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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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Thoughts on Premier League Teams Performance in Europe

Why Karim Benzema goal vs Liverpool in Champions League Final was ruled  offside | Evening Standard

Liverpool were humiliated last night by Real Madrid

The 2021/22 Premier League campaign ended in rather dramatic fashion with Manchester City and Liverpool leaving it to the final day of the season to decide the fate of the league. The Cityzens retained the Premier League title with 93 points, while Liverpool suffered heartache, as their 92 points wasn’t good enough to finish the campaign triumphant. Chelsea had some poor form in the tail end of the campaign and still finished in third place, while Tottenham Hotspurs pipped past Arsenal at the business end of the season to nick the last Champions League spot. There was a little battle between Manchester United and West Ham United to determine who would get the newly formed Conference League slot, but the Hammers had the honors.

This essentially meant that England had sent seven teams to conquer Europe in three different competitions. The early parts of the campaign saw all the teams feature in Group Stage action but at this point, we are in the business end of the competition, and I intend to see how all seven teams have fared so far in their respective competitions.

I will start with the team in the Conference League, then check out the ones in Europa and of course, the big one, the Champions League.

West Ham United

David Moyes and his West Ham side have been in the trenches all season long with just five wins from a possible 23, languishing in the relegation zone. Arsenal is also interested in one of their prized assets, Declan Rice, and with the club’s form still diminishing, I will not be surprised if the English midfielder jumps ship at the end of the season.

West Ham’s form in the UEFA Conference League though, is in stark contrast to their form in the Premier League, and I’d guess it has to do with the quality of the opposition they have faced thus far. In August, they had to go through a qualification phase, smashing six goals past Danish outfit, Viborg, to qualify for the competition proper. They were paired in the same group with Anderlecht, Silkeborg and Steaua Bucharest, amassing 18 points from their six games in the group. I guess the players are loving life in the Conference League, while their struggles continue in the Premier League.

West Ham United 2-1 Anderlecht: Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma score as  Hammers progress - BBC Sport

Bowen scoring Anderlecht

For winning their group, West Ham awaits the outcome of the Playoff encounters, which are currently ongoing, and the draws for the Conference League Round of 16 takes place in a couple of days. There are not much teams that can strike fear in the heart of West Ham fans at this point in the competition, but going from the Playoff results so far, the only teams worth mentioning are Fiorentina, Lazio, Villarreal and OGC Nice.

Best of luck to West Ham as they progress further in the competition.


The Gunners used to be consistent qualifiers for the UEFA Champions League with regular top four finishes in the Premier League, but shockingly, Arsenal has not featured in Europe’s elite competition for close to seven seasons, with consecutive outings in the Europa League as well as a campaign where there was no European competition at all.

Following a painful fifth placed finish last season, after losing out of Champions League qualification to their bitter rivals, Spurs, Arsenal began this season in the Europa League with a win against FC Zurich and followed it up with three consecutive wins over Bodo/Glimt and PSV Eindhoven. A shock loss against PSV occurred in the fifth Matchday, but a win over Zurich on the last Matchday was enough to win the Group.

Allow Marquinhos to introduce himself: Arsenal winners, losers and ratings  as youngster dazzles in Zurich win |

Marquinhos got his first goal for the club in the Europa League

As a result of winning their group, Arsenal has qualified for the Europa League Round of 16, and will await the outcome of the Playoff games that are still ongoing. There are still some tough sides to face in the competition, especially those third placed Champions League teams like Barcelona, Sevilla and Juventus that have come to bully those teams that started from the onset. 

Manchester United

Manchester United lost their opening match of the Europa League to Real Sociedad, and it turned out to be a decision that haunted the team for the rest of the competition. Despite winning their next five games against Sheriff Tiraspol, Omonoia and Real Sociedad in their own turf, Manchester United finished the group in second place, and got a Playoff tie against Barcelona in the knockout phase.

Barcelona 2-2 Manchester United: Marcus Rashford 'on fire' to equal most  prolific season - BBC Sport

Marcus Rashford: A Man on Fire

The first leg at Nou Camp was a pulsating encounter with both sides playing excellent football, and the 2-2 draw was a fair reflection of the proceedings. With UEFA no longer favoring the away goals rule, a winner must be decided at Old Trafford this Thursday, making it a must watch clash.


Graham Potter’s reign at the helm of affairs in Chelsea has been very shaky, with the Blues a far cry from the dominant team they used to be in years past. Even in the games they managed to win this season, the Premier League club has had to rely on Kepa Arrizabalaga to make outstanding saves to keep them in the tie.

Chelsea’s Champions League campaign started with a narrow defeat against Dinamo Zagreb, which was the final straw for Thomas Tuchel, as he was relieved of his job shortly afterwards. Potter started his Champions League adventure with a draw against Red Bull Salzburg, but four wins on the trot against AC Milan, Zagreb and Salzburg, saw Chelsea finish the group in pole position, setting up for a two-legged encounter with Borussia Dortmund.

Se impone el Dortmund 1 a 0 ante el Chelsea en la Champions

Adeyemi skipping past Kepa

The first leg loss to Dortmund doesn’t inspire any confidence but Chelsea have it all to do in the second leg in front of their home fans. Everyone associated with the club will be hoping that the moneybags have what it takes to progress to the next round of the competition.


For every Tottenham fan, it was quite the roller coaster ride against Arsenal for the final coveted Champions League spot and they must have been very elated to get it. Antonio Conte’s team was in quite the group, alongside Eintracht Frankfurt, Olympique Marseille and Sporting Lisbon. Even on the final matchday, all teams could have qualified and gotten eliminated. 

Son shines with double as Spurs sink Frankfurt - SportsDesk

Son scoring in the Champions League

In the Tottenham scaled through with 11 points, and set themselves up for a visit to the great San Siro to play AC Milan. The first leg didn’t go as planned with the Premier League side losing with a solitary goal, but they will have another chance at redemption when Olivier Giroud and his teammates visit London to take on the Lily Whites. 


Liverpool is another team that has shockingly struggled this season. For a team that finished with 92 points in the last campaign, what was expected from them was another title charge, but the sale of Sadio Mane proved pivotal as his replacement, Darwin Nunez, has been doing his best, but consistency has been an issue for the Uruguayan maverick.

Liverpool began their Champions League campaign with a 4-1 drubbing in the hands of Napoli. Jurgen Klopp’s men won the next five, which included a 1-7 annihilation of Rangers, but their head to head record with the Serie A hotshots, saw Liverpool lock horns with Real Madrid, the same side that defeated them in the Champions League final of the previous campaign.

What we witnessed last night was an utter disgrace, as the visitors ran riot against Liverpool at Anfield, scoring five goals. Liverpool needs to visit the Santiago Bernabeu and score three unanswered goals for the game to go into extra time. Hey, I’ve seen miracles, so I’d get my popcorn ready for that one. 

Manchester City

Manchester City suffered a surprising defeat to Real Madrid last season, with young striker, Rodrygo, scoring two goals in the dying minutes to send the game to extra time. This season, Manchester City coasted to the knockout stages with consummate ease, dispatching the likes of Sevilla, FC Copenhagen and Dortmund. 

Pep Guardiola’s side visit RB Leipzig tonight, reeling from dropping points against Nottingham Forest in the Premier League, just after winning the all-important clash against Arsenal a couple of days earlier.

In conclusion, the English teams in Europe still have a very good chance of qualifying to the next rounds of their respective competitions in Europe, but their opponents are certainly no pushovers. 


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