In what has been a mostly positive start to the season for Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur side, last week’s 2-0 defeat away to bitter rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium was undoubtedly one of the lowest points. It was a poor performance from Spurs who seemed to be simply outfought by the Gunners who appeared to want the three points a lot more which ultimately turned out to be the difference between the two sides.
We take a look at what went wrong for Spurs in Saturday afternoon’s match.
Refereeing decisions did not help Spurs
Arsenal centre-half Shkodran Mustafi gave the Gunners a vital lead in the first-half as he headed past Hugo Lloris from a free-kick. However, the goal was highly controversial as not only did Mustafi appear to be in an offside position but Davinson Sanchez’s challenge on Alexis Sanchez for the free-kick was also dubious. These two decisions left Pochettino feeling very hard done by. The first goal in such derby is crucial, so it was arguably unfortunate for Spurs to concede in these circumstances.
Arsenal’s stars turn up on the big stage
On many occasions in the past, Arsenal’s big names such as Sanchez and Mesut Ozil have been accused of not performing to their potential in the big matches. Arsene Wenger decided to start both Sanchez and Ozil as well as record signing Alexandre Lacazette for this game, and it proved to be the right decision. All three of them performed remarkably well throughout and Spurs could simply not deal with their threat. Having seen how well they can play together, Wenger will surely now pick a similar line-up between now and the end of the season. Arsenal supporters have been desperate to see the trio play together more often, having only seen them all start on three occasions so far this season.
Can Spurs win away at the big Premier League sides?
A common theme appears to be developing with Spurs over recent years in which they struggle to pick up results away at the Premier League’s so-called bigger sides. Spurs put in a similar performance in the 1-0 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford a couple of weeks ago, and this must be a concern for Pochettino. It will be very difficult for his side to win the Premier League title if they are incapable of taking points off their rivals away from home. There was no question that Arsenal were the deserved winners in this game as Spurs looked a long way off the side that dismantled European Champions Real Madrid in the Champions League just a short time ago.
Harry Kane did not appear to be his usual self throughout the match which is perhaps understandable considering he has only recently returned from a hamstring injury. He was quite visibly short of match fitness and had he been fully fit; it could well have been a different story. Spurs will be hoping that they can get Kane back to his best as soon as possible. Dele Alli also failed to make any significant impact which is a surprise considering how consistent he has been for Spurs so far this season.
Spurs will be looking to bounce back by securing three points in their Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund in Group H on Tuesday night while Arsenal are next in action in the Europa League away at FC Koln on Thursday night.