It wasn’t an unfair result. We were the better side in the first half, but they were more clinical when it mattered. Hugo didn’t/couldn’t do vs. Ramsey what Ospina did vs. Lamela. After Coquelin’s impertinence we were brilliant for long enough to snatch control, but this Arsenal side—after suffering the blows of perceived indifference in recent weeks—would not quit and, to be honest, either side could have won it at the death.
And while the Gunners’ title hopes still flicker, and Spurs’ burn somewhat more brightly, this one will soon be forgotten as nine more fixtures and the Foxes ability to outrun the hunt will tell the tale. Will this be the great opportunity missed, or another brick in the glorious wall?
Yet one can’t help but come back to those last twenty five minutes and the way that ten man Arsenal were able—not once, but several times—to snatch the impetus away from our lads and create the chances that rendered the draw. One felt that Poch got carried away with the momentum first Alderweireld, then Kane, had created. After all we were inches away from three goals and a decisive edge. The team that pushes—incessantly—kept pushing, and the manager either lacked the judgment or the desire to stop them.
I’ll say it. A Jose Mourinho-led side would not have conceded the equaliser. They would have realized at 2-1 that they had one job, and one job only: get a defensive shape and frustrate a ten man opposition. Don’t overcommit your defence. Don’t allow a break. Stop everything before the pass comes into the final third. Identify the chief threats—Ramsey-Ozil—and particularly Sanchez, the most talented player on the pitch—and shut them down. At all cost. Be brutal about getting the three points.
Perhaps without the man advantage that’s precisely what Spurs would have done. We’ll never know. And perhaps a team trained, cajoled and inspired to play a certain way can’t so easily flip the switch and change styles midstream. If Danny Rose is critical playing up on the wing, I suppose you keep him doing just that. Maybe seven times out of ten the third goal is scored and this discussion becomes academic.
But championship runs are fleeting. We might think—with good reason—that this team can only get better next year. But won’t Chelsea, United, Liverpool and City have the same reason to expect improvement? At least two or three of that group? The time is nigh… Let’s hope that the inability to park a bus doesn’t prevent a trip into glory.
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