OPPONENTS Arsenal at Highbury
COMPETITION Premier League 
DATE Sunday 1st September 2019
PREVIEW These may the games that the players look forward to, but as a fan, that is rarely the case.  With our current form (going back into last season) being a long run of poor results, this is not the best time for us to play at Highbury and with our injuries, we seem to be dredging the depths of the squad already.

Much has been made of Arsenal's summer spending, with a reported 40 million transfer fund expanding to a lot more than that in bringing in Pepe, Ceballos on loan, Tierney, Luiz and Martinelli.  They have invested heavily in the hope of breaking into the top four and securing Champions League football, having failed in wining the Europa League in the last campaign.  Emery seems to want to play attacking football, but with their defensive resources stretched at the moment, he might out out a solid midfield to stop any potential Spurs breakaways.

Aubameyang and Lacazette should eb oneof the most feared double acts in football, but they often seem to be less than accurate, although with Pepe supplying the ammunition, they should notch more goals than they have previously.  The eternal question of "Where is Mesut Ozil" continues to perplex Gooners and football pundits alike, as they failed to move him on during the summer, with Aaron Ramsey leaving it leaves a bit of a hole in the centre of their team.  Guendouzi contests a mad hair contest with Luiz more than he does midfield dominance, with his persistent fouling his main weapon.  Torreira the same. 

But it is at the back that Arsenal have been more than vulnerable over the last few seasons.  Mustafi is still there (as nobody wanted him and it is great news for all the other Premier League clubs), Monreal has left, as has Koscienly after going on strike.  One bright note for the Goons is that Rob Holding is back., but he hasn't really been seen enough to know how he copes regularly in the top flight.  Maitland-Niles is a great young hope for the Woolwich side, but his form fluctuates and he can be caught out of position.

Spurs need to turn up and sort out the issues which have caused the loss of points and loss of impetus so far this season.  The Villa win was late in coming, the City draw unexpected after we could have been buried and losing to Newcastle was just plain shocking, with the bulk of possession and not making much of it.  Dele's return is a two-edged sword, as he does perform well in these sort of matches, but brining him back too early might mean another lay-off if he isn't 100%.  We need to find some way of hitting Harry Kane in the areas where he can do most damage and having a right-back "crisis", it may mean playing Sissoko in  that slot, losing his strong running from midfield.  With most of the players having had a bit of a break over the summer, you might expect that they would come out of the blocks firing, but it hasn't been like that.

Slow build up, lack of movement and allowing the opposition too much space has seen us drop points.  However, compared to similar results last season, we are still there and thereabouts.  Some input from Son and Lucas on Sunday might make a difference, as their pace might test the lumbering defenders in red, so they need to have a go.  We could get something out of the game if we turn up, but coming at this time, we might not get any return from Holloway Road.

PREDICTION Arsenal    1        Tottenham Hotspur    0
Tottenham go into the game against Arsenal without Tanguy Ndombele (thigh), Juan Foyth (ankle), Ryan Sessegnon (hamstring), Kyle WalkerPeters (hamstring) and Eric Dier (hip), but Dele Alli could be ready to play some part of the game.

Kieran Tierney is still not fit after his move form Glasgow Celtic in the summer.  Hector Bellend is missing with a knee injury.


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Premier League Kick off 16:30
Arsenal  2 (0)  
Tottenham Hotspur  2 (2)

Lacazette  45+1m 00s
Aubameyang  70m 38s


Eriksen  9m 54s
Kane (p)  39m 11s

Crowd :   60,333 Weather :  Warm, sunny
Referee : Martin Atkinson (West Yorkshire) Assistant Referees :  Mr. D. Betts; Mr. Constantine Hatzidakis
Fourth Official :  Andre Marriner  
VAR :  Paul Tierney VAR Assistant :  Stephen Child
Spurs kicked off and played towards the Clock End in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 9 minutes.
Lacazette (foul on Eriksen)  63 
Sokratis (confrontation with Winks)  87 
Xhaka (foul on Kane)  90+2 



Rose  (foul on Lacazette)  28
Lamela (foul on Torreira)  32 
Eriksen (not retreating 10 yards)  57
Winks (foul on Guendouzi)  74
Sanchez (foul on Mkhitaryan)  78


Arsenal : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Bernd LENO

  5  SOKRATIS Papastathopoulos     
23  David LUIZ


11  Lucas TORREIRA  (  8  Dani CEBALLOS  63)
29  Matteo GUENDOUZI
34  Granit XHAKA (c)     

19  Nicolas PEPE
  9  Alexandre LACAZETTE         (  7  Henrikh MKHITARYAN  67)
  Pierre-Emerick AUBAMEYANG 

Unused subs: 
26  Emiliano MARTINEZ
  Mesut OZIL
  Reiss NELSON
21  Calum CHAMBERS
  Konsantinos MAVROPANOS

