·25 September 2023
·25 September 2023
GIVEMESPORT VIDEO OF THE DAY
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What started off as another potential north London derby win for Arsenal, turned into a nightmare, with Mikel Arteta's side gifting Tottenham two easy goals to claim a point in a thrilling Premier League encounter at the Emirates. Whether it was the tired legs from the mid-week Champions League game against PSV or not, the Gunners just didn't look themselves, and a couple of particularly woeful performances led to a frustrating afternoon for the home side.
Arsenal's Carabao Cup clash against Brentford on Wednesday gives Arteta the opportunity to rest and rotate anyway, but judging by the performances of these three players down below, the Spaniard may well consider dropping them. Here are the three players who let their manager down against Spurs on Sunday...
Given that Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard were out injured - the latter being ruled out was a source of surprise when the team-sheets were announced - Arteta almost had the choice taken away in terms of whether Eddie Nketiah would play or not. The Arsenal boss would surely have been hoping that the striker who had been recently called up to the England senior squad would deliver on the biggest occasion, but he desperately fluffed his lines. Such was Arteta's faith in Nketiah, that it was the senior man, Gabriel Jesus, who was shunted out wide, with the Arsenal academy product being tasked with leading the line.
While England U21s' record goal-scorer certainly worked his socks off like usual, the lack of an end product was again the big let-down for him. His best chance of the game when he picked up on an errant back-pass from Spurs left-back Destiny Udogie, and despite having all the time in the world to either pick his spot or try and lay it off to the onrushing Fabio Vieira, he only managed to strike it straight at Guglielmo Vicario and out for a corner. The fact he managed just six total passes in the entire 90 minutes that he was on the pitch tells you everything you need to know about both the lack of service to him, but also his complete lack of involvement in the game.
It was no surprise that Gary Neville on co-commentary duty for Sky Sports raised some concerns over Nketiah's movement in and around the box during the game, with one particular corner seeing the striker sit back rather than attack the far post after a flick-on. While much of the foundational pieces have been laid, it seems that number nine is still the place that could do with upgrading for Arsenal.
You’ve got to have a couple of players in your team, at least one, who have that smell of where the ball is going to land. Not a poacher, the days of poachers are gone, they just play off another striker and two up top. We are not in that moment anymore. You’ve got to be on the move and be sniffing, smelling, anticipating, and Arsenal have not got that. I really like this Arsenal team and they could go on to win a title or finish second, have a great season and win trophies without that type of player, but it became obvious in this game that it was missing. Alan Smith pointed it out in commentary too and he knows far more than I do.
While it would be far too harsh to blame Jorginho for costing Arsenal all three points against Spurs, the Italy international's error was no doubt unforgivable. For a player of his experience and usual calmness on the ball, the midfielder just didn't seem to read the game right straight after the kick-off following Bukayo Saka's successful penalty. The Gunners needed to just take the emotion out of the game for a few minutes after retaking the lead, and instead of realising that, Jorginho dilly-dallied and got caught far too easily.
Declan Rice's potential injury and absence would rob Arteta of another first-team star in the middle of the park, given Thomas Partey is no closer to making a return to action anytime soon. Mohamed Elneny however is clearly someone the Arsenal manager rates, and having returned from his own injury to make the bench against Spurs, the Egypt international may well consider his chances of a surprise start shoot up considerably, despite Arteta admitting that he would back Jorginho to the hilt.
What happened is I love him and we love him. Errors are part of football. They’re allowed to make errors because they play and we don’t play. For us it’s really easy, but if there is someone who is willing to help the team and do the most of it, it’s Jorgi. We are all with him.
Arguably the man with the most anonymous display of the lot, Fabio Vieira's performance would have come as a major shock to Arteta given how impressively the Portuguese man has started off this season. After scoring the winning penalty in the Community Shield victory over Manchester City at Wembley, the former Porto man seemed to have taken a real leap from his debut campaign at the Emirates - two fine assists in back-to-back games against Fulham and Manchester United seemed to indicate that.
And, after being given the nod over Kai Havertz in that number eight role in midfield, Arteta would have wanted Vieira to stamp his mark on the game. Instead, the physicality once again seemed to get the better of him, and up against Yves Bissouma and Pape Mate Sarr, the diminutive play-maker struggled to get going and was eventually hooked at half-time. While Havertz himself has failed to hit the heights since his move from Chelsea, Arsenal fans may instead be hoping that one of their one in Emile Smith Rowe is given more of a run-out. After Vieira's virtually anonymous display against Spurs, that decision could come as soon as this Wednesday against Brentford in the Carabao Cup.
Earning a combined £250k-per-week as per Salary Sport, the trio looked way off the pace in the game against Spurs, and Arteta has a big decision to make not just for the cup clash, but also going forward. The Gunners are running into injury problems heading into that titanic tussle against Manchester City in the Premier League in a couple of weeks time, and they can ill afford to be carrying passengers.