Getting the season off to a good start is always crucial. When your biggest and fiercest rival has taken and been praised for not only spending during the summer transfer window, but bringing in quality players, while you have not spent, despite declarations of a significant amount of money available to do so, the need to win increases. Arsenal needed to beat Tottenham in Sunday’s latest edition of the North London derby in order to calm the waters.
Thanks to a well taken goal by Olivier Giroud, Arsenal defeated Tottenham 1-0. A display on the part of the team showed that they were full of spirit and determination in grinding out a win over their “noisy” neighbors. Arsenal made a few changes with regards to the players who started midweek in the Champions League game against Fenerbache, with Karl Jenkinson starting over Bacary Sagna at right fullback, and Tomas Rosicky starting in an attacking midfield role replacing the injured Lukas Podolski. Despite the changes, it was clear from the onset of the game that Arsenal were determined to take the game to Tottenham.
Arsenal created several early scoring chances, thanks to Santi Cazorla making runs at the Tottenham defense, which led to Arsenal free kicks. While Tottenham settled into the game after the first 15 minutes of the game elapsed, it did not stop Arsenal from continuing to push the initiative. They were rewarded for their efforts at the 23rd minute, as Theo Walcott sent a low cross that was perfectly flicked on by Giroud, and past Hugo Lloris for the game’s only goal. Arsenal would have several chances to add to the lead in the first half, but Lloris made sure they did not add to the scoreline.
The second half saw an Arsenal team, who did not produce much or look as fluid in attack as it did in the first half. However, they more than made up for it with a stellar defensive effort, which saw them contest and challenge every 50/50 ball, and throw their bodies at several long range shots by Tottenham. They gave it their all in the second half, as was best exemplified by substitute and new Tottenham signing, Erik Lamela, who saw his first shot on goal saved by Wojciech Szczeny. Several follow up shots on goal were blocked by Arsenal defenders in a mad scramble.
In the end, Tottenham, despite several decent scoring chances on goal, were not able to penetrate or break through the Arsenal defense. In the end, the team that has still yet to spend in the summer transfer window, beat its North London rival in a game that meant more than just winning three points from its biggest rival. It was a win for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger that showed them to be a team of fighters committed to the cause, despite whatever issues they may have.
Arsenal will now head into the international break on the back of four straight wins, two in Premier League play and two in Champions League. As much has been made of Tottenham’s activity in the summer transfer window, it was clear that all the player movement has seen them yet to settle in and get use to the team they will be. Arsenal, on the other hand, showed continuity and determination to prove that their value as a team was on display today. Hopefully, for the players and the fans, Arsenal club management will come through and deliver in the final hours of the summer transfer market, by signing quality players who will help continue the run of good form here in the last four games.