    1  Hugo LLORIS  (c)

  6  Davinson SANCHEZ     
  3  Danny ROSE     

17  Moussa SISSOKO     
  8  Harry WINKS

11  Erik LAMELA       (20  DELE Alli  60)
23  Christian ERIKSEN      
  7  Heung-Min SON  (18  Giovani LO CELSO  79)

10  Harry KANE  (p)

Unused subs: 
27  Lucas MOURA
  Oliver SKIPP

33  Ben DAVIES

Manager :   Unai Emery Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   Fly Emirates Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  Puma Kit Supplier :   Nike
Match report

Going into this match, Spurs were reported to be on a hiding and I must admit, after reading the preview, I might have concurred, but Tottenham put in a first half performance that made light of the fact that we were short in the right back position and Arsenal were going all out attack with three forwards to take a point home from N5, albeit a little disappointed at the end.

Arsenal's tactics might have worked if they were able to shoot straight or could defence decently, but this afternoon, they could do neither and with a lot of shots on goal, but few on target, they only have themselves to blames, even more so,  when from their point of view, both Spurs goals were avoidable.  For Spurs, the match gave them the opportunity to hit Arsenal on the break and  that always looked like the most likely outcome of our attacks, with the three men in Arsenal's midfield stretched and the likes of Luiz, Sokratis and Maitland-Niles not able to withstand the pace when Tottenham did come at them.

Pochettino kept Dele on the bench and that is probably not a bad idea with him just coming back after a hamstring injury, so Eriksen started, with Jan reinstated in the middle of the defence.  The manager chose Davinson Sanchez to slot into the right back slot, which is not his natural position and Arsenal decided to try to exploit this with regular moves up that wing creating chances in the first five minutes.  Kolasinac overlapped and put some challenging balls into the goalmouth, where Danny Rose did well to clear one and then later he got his face in the way of a Pepe far post header to prevent an effort on goal after Aubameyang had put the ball across.  The Arsenal winger had already skied one Kolasinac pull back from the edge of the box and generally looked like he couldn't hit a barn door, although he later fired a free-kick on target that Hugo grabbed low down at the second go.

In the early stages Harry Kane was more occupied in his own penalty box rather than the opposition's with a header away from a corner and then blocking a Maitland-Niles effort that might have been heading for the bottom corner, but the Spurs striker's foot kept the ball from reaching Lloris.   With nine minutes on the clock, Lloris kicked the ball long and Harry Kane won a header against Sokratis and Luiz, just inside his own half.   The ball ran to Son, who took it forward, playing in Lamela in the right hand channel.  Erik took an early shot, without the greatest power, but it was enough to catch out Leno, who could only dive to his right and parry the ball, not particularly wide, to Christian Eriksen, who had followed in and present him with a simple tap in from five yards out to hand Tottenham the lead.  With all the pre-match reporting, it was not in the script for us to score, let alone take the lead, but it was an excellent piece of anticipation by Eriksen to continue his run into the box in case the ball was loose.

Spurs got their act together on the right, with Sissoko helping out Davinson to counter the threat that Arsenal were mounting down their left wing, but Moussa also got forward, just over-hitting a chip into Lamela around the penalty spot, allowing the keeper to come and claim it.  Spurs did hit the target on the quarter hour, with a pass from Harry Winks giving Eriksen the chance to come inside from the left and drive one from 25 yards out that looked as though it was destined for the top corner, but Leno made a good  save.  The Gooner keeper was also required when Spurs broke fro an Arsenal attack and Son went left, cut inside and his curling shot was headed for the same far top corner as Eriksen's, but the keeper made a spectacular diving save at the expense of a corner.

With Arsenal players going down under the slightest contact, it was unsurprising that the feeble attempts at refereeing displayed by Martin Atkinson (when are we going to ask for him to NEVER referee one of our games again ?) showed yellow cards to Rose and Lamela for innocuous challenges.  Despite this, we kept plugging away and Winks set up Kane to turn inside form the left to shoot at Leno, who fumbled, but Son wasn't able to get an effort on goal, as there were too many red shirts around him.  Seven minutes to go to half-time and a Christian free-kick was fired at goal and pushed aside by Leno, but when Winks won the ball 20 yards out on the left side, he played it into Son in the box.  Heung-MIn turned, looked to square it to Eriksen, but was clattered way after the ball had gone by Xhaka and Atkinson had no option other than to point to the spot for a penalty.  Xhaka escaped a booking (not sure how), but Kane took the ball and waited for the whistle to take it and sent Leno the wrong way, putting the ball low to his left as the keeper dived the wrong way.

