A disappointing 2-1 loss Spurs culminated in us finishing the game 7 points from them. Here are the things I took away from the match:
Szczęsny is struggling - His performance was poor today. Watching a quality keeper in Hugo Lloris at the other end definitely highlighted his issue. Now there is no denying that our defence was to blame for both goals but there is a point where you look at Tottenham’s one-on-ones, there wasn’t a single time where it was thanks to Szczęsny that we didn’t concede. When Bale scored Szczęsny had the opportunity to sweep up the loose ball but was too slow to react. For the Lennon goal you see that he clearly committed himself too early. In comparison Lloris swept up all the loose balls that passed his defensive line and on many occasions prevented our strikers from getting away a shot as a result. This was one of the clear differences between our team as we both play high lines and both have one slow CB. Now I’m not saying Szczęsny is a poor keeper –For his age he is actually one of the best in the world - but the fact of the matter is that age is no excuse and – due to no adequate back-up - he is currently undroppable. You’ll hear all the pundits say it time and time again but it holds truth that if a keeper has several poor games in a row and has no fear of being dropped it can prevent growth.
Tottenham are not unbeatable – Despite their current run of form I actually think they looked like a fairly average team. A recurring theme this season has been that we have switched off for a few minutes and quickly conceded. Tottenham quickly took advantage of this, but for the first 30 minutes we were by far the better team. After we conceded two goals in quick succession, it was almost plain sailing for them as they could sit back and counter. That said, if they play the way they did today against Chelsea and Man City they will almost definitely lose.
The Jenkinson substitution was a huge mistake – Walcott disappeared for large portions of the game and Jenkinson was the only player on our team that was able to provide any kind of attacking threat down the right hand side. I think the idea was to create an attacking threat by throwing on another midfielder, but unfortunately what kept happening was that Spurs forced the ball down their left (Our right), running down the clock as nobody was effectively protecting that side. Furthermore Rosicky had a quiet game and our threat down the right hand side was effectively finished as a result of the substitution. Jenkinson was one of the few players in our defence that actually impressed me today and as a result I am beginning to see him being able to become a quality player in our team.
As the game finished I was extremely disappointed and actually put off writing this post to stop myself from slating our attacking options too much. Giroud is clearly in a slump of form and needs to rediscover his shooting boots to show himself as a great striker, his ability to get into positions is still very good but without a final product he will continue to look mediocre. Vermaelen actually looked very impressive at the start of the match making a number of good tackles, but once again a couple of lapses in concentration cost us, and severely marred his performance. I could continue to give a critical appraisal of our team but unfortunately it doesn’t mean too much. After a result like this it’s easy to get down in the dumps and forget that it is just one game. It does sting, but you have to take the good with the bad.