Arsenal show North London supremacy is still at stake after beating Spurs

By Hilton Yip Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/20 23:13:40

Predictions of a power shift in North London are still a bit premature after the latest derby on Saturday. Results over the past few seasons have provided signs of a possible shift, but Arsenal showed that it has not happened yet when they blanked Spurs 2-0 on Saturday.

This was the Gunners' first league win over Spurs since 2014 and the result reflected exactly how the game played out. While Spurs may protest over the free kick awarded to Arsenal from which they scored their first goal, it was ­hardly a reflection of the game. Arsenal's ­offense featuring their potent trident of star ­attackers and an incisive midfield ­overcame a Spurs team that may not have been fully fit. Arsenal's defense was able to cope well with Harry Kane and Delle Alli, barring a couple of chances which Petr Cech dealt with ­superbly.

The performance raises questions of why Arsenal cannot play like this more often, as well as why Arsene Wenger left Alexander Lacazette, one of Arsenal's much-vaunted attacking trio, on the bench in the defeats against Liverpool and Manchester City earlier this season. Surely, Lacazette should be an automatic starter in every game against major opponents this season. Given that the other two members of the trio, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, are yet to sign new contracts and are believed to want to leave Arsenal by next summer, that is even more reason for Wenger to play Lacazette often. Arsenal showed precision, pace and even power on Saturday, which they have not done too often in the league against major opponents. With this showing, there is no way that this team should have lost to Liverpool 4-0 as they did on August 27.

Spurs, meanwhile, have some serious problems of their own. There is no doubt that they have become one of the league's best teams, filled with young talent developed or bought for modest prices, but they need to take a big step up this season. Already, they have lost three league games, including to fellow top-six rivals Manchester United and Arsenal. Last season they only lost four in the league. Spurs will also need to learn to lean less on Kane, as they seem to struggle whenever he is not at full health.

Rather than be caught up in North London supremacy, both clubs should be worried about up north in Manchester where both United and City look unstoppable at times, and crosstown rivals Chelsea.

The author is a Hong Kong-based freelance writer. hcpyip@gmail.com

Posted in: SOCCER,EXTRA TIME

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