Spurs 2 Arsenal 1: How the Gunners’ players performed in the derby

17:58 03 March 2013


Tottenham's Gareth Bale (right) in action against Arsenal's Santi Cazorla at the Emirates


Arsenal correspondent Paul Chronnell assesses the Arsenal players.


For once his angry gesticulations at his defence after conceding goals was justified – he expects and deserves not to be left exposed like that twice in as many minutes. Both Bale and Lennon went round him in a flash to score, however. Stood up better when Sigurdsson went through in second half. But his pre-match confidence again looked misplaced.


Probably the biggest game of his career so far, the 21-year-old was within his right to feel a little tentative, but looked brimful of confidence early on. However, he will have regrets on the first goal when Did ok, but made way for Rosicky on the hour mark. Sagna still first choice, for now at least.


Will not enjoy watching a re-run of Spurs’ second goal when his defending was negligent in the extreme, utterly failed to notice Lennon was behind him. That is not the kind of example a captain is supposed to set in the derby, and the defence buckled for that crucial five-minute period. Wenger needs to decide on his strongest defensive partnersip, or think about buying some new players because these two are not it.


What is it about playing against Spurs that gives the big German a scent of goal? Whatever it is, it won’t get him off the hook for not being good at what he is supposed to do – defend. No authority on either of first-half goals. But after his goal that gave Arsenal hope he looked far stronger, and made one excellent clearance off the line. And then ended up playing up front at the end, which tells you just how desperate Arsenal have got.


First derby for the Spaniard, and a big test on only his fifth start for the club with Aaron Lennon and occasionally Bale for company. He did well, holding his own at the back, linking intelligently with Cazorla, and showing a real willingness to get forward. A better touch in the final third could have led to an equaliser a couple of time in the second half, but Wenger has made a good signing here.


He has been marginalised in some games recently, most notably against Bayern and here. If he is the holding midfielder the goals like the first two shouldn’t be so easy for the opposition to score, and he is starting to run out of gas. That said, he could use a bit more help from his wide players. Made way for Podolski with 15 to go.


No real surprise that he was selected, allowing Wilshere to play further forward and meaning Podolski was on the bench. Booked in first half for pulling down Lennon in full flight, shortly before being involved in the failed move that led to Spurs’s second goal. However his versatility is coming in handy and his switch to right-back when Rosicky came on is now a favourite Wenger move.


Pre-match comparisons to his former Southampton team-mate and fellow 23-year-old Bale were perhaps a little unflattering to the Arsenal man, and this performance showed why. Just didn’t have enough impact on the game, although it was his free-kick that was headed in by Mertesacker. Will go in the opta records as another assist for Walcott, but statistics shouldn’t fool anybody, he was a passenger in this game just when Arsenal couldn’t afford it.


Will be disappointed with his first-half display as suffered from some uncharacteristic poor touches and gave away possession too much in good areas. However, he picked up after the break as Parker and Dembele started to tire, but in a game of this magnitude Arsenal would have expected more from their talisman. Perhaps tried a little too hard.


Looked very sharp from the opening moments, his close control and passing range belieng the fact that this was his first trip to the Lane in red and white. Superb crossfield ball put in Giroud for a great chance at 0-0 and he was always Arsenal’s most threatening player, linking well with Monreal on the left. However all his good work did not lead to a goal, and he tasted derby defeat for the first time, even if he didn’t deserve to.


What a different game this might have been if the Frenchman had pulled the trigger when released by Cazorla’s pass early on. A superb tackle from Jan Vertonghen denied him, but he waited too long. Was disappointing all game, didn’t bother Vertonghen and Dawson in the air enough. Sometimes you get the feeling he could use another striker up there with him to lighten the load.


TOMAS ROSICKY (for Jenkinson, 60) 5/10

Sent on to add creativity but didn’t have much impact. Oxlade-Chamberlain may have been a better bet.

LUKAS PODOLSKI (for Arteta, 76) 5/10

Also struggled to make inroads, the German may have felt he deserved to start, but recent displays did not warrant it.


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