Premier League wrap: Pivotal weekend for Arsenal and Tottenham
Arsenal and Tottenham are aiming to get their first Premier League wins under their belt going into the third round of games
It’s only taken 10 days of the new season to kick in but north London is already chasing the pack.
Following a mixed bag of opening fixture results, last weekend was all about recovery. Manchester United just about managed to hold off Fulham and chalk up their first win.
New recruit Robin van Persie scored with his first shot for the Red Devils and seemed to continue his sublime form from last campaign.
Back in north London, Arsenal fans were wishing they still had such a talisman leading the line but instead were left yelling at their television screens as the Gunners once again fired a blank, this time at Stoke City.
A second goalless draw to kick off the season is highly demoralising for the Gunners, who desperately needed to send out a message to their rivals that they could cope with the losses of Van Persie and Alex Song.
Arsenal have always struggled with Stoke but lacked fluidity in attack and have only conjured up one shot on target in two games. That is simply embarrassing for a side with title ambitions.
What about title credentials? On the evidence of two games, Arsene Wenger’s men are miles off.
Once again Arsenal found themselves camped on the edge of their opposition’s box but couldn’t find the cutting pass.
New recruit Santi Carzola is a magnificent player and offers a pacey, flamboyant outlet – but he was alone at Stoke.
Gervinho was diabolical on the right for Arsenal and begs the question why the British talent of Theo Walcott or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain weren’t starting.
The summer signings of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud up front have displayed little to excite the Arsenal fans as of yet but they will need time to gel and adapt before proving their real quality.
However, strikers such as Demba Ba or Nikica Jelavić didn’t need any time to adapt to the Premier League so the new recruits must produce quickly and repay Wenger’s faith.
On a positive note the defence for Arsenal, which has been such a thorn in the side in recent campaigns, looked much more assured, having been reorganised by Wenger’s side kick Steve Bould.
They looked calm at set pieces and didn’t leave any glaring chances for a toothless Stoke to attack.
Arsenal travel to Anfield on Sunday for a nasty away fixture against a joyful Liverpool, who responded from their dismal opening day and held the champions at the weekend.
Despite playing a game less, Arsenal now find themselves already seven points behind an imperious Chelsea at the top. It’s very early doors but the pressure at Anfield will be immense.
Also in north London, Tottenham Hotspur are struggling to get out of the blocks. A loss to Newcastle and draw to West Brom have already turned up the heat on Andre Villas-Boas.
Spurs finally sold Luka Modrić on Monday but it was evident on Saturday how much they miss the injured Scott Parker and the Croatian in the middle.
Villas-Boas must act in the next few days to replace Modrić and talk of a £11.8m bid for Brazilian Willian of Shakhtar Donetsk will not delight many Spurs fans.
They need a marquee signing to assist Rafael van der Vaart and a striker to challenge Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe for the starting shirt.
Like Arsenal, their fixture this weekend is crucial to grab a win, as they host Norwich at White Hart Lane.
A lack of recruits and a loss on Saturday could quickly ramp up the pressure on AVB. Similarly, if Arsenal don’t succed at Anfield on Sunday it could be disastrous in their title pursuit. It’s a pivotal weekend for north London.