2-0 certainly wasn't how anyone had predicted this game would go, except for perhaps Stephen Fry on the BBC's predictions v Mark Lawrenson, but it was something we took quite gratefully.  Unlike the Gooners, who seemed to be a bit miffed that we had spoiled their afternoon out and they hurled plenty of bile over the no-man's land between us.  Things might have got worse for the home side as a shooting chance was created, working the ball to the right, but it was Moussa Sissoko on the end of it and it cleared the goal by some distance.  Atkinson gave them a weak free-kick when Sissoko stood his ground and Aubameyang ran into him.  25 yards out, Lacazette took it but it was cleared to their left and when the ball came back in Pepe slipped it outside him to Lacazette, who fired past Lloris at his near post from a tight angle.  Coming a minute into added time, it wasn't how Spurs wanted to go into the break.

Pochettino's half-time team talk was then different to how it might have been a minute before the whistle for the interval.  How would the second half go, with Spurs usually strong in the latter stages of games ?

The home team came out fired up for the second half, perhaps knowing that an early goal after the restart would give them a chance of emulating their win of last season after coming from behind.

Lacazette tested Lloris early on with a header that Hugo dived to his right to hold and then the Spurs captain played a short hospital ball to Toby inside the box and it was almost picked off him by Aubameyang, but they got away with it. When another Arsenal attack broke down five minutes into the half, Lamlea knocked it inside to Sanchez, whose pass to Son was played on to Lamela, who had run up the right wing. He returned the ball infield to Son, who was just inside the box. He stepped over the ball and hit a left foot shot that was deflected and pushed wide by Leno. The Spurs keeper also had to be alert, when Torreira played the ball in front of Guendouzi in the box and his low shot was going along the floor and inside Lloris’ left hand post, but the ball was kept out by a full length dive to his left and a good strong left hand. From the corner, Lacazette met the ball with a flicked header at the near post and coming in at the far post, Kosalinac could only get his studs to it, taking it wide, with Aubameyang coming in behind him.

Lacazette teed himself up for a volley that went a couple of feet wide from 25 yards, but Kane went closer in the 58th minute. The ball was played into him from the right by Lamela and his touch took the ball to Eriksen behind him in the D. It was played to him first time wide of the six yard box on the right and he drilled an effort at goal across the keeper, only to see the ball rebound off the inside of the far post and out to Luiz, who put it out for a corner.   After Aubameyang went down theatrically in the area trying to meet a cross with Sanchez, Spurs broke away, but Son was blocked by four players in the middle of the box as he looked for an opening to shoot.

It was quite unusual that when Lacazette pulled back Eriksen as he looked to break over the halfway line, earning a deserved booking, Xhaka threw the ball away, which was similar to Eriksen getting booked for. No consistency from Atkinson once again. Arsenal brought on Dani Ceballos for the disappointing Torreira and he made room for a fierce shot that Lloris did well to ti[ over the bar. From the corner, Sokratis went down and wanted a penalty, like he always does. Arsenal took Lacazette off and brought Mkhitaryan on, making more space for Aubameyang in the middle and that proved decisive.  When Guendouzi picked out a pass inside Vertonghen, the Arsenal striker got in behind him to volley past Hugo from five yards out to equalise. It was a goal that saw Jan not realise who was behind him and Rose had a man outside him, so the lack of awareness and communication cost us.

Xhaka tried a long range effort that Hugo dived right to push wide and there followed a period where Tottenham could not clear the ball, with it coming back in time and again, but despite conceding corners, there were few moments when the Gooners threatened the Spurs goal. One clearance from a corner fell 18 yards out to Pepe, who blazed it wide. The despicable Sokratis thought he had won the game with a goal from a left wing Kosalinac cross that he slid in at the far post, but the man who put the ball in was offside and VAR confirmed that.  Xhaka brought down lo Celso as soon as he came on and still wasn’t booked, but while waiting for the free-kick to be taken, Sokratis was pushing Spurs players offside on the edge of the box before the ball came in and when it did, Ceballos wrestled Dele to the floor off the ball and none of the officials on or off the field saw it !!

