Category Archives: Football

Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham: Poor Performance. Spoils Shared.

Bukayo Saka scores against Tottenham Hotspur

Match Report – Match Highlights Player RatingsPost-Match Press Conference

Final Result: Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham (Romero OG 26′, Saka 54′ | Son 42′, 56′)

Arsenal XI (4-3-3): Raya; Zinchenko, Saliba, Gabriel, White; Rice (Jorginho 46′), F. Vieira (Havertz 46′), Odegaard; Saka (Smith Rowe 97′), Jesus (Nelson 77′), Nketiah 

After all the speculation regarding who would play between the sticks, Mikel Arteta all but confirmed that David Raya would be his No. 1 going forward with the Spaniard getting the nod ahead of Aaron Ramsdale for the North London Derby with Tottenham. Fabio Vieira got the nod ahead of Kai Havertz and an unfortunate injury in the warmup saw the in-form Leandro Trossard lose his place in the starting lineup to Eddie Nketiah.

Tottenham played very well from the onset with Ange Postecoglou sticking to his guns of playing his own game, and they drew first blood when Heung-Min Son scored from some passing play involving Pape Sarr and Yves Bissouma, but the offside flag spared Arsenal’s blushes. Arsenal had a glorious moment when Bukayo Saka found Gabriel Jesus on the back post but his attempt on target was saved by Guillermo Vicario. 

The pressure was getting to Tottenham as Destiny Udogie played a mistimed pass to Nketiah that saw him bear down on goal, but his near post shot was saved by Vicario. Nketiah had the option of blasting to the far post or providing a cut back to Vieira, but he did neither. This turned out to be his only telling contribution of the match, as he struggled badly in the game.

Saka continued to be a thorn in the flesh of the Tottenham defense, as he made Udogie receive a booking early on, but he played a role in the opening goal of the match when his attempted effort on goal was deflected by Christian Romero to his own net. The goal brought the wind to Arsenal’s sails and the Gunners should have gone two goals up when Jesus robbed James Maddison with a good press and was one on one with Vicario, but he chose power instead of precision as his shot sailed over the bar. Had he showed the same composure he had in the latter minutes of the Manchester United game, Arsenal would have given themselves some daylight in the fixture.

Martin Odegaard, fresh from his new contract extension, failed to impose himself on the game but helped a lot on the press with his defensive contributions, but he had an attempt that was saved by Vicario, after receiving a pass from Saka. At 1-0, Tottenham were still in the game and almost equalized when Brennan Johnson’s tame shot was clawed away from goal by Raya. The save was so good that his counterpart, Ramsdale, was sited on the dugout applauding the effort.

Sadly, the Gunners lost the lead just before the break thanks to some comical defending. Raya made a save from a Johnson shot and Declan Rice cleared the ball. Maddison received the loose ball and waltzed past Saka with consummate ease before providing a cut back that was finished by Son. However, that pass from Maddison came in between three Arsenal players and I was bemused with how Son managed to get the ball ahead of them. 

At the start of the second half, Arsenal showed up with two new players, with Havertz coming in for Vieira and Jorginho replacing Rice. While the Vieira sub was deemed ‘tactical’, there are concerns around Rice’s substitution, as he has suffered an injury,

“He (Rice) had some discomfort in his back, and he was telling us during the first half that he wasn’t comfortable. When we assessed him at half-time, he couldn’t continue, so we had to change him.”

Arsenal garnered some control at the start of the second half and Romero’s bad game got worse when he handled the ball in the box for a penalty. The VAR check took an eternity but Saka maintained his nerves of steel to convert the spot kick. We were still basking on the euphoria of getting the lead when Jorginho dallied on the ball, loosing it to Maddison and with Gabriel out of position, Maddison teed up Son who equalized again. 

That was such a monumental error in the game of this magnitude. The goal also sucked the wind from Arsenal sails as Tottenham gained a stronghold of the game and dominated proceedings. The visitors almost had a chance to get the lead and it took a Gabriel intervention to keep the stalemate intact. 

Late on, the fourth official raised his board and 10 minutes were indicated but Arsenal didn’t have it in them to break Tottenham down for the match winner. Even the introductions of Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson did nothing to change the outcome. Nelson actually came on as a sub for Jesus, instead of Nketiah, which bewildered many Arsenal fans as Nketiah was having a stinker.

Arteta has shown his ruthlessness with several positions, with Raya usurping Ramsdale being the latest in these series of major changes. However, I believe it’s high time Arsenal delves into the transfer window to get a better striker than Nketiah. Ivan Toney is one that comes to mind, as I believe he will be available for a transfer in January. With Jesus’ fitness issues, as well as other factors, having an upgrade on Nketiah will be beneficial to Arsenal’s title charge and a forward like Toney or Dusan Vlahovic will offer that.

All roads lead to the Carabao Cup clash with Brentford, and I would expect wholesale changes, especially with the latest injury concerns, as well as giving the likes of Nelson, Tomiyasu, Kiwior and Smith Rowe chances to feature on the side.


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Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham: Player Ratings

Bukayo Saka can't resist trolling James Maddison with goal celebration in  Arsenal vs Spurs - Mirror Online

Arsenal hosted Tottenham in the 194th North London Derby, fresh off the heart-warming news that club captain, Martin Odegaard, extending his stay at the club till 2028. In all honesty, the home side underwhelmed in a game that they had shown dominance in recent seasons, with Tottenham finishing the game with greater possession, while matching Arsenal for total shots (13) and big chances (4).

