Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal
We sat down with @DeanJamesSBTB the co-host of the Saved by the Bellerin Podcast (@SBTBPod) to discuss the North London Derby..
So what was your thoughts on today’s game?
Dean: Before it began I was quietly confident, I felt both teams weren't doing great at the moment but that Spurs were just that little bit worse than us... At full-time it had felt like someone had pierced the hull of my boat and I was sinking! After we went 1-0 up I was ecstatic but once again individual errors cost us and after the equaliser it felt like the boys weren't even gunning for a win! Deflation isn't even the word in my opinion.
Where does it leave Arsenal’s season? How much a blow was that to potential Europa League qualification?
Dean: Going into the week, we'd said on the Saved by the Bellerín Podcast that we felt Arsenal could definitely get top 6 but now, although I like to remain positive, with both the Leicester result and today's score, it looks like it could be our first season without Europe for over twenty-five years.
How much of a blow could it be for the club having no European football? Could the summer plans for the club be affected?
Dean: The Media like to portray that no European football would affect Arsenal, but as has been discussed previously, the pull is still there. Liverpool and United alike without Europe were able to still flex in the market and I believe Arsenal can too. You offer competitive wages and divulge an exceptionally exciting project and you never know what could happen.
Back to today, what went wrong today for you? Where was the game lost?
Dean: It's been the same old story for me as well as others I've spoken to in the Arsenal fanbase and that's the individual errors. You've got players who appear to have come out of their shell and really show what they're made of, but then you've got those who you think have changed but just go back to being the same old player they once were. Midfield and the defense currently are where these issues lie.
Do you still believe Arsenal could outfinish Spurs?
Dean: Well, they're only currently two points ahead of us with nine still to play for. We've got Liverpool, Villa and Watford left to play whilst they have Newcastle, Leicester and Palace. All three fixtures for both clubs are unpredictable! Anything can happen in truth!
Just finally, what did you learn from today? Some have argued that Arsenal may lack game changers, is this something you buy into?
Dean: We definitely do in my opinion but, and this isn't something I've just learned today, we also lack a cohesive unit. For me the project Arteta is building is being followed to the letter and the players are feeling it, but there's not enough teamwork, going into performances whereby defenders and the Midfield aren't communicating and there isn't someone within the Midfield to make the transition to the forward line, this is where the not having a game changer really punishes us.
Just a final word, could Mesut Ozil have been the difference today? Have we seen the last of him as an Arsenal player?
Dean: That's two very different questions of course but I think the answer to both is simply, yes. He would in my opinion absolutely have made the difference tonight... But the more you hear Mikel Arteta mention him in the same breath as Matteo Guendouzi and say that the situation hasn't changed and is being dealt with "internally" the more you would be forgiven for believing Özil is very likely done at Arsenal. As much as I'd hate to admit that.
Why has Ozil been alienated in this way? What’s gone wrong for Mesut Ozil?
Dean: Honestly, not a clue. There's lots of speculation about lots of different things, but one of the main rumours was he'd simply 'fallen out' with Arteta although this was quickly quashed. The other main story is that it's a very personal and sensitive situation with he and his wife being first time parents amidst the Covid Pandemic. However it's gone from him training with the squad to being on the bench to not even being seen around... Some suggest he could even be off to Turkey before the window shuts.