Tottenham Hotspur’s efficient gameplay under Mauricio Pochettino finally prevailed, as Spurs managed to edge their arch-rivals Arsenal in a narrow 1:0 victory.
Following a dull first half display from both the sides, the game sparked into life just after the break as Harry Kane’s opener proved to be the winning goal for Tottenham. This loss could prove to be very costly for the Gunners later in the season, as winning the Europa League seems to be their only chance of qualifying for Champions League next season, considering the way they’ve been playing, of late.
Here are five talking points, which decided the outcome of the game.
Arsenal failing to dominate the first half
It was disappointing to see Arsenal failing to make an impression in the first half, especially after their morale-boosting 5:1 victory over Everton last week. The Gunners often looked to be content with defending against the pressure exerted by the home side.
For Tottenham, however, it was a promising sign considering the fact that a slow start to the game cost them Liverpool’s opener last week. Although Spurs did manage to come back strong in the second half against Liverpool, it was their first-half futility, which led to the Reds dominating most part of the game.
Even though both sides failed to score in the first half, Tottenham’s ability to control the tempo, earned them the upper hand in the first 45 minutes.
Tottenham once again strong in the second half
While Arsenal failed to capitalize on their massive victory over Everton, Tottenham made no mistakes in replicating their first-half performance, with an even better second half display.
The home side came out all guns blazing in the second half, a mesmerizing stretch which helped them pile pressure on Arsenal, who were reluctant to supply men forward. Tottenham’s offensive endeavour finally paid off at the end when Harry Kane scored the opener just minutes after the restart.
Tottenham’s super-effective press
Mauricio Pochettino’s men effectively executing their pressing scheme was one of the many reasons behind their success against Arsenal. The Lilywhites were very efficient in the middle third, where they didn’t allow the Arsenal midfielders to gain any sort of momentum.
With the likes of Eric Dier, Mousa Dembele on the pitch, it became hard for Granit Xhaka and Jack Wilshere to work their way around on the pitch. Despite having the numeric advantage in the midfield, the Gunners still failed to string together passes, which is, obviously, one of the key parts of Arsene Wenger’s playing philosophy.
Arsene Wenger’s changes were questionable
After getting desperate to find the equalizer, Arsene Wenger made some changes in the final phase of the game, with Alexandre Lacazette and Alex Iwobi coming on for Mohamed Elneny and Henrikh Mkhitaryan but that only proved to be detrimental for the team.
Alex Iwobi provided absolutely nothing going forward for the final 25 minutes or so, while out of sorts striker Alexandre Lacazette missed two glorious opportunities to level the scoreline.