Three first half goals from Arsenal were more than enough as the Gunners handed Tottenham Hotspur an awful defeat by the final score of 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium.
Nuno Espirito Santo made three changes from his lineup against Chelsea. Lucas Moura returned after a short spell due to injury while Davinson Sanchez and Japhet Tanganga returned to the back line. Emerson Royal, Cuti Romero and Giovani Lo Celso were all moved to the bench, giving Nuno good options to freshen the squad up in the second half.
2’ - Spurs are pressing right out of the gate, as expected with this lineup. Lucas is pushing every chance he can on the right flank.
9’ - Already a bit chippy out there. Reguilon looked like he wanted to shoot lasers through Aubameyang and Tanganga is getting right in Saka’s face.
12’ - Goal Arsenal (Smith-Row) - The midfield gets absolutely shredded by two passes. Saka gathers it on the flank and takes three touches before feeding Smith-Rowe twelve yards out. One-time effort goes into the net. That was far too easy and the bigger concern is that most everyone looked like they were dragging ass.
16’ - Another chance for Arsenal as Aubameyang crosses into the box for Saka. He pulls back and finds Thomas Partey, who gets a great effort on target but Hugo is up to the challenge and parries it out to touch.
23’ - Better from Spurs as Son gets a chance on target but Ramsdale denies him. Arsenal are still the better side so far but at least we look interested now.
24’ - ....not sure what that was. Kane turns and fires from 30+ yards and sends it into the tenth row. Not great for his first real contribution in the match.
26’ - Moura is now playing in the midfield. Tanganga has pushed way up the pitch and Lucas is now playing behind Kane.
27’ - Goal Arsenal (Aubameyang) - Good lord this was absolute crap defending. Arsenal spring the counter-attack after Aubameyang gets one touch to Smith-Rowe. He takes it into the penalty area and cuts back a pass to Aubameyang and one-times it into the side netting. Bad all around and this feels like it could get worse.
34’ - Goal Arsenal (Saka) - This is just tragic. Kane tries...something and trips over himself, giving the ball up to Partey to start the counter. Saka then keeps the ball after Kane slides in to challenge and he slots it far netting. 3-0 and this could get far, far worse.
38’ - Chance for Spurs on a corner. Sonny pumps a good one in and Kane gets his head on the end of it but it’s wide of the mark. Really should be 3-1 but it’s not meant to be.
Half-Time: Mercifully, the half is over. Arsenal lead 3-0 after a disinterested Spurs folded up shop after the first goal.
SUBSTITUTIONS AT THE HALF: Emerson Royal comes on for Japhet Tanganga while Oliver Skipp replaces Dele. Okay then.
46’ - Nuno’s changes has moved Spurs into a 4-2-3-1 it looks like. Skipp is next to Hojbjerg and Ndombele has slotted into the 10.
53’ - Not much has changed as Arsenal control the ball and keep asking the questions. Tomiyasu gets on the end of a corner kick but it has nothing on it. Easy gather for Hugo.
57’ - That sure looked like a penalty on Kane but VAR says no. Replays showed plenty of contact but....nope.
61’ - Decent strike from Kane from about twenty yards out. Ramsdale is forced to make a save though it looked like it was going just wide.
63’ - Another chance, possibly the best one in the match for Spurs, sees Kane gather a long ball nicely and he tries a chip over Ramsdale but it goes wide. Chances are good he was offside, though.
67’ - Skipp earns a yellow card for a bit of a wild challenge, even though he didn’t make much in the way of contact.
70’ - SUBSTITUTION SPURS: Bryan Gil comes on for Tanguy Ndombele.
72’ - Really feels like we’re just going through the motions. Arsenal make a push here and there and Spurs aren’t doing much when they get on the ball.
74’ - And just as I finish typing that, Saka gets another chance with a low curler. Hugo makes the save and sends it out to touch.
79’ - GOAL SPURS (Heung-Min Son): Moura gets fouled by Partey and crashes into Xhaka. Everything seems to slow down but play continues. Reguilon feeds the ball into Sonny, who blasts it home. 3-1 but there’s still a lot of ground to make up.
81’ - SUBSTITUTION ARSENAL: Xhaka’s injury takes him out of the match. He’s replaced by Sambi Lokonga.
90’+1” - Ramsdale prevents this match from moving to 3-2 with a jumping save on Lucas Moura. Tip of the hat on that one.
FULL TIME: Arsenal 3-1 Spurs. A better second half but the first half was as bad as it gets.
Thoughts on the Match:
- That was one of the worst performances in the first half I’ve ever seen Spurs put up. They looked bored and disinterested, especially after the first goal. An embarrassing display, to say the least.
- I have no idea what Nuno’s plan was outside of the pressing in the first ten minutes. The midfield was practically invisible and there was acres of space for Arsenal to run through.
- The defense was awful. I would really like to know why Romero and Emerson didn’t start but, hell, it may not have mattered.
- Kane did absolutely nothing for about sixty minutes. The final thirty he was actually playing striker and got some cracks.
- There are some serious concerns with this squad right now. Nuno has to step up and take the blame, then figure out what to change tactically because the last three EPL matches have been awful.
- Watch the tape. Learn the mistakes. Burn the tape.
- Mura on Thursday. Expect heavy rotation.