Arsenal 1 Spurs 1- Pochettino reduces Wenger to Allardyce-ball

Kane Scores Against Arsenal

I don’t think it would be going too far to say this was the most impressive Spurs performance at Arsenal in recent times. 75 minutes of high intensity Pochettino football. It almost looked like the hosts had mistakenly taken the field against Bayern again, granted minus the clinical finishing.

The Sky commentators managed to constantly remind us that Arsenal had had to play in Munich on Wednesday, but it was Spurs who were facing their third opponent in seven days. Eight players began all three games but you wouldn’t have guessed it from the way we started.

The pressing was high and intense, particularly targeted at the Arsenal midfield. I lost count of the number of times Cazorla gave Tottenham possession. We hunted in twos and threes. An opponent would turn away from trouble, only to find another white shirt standing in front of him.

When Spurs had the ball, Dier, Vertonghen and Alderweireld played it around at the back, taunting the Arsenal players, then moved it swiftly forward once a weak point had been identified. Eriksen was full of invention, ably supported by Walker and Rose on the flanks.

Lamela was fantastic. As good with the ball as without. Early on he skipped passed challenges with ease. Just as impressive was  Dembele, overpowering the opposition. He’s been a different player of late.

Kids of nineteen and twenty one dominated the centre of the pitch, set against far more lauded opponents.

It was Kane who got the goal Spurs’ play deserved, making a mockery of all the one season wonder talk. This guy’s for real. You can’t get much bigger than scoring in the north London derby and the young striker already has three derby goals to his name.

But we let them off the hook. It would have been a miracle to keep up that intensity for 90 minutes. Lamela was starting to look like a certain red card, on a yellow but still showing admirable aggression. He had to be taken off for his own good but it handed the opposition the momentum.

If there is one Achilles heal of this Spurs defence, it’s from high balls in the box. While we’ve gained pace and mobility, we’ve lost a little of our aerial prowess. But it wasn’t until the Argentine had left the field that Ozil had the time and space to measure up a cross.

Now Arsenal had a little deserved foothold in the game, finally having discovered a way to trouble Spurs’ backline. For the last fifteen minutes they tried to replicate it.

While it was a nervy finish, there was something satisfying in knowing that we’d reduced a Wenger side to “putting the ball in the mixer”. A moral victory of sorts.

So close to a famous win, where can this Spurs side go from here? I’m looking forward to finding out.

Should Pochettino have left Lamela on for Spurs? Which players stood out for you? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Listen to me discussing the game on the ByTheMin Spurs podcast

Discuss it with me on Twitter: @ABPSpurs


18 thoughts on “Arsenal 1 Spurs 1- Pochettino reduces Wenger to Allardyce-ball

  1. LILZ

    Only Giroud’s poor finishing saved you from going home empty handed. Playing a bottom barrel team on Thursday night is not the same as chasing Bayern Munich for the ball on a Wednesday night. You lost to Arsenal 2-1 at the lane, drew 1-1 at the Emirates in the league and will lose the return match at the lane. You’ll finish the season with no silverware (again), below Arsenal (again) and will watch another trophy parade in North London (something you might never see your team do again). Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

    1. CB

      As an Arsenal fan, I thought you played well, have a real chance for top 4 this season (rather than relegation and the Championship that I mentioned above). Arsenal have a chance for top spot, if you look to the games until Christmas we have 5 bottom three/bottom half opponents out of 7 matches. However we need our injuries to be low – if we had our normal right side (and Theo even) then the match would have been very different.

      So you have every cause to be optimistic and as an Arsenal fan I much prefer you being decent than to being miles ahead of you, it is good to have a real rivalry. Tottenham are the club that gives me second most pleasure after Arsenal, though Chelsea are tough rivals for you this season given you are doing well.

      Your new stadium will be a drag (see the effect on Arsenal to understand that) but once you have recovered from that (it took us 8-9 years) it’ll be interesting.

      1. CB

        We’ll see, we have a habit of being good in calendar years eg we would have won the ‘2013 year championship’ and are looking good for the 2015 year equivalent, we need to keep it together over a season. But squad depth is good (Campbell is our 6th choice for the right hand flank), we have a better keeper and defence (especially with Coquelin to guard them) than before and players like Ozil/Sanchez/Cazorla and Giroud have great stats at the moment.

