13 Jul Arsenal, Spurs newest defensive failings present why each golf equipment are on the surface wanting in on the Champions League locations
William Saliba goes to must be Bobby Moore from the get-go to repair Arsenal subsequent season. The Gunners have no less than sought to deal with their defensive points by spending £27 million to signal the 19-year-old from Saint-Etienne, however of their 2-1 defeat to Tottenham there was but extra proof of the sheer variety of holes he must fill.
– Rankings: Luiz 5/10 in poor Arsenal defence
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There was loads to love in regards to the Gunners even in defeat: Alexandre Lacazette’s great 16th-minute opening purpose, one other influential efficiency from Dani Ceballos in central midfield and a second half they managed for lengthy durations.
Whether or not by chance or design — and Jose Mourinho said it was the latter — Tottenham sat noticeably deeper within the second half, content material to take in stress and watch for the guests to reward them a chance to win the sport. It was textbook Mourinho, and essentially the most damning factor for Arsenal is that they nonetheless duly obliged. A mixup between Sead Kolasinac and David Luiz created Son Heung-min’s 19th-minute equaliser and after Shkodran Mustafi was bailed out by goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez for permitting Harry Kane to flee too simply, the Gunners conceded from the ensuing nook.
Toby Alderweireld climbed highest to meet Son’s corner — a rare Spurs goal from a set piece — and Arsenal were done. Champions League football has gone, and even the consolation prize of Europa League qualification is far from secure, leaving head coach Mikel Arteta facing even fewer financial resources at his disposal. That means working to improve the players he has or trying to shift widely maligned defenders for diminished fees. Substandard defending has blighted Arsenal for years, as Arsene Wenger, Unai Emery and now Mikel Arteta all switched to a back three in an attempt to find greater stability. The problem with that, however, is it means there are more error-prone centre-backs actually on the pitch at once.
As if to set the tone for the afternoon, all three — Luiz, Kolasinac and Mustafi — gave the ball away under pressure inside the opening 90 seconds here. Spurs began pressing high up the pitch in the knowledge there were gains to be made from Arsenal’s profligacy in possession. By the end, they didn’t even need to chase them — fatigue suggested that was too much of a struggle anyway — yet the mistakes were still there.
Luiz is supposed to provide useful experience on occasions like this but instead this was another day when he spread mild panic. Mustafi’s recent improved performances have led to talk of a new contract, but in the second half he regressed to an almost embarrassing extent, Kane repeatedly beating him with minimal effort only to be denied by Martinez on multiple occasions. The Argentine, deputising for the injured Bernd Leno, sat crestfallen on the turf at the final whistle yet the scoreline would have been worse were it not for several fine saves, the best of which came on a Ben Davies’ long-range effort which he tipped onto the crossbar after half an hour.
Spurs were not without mistakes of their own at the back. Serge Aurier managed to condense a poor header, loose touch and weak tackle into one piece of defending, affording Lacazette the opportunity to capitalise in superb style, firing into the top corner from the edge of the box. Aurier’s days in London are surely numbered, and Spurs need to find cover for Davies. Jan Vertonghen is set to leave on a free transfer when this season is completed, while Davinson Sanchez makes too many mistakes.
In truth, the collective defending on show merely underlined why this was eighth versus 11th at kick-off. Two teams aspiring to be Champions League level are currently exhibiting standards of defending that aren’t presently good enough for the Europa League. The fall is more remarkable in Tottenham’s case given they reached the Champions League final barely 12 months ago. The irony here, of course, is that a centre-back got the winning goal. Alderweireld’s smart header sealed the points, leaving Arteta to rue familiar failings; the Gunners have now lost 15 points from winning positions since the Spaniard took charge in December, more than any other Premier League team in that period.
“It is mentally tough because your mindset is you are ahead, you are controlling the game, everything that we talked about actually is happening and then you give that moment away,” he said.
“Mentally, it affects our whole momentum. Our energy, still we came back in the second half, we were better, we were even more dominant, we had more control. In an isolated action, we conceded a set piece.
“We have to learn from that situation. Every game, something happens — a little margin here, a little margin there. I am sure we will get there. I am proud because I’ve never seen them play the way they did at this ground.”
Mourinho loved this. After two distinctly underwhelming shows in opposition to Everton and Bournemouth, Spurs floor out a victory by adopting a method far more within the Portuguese’ picture. He’s now unbeaten in 10 house video games in opposition to Arsenal, profitable six of these. The element comes at a worth.
“How a lot will you pay for the category?” Mourinho stated with a smirk in response to a query asking him to stipulate his particular strategy. “Amazon are the fortunate guys as a result of they know every thing.
“What I requested from them tactically, they gave me however what I requested them from the emotional viewpoint, they gave me much more. They felt the sport as a fan. Now we nonetheless can combat till the tip for a Europa League place. And not using a victory immediately, that may be very, very troublesome.”
Spurs will combat on whereas Arsenal have the insurance coverage coverage of an FA Cup semi-final along with making an attempt to rally within the league. Their defending should enhance and quick. They play Liverpool and Manchester Metropolis subsequent.