The lack of a plan B came back to haunt Arsenal at Wembley, as they crashed to a 1-0 defeat against Spurs.
The Gunners looked like a no-trick pony, but they remained defensively solid for most of the game, despite surrendering possession more often than not to their north London neighbours.
Aubemeyang must wonder what he has let himself in for, on a day when neither Mkhitarayan nor Ozil could supply him the ball. The only chance he got was carved out by Jack Wilshere, but the referee’s assistant decided inexplicably that it was offside. With the game finely poised at 0-0, you fancied Aubemeyang to score.
However, after a game like today, when Mkhitaryan struggled to find a red shirt and Ozil struggled to look interested, Aube must feel like he’ll lose his ‘mojo’ and his ‘meyang’ in a team that cannot create chances against the likes of Spurs.
Let’s be honest, Tottenham are no world-beaters. They remind me of the old Stoke, when people used to call them the Orcs. However, Spurs have a sprinkling of skill to go with it, plus a great manager. In short, Spurs look like a team. Meanwhile, Arsenal look like a random collection of individual talents, who sometimes gel and often don’t.
Despite the result, defensively Arsenal’s display was far from awful. Cech made a world-class save to keep Arsenal in it, after the first goal was conceded. Even the goal was about conceding possession higher up the pitch, as Ozil decided not to pressure the ball. I guess it’s his prerogative not to defend, especially now he has a lucrative new contract. Maybe he needs to be told why it is important to pressure the man on the ball. Anyway, the resulting cross gave Kane a chance and he doesn’t miss against Arsenal.
The Arsenal defence generally did what they could to keep Spurs at bay. Elneny looked solid to me, despite what some people have said online about the Egyptian. Even Xhaka put in a decent performance; for once, I don’t remember him giving the ball away. However, the Swiss international didn’t create much either, but what do you expect? Miracles?
It was easy to predict who would be subbed. However, Wenger broke the mould by 6 minutes in bringing Lacazette and Iwobi on around the 64th minute. That almost constitutes panicking in Wengerland, where the optimum time for substitutions is always the 70th minute. You could almost sense the urgency as Wenger replaced Mkhitarayan and Elneny. Xhaka was next to go off, as Wenger threw on Welbeck.
The subs made little or no impact. Iwobi struggled to retain possession, while Lacazette had a glorious chance to equalise, but pulled his shot wide of the far post. It was a shot of someone lacking confidence. All those times when Wenger has not allowed Lacazette to play 90 minutes and rack up more goals may be part of the reason for the Frenchman’s lack of confidence.
Only Wilshere looked like scoring, with an excellent curled effort that the Spurs keeper dealt with admirably. Without Ramsey, there’s a serious lack of goals in this team, as Aube will need time to settle and Laca looks hours away from scoring again.
This disorganised Arsenal team looks set to lurch from crisis to crisis, as the current management seem not to know how to arrest this slide.