Tottenham 0 Arsenal 1: Three talking points
Tottenham 0 Arsenal 1: Three talking points as the Gunners earn the north London bragging rights
Arsenal may have won but they were beaten at their own game today – possession football. After the first half, Arsene Wenger’s side had just 41 per cent of the ball and in the match only had 11 touches in the opposition’s penalty area. But today’s win will be most pleasing to Wenger and shows that his side do in fact have a Plan B. As everybody knows, it is a sign of champions to play poorly and still collect wins – and the result is sure to give Arsenal the confidence-boost needed to make them aware that they are capable of winning the league. Arsenal sit four points off league leaders Chelsea and face Jose Mourinho’s men and Manchester City in two of their next four matches. Those fixtures will be evidence of whether the north London club have what it takes to claim the title. But time and time again Wenger’s side seem to falter at the key stage in the title run-in. Whether they have what it takes is the responsibility of the players, but fans have reason to be optimistic as the side continues to show their maturity with wins like today.
Wenger’s men may have secured a vital three points to reignite their Premier League hopes but it was not a performance that their fans are used to seeing. The lengthy absence of Theo Walcott is no doubt sure to be a big miss as the season enters its closing stages and the 25-year-old’s absence could be seen at White Hart Lane. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is showing signs of his talent but it would be unfair to burden him with the task of replacing Walcott. The side lacked a spark in the attacking third at times and Wenger may now be regretting not securing the services of another attacker in the transfer market. Real Madrid forward Alvaro Morata and Dimitar Berbatov were both heavily linked with the Gunners but Wenger opted against a move. That may come back to haunt him as more performances like today will be sure to cost Arsenal. It was a massive victory but Arsenal will know that more performances like this will certainly not deliver the club a title.
Spurs had conceded seven goals in two matches before today’s clash and Tim Sherwood questioned the commitment of some of his players. But he is sure to be pleased with how his side responded despite the north London derby loss. It was an out-of-sorts Arsenal performance but Spurs certainly played their part in making it difficult for Wenger’s men. Nacer Chadli and Emmanuel Adebayor both had glorious opportunities to level for the hosts as the side strived for an equaliser and on another day they could have claimed victory. The performance is sure to please Sherwood ahead of what will be a telling time for the side. Tottenham travel to Benfica next week before crucial matches against Southampton and Liverpool and Sherwood will have no doubt his men are capable of securing the results needed to put their season back on track. The Champions League spots seem out of reach but they will be capable of finishing fifth if they can continue to display the fight and determination as they did today.