Arsenal – Tottenham 1-1: If you can’t win it, make sure you don’t lose it

By Walter Broeckx

No live match report this time as I had to be with a rather large group of Arsenal Belgium members who gathered in Leuven to see the match against our neighbours.  So this is written a few hours after the match and not during the match as usual. So the shape and context are different.

Arsenal didn’t start at their best in this match. We  couldn’t get our fluency against the 5 man defence from Tottenham. People talk about 3 defenders….err… in my opinion it was 5 defenders with 3 of them playing central. Tottenham tried to make life difficult with lots of people around the ball and Arsenal struggled with that approach for a while. They tried to play the ball deep a lot in the hop that Kane would be on the end of it. They almost had a chance but lucky Monreal stuck his foot between the cross and Kane and the only real chance I can remember for them was gone.

The longer the match went on the better Arsenal became. A fine combination ended in front of the feet of Iwobi who really should have done better with his shot. Alexis crossed to Özil who had a first time shot that went through the legs of Vertonghen and wide. And then Walcott blasted a shot against the top of the goal post and Özil missed the difficult rebound that came at him at high pace. That Walcott shot was the best shot of the whole afternoon on goal. It deserved a goal but Theo didn’t got it.

Arsenal pressing more and more and when Arsenal got a free kick the Özil whipped it in front of the goal and Wimmer headed it in his own goal. Much debate about the fact that Alexis was offside. Being offside is not enough to be punished. One has to be active and with being active it means that the player has to try to play the ball. I certainly didn’t see Alexis coming close to the ball to be honest so he wasn’t active.  I heard Howard Webb found it a good goal and as far as I could see on the screen 3 meters high, I think the same.

For the rest what struck me (and certainly the head of Theo) was the mis-use of the arms of Wanyama that flew against the head of Theo as if it was a punching ball. They always looked deliberate to me as he had Theo in front of him and so he knew that raising the arm/elbow and making contact from behind is dangerous and should have been booked by ref.  Clattenburg letting himself down there.

And also how on earth Vertonghen getting away with the clearest shirt pulls on Koscielny…. later on Clattenburg would show that he had an eagle eye for a small contact in favour of Tottenham.

Arsenal going in at half time with a 1-0 lead but this is the NLD and nothing is for granted.

Both teams evening each other out and I felt Clattenburg let a few fouls from Tottenham unpunished at the start of the second half. Then Dembele went on a run and I will use the words (more or less from the back of my head) to describe the penalty for Tottenham: “Dembele on a run towards the penalty area and looking for a penalty and getting it”.

Koscielny sticking out the leg Dembele was waiting for and Clattenburg blew for the penalty. I would have no complaints but you just know that is the kind of penalty that Arsenal haven’t got for…. well…. can you remember Arsenal getting such a penalty in the last decade ? But against us… oh yeah… plenty. It is that kind of inconsistency that brings a sour taste to the mouth. Kane made no mistake from the penalty spot.

What followed was Arsenal trying to win the match and Tottenham trying not to lose it. Iwobi, Theo and Coquelin going off in the second half and Giroud, Ramsey and The Ox coming on for Arsenal. The Ox had a bit of a nightmare game with messing up a few easy passes, being punished by Clattenburg whenever he came near a Tottenham player. It wasn’t his day.

From one of those easy given fouls Tottenham hit the goal post. How on earth Clattenburg didn’t see that Koscielny was thrown in the air by a clear push in the back is a thing that remains unknown.

Tottenham players falling down, trying to get the tempo out of the game that Arsenal was trying to raise but the 5 man defence from the totts didn’t give much away. A few half chances when Xhaka just came late on a cross, Giroud with a header but straight at Lloris. Özil just couldn’t turn the ball to Giroud as Lloris stuck out his leg. And at the other end Cech had to push a shot away from Janssen. And then Cech almost messed up when he slipped after a ball was played to him from a throw in but luckily he could recover in time to win the ball back.

In the end you want to win the NLD. But if you can’t win it for whatever reason… then make sure you don’t lose it.

And I think that was the feeling that was hanging around the Emirates for large parts by both teams. Tottenham are a team difficult to beat with all their defenders and defensive midfielders and then hoping and speculating for the counter or a dead ball. Arsenal didn’t get their best passing game together for most of the match and so a draw seems to be a fair result maybe in the end.


42 Replies to “Arsenal – Tottenham 1-1: If you can’t win it, make sure you don’t lose it”

  1. The thing is that for us this is not a good result but not a disaster. As for Tottenham they are already 5 points behind the team in first place and we only 2 points. One slip up from Liverpool and we could be in front of them.

