuinely challenging without them are few and far between. A brief glance at the bench against Spurs showed how the rigours of a busy schedule can affect a squad as small as Arsenal's.

The Arsenal team was as expected with the exception of the late inclusion of Carl Jenkinson for Bacary Sagna who was feeling ill apparently. Sagna took a place on the bench to make up the numbers with so few options available and they started the game on the front foot. They looked dangerous going forward and came close to scoring twice from Santi Cazorla free kicks. They looked the more cohesive team which wasn't surprising considering all the new arrivals in their opponents' team.

Spurs gradually got back into the game and were giving the Arsenal full backs a real test with Jenkinson looking the more vulnerable of the two of them. With Spurs getting on top Arsenal needed to try to reassert themselves and did so in the best possible way midway through the half. A flowing break from back to front was finished in fine style at the near post by Olivier Giroud to give Arsenal the all important first goal.

It started with a good tackle by Per Mertesacker and Giroud was on hand to finish a near post ball from Theo Walcott. It was a real striker's goal as it spun home off the outside of his left foot from close range leaving Hugo Lloris helpless in the Spurs goal. Not long afterwards Walcott almost made it two and his pace was a constant threat on the break. Spurs deploy Lloris in a role similar to a sweeper almost and he was needed on a few occasions to sprint out and deny Walcott when he had raced in behind the defence on the break.

Just before the break Jack Wilshere had to go off with what looked like it might be an injury, but it seems he was unwell too. He was replaced by new boy Mathieu Flamini making his second Arsenal debut after removing the club from his five year spell at AC Milan. He looked like he had never been away as he got stuck in for the remainder of the game and gave his all to the team.

The second half started brightly for Spurs but as they pushed forward for an equaliser it looked more and more likely that Arsenal would kill them off on the break. The Arsenal players continued to work very hard and I was worried they would tire too much when the second goal didn't come. Giroud and Walcott both went close and Nacho Monreal almost did it straight after he came on for Tomas Rosicky. 

Spurs came closest when there was infusion in the Arsenal defence from a free kick, but Wojciech Szczesny saved well and the defenders somehow managed to block the rebound. They were nervy times though and those nerves weren't helped when tree were five minutes added at the end. Things got a bit hectic at the back as Spurs piped the ball into the Arsenal box, but they held out for a vital victory. 

The lack of depth was shown up again right at the end of normal time when Sagna came on for Walcott. With so much at stake in those closing minutes it was vital for Arsenal to bring on experience and the other three substitutes had nothing to offer in that department. 

All that's left now is for Arsene Wenger to reward the attitude, skill and commitment shown by his players by bringing in the players they need to ensure they can intend this season. The payers wantit to  happen, so do the fans and the management must want it too. It looks like being a very busy day and hopefully a fruitful one too.

It's to the great credit of the players that they have turned things around so quickly and managed to overcome all the negativity after that first game. The win over Spurs may not have been a classic display from the team, but the players gave absolutely everything they had to get it. The squad is stretched to the absolute limit at the moment and the international break is almost a welcome relief.

They will come back in two weeks time for a trip to Sunderland with hopefully a larger squad and all of the injured players two weeks closer to returning as well. There is more than a chink of light at the end of the tunnel and this could still be a good season for Arsenal.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.


  1. Wenger shld thanks Dawson of Spurs for losing the match,,,
    imagine if Spurs won...the bombardment he receive from media to Arsenal fans.
    Dawson made Giroud so special and classy.
    Time to ignore him as captain let alone first eleven.

    1. It was very generous of Dawson to have a stinker in such an important game and long may they continue.

  2. Thanx for the write up somefans keep saying spend spend well u see spurs spent on Paulinho how much ??? Paulinho was lost at the speed of the play yesterday as for Dawson he played Girud well but Girud is great forward and one of the best Target men I have ever seen his control and distribution was excellent under Dawson tight marking I just hope Arsen does not overpay today to get players . Having spent ZERO on Flamini is Priceless what a signing