Tottenham Hotspur welcomed their arch-rivals Arsenal to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday for a “friendly” match, part of The Mind Series that also included Chelsea, with proceeds from the game going to charity. But Spurs were anything but charitable to their guests. Spurs played well from the opening kick, with Son Heung-Min converting late in the second half to give them a deserved 1-0 win over the Gunners.
It’s just a friendly, but it’s also Arsenal which means we still get to say:
North London is WHIIIIIIIIIITE
Here are my match notes from today’s friendly, the final tune-up before the Premier League season kicks off a week from today against Manchester City.
Match Notes and Reactions
- Steven Bergwijn again came out aggressively from the opening kick, taking on Tierney and trying to be more direct. It was nice to see. It didn’t always come off for Steve, but he did make himself available as an offensive option both with the ball and on the counter.
- Once again the midfield combination of Hojbjerg - Skipp - Dele didn’t do much ball progression. When Spurs got forward in the first half it was either courtesy of a long ball from deep, or attacking up the flanks. There wasn’t much going on centrally, though maybe that’s just the more defensive PEH-Skipp pairing.
- As a side point, though — maybe that’s just Nuno-ball? We saw a lot of that style of play when he was at Wolves, though if that’s true it’s concerning since we have two world-class midfield progressers at the club right now. Will be interesting to watch going forward.
- And as a final point: Gio Lo Celso made an INSTANT impact in the second half, and you could see it immediately. He was progressive and direct, and Spurs’ midfield was much better. So maybe it is just personnel. It was really nice to see Gio back out there.
- Japhet Tanganga had an incredible match. He worked his tail off as a more defensive right back, but did well around Arsenal’s box. Spurs’ goal to Son was set up beautifully by Japhet shielding the ball and finding Sonny free. I don’t know what Nuno’s plans are for Japhet, but I’d like to NOT send him out on loan at this point.
- Thought Dele was fantastic today, and was extremely lucky not to score. Could’ve had three today.
- The interplay between Lucas, Bergwijn, Dele, and Son has been really good in preseason and continued to be here. I’m a little concerned about Sonny starting as a CF as he’s just not as effective with his back to goal. Gosh if only we had a world class #10 that could come and bang in goals for us for fun. (Or £160m to go buy one)
- I think the starting lineup today is probably pretty close to what we’ll see against City. Kane we know is out. Romero is apparently recovering from a knock picked up at the Copa America final. Tomiyasu isn’t in. Maybe some shifting in the midfield (Gio for Skipp? Aurier for Tanganga?) but otherwise I think we’re pretty close to the lineup for week 1.
- Nice to see Buakyo Saka get a warm round of applause from the Lane faithful today when he came on as a substitute in solidarity and support for when he was racially abused after the EURO final. Just want to reiterate that point: an Arsenal player got warm applause from Tottenham fans, and not for being stretchered off injured! Warms the heart, and Saka deserved it too.