  2. I know there will be a boatload of aaa rats on here lamenting dropped points and Wenger’s failure to score but a tie was what I predicted, having seen the ToTs play many games this season and all of them being defensive masterclasses.
    A point is a point and prepares us to enter the lion’s den next week in Manchester. I believe we will show our real strengths there and look forward to the return of Welbeck and cie. to bolster our already strong side.

  3. A particularly one sided view of things. Clear frustration in the tone. Wasn’t a great performance from Arsenal. Although the lead at the break was deserved, the actual goal it came from should not have stood. the penalty was stone wall. Arsenal Had spells of domination in the game, as did Spurs but the draw the fair result in the end.

  4. Two games played in haunted November: one win, one draw, no losses. Mustn’t grumble, even though the necromancers in black continue to tilt the field.

    Now for the interlull and then four games. By then some of our players with minor injuries should be fit, and the rest will be closer to returning.

  5. Dembele pulled Coquelin’s shirt in the build-up to the penalty. Of course the refPiGMOB representative didn’t see that. Just as he didn’t see that before the free kick that sent the ball into our post, Rose stuck his arm out in front of Ox before Ox grabbed it and got penalized. Just saying.

  6. Mike
    Howard Webb and Walter (also a qualified ref in case you weren’t aware) both explained why it was a legitimate goal as the rule is currently applied.
    On what grounds do you think it should have been disallowed. Are you a ref or just a disgruntled Spurs fan?
    Just because you didn’t want it to be a goal is not a good enough reason I am afraid.
    We nearly all agree with you, including Walter (if you read his last sentence), a draw was a fair result.

  7. A poor , slightly flat performance, but no lack of trying….after a tough ECL game, maybe a few tired minds and legs, especially in the creative dept. teams seem to peak in fitness at different times of the season, I wonder if we are geared up to finish the season strongly, and maybe hit a bit bit of a trough compared to some in the Autumn months?
    Arsenal were a bit poor, the ref was lenient…shall we say, at least for one side. And Spurs were ok at defending, but not as good as the media would have you believe, especially with us not at our best.
    After this weekend, the media will be lauding their usual darlings, but we are not so far behind, are on an unbeaten run …..the world has not ended

  8. Robert

    Our average point production over the last 20 years, is 2 points per game (or really, really close to that). Which is the same as a win and a tie out of 2 games. The November curse is more imagination than anything else I believe.

    I think Mike is a spud.

  9. Actually as far as I remember Mike is a Chelsea supporter.
    I didn’t think Spurs were particularly defensive until the last third of the game.
    What I was most surprised about was that they didn’t employ that fast high press that has been quite effective this season.
    Walter, why so bitter?

  10. I have yet to see the tv footage but from my seat it looked to me that it was a decent performance with many positives.

    Our goal could have been disallowed (could not should) and there were a few times I thought Clattenburg was lenient at times to both sides.

    We seemed have the upper hand in creating opportunities but of the goalies, ours was more tested. Hopefully Iwobi will continue to develop and could be a real star. He has great composure for one so young and just needs to get a few goals under his belt.

    It looked like ox got caught within minutes of coming on and might have had a groinstrain?

    The folk I spoke to were a little deflated but this could turn out to be a good result.

  11. It’s not the size of the squad that matters, it’s the depth. As the Tinies and Leicester are discovering.

    Arsenal, on the other hand, have size and depth – and appear well-placed to last the marathon.

  12. Hey everyone.
    2 things to clear up first, I don’t troll Arsenal websites , this is actually the first time I’ve replied on one, it’s just I was interested in the headline of this article after it was shown on my Spurs app feed.
    Secondly, yes…from above and my name…I’m a spud as you guys eloquently put it lol.
    I see Walter fails to mention the massive Eriksen chance we had plus we too also hit the post but the writer is clearly biased, that’s expected but the bitter tone is unsavoury.
    Both sides could’ve easily won the game, the Arsenal goal was more contentious than the Tottenham one so while the home side were favourites and will be the more disappointed, a draw was a fair result.
    Dont forget we had a half fit Kane out there, no Toby or Dele either so I look forward to our next encounter in April.

  13. Arsenal Ladies are in extra time at the end of the game, as near as I can tell. Leading 4-2.

    I hope they hold on for the win.

