Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0: Dear Spurs, Your Money Can’t Buy Class
Emirates Stadium (Premier League)
Arsenal: Giroud 22′
The buildup to the North London Derby was centered around how Tottenham had spent wads of money in the summer in contrast to their fierce rivals, Arsenal, that had spent money equivalent to the amount of hair on Howard Webb’s head.
At the start of the game, the Gunners were trailing Tottenham by three points and the visitors proudly fielded their some of their new big-money recruits alongside some familiar faces while the Gunners featured the same ol’ lot that has been massively impressive in recent weeks. There was a late introduction for the Gunners as Carl Jenkinson deputized for the ill Bacary Sagna.
Tottenham’s Andros Townsend returned to the club after a successful loan spell at recently-relegated Queens Park Rangers and he was a constant thorn in Kieran Gibbs’ flesh all game long. Early on, he made mince meat of the full-back as Gibbs slipped on the turf but he had Laurent Koscielny to thank as the defender read the game well and intercepted the ball for a corner kick.
Tomas Rosicky waltzed with the ball into Tottenham’s danger area and was scythed down by Etienne Capoue. Santi Cazorla curled the resulting free kick goalwards but Hugo Lloris was on hand to parry the ball to safety. Shortly afterwards, Theo Walcott won another free kick in a more dangerous position and Cazorla showed great improvisation to fire the ball under the jumping wall but the ball missed Lloris’ far post by a whisker.
Nacer Chadli and Danny Rose connected well on the left leaving Jenkinson for dead but Chadli’s cross was easily intercepted by Szczesny. Townsend got in behind Gibbs and teed up a pass for Kyle Walker. The English full-back drilled a cross into the box and Roberto Soldado (or Penaldado) was the quickest to react with a shot but Per Mertesacker but his body in the line of fire to make an outstanding merteception.
After some good work in midfield from Aaron Ramsey, the Welshman found Rosicky on the right and the Czech maestro wasted to time in sending Walcott through in behind the Tottenham rearguard. Walcott looked up and fashioned a chance for an onrushing Olivier Giroud whose finish was sheer class. An exquisite deft touch that was more than enough as it skipped past Lloris in goal.
Giroud showed great work rate to win the ball in midfield before passing the ball to Ramsey. The Welsh man-machine went on a slalom run before sending Walcott through and the Englishman was left with no choice but to shoot the ball from an acute angle. Lloris parried Walcott’s shot but no player in red was in the box to blast in a rebound and that good chance went begging.
Arsenal continued to huff and puff the Tottenham back line and almost went two up after some lovely footwork between Cazorla and Walcott. The ball fell kindly to Ramsey but he killed a bird in the sky with his attempted shot on goal. The Arsenal barrage continued as Walcott was through on goal but Lloris swiftly raced off his line to intercept the ball.
Arsenal’s good work was almost undone when Gibbs carelessly gifted the ball to the opposition but he showed great determination to win the ball back. Townsend had a couple of tame efforts that were easy pickings for Szczesny but there was a cause of concern with Jack Wilshere was substituted for Mathieu Flamini in what was believed was an injury, but it was later communicated that he was ill.
Arsenal began the second half with some urgency and some after intricate passing between Flamini and Rosicky, the Czech orchetrator laid up a chance for Ramsey but the Welshman was certainly without his shooting boots as he blasted his effort well wide off the mark.
Roberto Penaldado made claims for a penalty was believed that he was pushed in the box by Koscielny but unfortunately for him, Michael Oliver was having none of it. If Penaldado played for Aston Villa on gameweek 1 and was faced in the same situation, I’m positive that the pathetic ref, Anthony Taylor, would have wasted no time in pointing to the spot.
Arsenal launched a counter attack with Cazorla and with several options ahead of him, he chose to feed Giroud but the Frenchman’s deflected shot was saved by the impressive Lloris. Cazorla was also involved in a clash with Capoue and the Frenchman towering holding midfielder came out second best as he had to be stretched out.
Jermaine Defoe was summoned to salvage a point for the visitors and he almost delivered when he fired a shot that deflected off Koscielny’s shin but Szczesny showcased his class with another top-drawer save that looked better with each passing replay.
Rosicky was replaced by Nacho Monreal and he almost extended Arsenal’s lead with his first touch but he failed to react quickly to a loose ball that came to his path after Lloris had saved Walcott’s shot in his near post. Defoe lofted a lovely ball to debutant, Eric Lamela, but his effort on goal was very tame.
The climax of the game became a nervy affair as Tottenham went all guns blazing for an equalizer and Arsenal invoked the spirits of the tail end of last season as they defended valiantly, their organization at the back was top-notch and their resilience was a major plus. The introduction of Bacary Sagna late on added some steel to the defense and they absorbed Tottenham’s pressure right to the very end.
Arsene Wenger was obviously elated in winning another North London Derby as he had only suffered five defeats in 41 NLDs thus far. He also lauded the performances of Giroud and Flamini, then confirmed that Wilshere had a stomach bug.
Despite spending £109m of several players this summer, Tottenham had to rely on the penalty spot twice to get their victories in their opening Premier League games of the season. They came up against a better side that had been all about free deals all summer and if they didn’t have a good goalie like Hugo Lloris in their ranks, they would have been on the end of some spanking.
It just goes to say that despite Tottenham’s splurge this summer, Arsenal has proved that their money can’t buy class.
Tottenham’s squad isn’t better than Arsenal’s, it’s just bigger.
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