It was all very predictable and Spursy

Arsenal win FIVE GOAL THRILLER in North London! | Tottenham 2-3 Arsenal | EPL Highlights

and it wasn’t really a thriller.

Another Ange tactical masterclass in having the ball and doing nothing with it but passing for passing sake saw them lose the NLD without Arsenal having to actually do anything, while yet again coughing up goals from corners.

They didn’t have to do anything. Nothing at all to win this. In fact neither side had to do anything for the five goals scored, all were gifts and Ange is the most accommodating of gifters.

He had over two weeks to prepare for this. Two weeks of knowing the visitors have a great record at set pieces, especially corners this season. Two weeks where he knew his side have a bloody awful record at defending corners this season. And yet here they are conceding two goals from corners again.

He knew Everton’s only tactics were set pieces, he said so himself. Then they let in two goals from set pieces.

“Yeah… look mate”.

Well, you kind of knew what we were going to get from the start when you saw two names on the team sheet. Kulusevski and Davies. Ange is gonna cram it all in the middle – completely negating Maddison and Son – and as with all the games recently the defensive tactics are rely on van de Ven’s speed and tackling ability to cover the whole of the Spurs half.

The visitors were of course helped out by the officials with a string of decisions that again showed the level of officiating is at the lowest it’s ever been.

But so much of it was self inflicted. Fannying about at the back, yet again they played themselves into trouble fannying about at the back. It resulted in a corner 15 minutes in which Hojbjerg put into his own net. The 14th goal conceded at corners. Well, it makes a change one of them getting their head on the ball. but they’re all in there, that box is crowded every time and they keep conceding.

Much of it is caused by fouls on Vicario. This time White doing his usual backing into the keeper – after what seemed like him trying to loosen Vicario’s gloves – which of course the officials just overlook.

Spurs had their chances, Romero had headed over from a set piece earlier, then he hit the woodwork with a header from a free-kick. Then they thought they’d equalised through Micky van de Ven. But of course he was by the slightest margin offside.

But Spurs had all the ball and the visiting keeper hadn’t had a save to make. Ange had the chance to correct things but when Werner went off with what looked like a hamstring – is that his last appearance? – instead of bringing on Richarlison and moving Son to the left he brought on Johnson – who actually should have come on with Richy, for Kulusevski – and put him on the left. A complete waste again highlighted when he finally switched the Welshman to the right, later in the game.

Kulusevski could have redeemed himself when he was clipped in the Arsenal penalty area but he tried to stay on his feet for no apparent reason. It was a penalty, hell if ex-Arsenal players in the commentary booth are saying it. Of course VAR checked and said no. Oliver, who is apparently the league’s best ref, was stood watching it, unobstructed about 10 yards away. He saw the foul, he waved play on and VAR didn’t want to embarrass him.

They checked while Arsenal broke up the pitch and scored the second. Ladies and gentlemen I give you Ben Davies. Everyone, absolutely everyone in the stadium knew what Saka would do, everyone around the world knew what Saka would do. It’s what Saka does every damn time, cut inside and have a pop. Well, I say everyone, as Saka was doing his one trick it came a s a great shock to one player.

It was three by the end of the half. A half in which Spurs had knocking on 70% of the ball and Raya hadn’t had to make a save. Again the stats to go with that possession being Spurs passing was 90% while the visitor’s was far lower at 76%. It’s all meaningless if you don’t put your shots on target and can’t defend basic set pieces. Again though the officials helped as White backed into Vicario, pushing him behind the goal line as the ball was played in.

Ange made a change at half-time. Sarr for Bentancur. The Uruguayan hasn’t been at his best of late but was this really the change that was required? Spurs were showing more life but again is this not the case with many a team that are 3 nil or better up at half-time they drop off after the break? But it still took a great save from Vicario to keep it at three. Where would they be… where… if Vicario wasn’t such a good shot stopper?

A difference came when Richy was finally introduced, though in place of Maddison and not Kulusevski as it should be. The latter was now central with Johnson in his correct position on the right and Sonny in his correct position on the left.

Spurs attempted comeback started with a charging Romero. He came out of defence with the ball but when his pass went astray he kept on his run until Raya played the ball straight to him and the Argentinian put the ball in the net.

Four goals all gifts.

The fifth gift came when Declan Rice kicked Ben Davies up the arse in the penalty area. This time the best ref in the league -Michael Oliver – was even closer, only 5 or 6 yards away and yet with a clear view he waved play on. That he was then told by VAR to look at it and after a very short viewing of the video – quite possibly the shortest video viewing in VAR history – he gave the penalty just highlighted what an error he’d made. But they’ll claim it shows the system worked when it just shows how crap refs are these days, if he’s the best they’ve got.

Son’s penalty was unsavable. But that was it they manage only two more shots in the game, neither of which were on target. In fact neither team did. Vicario’s one save was the one save made by either keeper in the game.

They call it a thriller on the TV but it wasn’t – saw one ex-player who obvious headed more balls than I thought say Arsenal dominated the first half, a half in which they had 30% of the ball and half the number of shots, no they dominated the scoring – . It was a game where neither team did anything. Spurs passed the ball about for passing sake. Arsenal sat back and did even less, Spurs just gifted them more goals than they gifted Spurs.

While Ange showed that if he can’t learn and adapt he won’t survive – as people start dreaming about funds available in the summer, like we haven’t seen that movie before – this ain’t the Jock league, mate.

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