Spurs shellshocked, but is it really a surprise?

Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur – Premier League – Emirates Stadium – Report

Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur

The look on his face said it all – The final seconds ticked away – Nuno Espirito Santo shook his head. What can he achieve with a group of footballers, and indeed a club, that specialises in underachievement?

Arsenal thoroughly deserved to win the latest chapter in the North London Derby accounts. But make no mistake, this isn’t a strong Gunners team – far from it. They simply had the stomach for it. Tottenham’s first-half efforts, abysmal – After the restart, without fluidity and appearing to lack interest in the biggest game on their fixture list. Some Spurs supporters headed for the exits shortly after Bukayo Saka had added the Gunners third goal, eleven minutes before the break. Who can blame them?

Prior to their premature departure, sparked by Saka’s low strike, Emile Smith Rowe profited from the formers toil to hand Arsenal a twelfth-minute lead before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made it two – killing the contest in the process.

Heung-Min Son’s late goal served as little consolation for Tottenham, who have floundered alarmingly of late. Indeed, that bright start to the campaign which saw Manchester City, Wolves and Watford dispatched, now seems a lifetime ago. Early season enthusiasm and optimism squeezed out of the N17 faithful, and not for the first time!

Pressure has begun to mount on Nuno. Perhaps understandable, but has anyone achieved any better with this group in more recent times? Having witnessed his sides’ capitulation, resulting in Arsenal leapfrogging them in mid-table: “A lot of things went wrong, starting with decisions that I made,” the Spurs chief bemoaned.

“It’s not easy to expand, so I just ask for a bit of respect if I don’t go too much into it. The game plan didn’t work out. I’m very honest. If the game plan didn’t work out the way you wanted it to work out, it’s because you didn’t decide it well.”

Nuno continued: “First of all we have to recover mentally and physically for the next one. Then we have to make better decisions, work harder and find the right decision.

“We started very well with a clear idea we lost it. We must assume and realise we lost it. It is taking us too much time to go back to the things we want to do and the things we want to become as a team.

“We want to be a team that is fast, stronger, solid, dominant. We are not being that team. This is how me and my coaching staff work.

“First, recover the players mentally and physically find them help them find the right solutions for them to develop better the way we want to play football.”

Spurs now turn their attention to the UEFA Europa Conference, where they face NS Mura at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Thursday, September 30 (8pm). The Lilywhites return to Premier League action on Sunday, October 3 when Aston Villa are the visitors (2pm).

Arsenal: Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Gabriel, White, Tierney, Partey, Xhaka (Lokonga 82’), Saka (Maitland-Niles 87’), Odegaard, Smith Rowe (Tavares 88’), Aubameyang (Capt) Subs not used: Leno, Lacazette, Holding, Soares, Pepe, Martinelli

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris (Capt), Tanganga (Royal 46’), Dier, Sanchez, Reguilon, Ndombele (Bryan 70’), Hojbjerg, Dele (Skipp 46’), Lucas, Kane, Son Subs not used: Gollini, Rodon, Romero, Davies, Lo Celso, Scarlett.

Referee: Craig Pawson
Assistants: Ian Hussin and Dan Robathan
Fourth Official: Peter Bankes
VAR: Stuart Attwell
Assistant VAR: Constantine Hatzidakis

Attendance: 59,919

Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]