  14. reminds me a bit of the Middlesboro game…which was also after a midweek CL game, ok..ish, full of effort but clearly missing a spark, it happens, as City will acknowledge and it will happen to rivals as well, even those who are not in Europeand who have just put in what John Motson has described as the best EPL performance…ever….big call John
    But to be positive, Xhaka is going to be a very special player for us, Coq not bad either, against a very physical MF who were being allowed quite a lot by the ref. They both must have known, partly from experience in this league, that one step too far, or any retaliation, they may be more likely to see a card than it would seem others on the day.
    These days, these games often seem to end in draws, annoying for us, but not a reason to crown Chelsea/Liverpool Champions just yet, especially after what our boys did to Chelsea

  15. The Arsenal Ladies have just finished their season in Third place in the WSL with a 5-3away win against Liverpool. They now have a break for a opulent of months before next year. Full report to come in the next couple of weeks.

  16. Gord, the last two goals came in the five minutes added on. A good finish to the season but losses against City and Chelsea proved costly. No European football next year for them.

  17. Florian is correct, there was a non called foul by Dembele in the build up to the penalty incident.

    Also, Vertongen tried his best to remove a Arsenal shirt (from Mustafi?) when defending a corner – again not called by the selective vision of Clattenberg!

  18. A bit of advice for the goalkeeping coaches at Arsenal.
    Too many penalty kicks are being taken directly at the goalkeeper. He dives left or right and the kick is successful.
    Kane’s penalty today would have been saved easily by Cech had he remained central. 😉

  19. Well it was a good point if there is such a thing. We didn’t lose the game and it was against a title challenger so they didn’t gain any ground. And we didn’t lose much. The only thing for me i thought wanyama should have had at least a yellow card during the match. We looked jaded from the exertions midweek but still managed to get a positive result.

  20. one of their defenders…perhaps Verthongen? appeared to handle in the area…off I think a Bellerin ball in, while we were attacking from the right, not sure if it was intentional, but looked to me like he was on the ground with his arm right out by his side. right in front of the linesman, would be interested to see it again, but not holding my breath

  21. I missed the replays of balls over the line, Arsenal does have goal line tech, yet they never showed it.

    The ref was very suspect as usual. There were too many bad decisions. Ref report will clear that up.

    Arsenal were a little tired which is expected but both teams put in a good performance which would have been much better if the spuds had played a fair game along side their abilities, but they chose to be “up in them” as it is lauded by the pundits.

  22. Actually Nicky I thought Cech went early and let Kane put it down the middle. I know it’s only micro seconds but sometimes it is better to stand up longer and hope it doesn’t go into a corner. The match was frustrating but a fair result. I think we have better players but they are more organised and will be difficult to beat. Just as long as they don’t complete the season unbeaten.

  23. There is no doubt about the selective vision of PGMO’s Clattenberg. He ignores Dambele’s foul on Coquelin before his dive in the box that bought him a penalty. Wanyama elbowed Walcott in the head twice & the FA should look at the replays as the intentional GBH could cause serious injury. Clattenberg talks his way out of the second incident without punishing Wanyama.

    The obvious penalty for shirt pulling is not an Arsenal prerogative. I don’t see the result as being fair when a penalty is awarded immediately after foul play by the beneficiary.

  24. Clattenburg has become a ‘crap’ referee since falling out with his paymasters over attending a concert… Coincidence? Not.

    This was a match I expected we’d concede a penalty, and sure it happened. Another match we are likely to concede another penalty is our next match. Either a pen or red card in that one, might look suspicious to award two pens against us in successive matches. I’m definitely expecting some controversy in that one, against us; they’ll want the narrative that Wenger can’t beat mourinho to continue…

  25. Strange….we start doing well….then get the Jon Moss debacle, then Atkinsons attempt to help Sunderland, now Clattenberg today , whenever we threaten to build a lead at the top, sometimes we don’t perform, but the refs always seem to do their dirty work, and has been that way for a while.
    After the antics of the likes of Spurs, and Leicester, the refs have to tell us whether they are permitting rotational fouling , because sometimes it looks that way

  26. We can’t blame the ref, yes there were some bad calls but the team didn’t play well especially in the second half. I think the pressure of the day and also going top of the league got to the players. The important thing was the team didn’t lose and are only 2 points from the top.
    Let’s pray all Arsenal players come back not injured after playing for their respective countries.

  27. While it was a disappointing score , we did try hard . That the ref was always going to tilt the game was not wholly unexpected . I do agree that they should have at least a player sent off .
    I do hope that Southgate leaves out our English players from his squad as punishment . And the other international managers do the same after hearing all the adverse comments of the pundits !

  28. “Dembele on a run towards the penalty area and looking for a penalty and getting it”
    I don’t know what your issue with this is. It’s a good (often productive) tactic and one our players should adopt more often.
    And anyway, how can you possibly know what Dembele intended when he started his run.
    Bitter man Walter.

  29. Then my TV-match reporter was also a bitter man, Leon? As he was from Belgium and so is Dembele…. maybe he knows him too well?

