- Changing Formation
Arsene Wenger’s pre-match comments seemed to suggest that there would be a tweak in the set-up for the Spurs game, so as to try to adapt the team to the opponents of the day. We had been served so well by the 4-2-3-1 formation away from home, a set-up which allowed the selected players to thrive in their favourites, no less than Mesut Ozil. Choosing to change it, at home, against Spurs appeared to be geared towards containing them while at the same time controlling the game with more of our men at the middle. So, we had most of the possession especially in the first half, and then what? No runs, passes were plenteous but non-inventive, Ozil was mostly wide, and basically nothing worked till we conceded. Pochettino’s side definitely planned to sit back, soak up and hit on the break, as they eventually did to great effect. We should have been more offensive from the off. 4-1-4-1 does not work, for us.
- Dropping Alexis
He may have been on the losing against Southampton but he has yet to have a bad game at the club, perhaps against Leicester. Why was he not in the starting line-up for the derby having been reportedly working so hard to feature in it? “It was the selection of the day”. That does not explain a whole lot, really. Or maybe the explanation was so the team could deploy the second line of four. So, basically, the most explosive attacking force in our armoury was kept on the bench when he could have been available to fire from the first blast?
- Keeping The Ox
Everyone agrees that this lad must have more game time to prove just how good he is, and he has been doing just that. Cazorla-Ozil-Alexis were most persons’ prediction for the starters but while two of those three didn’t start, retaining Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the team from Villa was a positive. And he showed that his confidence was given a boost by that show of faith in the manager. He may have scored after Welbeck horribly failed to, but his overall play was brilliant, running Danny Rose ragged all evening.
- Playing Cautiously
We were at home, should have gone for it from the start. The formation obviously had contributed to it. We had all it took in pace and pattern to hurt them, but chose to play cautiously to their delight. Spurs had not come to play, as Wenger’s comment testified. It was so easy to have possession but yet too little could be done with it because we had not set out to hurt them.
- Holding Out
After the equalizer, there was only going to be one likely winner, and we should have gone for it. That would have being naïve, as we could very easily have been caught out again thereby losing all three points. Having managed to get the equalizer quite late, it wasn’t overly necessary to press for the winner as another Spurs goal would have been difficult to equalize. The players seemed to understand that, perhaps, from the experience against Dortmund last season. 10 points from 6 games isn’t exactly a disaster, we can half the gap between Chelsea if we ‘turn up’ next week.
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