Monday, October 3, 2011

Tottenham 2 - Arsenal 1

After a less-than-convincing mid-week win at home in the Champion's League, Arsenal still cannot get a proper foothold in the Premiership. Yesterday, they lost away in the North London Derby 2-1. Trailing 1-0 at half time, after another lapse in the center of defense, featuring the unusual pairing of Per Mertesacker and Alex Song, Arsenal scored early in the second half and controlled possession for the much of the half, with Tottenham only threatening on the counterattack. But a fine long-range shot by the unsung Kyle Walker, and an uncharacteristic miscue by goalie Wojciech Szczesny, undid all the good work.

To add injury to the insult, Bacary Sagna left the game in the second half with what turns out to be a broken leg. He will be out of action at least through the end of this calendar year, and will be sorely missed. Arsenal's  already shaky defense is on the brink of toppling over. 

If not for his contribution to the defensive lapse that led to Tottenham's first goal, Alex Song may have been Arsenal's man of the match. He seemed to be all over the field (which admittedly might not be wanted from a  central defender), and he played with all the energy and aggression that others, such as Mikel Arteta, seemed to lack. Once again, Theo Walcott showed that he lacks a fast footballing mind to accompany has fast footballing body. The forward combination of Gervinho and Van Persie is not yet clicking on all cylinders, but continues to show promise. That promise will need to pay off sooner rather than later, however.  Arsenal currently sit in 15th place in the Premier League table, taking just 7 points from the first 7 games. They are two points above the relegation zone. Just so we're clear about this: the manager is not to blame. 

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