    My problem is that when one of our players is fouled more than enough the ref doesn’t give it. And yes that makes me bitter. This season looked to be a bit better after our first defeat (maybe they thought we were not making any chance to get in a title race). But since we are in the title race… the penalties have dried up completely in our favour and we get a penalty almost every week against us.

  30. Another interesting offside situation that has split the referring community.

    “clearly impacting…..” whilst narrowing the subjectivity of second guessing a defensive thought process there is still a substantial grey area. In these everyone has the same evidence but can interpret it differently.

    With Chelsea’s first goal the concensus goalkeeper was not affected by the attacker running towards the ball.

    With Dembele the immediate reaction was penalty He may have gone down softly considering how robust he is outside the box (al la Drogba) but there seemed little option.

    For the lovers of meaningless stats we can now average between .3 and 2.3 EPL pts pg this November.

  31. A draw was not good for us, infact i was expecting a win. After all those chances we need to take them up. So who is the mad in middle with Manure? Dean probably or his grand son!!!Jones

  32. Ah, you posted ONE from a Tottenham fan (Lilywhite lover) maybe because he didn’t use the word twaddle along with ‘biased’. ‘Your’ goal was not only offside but it came from a Spurs player’s head – you scored no goals yourself. I could go on but as you clearly won’t post a comment from someone tagged as COYS! my missive (that contains no expletives at all and the same amount of bias as your article) will not make it, so I’ll have a slice of toast instead.

  33. COYS, thank you for your comment. Untold has in excess of five million page views a year, and receives a comparative number of comments. Given that it is run by people who are not paid to do the job, we rely on a number of automatic systems to weed out irrelevant (ie advertising) comments and offensive commentaries. Also because of the size of the operation we do have a number of rules as to what we will publish and what not and these are published on the site. I have not been back to look at earlier comments (simply a matter of time – I need to get on with my paid-for work) but it is possible that the rule that might have prevented your commentary being published is that a comment which simply says the writer is wrong, but does not give any evidence, is likely to go unpublished. This was introduced not specifically to catch out supporters of other teams, many of whom do comment here, some quite regularly, but rather to deal with the anti-Wenger mob who on occasion try to bring this site down. We’re a site which likes debate, but for meaningful debate there needs to be some evidence. Thus if you want to disagree with the writer of an article, then evidence is what we ask for. If you don’t like that, fair enough, there are many other sites (although mostly rather smaller in terms of readership than Untold) which you can visit.

  34. As far as Arsenal’s goal being subjective.

    In the first replay (maybe second), one can see there are Arsenal players in an offside position. Are they interfering with play?

    If the ball is played to the far post, they are interfering. But the ball has sufficient spin, that as it moves forward it quickly becomes obvious this ball is heading near post. Wimmer never looks behind him, he follows the ball and heads it into his own net. As he hasn’t a clue what is happening behind him, it is not influencing his play. There are no Arsenal players near post that are a problem. There is only a single spud player who can be influenced, and that is the goalkeeper.

    The goalkeeper can see the ball is travelling a curved path that is becoming increasingly near post, and that Wimmer is well placed to play it. Wimmer would never try to deflect the ball “backwards”, which is where more players of both teams could possibly come into play. The only things Wimmer can do, is to deflect it higher (to go over the net), or to deflect it shorter (to be on the near side of the goal post). It is a mistake of Wimmer, to head it into his own goal. And I don’t think Lloris is being influenced into that decision.

    Walter is not bitter, Leon you are a turd.

  35. ‘Walter is not bitter, Leon you are a turd.”

    Yes of course I am.
    Walter agrees with me that he is bitter. Read his reply.

  36. I would go further and say in my biased opinion that even if Wimmer had an awareness of other players the immediate and real threat was Kos. Irrespective of the other two it meant he had to head the ball and messed it up. It was one of those calls that could have gone the other way and I would, grudgingly perhaps, give credit to pgmo for imho seeing it right and calling right. It is clear that many would have given the offside.

  37. Well I didn’t think Walter was bitter. His account of the match was accurate. The usual tricks against us are appearing again and this site is one of the ones that gives them deserved attention.

  38. COYS – Offside only occurs if the official calls it. You can be cooking stews in your opponents goal but if the official does not call it a foul, then it might make Ramseys Nightmares. ‘Our goal’ was scored by a spud so that makes it special as it is roast spud with Wimmer chicken sauce.

    Leon if you like tactics that involve being unsporting then it sums up your comments. You would make a great pundit sitting on the fence enjoying splinters while gloating on every goal scored after a cheat (remember the hand of God?). It is not what I was brought up to look for in sport. Cheating is not sporting & should be eradicated.

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