Poch rolls the dice…and they come up snake eyes

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Juan Foyth has now played in a proper derby. So I guess the experience counts for something, for we have little else to take from this mess of a game at the Emirates.

Whether or not the halftime lead was deserved and even if Mike Dean was correct in awarding Son a penalty (I believe he was) Spurs were hardly the better side in the first 45 minutes, the fact is we had it and then proceeded to do everything to lose this game in every way in the second period. Arsenal outpressed us, Arsenal outworked us, Arsenal took advantage of our mistakes as we could not do the same for theirs. The two crucial plays were of course a long ball swept over to Aubameyang for a pristine finish, Lloris had no chance and our defending was not stout enough. Then Foyth gave the ball away and Lacazette punished us, admittedly with the good fortune of a deflection. Eric Dier’s error only padded the scoreline, the outcome was no longer in doubt. Spurs basically chose this day to play their worst half of the season.

Son was the one bright light, his effort produced both goals. The rest of the frontline appeared as leggy as one would have thought they would be after two tough fixtures in the previous week. Eriksen and Kane (other than the penalty) were passengers most of the day and Dele saved his best moment for knocking a sure goal off the line in the second half. Sissoko’s nice run ended today as he was guilty of a couple of poor giveaways and misplayed at least two superb chances with poor touches or a mistimed pass. Dier got a fortunate goal and riled everything up by shushing the crowd and bringing the Derby emotion front and center., I guess he inciting something so the yellow may have been warranted. His error for the final goal from Terreira was foolish.

The back line was simply never secure. Arsenal bossed us for virtually the entire game. It was asking a lot of Poch to trust the middle to 1) a player playing only his second game of the past two months just four days after the first and 2) a kid who had never played in a Derby before. Vertonghen made a silly error for the penalty and the first goal. Foyth an equally silly one to allow the turnover leading to Lacazette’s winner, and neither shone on the Aubameyang goal which changed the entire tenor of the game. Davies and Aurier weren’t a whole lot better, and Lloris and good fortune saved what could easily have been two or three more. It was pure and simple the worst Spurs performance vs Arsenal since Pochettino arrived, and maybe not coincidentally the first without the presence of Arsene Wenger.

So we are in a tough battle for the Top Four now with our two London rivals, we got one over on Chelsea but Woolwich have done us. When Alderweireld was quoted as saying this derby is far from the biggest, I had an instant bad feeling about this game. The same thing happened last year, as Spurs rolled into this fixture all fat and happy, only to get beat. This time we don’t have Arsene to kick around the rest of the year, finishing Top Four will be a tough ask, and the likelihood is that we will be playing Chelsea and Arsenal for Europa glory, such that it is, alongside the league battle. They were by far the better team today, Poch has to figure out a way to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

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