Class Tells (mostly Alli’s)
Poch once again rotated. Lloris, Kane, Skipp and Lamela went outwards, Gazzaniga, Eriksen, Winks and Son came in.
Personally I’d much rather KWP was played in this one, he desperately needs the game time, and I’d also prefer to see Eriksen played at the weekend rather than in the Caribau Cup.
I’m pretty sure we started with that 41212/4312 diamond type thing. And as the game wore on and we had less and less possession, it pretty stayed a 4312 and almost a flat 4411 toward the end I think.
This wasn’t a high quality classic, but it was lit up by two beautiful pieces of skill from Alli.
The one thing we did do, which we didn’t do at the Emirates a couple of weeks ago was start positively. And that did make a difference.
The first thirty minutes we were totally in control, and unlike Arsenal a couple of weeks ago, we got a goal while we were dominating.
And a lovely goal it was too.
Both goals came from kicks out by Gazzaniga, the first one finds it’s way to Alli, who plays a lovely ball to put Son clear, Son scarpers through, recovers from a slight bumble and then slots past the keeper.
After that goal, things went a little bit ropey. We went from 66% of the ball in the first 30 minutes, to 29% for the next 15 and had 35% for the second half. Statistically this kind of shelling is proven to be folly.
Teams can rarely survive having this little ball against good teams, or teams with good attacking players. And we certainly rode our luck a little, Arsenal spurned several good situations and a couple of great chances.
Having rode out the pressure, we then scored an absolutely sublime second goal on the counter.
Again Gazzaniga lumps the ball upfield (if he’s aiming for Kane, then credit to him) Kane cushions the ball on his chest, head up at the same time seeing Alli’s run, and plays a superb ball that picks out that run, what follows was a finish of the most sublime and impudent quality that only a player like Alli can score.
It was two touches but one sweeping balletic movement, control and then nonchalant flick/chip with the outside of the boot over the bamboozled Czec, who just froze with almost begrudging admiration.
Yes, occasionally he screws up great situations trying shit like this, but when it comes off, it’s football sex. I stood up in my living room and saluted.
Another noticeable improvement tonight was our competitiveness. We set the tone early, pressed them like terriers and repeatedly unsettled them. We made 27 tackles tonight compared to 21 last game. Last game they made 27 to our 21.
Where Emery made good subs at half time in the last game, he made strange ones tonight that seemed to be counter intuitive and made them less threatening. The game then kind of chundered on and petered out comfortably for us.
Gazzaniga – One scary “Lloris” type moment, but apart from that OK.
Trippier – There were some iffy moments, but generally stood up defensively pretty well considering he wasn’t getting much protection from Sissoko at times. Like the way he got stuck in tonight at times. 6 tackles and 2 interceptions, was our liveliest without the ball tonight. Him and Rose were our two busiest players with the ball as well.
Alderweireld – Like all the defenders tonight, had some iffy moments, but some decent ones too.
Davies – Looked a bit less convincing tonight when asked a few questions.
Rose – Like Trippier, saw plenty of ball. And he does get up and down well. What he does at either end is always a concern for me. Wasted one glorious chance late on and at times he stands off to far and allows the ball to come into the box too easily.
Sissoko – Really not great tonight. Didn’t see anywhere near enough ball, and these games against lively opponents need a more composed and technically competent player.
He loses concentration too often and allows players to run off him (Aubamayang did this for their great chance second half) and also wasted a couple of great forward situations with trademark lack of finesse.
(29 passes 75% – 1 tackle – 0 intercepts – really not great)
Winks – Got pulled about a bit when we stopped playing, needs to concentrate on what he does without the ball at times, and he ran into blind alleys at times, but then we were getting pressed and he wasn’t seeing many options outlets either.
Nobody on our our side saw more of the ball than him (54 passes 85% – 4 tackles – 1 interception) and where others shrunk in that second half, at least he kept showing which was vital.
Eriksen – He did work incredibly hard, and played a couple of beautiful through balls that were wasted. (45 p 78% – 2 tackles – 1 intcp).
Alli – There was a little too much bumbling at times if truth be told, but several moments of class, two of which ultimately won this game, one of which was one of the most beautiful finishes you’ll see this season. Also worked hard without the ball.
Son – Lively as ever, took the first goal superbly, but there was a bit of wastage too.
Moura – As often, flitted about quite well, didn’t really provide much tangible quality.
Kane – Lovely ball for the second.