MoTD Recap: Was Arsenal Too Cautious In North London Derby?

Missing an Arsenal match is not acceptable, especially a North London Derby. The tricky part is managing to get some sleep the night before. I know I didn’t, thanks to the thought of my alarm not going off and completely missing the match.

Due to that, was up bright and early (6:30am), giving my eyes 30 minutes to adjust. Although that’s early, I guess people on the west coast have it worst. A 4am kickoff must be difficult to cope with.

The starting XI looked fine, apart from one concern.

Alex Iwobi started the season well, but we all know his defensive work rate is terrible. People talk about Ozil’s body language off the ball not being the most inspiring? Have a look at Iwobi when he doesn’t have the ball. Looks slow and uninterested, which leads to Monreal putting in a double shift.

As the match kicked off, it was obvious Arsenal was ok with playing on the counter attack. Why?!

You are the home team going up against your rival, why the hell are you giving them the initiative? I simply can’t understand that, and I think that was Arsene Wenger’s only mistake.

Arsenal struggled to keep possession of the ball, and it was more than obvious that they weren’t able to calm their emotions early on. Everything was very sloppy, there wasn’t the same movements we’ve all been used to, and they tried to do everything too fast. I guess that sort of thing can happen in a North London Derby, but Arsenal supporters will have expected better.

Spu*s were possessing the ball in their defensive third, but when they did get forward, they were able to find gaps in the midfield. I’m ok with Coquelin and Xhaka being the midfield partnership, but I think Arsene Wenger needs to allow Xhaka more offensive freedom. Instead, they both looked a bit confused as to who was supposed to close down the opposition, which led to Coquelin getting sucked out of the midfield more often than not. I know I’m not the only one who noticed that, right?

Arsenal vs Spu*s

Walcott looked a bit off of it, although he had a beauty of a strike off the post. Had that gone in, we could very well have considered that a wonder goal because he had no right scoring from there. More often than not, if he takes that same shot ten more times, he probably doesn’t hit the target.

It took a while to get into the match and to settle the nerves, but they finally looked much better in the final 20 minutes.

Alexis was getting into space down the line, and Ozil was making those late runs into the box. It all looked much better, but I’m certain no one expected Arsenal to take the lead from an own goal. As long as it goes in, I don’t care if Clattenburg scored it.

One could only hope that a lead heading into halftime would allow them to settle in, but that wasn’t the case.

In my preview, I said Spu*s could possibly score from a set piece, and that’s exactly what happened. Up stepped Harry Kane who had been a spectator until then, and he leveled it up. If there’s one player I hate to see score against us, it’s him. He had no business starting in that match, and it was obvious because he didn’t really do much. What saved Pochettino from getting stick for starting him was that he scored the spot kick.

As a side note, Coquelin should have stopped and or fouled Dembele well before he got anywhere near the 18-yard box. After letting him walk right by him, Koscielny put in a clumsy tackle. Essentially sums up Arsenal’s performance.

After the equalizer, it was too nervy and cautious for my liking to be honest.

Arsenal continued to give Spu*s possession, but both teams looked more interested in not losing than really wanting to win.

Pochettino was more than content with one point because let’s be honest, with the squad he had out there today, he shouldn’t have had a chance. He played in a 3-4-3 going forward and essentially a 5-4-1 defensively. Having Harry Kane out there to start the match was like playing with 10 men, yet Arsenal couldn’t take advantage of it. What Arsenal did to Chelsea at the Emirates is what we should have seen today.

Did you have a look at the options he had coming off the bench?

Carter-Vickers, Janssen, N’Koudou, Onamah, Trippier, Winks and Vorm. Now, we look on the other side. Elneny, Gibbs, Giroud, Ox, Gabriel, Ramsey and Ospina. I don’t think I need to comment on this as it’s pretty self explanatory.

Truth be told, we could possibly consider ourselves lucky to have come away with a point. Every time Spu*s went forward I cringed. That ball off the post from Erikson and the slip for Cech had me on the verge of a meltdown. Why the hell were we playing so timid? I just don’t get it.

I guess it’s true when they say if you can’t win it, just don’t lose it. Arsenal looked to have gone into the match with that mentality. One thing we can all certainly agree on is that in the return fixture, there is no chance in hell that Spu*s will give Arsenal possession. It just wont happen, so again, I’m just confused as to why we changed our approach today against a Spu*s team that is clearly inferior on paper.

After the international break, we travel to Old Trafford, and we all know regardless of United’s current form, it’s not going to be easy. Are we in for another dreadful November? I sure as hell hope not.

Share your thoughts on today’s performance.