By Walter Broekx
The question that Tony asked this weekend was answerd by Wenger. Koscielny did start in the team for this Norh London Derby. For the rest no changes for this last math before the interlul. On the bench we saw Ospina back for the first time since his injury he got in the previous interlul.
The team that started was: Cech, Debuchy, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal, Cazorla, Coquelin, Ozil, Alexis, Campbell, Giroud
Arsenal substitutes: Ospina, Arteta, Gabriel, Chambers, Gibbs, Flamini, Iwobi.
A Last Post was blown in remembrance of the victims of the World Wars. As the grandfather or my wife has been one of the fireman who have been blowing the Last Post in Ypres at the Menin Gate all these years a special moment also for us over here who live in Flanders Fields.
Both team trying to attack but the defenders on top at first. Alexis with a ball over the top of the Tottenham defence but Campbell cannot get the ball under control. Both team losing the ball a lot so no real fluent moves and both keepers not much to do in the first 15 minutes.
Arsenal then with the first good attack but the shot from Alexis was blocked in to a corner. Tottenham then with a corner when Per blocked a shot but on both occasions nothing came from it. A very close match with too many interruptions for little fouls and niggles. Atkinson waiting to be able to give a foul to Tottenham in order to put some pressure on Arsenal but Vertonghen headed wide. Still 0-0 after half an hour.
Out of nothing Kane was suddenly found free and onside and he put the ball in the Arsenal goal to put Tottenham in front. 0-1 after 32 minutes.
Giroud and Verthongen with a battle off the ball that went unnoticed by the ref and assistant. Cazorla a bit later with a ball to Campbell who crossed it to Alexis but he was offside but not a good finish anyway. Arsenal losing the ball and Kane with a shot just before half time but Cech parried it. Arsenal not at their best in this first half with too many lost balls and bad passes. The tempo being too low and it will need the whole team to increase that to cause Tottenham problems.
One change for Arsenal Santi Cazorla who looked very tired was replaced by Mathieu Flamini. I wonder if Santi was sick cause he really looked slow and deflated during the first half. Campbell with a good low shot but Lloris with a save. Believe it or not but our match reporter reads from Tony his article about winning twice against Wenger as Tottenham manager. Eriksen with a shot that took a deflection and just wend wide. Some Tottenham pressure after a few corners as a result.
Özil with a free kick but the header from Giroud crashes on to the crossbar with Lloris beaten. Lamele goes in the book for a late challenge on Coquelin. Cech and Mertesacker with a mix up but luckily Arsenal can clear before Tottenham can capitalise. Another free kick but the header from Koscielny goes wide this time. Arsenal pressure another corner from Özil but the header from Giroud goes inches wide.
Arsenal then being a bit careless at the back but Cech on hand with a good save. Tottenham then with a few corners, one wrongly given to put Arsenal under some pressure. Cech with an excellent save to stop a header from Alderweireld.
Gibbs coming on for Campbell after 71 minutes. Gibbs almost with a shooting chance but he couldn’t produce a shot, Arsenal recover the ball that ends up in front of the left foot of Özil who crosses to Gibbs and GOAL!!!! Gibbs puts the ball past Lloris at the near corner to level the score. 1-1 after 76 minutes. Arteteta comes on for Debuchy who looked hurt after a tackle a few minutes earlier. Flamini as right back I think.
Arsenal continue to attack but Lloris can prevent Gibbs from scoring again. The corner from Özil is driven over hard by Giroud. Another header for Giroud but Lloris again with a save. Atkinson then stopping the Arsenal momentum by inventing a foul on a Tottenham player with 2 minutes to go in normal time.
Atkinson now trying to stop every Arsenal attack by giving fouls against Giroud or any other Arsenal player nearest to a Tottenham player now.
So the match ended at a 1-1 final score. Arsenal playing a bad match most of the time with some players in need of a breather. In such top matches it is clear that we need to have our best players completely fit. This wasn’t the case today.
But the final score means that Arsenal is still top of the league with Manchester City. A position I gladly take at this point of the season. Let’s hope our wounded players are back completely fit for the next part of the season in 14 days. And lets us keep our fingers crossed for no more injuries to any of our players.