With the NBC (in the States) hype leading up to the match, I think a casual or first-time soccer fans would have expected a different match than the one we got on Saturday. Instead, we saw a traditional Spurs/Arsenal match, where no lead is safe, the passions are high, and the performances overall are a little lacking as the teams feel the pressure.
- Today must be a terrible day to be a Spurs fan. Not only did the draw mean they could not move top of the PL table, the later Leicester City victory actually extended the margin between first and second. In addition, despite having the momentum and man advantage, they saw Arsenal remain in the title race and on pace with them, as well as being denied an outright win against their rivals.
- Arsenal fans should not be celebrating today either. The Gunners had the upper hand in the match despite some good Tottenham pressure and, after Ramsey’s goal, it looked like Arsenal could seize control of the match over a Spurs team that looked a little dazed. However, it was again dumb decision-making that cost Arsenal dearly, in this case Coquelin’s repeatedly dumb decisions leading to two yellow cards.
- Aaron Ramsey is one of my favorite soccer players, and I think positionally he is often misused, but to be world class you have to be a consistent finisher from his advanced midfield position. His first-half goal was world class, but late in the game when in on goal, he had a golden chance to snatch Arsenal three points. Granted the defender got a toe-poke in but a better finisher puts that immediately in the top part of the net and is celebrating in the away end.
- Harry Kane is scary without the mask, even more so with it. Four goals against Arsenal in three matches and 18 against London PL clubs. Too bad England can’t play London neighborhood teams in the World Cup.
- The match settles little except that both London clubs blow opportunities to make a statement in the title race. Sadly, what this match may be remembered for at the end of the season is what it wasn’t – it was the match both teams could have had to put them ahead of Leicester in the table or to position themselves firmly against their rival. All that said, the drama was excellent and while not an instant classic, it was an enjoyable match.