Arsenal broke and were using their left wing, where Mkhitaryan was playing, to get some balls into the box; one of which fell to Aubameyang, but as he turned to shoot Vertonghen was in the way. Xhaka made a foul on Kane as he turned away from him and then a long ball by Arsenal was poorly headed by Sanchez, with the ball dropping for Mkhitaryan, but he made the wrong decision to come inside and was only able to find a white shirt with his pass. Pepe shot wide from the right in a good position,

Sokratis got his usual booking after failing to let go of the ball when Winks tried to get it to take a throw-in. Sissoko took the ball a[out after it came to him inside his own half and ran it up to the penalty area, but his pass was too far ahead of Kane and the game moved to the other end, where Toby blocked a shot by Mkhitaryan and Winks was winning the ball when danger looked close.

Xhaka made a blatant pull back on Kane as he went across the halfway line, finally encouraging Atkinson to book him, when he possibly shouldn’t have been on the pitch. Harry was also involved three minutes into added time, when he was played in down the left of the box and Sokratis went with him, untidily bundling him over, but all Atkinson awarded was a free-kick to Arsenal for him laying on the ball (with Sokratis in front of him). Nothing was done either about Sokratis waving a finger in Kane’s face provocatively.  With the final whistle imminent, Spurs broke away with Kane on the left. He had time to slow down and play the ball square to Sissoko, who took the ball a little wider to the right and smashed a shot at goal that went way over the bar.

The game ebbed and flowed, apart from the referee's whistle interrupting the game's natural pace and passion, but five bookings for Spurs was a bit of a joke when Xhaka got away with so much and all the talk of Kane diving should be weighed against the ease with which Aubameyang went down in the box too.  Spurs played better than recently in going 2-0 ahead despite being under pressure from the start and finished strongly too, with a couple of good penalty shouts.  With Walker-Peters and Foyth missing, it was a brave move by Pochettino to play Sanchez at right back.  Although he was targeted in the first half, he grew into the role and looked better in the second half.

There will be questions about how quickly Tottenham reacted to situations, with players not closed down and allowed to make runs unseen, but overall, they defended manfully, while the midfield put in a lot of effort to get back to help them out.  The forwards made the most of the possession they had and with a bit of luck Kane's shot against the post might have gone in off it or off the keeper, but luck is not with us at the moment and nor is VAR.

If you had offered a draw before the game I would have taken it, but coming away disappointed with a point (which is more than we got there last season in the League) is a positive, but we must now knuckle down as the squad we have is what we have to select from until January and games will be coming thick and fast.  The sooner we get our new players fit and up to speed, it might add a new dynamic to Pochettino's plans, whereas, it has been using what he has at his disposal so far and that is slightly less than last season with injuries and players having left.

William Hyde

Match facts

Arsenal v Spurs matches have produced 23 draws out of 55 meetings - a new PL record.

Christian Eriksen’s scored his 50th Premier League goal and became the first Spurs player to make 50 assists and score 50 goals.

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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Southampton 1 Manchester United 1 Saturday
Burnley 0 Liverpool 3 Saturday
Chelsea 2 Sheffield United 2 Saturday
Crystal Palace 1 Aston Villa 0 -day
Leicester City 3 Bournemouth 1 Saturday
Manchester City 4 Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Saturday
Newcastle United 1 Watford 1 Saturday
West Ham United London 2 Norwich City 0 Saturday
Everton 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 2 Sunday



League Table  2019-20
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Liverpool 4 4 0 0 12 3 12 +9
2 Manchester City 4 3 1 0 14 3 10 +11
3 Leicester City 4 2 2 0 7 3 8 +4
4 Crystal Palace 4 2 1 1 3 2 7 +1
5 West Ham United London 4 2 1 1 6 7 7 -1
6 Woolwich Wanderers 4 2 1 1 6 6 7 0
7 Everton 4 2 1 1 4 4 7 0
8 Manchester United 4 1 2 1 7 4 5 +3
9 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 4 1 2 1 7 6 5 +1
10 Sheffield United 4 1 2 1 5 5 5 0
11 Frank Lampard's Chelsea 4 1 2 1 6 9 5 -3
12 Burnley 4 1 1 2 5 6 4 -1
13 Southampton 4 1 1 2 4 6 4 -2
14 Newcastle United 4 1 1 2 3 5 4 -2
15 Bournemouth 4 1 1 2 5 8 4 -3
16 Brighton & Hove Albion 4 1 1 2 4 7 4 -3
17 Wolverhampton Wanderers 4 0 3 1 4 5 3 -1
18 Aston Villa 4 1 0 3 4 6 3 -2
19 Norwich City 4 1 0 3 6 10 3 -4
20 Watford 4 0 1 3 2 8 1 -6


Position before match :  11th
Position after match :  9th
Position after the weekend :  9th


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