Tottenham 1 Arsenal 2: Three talking points as Flamini stars
Three talking points as Arsenal ease to 2-1 victory over Spurs at The Lane
Unlikely hero steals headlines from misfiring forwards
Mathieu Flamini will rightfully take the majority of the headlines from the third round encounter, as his double takes Arsenal into the last 16 at the expense of their rivals. His second of the evening, or the winner, was a thing of beauty: a fantastically sweet and well-timed volley which left Michel Vorm without any chance of making a save. But his first was opportunistic, more akin to a fox-in-the-box rather than a deep-lying midfielder. Arsenal fans at the game, after they’ve finished their display of disrespect by dismantling the signs around the area of White Hart Lane in which they were sat, will undoubtedly be pleased with the result. But the question which should be causing alarm to Gooners across the country is why was Flamini the first to react to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s original effort? Olivier Giroud is receiving a lot of flak for a string of poor performances and those are the chances that he should be mopping up. Theo Walcott is not the most instinctive of centre forwards either. Sure, the style which Arsene Wenger has moulded during his tenure at Highbury, now the Emirates, does not necessary befit the goal poacher. But it would sure make their collective lives easier if they had one.
Where are Spurs at now?
Another missed opportunity of Tottenham Hotspur to claim a piece of silverware which the fans often crave. Last season’s finalists fall at the feet of their bitter rivals but this shouldn’t be the biggest concern to their fans and the team themselves. The manner at which the hosts slumped silently to defeat is a pressing concern. Harry Kane will most likely take more criticism for his continued lack of goals thus far in a Spurs shirt with the spectre of ‘one season wonder’ tags looming large on the horizon. But in all areas Spurs were poor. Harry Kane needs a foil. He is ostensibly Tottenham’s only centre forward and he is in desperate need of a rest. Heung Min Son is an attack-minded player but is of most use when coming in from wide to aid a central focal point. The midfield lacked dynamism. Christian Eriksen is coming back from an injury, but then some other midfielder needs to step up and become a creator in chief while his recuperation continues. Defensively, Spurs were abject. The pairing of Federico Fazio and Kevin Wimmer lacked leadership and there will forever be questions about Michel Vorm, who looks incomparable to the goalkeeper once of Swansea.
Time for Wenger to take the League Cup more seriously
Arsene Wenger has always treated the League Cup, or under whichever name of sponsor comes most clearly to memory, with kid gloves. The Frenchman has always seen the competition as a chance to blood youngsters in with first team action. There is of course nothing wrong with this idea; if anything it is a smart way to manage your squad. But since 1996, when Wenger first took over in 1996, the landscape of football has changed in two decades. Fans are no longer concerned about bringing through young talent. It is great to see home-grown players come through but in the cold light of day, trophies are the most important fact now. Obviously Arsenal’s nine year spell of trophylessness has come to an end when they won the FA Cup against Hull two seasons ago, but this could have been a much short time had Wenger been more pragmatic in his approach to the League Cup. His team against Spurs was full of first team players, emphasising the point and importance of beating Spurs. Perhaps Wenger will carry this forward into the next round but only time will tell. But silverware in the cabinet always looks better than dust collecting forlornly on veneered wood.