As has been the case recently when Spurs visit the Emirates, Arsenal were in desperate need of three points to not only boost their league position, but also ease some of the pressure on Arsene Wenger. And following on from those famous 5-2 victories came a much scrappier, but no less important, 1-0 win that highlighted virtues I wasn’t sure we had.
This was a mature, determined performance from Arsenal, defending as a team and working hard to deny Spurs any clear openings. It was more perspiration than inspiration, but that’s fine with me.
We started well but Spurs quickly took over and were bossing things when we hit them on the break and took the lead. Rosicky found Walcott, whose low cross was delicately flicked past Lloris by the in-form Giroud.
Thereafter Spurs lost their way and we grew into the game. We weren’t ripping them apart with any high-tempo, dazzling passing, but we were solid and looking very dangerous on the break.
It says much that Spurs’ best chance of an equaliser came via a deflected shot which Szczesny did brilliantly to parry and then Giroud was on hand to block the follow up. The desire to get back and protect our lead from our centre forward epitomised how everyone was prepared to do the dirty work for the cause. That’s not always been the case in recent years (and I worry that they will take certain teams lightly again now that the immediate pressure is off) but it was encouraging to see nonetheless.
So despite the pre-match predictions of goals galore, we ended up with a scrappy 1-0 to the Arsenal. There was much to be admired about our spirit and ability to defend as a team (in particular the midfield) although it must be noted that this was an excellent time to play Spurs. They looked disjointed for much of the match as their new guys have yet to settle in, and I fear they’ll be a much better team by the time we go to the Lane.
My biggest worry about this result is that Wenger will feel mistakenly justified in his lack of spending so far and decide to keep his cheque book in his pocket tomorrow, which would be a huge mistake. Our squad is still four or five players away from being where it should be given the resources at our disposal and a win, however well earned, over our bitter rivals shouldn’t disguise that.
Over to you Wenger — let’s have more Ozils than Park Chu Youngs this time around please.