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Arsenal vs Spurs: 10 Things We Learnt From The High-Octane North London Derby

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Arsenal had a golden opportunity to go top of the Premier League table in the high-octane North London derby on Sunday.

fight-north-londonThe high-voltage derby encounter between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur ended in a 1-1 draw but Wenger and his men would definitely look back on it as a missed opportunity.

Pochettino’s Spurs were without the services of two key players Toby Alderweireld and Dele Alli. The Argentine manager had to adopt a new tactical system and above all it was a home game for Arsenal with thousands of Gunner fans rooting for them.

Spurs had made a good start in the Premier League and they were going into the game still undefeated. However they had failed to impress since the win over Manchester City. They lacked pace against Leicester City and displayed a sloppy performance in the defeat against Leverkusen in the Champion’s league group stage encounter.

pochettinoEarlier, Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino had revealed that Spurs’ defeat against Bayer Leverkusen at Wembley has left him disappointed.

This was the second defeat for the Premier League club in the group stage matches as Pochettino’s men are now struggling to qualify for the knockout stages.

Pochetino’s side were yet to be defeated in the Premier League but they had failed to clinch a win in their last six games in all competions and on Sunday they maintained their undefeated run after holding Arsenal to a 1-1 draw at the Emirates.

wengerIt is believed that Gunners boss Wenger and his boss men had analysed the loopholes in the opposition ranks before locking horns with their arch rivals on Sunday and now the feeling of dropping two precious points would haunt their memories.

The Gunners army had the chance to seal the top spot in the Premier League table after Manchester City were held by Middlesbrough.

Arsene WengerArsenal have a way better squad than the last few years and with in-form Sanchez and Ozil it was beleved that that they would have the upper hand in Sunday’s clash. However after the hard fought draw at the Emirates it still remains doubtful whether the Gunners are good enough to clinch the title this time around. They have failed to deliver when it matters the most and this has been the story Arsenal in the last few seasons. They come too close but lose the momentum when they should have stepped up their game.

However, some of the improvements in their game must be spoken about. German defender Shkrodan Mustafi has been a value addition to the squad as he provides more muscle at the back. They are way more powerful in the midfield when compared to their last few seasons.

sanchez arsenalThe decision of playing Chilean star Alexis Sanchez through the middle has been a blessing in disguise and it has handed more freedom to Mesut Ozil. Both the players failed to fire and inspire in the encounter with Spurs but they are a way better team now wilth a more synchronized set up.

Pochetinno’s gamble of playing three at the back worked and they were clearly the dominant side in the first 20 minutes. They looked comfortable and confident.

walkerHowever, in the later stages Arsenal gained the composure and brought things under control after appointing more men behind Kyle Walker, when the Spurs right-back rushed forward on numerous occasions to cause a few problems.

The second-half was an evenly placed battle. Neither of the sides had the intent to up the ante but pundits believe that it was positive result for the Spurs, who looked in better shape with Harry Kane back in the squad.

arsenalThey were a bit unlucky as a Kevin Wimmer own goal gave the Gunners a half-time lead but Harry Kane’s goal from the spot kick levelled things.

Christian Eriksen showed sparks of improvement and Son Heung-Min was impressive. And With Harry Kane returning from injury, many had doubted that whether he gained full match fitness. But the English forward proved his mettle and his presence allowed the midfield to make those runs off him.

kane-harryThe very presence of Harry Kane instilled a sense of confidence in the other Spurs players. Pundits believe that the result was a positive one for Spurs but they feel that Pochettino’s side needs to recreate their last season form and earn more goals from the midfield, if they want to challenge for the title this season.

New signing Moussa Sissoko has failed to match the club standards so far, Eriksen has failed to score till now, Dele needs to create more chances and Erik Lamela needs to find more game time.

pochettino-spursOne man that surely deserves the praise is Mousa Dembele, and he fully deserved the man of the match award. Danny Rose played a pivotal role in Sunday’s high-octane encounter – working the ball all over the pitch, running up and down, rushing forward and also doing his defensive duties perfectly.

Anirban Das
Anirban Das's journey to Delhi via Kolkata involves football, music, curiosity (which one day can kill the cat) and food. Following global football opens up an infinite space within him in both the conscious and subconscious self, away from the din and bustle of the madding crowd. Supports Manchester United & Barcelona

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