Arsenal exploit the wings and put Tottenham in a flap

Arsenal’s use of the whole pitch created space and angles to open up the Spurs defence as two goals inside a minute set-up a comfortable win.

A period of forty-nine seconds in the first half typified what Arsenal are about this season as Arséne Wenger’s Catalan-inspired reinvention has given the Gunners an explosiveness and unpredictability that was beginning to seep away from the side.

First Robin van Persie nipped in between Ledley King and Sébastien Bassong to poke the ball past Gomes and while the inquest between the pair was still on-going, Cesc Fabregas intercepted a pass from Palacios and preceded to tip-toe away from three challenges before firing home. The skipper has been criticised at times for being too slow but showed great power and mobility to burst past the Tottenham defence and his sheer determination to get the ball back quickly created the goal.

Indeed Arsenal started the game with good intensity but started to fade away during the middle period of the first half as Tottenham were quicker to close them down and hurry Arsenal’s men on the ball. It was Harry Redknapp’s tactic to restrict space in the centre and when the ball was won, play it quickly to Peter Crouch who’s presence would allow the wide men to get involved. And for a while the tactic worked and were it not for a fantastic last-ditch tackle from Alex Song on Robbie Keane, the Gunners could in all reality have gone a goal down.

But Arsenal’s ability to stretch the pitch meant there was always going to be space to be exploited and angles in the pass to play the ball. The wide men of Arshavin and Bendtner were looking Arsenal’s best threat as the pair had a couple of chances to test Gomes by cutting inside to support van Persie and Fabregas while the space vacated allowed Bakary Sagna in particular to capitalise from. The French full back made it a week to remember, ending the game with two assists following the one at West Ham as his cross for van Persie wrapped up the third. As ever Cesc Fabregas was the instigator of most Arsenal’s attacks and much of his passes in the opposition half were directed diagonally towards the two flanks. Wenger’s ploy of having one flank more direct and the other more intricate allowed the side to set-up a series of triangles though slightly elongated to the right.

The change in style means this season’s Arsenal are a different team than from yesteryears. The beautiful football is still there but possession won’t exactly be their specialist trait, just better than most. Robin van Persie’s role as the false nine is crucial to Arsenal’s build up play as is the means to get the ball deep quickly. “He is a mixture,” said Wenger of the Dutch striker. “He is less of a runner with the ball than Thierry Henry and he is not completely Dennis Bergkamp because he plays higher up the pitch. With the type of game we have, he is vital because, when you play the ball to his feet, his first touch is always perfect and it allows [others] to join in. And, in the box, he is intelligent.”

Wenger did show one moment of frustration as a problem in communication saw him throw his jacket down in fury in trying to translate his tactics to his players. But he needn’t to worry as his side looked to be learning from the mistakes of the past two games and showed a marked improvement in concentration and discipline to see out the match.

Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur: van Persie 42, 60, Fabregas 43.

Arsenal (4-3-3): Almunia (7), Sagna (8), Gallas (7), Vermaelen (7), Clichy (7), Fabregas (8), Song Billong (7), Diaby (7), Bendtner (7) (Eduardo 6), van Persie (7) (Ramsey), Arshavin (7) (Eboue).
Subs not used: Mannone, Senderos, Nasri, Gibbs.

Tottenham (4-5-1): Gomes (4), Corluka (6) (Hutton), King (6), Bassong (5), Assou-Ekotto (5), Bentley (6), Huddlestone (5) (Bale), Palacios (5), Jenas (6), Keane (5) (Pavlyuchenko), Crouch (5).
Subs not used: Button, Dawson, Kranjcar, Woodgate.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne and Wear)

Arsenal Team Statistics Tottenham Hotspur
3 Goals 0
2 1st Half Goals 0
8 Shots on Target 4
6 Shots off Target 4
4 Blocked Shots 2
6 Corners 2
14 Fouls 11
4 Offsides 3
1 Yellow Cards 1
0 Red Cards 0
78.9 Passing Success 76.2
24 Tackles 32
79.2 Tackles Success 84.4
52 Possession 48
51.5 Territorial Advantage 48.5

23 thoughts on “Arsenal exploit the wings and put Tottenham in a flap

  1. It is heartening to see RVP score tap ins. He showed why he is a hybrid striker. Can assist goals, score, can bend in set pieces and can also cross the ball from the wings. Now, he is a goal poacher too. I would even go as far and call him a universal striker.

    Fabregas’s goal was stunning to say the least.

  2. Now teams have stopped parking the bus. They are closing us down very efficiently. But we have three creative outlets in Fabregas, Arshavin and RVP. With Nasri back and Rosicky in the flank, anyone will be able to give the final ball. I think substitutions will make a big impact this season.