Without further ado, here are the Gooner Daily player ratings for the Arsenal vs Tottenham game.

Starting XI

David Raya: Made an amazing save in the first half and was rather blameless for the goals conceded. (6)

Ben White: Should have done better to close down James Maddison for the first equalizer. (6)

William Saliba: Did well to win most of his duels. (7)

Gabriel: Looked very assured with Saliba alongside him. (7)

Oleksandr Zinchenko: Struggled defensively against Dejan Kulusevski. (6)

Declan Rice: Looked off the pace and was subbed at half time due to injury. (6)

Fabio Vieira: Returned ahead of Havertz to the starting XI and played okay. Was subbed at half time due to injury. (6)

Martin Odegaard: Led the press on the opposition in the first half, but didn’t influence the game as you’d expect from him. (6)

Gabriel Jesus: Was wasted on the wing due to Trossard’s late injury. Had a glaring chance to put his team ahead and missed it. (6)

Bukayo Saka: Was the undoubted star of the game, earning a goal and assist for his team. (9)

Eddie Nketiah: Had a stinker leading the line and failed to impose himself on the game (5)


Jorginho: Replaced Declan Rice in half time and was culpable for the equalizing goal in the second half. (5)

Kai Havertz: Put up another underwhelming performance. Had a moment to score a goal from the edge of the box and skied it. (5)

Reiss Nelson: Showed glimpses of some attacking impetus but didn’t make any major impact. (6)

Emile Smith Rowe: Did not play enough to earn a rating. N/A


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Martin Ødegaard Extends: Where He BelØngs

Five points clear! Arsenal winners, losers and ratings as Odegaard double  downs Wolves |

With the North London Derby in the horizon, Arsenal come into the match in great form, along with their rivals, Tottenham, and one man the Gunners can count on to put up a performance is club captain, Martin Ødegaard. Ødegaard’s journey with Arsenal has been one that has been beneficial to the player and the club, as he arrived at a time the club was still in the trenches, recovering from the damage Raul Sanllehi and Unai Emery had done, and even though he struggled with injuries and didn’t light up many fireworks in his initial loan spell from Real Madrid, the talent was undoubtedly there, and the potential was massive.

Mikel Arteta proved to be a dominating factor in Arsenal dishing out the greens for the Norwegian, and him agreeing to make the deal permanent, as he confirmed in a recent interview,

Ødegaard revealed how persuasive Mikel Arteta was in his bid to join the Gunners,

“I spoke to Mikel Arteta on a Zoom call and he told me all about the project. At the time, Arsenal were not doing well. They were way down like 15th in the table, but that meeting … Honestly, I challenge anyone to come away from a meeting with Arteta and not believe everything he tells you.

“He is next level. It’s hard to explain. He’s passionate, he’s intense and sometimes, yeah, he’s a bit crazy … but when he speaks, you understand that whatever he says will happen, will happen.

“He told me his plan, everything he was building towards. He knew exactly what needed to change at the club. He told me all about these amazing young players in the squad — Saka, Martinelli, Smith Rowe, etc., etc. He told me how he wanted me to fit in and how I was going to improve.

“I got this strong feeling that he was onto something really special.”

Ødegaard joined Arsenal on a permanent basis, became club captain, and has emerged to talismanic status in the club. Last season, he amassed 15 non-penalty goals which was a testament of his fledgling abilities and contributions to the club and he has grown from strength to strength in Arsenal colors. His amazing performances last season also earned him a place in the PFA Team of the Season.

That young kid from Real Madrid that managed to gain some experience on loan at Real Sociedad had finally settled in North London and made it his home – a place where he belongs.

Arsenal has confirmed that Ødegaard has signed a contract extension with the club, which will make him the highest earner at the club, which is well deserved if you ask me. The captain had some good words to say following his decision to put pen to paper,

“Signing a new contract was a really easy decision for me for lots of reasons. Mainly what we are doing right now as a club is special, and I want to be a part of that. I’m really excited for what’s to come here. I’ve found a place where I can be really settled and call my home.

“My story is a bit different maybe, as I moved around different clubs since I was 16. At Arsenal, since the first day, I’ve felt great and this is definitely my home now. I just want to say thanks to everyone working at the club and of course, our fantastic supporters. I will continue to give everything to bring success to this club in the years to come.” 

As expected, there were some warm words from Edu and his gaffer as well,

“Martin signing a new long-term contract is such good news for everyone connected with Arsenal. He is our captain and a hugely respected person at our club, who is a great role model and professional, bringing quality and maturity in everything he does. On the pitch, as everyone has seen, Martin is a young player of top quality who consistently contributes at a such a high level.

“As a manager, working with Martin the person and the player is an absolute joy, and it’s great that after experiencing a number of clubs already in his career, he is now settled and really feels at home at Arsenal. We all look forward to continuing our journey with Martin in the years to come.”

I am very elated that the club has done well to keep the captain, and he joins the League of Extraordinary Contract Signers that has the likes of William Saliba, Bukayo Saka, Aaron Ramsdale, Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel in its ranks. 

The project at Arsenal is hugely exciting and I am delighted that Ødegaard, a vital piece in that puzzle, is going to stay with us for many years to come.


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