The Emirates played host to the season’s first North London Derby this afternoon, and while we were hopeful of plenty of goals and drama, in truth we got quite the opposite.
Tottenham Hotspur set out to frustrate Arsenal straight from the first whistle, and it’ll be the visitors who’ll leave the stadium as the happier bunch. So what did we learn from today’s game? Ladbrokes News takes a look…
This NLD was a shadow of previous blockbusters
It may well have been the 179th meeting between two sides which are the fiercest of rivals – but you certainly wouldn’t have guessed that given today’s performances. Aside from maybe Francis Coquelin from Arsenal and Spurs’ Victor Wanyama, it seemed the occasion meant nothing to the majority of the players on the pitch.
If the day could be summed up in a nutshell, it was in the post-match interviews, where Harry Kane and Theo Walcott stood alongside each other, laughing and joking.
That’s not the kind of thing fans want to see on days like this, and the famous derby looks like becoming just another fixture to tick off the list.
Alex Iwobi is a clinging on to his starting-place
The international break may have come at a good time for Alex Iwobi. After bursting onto the scene at the tail end of last season, the Nigeria international seems to have just settled into the starting XI, and he’s still some way off being a finished article.
He showed glimpses of brilliance throughout the game, but supporters are still waiting for the 20-year-old to really announce himself. He had the chance to do just that, too, when an Alexis Sanchez pass gifted him a clear goalscoring opportunity in the first-half which he squandered.
There’s still a lot to come from Iwobi, but he perhaps needs a break from the starting line-up for a few weeks so as to rediscover the kind of form that got him there in the first place.
Tottenham’s title hopes already starting to disappear
They may be the only unbeaten side in the top three tiers of English football, sitting just five points behind league leaders Chelsea, but there’s a common theme occurring in Spurs’ games this season: they just keep drawing.
And it’s something they struggled with last season, too. In fact, in the 2015-16 campaign, only one side in the top nine drew more games than Mauricio Pochettino’s men.
And a quick look at Spurs’ substitute’s bench this afternoon tells you they’re desperately short of options should any of their key men get injured.
Throw into the mix the fact that they’ve now gone six games without a goal from open play, and you’re left with a team that should really be focusing on making the top four, rather than pushing for the title.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing