Arsenal took on Spurs at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Friday. With just two rounds of games remaining in the Premier League season, the two North London clubs locked horns one last time. It was the ‘4th place decider’ game for the Gunners as they could have put the season-long chase for a top-four spot to rest once and for all against their closest rivals. But first-half goals from Harry Kane and a second-half goal from Son Heung-Min made things rather difficult for Arsenal.
Arsenal entered the game with high expectations, but with limited options due to injured players. Spurs, on the other hand, were keen to close the gap between 4th place Gunners and them. Some over-aggressive plays from the visitors and ineffective shooting handed the home team a huge advantage.
Both teams started the game trying to take control with an early goal. Rob Holding and Son had a battle of their own going on. A bit harsh penalty decision dented the spirit of the Arsenal players as they became rougher and needlessly aggressive as the match against Tottenham went on.
Tottenham striker Harry Kane converted an early penalty and added a second with a stooping far-post header to put the Spurs 2-0 ahead in the 1st half. Meanwhile, Rob Holding was given the marching orders after receiving his second yellow card in the 33rd minute. Son finished off the game by making it 3-0, just two minutes after half-time.
As for the Gunners, who had no clear direction in the game, it was a match to forget. Arsenal dominated the first league meeting against Tottenham in September. However, on Friday, they were at the receiving end and maybe at the wrong time. The Gunners still stand 4th in the Premier League but now have ‘must-win’ situations in upcoming fixtures against a ‘rejuvenated’ Newcastle United and ‘survival fighters’ Everton.
Aaron Ramsdale (GK) – 6.0: Honestly speaking, it was the defenders marshalling in front of Ramsdale who let the Arsenal shot-stopper down. He made some good saves to give the Gunners some chance in the game and was more active than the opponent keeper.
💬 "I feel like the big decisions went against us and then it’s an uphill battle from there."
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) May 12, 2022
Cedric Soares (RB) – 5.5: The game was always going to be difficult for Soares, considering Son’s form and the support he has had from behind. Some poor giveaways and mistimed tackles made him look bad on Friday.
Rob Holding (CB) – 2.5: Stayed on the field for just 34 mins, due to the needless second yellow card. Couldn’t control his emotions and aggression against the Spurs. After the red card, Arsenal were forced to go defensive against Tottenham Hotspur.
Gabriel Magalhaes (CB) – 5.5: The Brazilian needed to step up and take control of the defensive duties since Ben White and Kieran Tierney were missing from the lineup, but he was easily bullied by Harry Kane. Again his passing was wayward and the Son-Kane combination pounced on it.
Takehiro Tomiyasu (LB) – 6.0: He did well against Leeds United as a left-back, but the game-play was completely different against Antonio Conte’s men. The Japanese did put his 100% in the game, but it was not his natural position to thrive.
Mohamed Elneny (CM) – 6.0: The Egyptian has been growing in confidence since taking over the starting position in the team. Elneny was one of the few Arsenal players who was confident and calm enough to pull the strings for the visitors.
Granit Xhaka (CM) – 5.5: The experienced Swiss star played an average game, but couldn’t impact the match the way he might have hoped for. He played a bit defensively since the red card.
Martin Odegaard (CM) – 6.5: Besides Elneny, the Norwegian midfielder also held his composure against Spurs. But this wasn’t the crisp Martin Odegaard we’ve seen all season. Playing with 10 men and the way Arsenal tried to build up, options for him to go ahead were limited.
Gabriel Martinelli (LAM) – 7.0: Only player who troubled the Spurs defence was the young Brazilian. He used most of his standard runs and touches to bisect the opponent’s defence, but he was tightly marked, more than any other player in red and white.
Bukayo Saka (RAM) – 6.0: Though he could not dictate the game as per his liking, his efforts to win the ball and the use of his body to hold off opponents were commendable, despite the injury. He was the only Arsenal player who looked ready for the physical challenge against Tottenham, but sadly couldn’t find much support on the field.
BREAKING: The Premier League's picks for Player of the SEASON are in! 🤩🏆
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) May 13, 2022
Emile Smith Rowe (5.5): Replaced Martinelli in the 63rd minute. By then, the home team and fans were already celebrating the win. Smith Rowe completed his defensive duties well to prevent any more embarrassments.
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Alexandre Lacazette (Sub at 72nd min): The Frenchman seems to have lost his interest in the Arsenal campaign. He didn’t even make any fruitful attempt to win the ball or make any forward movement.
Nuno Tavarez (Sub at 76th min): He hit the ground running as soon as he entered the field, but it was too little too late. The Portuguese full-back took Gabriel’s place but the fans will be worried about seeing Gabriel limp off the field.
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