The best game of the season in the league by far, wasn’t it? It is hard to know where to start, as both teams could easily have won and of course we will and should be disappointed to squander a two goal lead. The simplest observation is that this is our real team—for the first time this year in terms of both personnel and attitude but for right back.
Last year at this venue we collapsed after going ahead—today we bent but didn’t break, in no small part because our captain is still a world class goalkeeper. There are many nits to pick about possession and wastefulness on attack but overall this was a good, not great, performance and should, presuming no news is good news for the next 24 hours, settle things as we go into an international break.
To take it by positions, Hugo Lloris was simply brilliant today, with at least four terrific saves, the last off Ceballos, and he more than anyone should be credited for saving the point. Danny Rose was the best player on the pitch before his booking—simply anywhere and everywhere and blocking one finish from Aubameyang that seemed destined for the back of the net. He by necessity had to pull his punches a bit after that but was still superb. I can’t really blame either center back for the goals—Lacazette’s touch and shot on the first was impressive, Aubameyang’s deflection on the equaliser was unstoppable. Sanchez had a bit of everything—at times impressive in his strength and effort, and at other times, not surprisingly given his inexperience at fullback, wasteful. It was his giveaway followed by his failed clearance that led to the opener. So a mixed grade but credit for filling in and let’s hope it was a one-off and Walker-Peters, Aurier and/or Foyth provides some stability in the weeks ahead.
Harry Winks had an OK game—I didn’t think he was great, but nor did he seem out of sort as he has on other occasions—he fought hard and with some better finishing from his teammates might have figured in a goal or two. Lo Celso played hard and well in the final ten minutes to help preserve the draw. Sissoko was as Sissoko is—the good and the bad with supreme effort throughout. Why that final ball on the counter came to him is a mystery—and why he didn’t try something other than shot is as well. Son created the opening goal, came very close to burying Arsenal twice with Leno or a defender just keeping his curlers out and earned Kane’s penalty, but it must be said that his wastefulness in the second half before Povh removed him bordered on the criminal. Twice with at least two teammates in scoring position he elected to dribble the ball into a crowd and lost possession—I would think the videotape his manager will show in training will be quite damning. Hopefully we will see something different and better down the road. Erik Lamela’s shot led to the first goal and he was solid throughout his time though I wish we had a better corner strategy than kick the ball to the keeper and let them counter in a nanosecond. Dele was fairly invisible in his first showing of the year. Kane converted from the spot and almost won the game twice—the first time hitting the post from an acute angle on a cheeky combination play, and the second his late penalty shout. I give up about what VAR is supposed to do anymore—he was shoved down in the box and somehow they don’t even check? Maybe they did.
I’ll leave the best (or worst?) for last. Christian Eriksen played all 90+ minutes and scored the opening goal and played the way he can—playmaking around the pitch. Not his best game, but better. Was this his swan song? Would Poch really have played him without an assurance that he’d still be in the squad in 24 hours? Or could this have been a demonstration for Madrid to table their bid? We’ll know soon enough. But let’s not doubt his value for this team. He matters. This was close to our best XI, but for the right back void. Not light yet, but getting there. (Dylan—Google it)
Have something to tell us about this article?