For Arsenal, it was a missed chance to pull to within one point of their North London rivals, whilst for Spurs, it halted a two-match run without a win. But has this draw, Tottenham Hotspur’s first of the season, done enough to quell the nerves that the previous two defeats and performances had raised?
North London Derby Ends in Draw But Has It Calmed Nerves?
The lack of shots against Chelsea was the first time that Tottenham has actually failed to hit the target since 2013 when they lost 5-0 to Liverpool. That was in the days of Andre Villas-Boas and much has changed since then.
Tottenham are now seen as more resilient and able to shoot on sight. In the North London Derby at Wembley stadium, once more the play in the final third was tepid. The fans were loud but the nervousness that has appeared in the past ten days was also palpable.
Why No Cutting Edge?
Christian Eriksen, Kieran Trippier, Erik Lamela and Danny Rose have all struggled to deliver consistently quality balls into the box this season. When you have Harry Kane and even Fernando Llorente on the pitch it is somewhat strange that they are being starved of service. Do they not practice dead balls in training? Crossing the ball?
Trippier had the chance to deliver three quality balls into the box today and each time he was left hitting the ground as the ball either went out of play or ended up with an opposition player. It was a good ball that led to Kane thinking he had equalised. Sadly he was offside. A better ball also led to the penalty from which Kane levelled. It only proves the idea that with better quality, Tottenham can be more clinical.
Tippy Tappy Football
Until Bernd Leno was forced into a spectacular double save in the first half, he hadn’t even had to warm his hands. Davinson Sanchez, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld kept possession but it was just tippy-tappy football. Sideways, backwards and slow.
Kane and Heung Min-Son worked hard to drop deep to get the ball but other than Moussa Sissoko, no one surged forward. The attitude appeared to be one of ‘do not lose’. Arsenal, on the other hand, were set up to counter-attack. That subsequently lead to their goal although it was another mess for the Spurs back line.
In the Champions League, on Wednesday, Tottenham have made some awful errors. A defence that under Pochettino had become so solid, seems once more to be perforating around the edges.
Arsenal next play in the Europa League. Tottenham take their 3-0 lead over Borussia Dortmund to Germany before away ties in the Premier League to Southampton and Liverpool. Arsenal face Manchester United in the league as they battle for the final top four place.
For Arsenal, this is a season of transition under new boss Unai Emery whilst for Tottenham, it is hard to define. Is it another season of transition? A season to do the best under the circumstances of no new players and not being able to play at their new home?
The nerves were certainly apparent again today. A point, in the end, is a good point but the performances from Tottenham will have to improve if they are to secure Champions League football to take to their new home
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