Paying the penalty!
Spuds 1-1 Arsenal
The game that comes round every season where you watch it from behind the sofa, no game instills such personal angst to me then the game at whatever ground where Spurs play at. With recent performances good an bad still in the memory bank and the sight of Harry Kane being back and available, I was less than confident, watching at home I do what I always do, watch it with the sound off, no commentator needed for this match. (They talks such *%@$ anyway! especially McManaman).
Eyebrows were raised online and on TV as the team news broke, No Aubameyang or Torriera for Arsenal as Unai tinkered again, this time to a 4-4-2, and Mustafi at RB, the shudder down my spine got worse! Still, a strong bench to pull from.
Arsenal: Leno, Mustafi, Koscielny, Sokratis, Monreal, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Mkhitaryan, Ramsey, Iwobi, Lacazette
The early exchanges were very derbyesque, big tackles, poor possession and the typical snide diving antics of the England Captain, who like Alan Shearer before him has that extra bit of line to walk along versus every other player in the officials minds. Lacazette had a big opportunity in the seventh minute beating the spuds offside trap but failing to connect properly with the ball as it came over his left shoulder, the first of his two big missed chances of the afternoon.
If that miss was a let off then 10 minutes later Ramsey applied the real finish. As Spurs pushed forward Arsenal hit them on the break, Mykitaryan clearing to Lacazette on halfway who escaped the clutches of Sanchez to release the on-running Ramsey into an empty Spurs half. Clear and through on goal, could our very own Welsh Messi do the business and have the puff and composure to finish?
Rounding Lloris, Ramsey silenced Wembley and set the 'Red 'n' White Army' ballistic...
1-0 to the Gunners!
The main threat to Arsenal was coming from set pieces via the diving antics of Son and Kane, each time a free kick was laid up, the arsenal backline defended high and each time the ball was thrown in it looked like anyone one of three would have a clear header. One such free kick did hit the Gunners net, however Kane was rightly ruled offside.... (This time!)
Arsenal were defending deep and kind of sitting on the 1-0, whilst waiting for the opportunity to hit Spurs on the break again, Iwobi going close as halftime approached, just failing to get enough curl on his shot. One crazy moment before halftime saw Leno go all Gordon Banks and pull off a quite remarkable double save. Erikson getting behind a ball watching Sokratis but finding the Arsenal keeper on top of it, as the ball broke the rebound came through three Arsenal players, Leno somehow getting a hand to it and pushing the ball over the bar. Quite remarkable, Leno the Arsenal legend had arrived!
Going into the break the the feeling was one of Arsenal needing to do a bit more, one up and comfortable, despite that one Spurs chance a bit more confidence in attack was required. Arsenal sitting on it for another 45 was not a ploy I wanted to sit through!
Torriera came on for Guendouzi at halftime as Unai went fro more control in midfield, the youngster hadn't done anything wrong, but a bit more bite was needed. Ten minutes into the second half and the game was so nearly put to bed, Monreal on the overlap, cutting it back for a Lacazette tap in, but the Frenchman put it wide. A quite awful miss and he was immediately substituted for Aubameyang, could he finish better.... (gulp!).
Chances for both teams came and went, Alderweireld and then Rose going close, going all stuff up on Leno,a yellow and quite possibly a red, not for these officials! Mykitaryan found Aubameyang but his touch let him down as he was put though, then minutes later, the controversy!
Penalty to Spuds!
A free kick from Spurs heading to the back post and Mustafi does a Mustafi, ridiculously pushing Kane, who fell like he always does, sure fire pen. Until, that is, you see that as the ball was played in Kane and four other Spurs players were in offside positions.
Stupid as ever from Mustafi, but no pen for me!
Kane duly did what he always does against Arsenal, and scored easily from the spot!
1-1 - A SHOCKER FROM THE OFFICIALS!
Would the officials do what they all secretly do and even it up once they've been told via comms they messed it up?
The chance came to do so, and they obliged. With a minute to go, Mykitaryan got a ball behind Sanchez to Aubameyang, the Gabon striker going down under pressure and a slight touch, PENALTY TO ARSENAL!
A chance to win the Derby was given to Aubameyang, I wasn't can confident and one poor penalty and a a rebound missed the punch to the solar plexus was complete. Replays showed again Spuds, doing Spudslike things with defenders in the box when the pen was taken, and VAR would have had it retake, however thats next season.
There was still time for Torriera to get sent off for a routine 'hook pass' which caught Danny Rose high, a case of Rose hitting Torriera rather than the other way round, but again VAR is next season, this season it finished 1-1 and 1 to the officials. #robbed
POSITIVES: Defensively better
NEGATIVES: Misfiring attack
Leno: Unbelievable save, arrived as Arsenal number one. 9/10
Mustafi: Just stop it! 6/10
Koscielny: Had Kane in his pocket first half. 8/10
Sokratis: Had Kane his pocket second half. 8/10
Monreal: Looked solid. 8/10
Guendouzi: Got hooked but would have learnt a lot. 7/10
Xhaka: Worked hard and no 'moments'. 7/10
Mkhitaryan: Brilliant match, ran all day always a threat. MOM 9/10
Ramsey: Fantastic goal to end his North London Derby career with Arsenal. 8/10
Iwobi: One good chance, looks dangerous on occasions, needs a trick. 7/10
Lacazette: Oh what could have been. 5/10
Torreira: Sent off wrongly, looked solid otherwise. 8/10
Ozil: Ran around a bit. 6/10
Aubameyang: Face palm! 4/10
Next up, Rennes in Europe!