Tottenham Hotspur – Arsenal: North London Derby Follows The Script (2-0)
The North London derby followed the narrative that most were expecting. Tottenham Hotspur’s compact defensive block remained untouched from Arsenal’s poor buildup structure and were rightly punished by two excellent goals. Tottenham remain on top, while their biggest rival’s dreadful slump down the table continues.
Tactical analysis and match report by Joel Parker.
Twelve months ago, both sides of North London needed drastic reinvention to recite their former glory. While Arsenal turned to an untested Wenger disciple and Pep prodigy, Tottenham turned to a contrasting but galvanizing figure, who needed to prove he can still cut through the new cloth of football’s next generation of managers.
As the tables stand, the latter is well ahead of the former. Tottenham have built the walls in the big games, defending compactly, and denying any form of access down the channels, while providing the space on the counter for their pacey, direct and efficient attackers. Although the transitional play wasn’t in full swing at Chelsea, José Mourinho has helped provide the tools for Tottenham to be taken as a serious contender.
Meanwhile, Arsenal went into the derby in their lowest position since 1993. Five miles may separate the teams, but positions weren’t as close in the standings, prior to this game; with Tottenham on top and Arsenal in fourteenth. This has led to scrutiny and doubt over Mikel Arteta’s management, with his team being significantly blunt in attack and weak when trying to play through any decent defensive block. A defensive block is the compact group . . .