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RATINGS Spurs 2-1 Arsenal: Same Old Problems Cost Us Again
As North London Derby defeats go, this has to be one of the most frustrating in recent memory. We started the game superbly and were well on top and it was predictable they were going to hit us with a sucker-punch and put away their first chance. The second quickly followed as Spurs took our defence apart in embarrassing fashion.
We got a lifeline with an early goal in the second half but where was the barrage of shots raining down on Lloris’ goal? We saw plenty of the ball but barely created anything of note as they held out for the win. Did we deserve to lose the game? Probably not, but did we do enough in the final third to win it? Certainly not.
With a defence as bad as ours we’re always going to run the risk of giving away cheap goals, and that’s just what we did against Tottenham, and when the front line isn’t clicking, we have no answers or alternatives.
The result leaves us seven points off third-placed Tottenham and five off Chelsea, so a top four finish is going to be a tall order. Spurs would have to choke big-time to let their lead slip this time around. Perhaps our best bet is that Rafa continues to demolish Chelsea’s morale.
Here are my ratings:
Szczesny – 5/10 – I thought he was poor. Didn’t really make much effort with Bale’s goal, just kind of sat on the floor, then came off his line too quickly for Lennon’s, making it easy for the winger to round him and tap home. Also, what was with all the burst out of his box?! Just looks out of sorts at the minute, unfortunately we don’t have an adequate alternative to come in.
Jenkinson – 7/10 – Thought he was having a good game before going off. Always gives 100% and showed he can cross a ball better than Sagna but could have done more to close down Parker before he sent Lennon clear for the second.
Monreal – 5/10 – Decent first outing in a NLD. Was lively down the left but could have got involved in the attacks more and was also culpable for Lennon’s goal, giving him far too much space.
Mertesacker – 3/10 – Spurs exposed his weaknesses to perfect effect. Why was he chosen to start ahead of Koscielny? Played his part in both goals, particularly the opener. Not good enough and we have no chance of returning to a trophy-winning side unless the defenders improve dramatically. Nice goal though, even if it did deflect off Monkey-boys head on the way in.
Vermaelen – 3/10 – A shadow of the player he once was. Schoolboy defending for the second. He had no idea where Lennon was and allowed him to run straight past him to score unchallenged. His partnership with Mertesacker isn’t working but the boss doesn’t have the stones to drop his skipper.
Ramsey – 4/10 – Another ‘gamble’ by Arsene that didn’t pay off. Ramsey was brought in to replace Diaby and was no doubt meant to ‘protect’ the back-four more that say, a Rosicky, but his lack of pace and quality was exposed once again. Spurned a great chance to score late on as well.
Arteta – 6/10 – Is not a defensive midfielder. We all know it, Mikel knows it as well, but he has to play there as we have nobody else to fill the role. Did OK overall but just doesn’t have the athleticism to protect the back-four.
Wilshere – 6/10 – Not up to his usual standards. After a bright start he looked a little tired in the second half. Still linked up with Santi and Rosicky well at times late on but just couldn’t find that spark to get the equaliser.
Walcott – 4/10 – Did he actually play? Did practically nothing of note. Just couldn’t get himself in the game at all. Went close with a free kick but frustrating game overall.
Cazorla – 7/10 – Excellent on the ball as usual, particularly early on, but didn’t have the attackers to work with.
Giroud – 3/10 – Useless. Not enough quality to be our main striker. Is useful at times but today wasn’t his day. Nothing came off for him and once again our lack of alternatives on the bench has cost us. How could Wenger gamble on us going through the season with just Giroud to choose from up front?! Also, needs to cut out the amateur dramatics. Always throwing his arms around and complaining. Cut it out Olivier and get on with the game!
Rosicky – 7/10 – Should have started. Made a positive impact again from the bench. What does he have to do to get a start?
Podolski – 5/10 – Saw plenty of the ball after coming on for Arteta but wasted a couple of chances to hit the target.
Spurs didn’t even play that well. They exposed our weaknesses, took their two chances and defended well. Our defence was once again suspect, we lack any protection for the back-four and we had no cutting edge up front.
Squad deficiencies are predictably costing us and it’s down to Wenger for not bringing in the players we clearly needed in the summer and/or January. Only one goalkeeper, only three centre-backs, no defensive midfielder and only one ‘proper’ striker. Baffling decision by the boss but as he always says, ‘judge me in May’.
What did you think of the game? Where did we lost the match?