Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal: Basic errors put Wenger's future in doubt
Sunday, 2nd Oct 2011 19:40
A generally improved display littered with mistakes leads to fourth defeat in seven games.
North London derbies have developed a reputation for high quality drama but this afternoon's game was poor and demonstrated the gulf between the top three and the rest of the league. Tottenham are favourites for fourth place but we dominated possession at White Hart Lane and would have controlled the game had we not made so many basic errors.
Defensively we were a shambles again. Individual and collective errors all over the pitch mean we will only get clean sheets this season out of luck rather than judgement. On top of this we gave the ball away in midfield on countless occasions. Aaron Ramsey was particularly at fault and we were fortunate to get away without conceding a goal on four or five occasions after he kept inexplicably sending simple ten yard passes straight to an opposition player. We outnumbered Tottenham in the centre of the pitch but Ramsey's lack of care in possession meant that we could not take full advantage and we struggled to create clear cut opportunities. Our best chance of the first half fell to Gervinho but the Ivorian is not a clean striker of the ball and he dragged a great opportunity wide after brilliant play by van Persie.
Tottenham responded by taking the lead before the interval when Emmanuel Adebayor played Rafa van der Vaart in on goal after Sagna went missing. The Dutchman appeared to use his arm to take the ball down before finishing into the far corner but it was the kind of handball that is often missed by officials. Spurs barely deserved their lead but the odds on an Arsenal clean sheet were always very long.
We started the second half well and showed impressive intent when Alex Song burst down the left flank and had four teammates lined up waiting to score. Song picked out Ramsey and the Welshman finished well to partly compensate for an otherwise disappointing performance.
We could not create any more opportunities though and some abysmal defending led to the winning goal for Tottenham mid-way through the half. We completely failed to pick up Sandro from a throw in and he waltzed into the box, picking out Modric who just failed to get a shot away. The ball then fell to the unmarked Kyle Walker who launched a stinging drive that swerved at the last moment to beat Wojciech Szczesny. It was a poor effort from the Pole but he had already made a superb save to deny Adebayor the goal he had promised the Tottenham faithful and It is hard to criticise the 'keeper when he is given so little protection.
We failed to muster a response and a bad day was made worse by a serious looking injury to Sagna. Wenger has revealed that he is very concerned and the ankle injury could keep him out for months leaving Carl Jenkinson as a promising but very raw addition to a defence that is already in disarray.
Francis Coquelin was one bright spark in the match and looked very assured in possession but for all the talent and promise in the squad we are completely bereft of any defensive organisation. We are not learning any lessons and keep making the same mistakes. Unless this changes we will finish in mid-table and it will be the beginning of the end for Arsene Wenger.
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Photo: Action Images
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