Tottenham were brought down to earth with a bump in this chastening defeat.
There has been a great deal of optimism at Spurs since the change of manager. There have been some good results, not least at Old Trafford, and most importantly the team finally scoring some goals. It really felt that Spurs could carry this momentum into the game and record a famous victory. It didn’t turn out that way.
Spurs have a good squad and some promising individual players. They should be looking to finish in the top six this season. However the side is still finding its feet and the gap in class between them and the teams with realistic title aspirations was evident here. Arsenal were slicker in possession, more organised in defense and more incisive going forwards. They demonstrated that playing one up front (was Walcott even playing as a true striker?) can sometimes be more attacking than playing two.
Tottenham were always going to be a work in progress this season; losing our talisman and gaining seven new players, strangers to the team and to English football. Danny Rose made an awful mistake and it’s easy to forget he’s just broken into the team and still very young and inexperienced.
This was a useful lesson, a reality check, especially for Tim Sherwood. Playing 4-4-2 works against lesser sides or those with no midfield like Manchester United. It’s not such a good idea against the poor man’s Barcelona and their army of identikit midfield players.
With any luck Arsenal will implode before the season’s business end. Spurs must now concentrate on the league and that elusive fourth spot.