  3. Nice review. But I was expecting better ratings.

    Almunia (7)
    Sagna (8.5), Gallas (7), Vermaelen (8.5), Clichy (7)
    Cesc (8.5), Song (8), Diaby (5.5)
    Bendtner (6.5), van Persie (9), Arshavin (7)

    Eduardo (6), Eboue (6.5), Ramsey (N/A)

    1. I don’t think you watched diaby close enough. he emulated denilson in attempting tackles, providing defensive support and passing short really quickly once he got the ball.
      he really helped us keep the ball and rarely let a pass go astray. only 4 out of 45 passes missed. he has his roles in the team, don’t knock him just cause everyone does.

  4. yeah… everything is perfect with this arsenal team except diaby…

    If you agree that diaby is the weakest link in the whole arsenal line up, then gimme a HELL YEAH!!!!

  5. Damn_Gallas – you are the weakest link. It’s supporters like you who let the team down by failing to support every member. The negative comments on blogs end up in the attitude of supporters in the crowd who groan audibly when certain players make a mistake, but silently sit there while their favourites stroll around looking unfit and uninterested.

  6. I see all the glory as you all do and I love the way the team kept going and going. But for me yesterday, MoM = Vermaelen

    The Vermaelen-Crouch match up is comical to say the least. Not only because we sent out a defender almost a foot shorter than Crouch to mark him but also because of how often Vermaelen won headers against Crouch with majestic ease. I can’t but love it.

    But that was only one aspect of Vermaelen’s game yesterday. He is our Fabregas of the back-four now. Everyone know they can pass the ball to Vermaelen and he’ll get them out of their jams with his great techniques with the ball and a calmness of a midfielder. Vermaelen also showed great focus and tactical discipline at the bottom of the defense, mopping up long balls reliably and allowing Gallas to move more freely up and down the right flank. Almost-perfect performance for a center back.

    1. yes, vermaelen was brilliant. it was hilarious how uneven the matchup was for crouch. he couldn’t seem to win a header.
      our boy is amazing at predicting the path of the ball and intercepts very well. he’s also a very intelligently positioned player.
      that is why i prefer our center backs intercepting crosses instead of defending pacy wingers. it plays to our strengths.

  7. Arsenal were very intelligent to moves combination attacks from the central position since Spuds were stoppng it well to effective crossing game from the flanks. In the end bcuz King & his teammates cover the central combinations and crosses simutaneously provoked the 1st and last goals to occur.

    1. Mistake “In the end bcuz King & his teammates cover couldnt cover the central combinations and crosses simutaneously hence provoked the 1st and last goals to occur.”

  8. A lot of people say that the role given to Van Persie does not suit his style of play and the he should play in the same position that he plays for his country. I beg to differ. I think this is the perfect position for him. The 2 main qualities of a striker are
    1)A good ‘first touch’
    2)Good Finishing

    Van Persie possesses both these qualities. Hence he should play as the main striker and not a winger or a second striker. Compare him to Adebeyor. He played as the main striker but failed to generate half the impact that RVP has. His USP’s are good upper body strength and speed. His finishing is appalling and his first touch is mediocre. To add to that he was horrible at beating the off side trap. I’ve lost count of the number of times he’s been shown the off side flag. He just did not have the end product which so vital if you want to win matches consistantly.

    1. RVP is great. ESPN and Redknapp were talking about how his first goal was a mistake by spurs, but I think not. it was a very well worked goal and a great touch by RVP.
      they say the keeper should have done better, but if gomes kept that out it would have been an amazing save, not a routine one.
      RVP did make mistakes, like the time he was free on goal and shot into the sidenetting first time instead of settling the ball and testing the keeper.

  9. a lot of people are talking about the win, but i’m curious about bendtner’s groin . . . wait that doesn’t sound right . . .
    and the shouting match that he and van persie had before bendtner came off.
    wonder what’s going on with bendtner

  10. Diaby has to improve. He took a long time to get into the game (almost 75 minutes). This shows that Arsene is merely showing his faith in Abou’s potential by not starting someone else ahead of Diaby, but if he continues this inconsistency, Nasri/Ramsey will definitely be starting ahead of Diaby in a matter of weeks. His legs are long and he has the techniques for holding up, winning balls and tackling, but his application is subpar, thus making him look like a nutter when sliding for the ball or turning in circles and eventually losing the ball to opponents. Go gunners!

  11. diaby ???? (1st half poor but improve in 2nd half) & arshavin (can’t agreed on his rating. I think his heart is at Barca), being replace by either Nasri, Rosicky, Walcott, Bendtner, Vela, Merida, Ramsey, Wilshere………. Arsenal performance will be more all-rounded with 11 playing players instead of 9)

  12. Arshavin offered little and diaby had another sub standard game. However gallas was immense as was song. Very good to see the concentration levels maintained. I just hope we push on and get 3 points against wolves on sat. It’ll be a tough one up there but we have the quality to win.

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