After losing count of the number of x-rated challenges that Spurs players were allowed to get away with versus Arsenal, it came as a big shock when Torreira (one of the few Gunners who can mix it, hence his introduction at half-time) was sent off for a challenge on Rose, after getting the ball first. It was a harsh red card, in my opinion, and Rose made it look more dangerous than it was by running straight into the raised foot.
In a match where there were numerous outrageous foul challenges committed by Spurs players, I am baffled how Torreira received his marching orders. One of the fouls on Leno was particularly cynical and vicious, when he took studs in the torso. How could that not be a red-card offence? Then there were plenty of other nasty challenges, particularly on Koscielny.
It was reminiscent of the Stoke City of old under Tony Pullis, renamed ‘the Orcs’ by disgusted Arsenal fans. That team was made up of butchers, hackers and ankle/leg-breakers, ask Aaron Ramsey.
That was why it was fitting that Rambo should score against the new Orcs. After a lung-bursting run, the Juve-bound Welshman latched onto a ball, and knocked the ball to Lloris’s right before sliding in to convert with his left foot. It was a moment of class, reminding Arsenal fans of what they’ll be missing from next season onwards.
Despite Ramsey’s memorable goal, poor officiating would take centre stage in a match that Arsenal deserved to win. There was something George Graham-like about the Gunners defensively, so they can count themselves unfortunate to concede from a penalty that never was. I’m not even sure there was enough contact on Kane for him to go down in the box but, regardless of that, he was offside.
As regards the other penalty that Aubameyang earned, I would have given it, as it was a much clumsier challenge that that on Kane.
Of course, the penalty itself was not one of Aubameyang’s best, but at least it forced a save out of the keeper. We know now that it should have been retaken for encroachment, but I have to say the Gabon international did not look confident when he took it. Maybe he would have missed again!
Although Aubameyang is a top striker, much better in most departments (except heading) than Kane, perhaps he needs someone to remind him of how good he actually is. That’s the job of a sports psychologist and you’d like to think they have one at Arsenal, although I’m not sure who fulfills that role.
Confidence is important and players who get played out of position a lot or get left on the bench (like Aubameyang) can lose it quickly, even if he is one of the best in the world.
Nevertheless, the team’s confidence should be high, as Arsenal more than matched the highest-placed London side in the league on their own patch. It was quite an acheivement and you sense this side can go on to do much more.
Perhaps St Totteringham’s Day will even be celebrated again as early as this year. Who knows? With confidence as well as ability, anything is possible.