        So things are more optimistic than previously, as they are for Spurs. I’d predict Europe for you currently (ie CL not EL), good luck.

      2. SP

        Thanks…nice to hear from a sensible Gooner – I think these ones who sound like pre-pubescent Glory Hunters, who base their whole ego on supporting a big club who win (maybe Dr Freud could give us a hint as to why), and like to beat down on ‘little Spurs’ without reply (that’s their idea of banter, apparently).

        I expect you to continue challenging at the top this season – but your injuries really should worry you. It was interesting listening to Graeme Souness after the match. he was suggesting that this recurring problem you have with injuries may be something to do with having a lot of players who are very pacey and therefore are susceptible to certain types of muscle strains. Don’t know that he is right, bit it was interesting.

        You undoubtedly would have had a different and, dare I say, better side out with less injuries. though you should realise that we had a fair few injury issues ourselves (not least of which being Mason and Son technically returning but still being way off match fitness). And both clubs had been through exhaustive schedules. But Pochettino sets us out in a certain way (high tempo, high press, etc.), so maybe we his teams are just well equipped to cope with a Wenger side. The fact that Wenger has never beaten him does suggest that. And, playing this way, the fact that we played 3 games in 6 days maybe took more of a toll on us, seen as one of the features of Spurs under Pochettino has been fitness and finishing games strongly. Something that was noticeably missing on Sunday – indeed, it saw your best period and your equaliser.

        A lot of folk seem to be fixating on the stadium causing the same problems for us that the Emirates did for you. I wouldn’t be too sure. Levy is, if nothing else, a shrewd businessman. He will be funding the new stadium differently. See for instance the American football franchise. He has said several times that the stadium money and transfer money are entirely separate and ring-fenced. One of the benefits of being one of the two best financially managed clubs in the BPL (your lot being the other one). Besides, if our youth set-up continues to deliver, as many of us believe it can/will, transfer fees (or relative lack, thereof), shouldn’t be as big a problem as some think.

        Anyway, nice to hear from an Arsenal fan who isn’t one of the new types with no idea of what banter really is.

    2. R

      LILZ, you must be yet another bandwagon Arse fan. Yes, we did lose 2 – 1 at the Lane this year having out played you in the two Bob cup. Please let me remind you of the score at the Lane last year in the league, 2 – 1 to Spurs wasnt it? You were very lucky yet again at the library this year because Spurs out played and out fought you for the vast majority of the game and should have finished you off. Strange that your lot felt tired having had more time to rest than the Spurs players who played on Thursday night, a full day after your game against Byern who taught you how to play football. Typical arse fans, lots of mouth on paper but `F`all else. I admit that due to the idiotic behaviour of the Spurs board over the past 18 years, we have allowed you twats to get where you’ve gotten to but what goes around comes around and Spurs will gain the upper hand again just like we used to.

    3. SP

      Cool story, bro.

      But, er, you do realise that Dier and Alderwiereld’s headed chances were every bit as clear as any chances Giroud had. You do realise that at your stadium you had 10 shots on goal and we had 14. The fact is, and everyone but certain Gooners (ones like you) knows that if Spurs had taken their chances the game should have been done and dusted before you even got an equaliser, let alone a few chances you squeezed out.

      I see that you are reverting to the ‘poor lickle us we woz tired’ excuse. Spurs played 3 games in six days. Think about that. Sports scientists tell us that it is very difficult for footballers to perform with less than 3 days in between matches. Spurs did it not once but twice in a week. I’m sure it was hard chasing Bayern’s shadows, no-one anything to do with Spurs is denying that. But a lot of Arsenal fans are making out that playing 3 games in six days is nothing. Whingeing babies.

      In the last three league games, Spurs have taken 5 points and Arsenal have taken two. In the last two Spurs have comprehensively outplayed Arsenal – as every competent observer has acknowledged. Who cares about a league cup game (that you were lucky to win, anyway – at 1 nil Kane had the ball, like, 98.3% over the line or something ridiculous).

