Thanks to John Ellis for this view on yesterday's game
Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 Arsenal
The wheels are just about staying on but many more weeks like this last one and it wonít be long before they fall off completely. The team hasnít played well for most of the season but this has been camouflaged by scruffy and often late wins. The old adages have been trotted out that it is the sign of a good team when winning without playing well and that the team has learnt how to win. Sadly when the wins dry up, without performances, there is little much cheer on show.
Spurs got lucky again today to just earn a point.
The game started badly when in the second minute Trippier let his man cut inside and the cross created a difficult volleyed chance for Lacazette. Trippier being beaten on the inside became a feature of the match. The doziness at the end of the Chelsea game seemed to carry into the opening stages of todayís match. Alderweireld was caught napping twice in the space of a couple of minutes. Once inexplicably from a short goal kick by Lloris.
Spurs went one down in the 16th minute to yet another poor goal to concede. Kane lost the ball in the opposing penalty area, the ball was played up to the halfway line where Sanchez misjudged and the pass put Ramsey through on goal. To his credit Sanchez got back and when Lloris forced Ramsay wide, it seemed the chance might have gone but alas it was steered into the net.
The season seemed in danger of falling apart. Could Spurs respond?
In the 23rd minute a beautifully flighted free kick by Trippier was met perfectly by Kane to head into the net. He was though adjudged to be offside. It was poor form to be caught offside from a free kick.
This though encouraged Spurs who launched a sustained period of attacking play. Son showed incredible mesmerising skills to surge by several defenders into the box but couldnít quite apply the finishing touch.
Half an hour had passed though and Spurs hadnít had a shot on target which made 120 minutes in total including the Chelsea match. Arsenal started time wasting just after the half hour mark...
Spurs continued to look disorganised at the back. A free kick from the Spurs left found a completely unmarked player who had all the time in the world to head back across goal. The 42nd minute brought an excellent diving save from Lloris after another easy cut inside and waltz around Trippier.
The Arsenal keeper pulled off a quite remarkable double save right on half time. Firstly from Eriksen and almost unbelievably on the follow up from Sissoko. The whistle blew for half time with Spurs mostly in the ascendency but looking susceptible to breakaways. Spurs though were staring down the barrel of a third successive defeat which would leave Champions League qualification in a perilous state.
In the 50th minute, an excellent ball released Trippier but his cross was absolutely appalling - high and long. Arsenal were targeting the Spurs right flank and rightly so. An overlap and cutback created a good opening and Spurs were fortuitous to see the shot angle wide.
In the 55th minute Alderweireld volleyed wide. The angle was tight but on another day...
Trippierís confidence seemed so totally shot it felt cruel not to substitute him. In any event surely Sissoko would make a better fist of the right wing back role. In the 64th minute Trippier was yet again waltzed by inside. His left foot is purely for standing on. Spurs looked bereft of ideas with long balls becoming increasingly the chosen route.
Sissoko saved an almost certain goal with a fine defensive effort deep inside his own box.
In the 73rd minute a clear push on Kane brought Spurs a much needed penalty. The short delay did nothing to calm the nerves amongst the home support but up stepped Harry Kane to finish with aplomb! 1-1!
In the 89th minute Jan Vertonghen lost the ball softly on the halfway line. Arsenal broke and a poor penalty was awarded. The penalty was low to the right of the keeper but Lloris guessed correct and dived to save his second successive penalty!
The experiment of Rose in central midfield was in danger of costing the team at least a point with him giving the ball away in dangerous situations time after time.Arsen al looked the team more likely to score in the closing stages...A crazy tackle on Rose in added time led to Arsenal being reduced to ten men.
The game ended. In truth it was a poor affair and not helped by yet another abysmal display of refereeing. The top four looks a lot less assured than just a week ago but it could and should have been even less assured.
And so on to Dortmund....
∑ Spurs Odyssey match report
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