      Oh dear, it’s back to the trophies is it. Yawn. Let me educate you. In the early 90’s when Spurs nearly went tats up (thanks to the financial mismanagement of certain figures within the club – no-one denies it) Arsenal had won one trophy more (United were on the same trophies as Spurs, incidentally). We nearly went bust just as you got on the CL/BPL/TV money gravy train. Fair play to you for that, that’s the way it goes sometimes. And, wow, you’ve opened up a trophy gap. Well done. Spurs now have the best youth set-up in the country, and the best youth personnel (Liam Brady said that when he quit his job at the Emirates, they aren’t my words). We have one of the best training centres in Europe. We will soon have a new stadium that more than matches yours. We have the youngest team in the BPL that is earning plaudits from almost everyone (but Arsdenal fans like you). We have an exciting young coach who is likewise earning almost universal plaudits. Carry on believing you are just going to have some inherent, innate superiority for all of eternity – we don’t care. We support our team anyway, and analysis of these factors us cause to look to the future with some optimism.

      But think on this: We were virtually out of commission for the best part of a decade and a half – since which time we may not have overtaken you, but we sure as well have come close (only dodgy officiating, bribing opposition players to throw the ball into their own net three times, and inciting the Wet Spam caterers to poison us, have saved on three separate occasions). Since then, we have finished 5th or higher (fourth twice) more often than not (and just one point behind you more often that you like to remember). In that time, what have you done to overhaul our European trophy shadow over you? Just how many proper, recognised by UEFA, top level European trophies have you one? Because, y’know, some folk consider the real mark of a big club to be European success. So, just how many European trophies have you won? It’s funny, isn’t it – you appear in CL forever and a day, we appear in it once, and our one appearance is more memorable to folk all over Europe than all of your bland, top four trophy enabling, boring appearances put together!

      And what is really funny (other than the fact that you had to completely reinvent the meaning of your sad little St Totteringham’s Day celebration to cover up the fact that you shouldn’t even be having it any more) is that you used to take a sideways swipe at us by pretending we weren’t your real rivals anymore, United were (how did that work out for you?). Now, you are literally obsessed with us.

      Maybe, just maybe these things contributed to us totally outplaying you for 75 minutes in your own (distinctly quiet) stadium. Wenger has never defeated Pochettino. Spurs have been on an 11 match BPL unbeaten run. Spurs have an exciting young team and head coach. But no, you would rather whinge and whine and make excuses and then resort to your usual catchphrases, rather than just say ‘fair play’, as we have had to do so many times to you since the dreadful days of the early nineties when our own custodians destroyed the club’s finances, and we faced FA sanctions, fines and point deductions.

      Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

  2. Rafi Ma

    Spurs pressed high and at tempo because contrary to your denials, they knew Arsenal would be fatigued after playing the best team in the world mid week. Had they only face a lithuanian or some like opponent then that strategy could very easily have back fired on spurs.

    1. SP

      We played 3 games in six days – ask Sports Scientists how many days they thing a player needs to recover in between matches. We could play the ‘fatigue’ card too – but we didn’t, because we aren’t whinging, whining babies.

      1. SP

        Oh, and p.s. Spurs didn’t play that way because of anything to do with ArseAnal/Bayern Munich. They played that way because it is part of the Pochettino style, inherited and adapted from Bielsa. I really do hope that it is just ignorance that prevented you form knowing that and therefore making such a ridiculous statement.


    A very good performance against Arsenal. We played with great gusto but made one bad mistake which cost us victory. Before Ozil made an inch perfect pass to Gibbs who scored the equaliser, one of our midfielders or defenders, I cannot remember who he was, he retreated instead of closing in on Ozil and in so doing, he gave him a lot of space and time to make the pass resulting in the equaliser. When you play against a good team like Arsenal who passes the ball well and creates lots of open spaces, it is important that you close in, going towards the players rather than away from them. It is a game we should have won – I am disappointed in this respect – but nevertheles, an away draw against a team like Arsenal is not a bad result. It is just a pity that we are drawing too many matches and that we are not maintaining our lead as we failed to do against Leicester City and Stoke.

  4. Kevin

    A great result and a fantastic performance! This change of mentality and intensity during the past few games has been nothing but astounding.

    Oddly enough, I think the defeat against Anderlecht really helped – it gave Poch the ammunition to kick everyone in the backside and to teach them a lesson or two about complacency and humility.

    Those are exciting times to be a Spurs fan!


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