Friday 23 February 2018 / 11:05 PM


Tottenham headed to the Emirates at Sunday lunchtime with no one giving them a hope. After a poor result at Wembley during the week and a string of draws, it was thought that Spurs would be no match for an Arsenal side in sumptuous form.

In the end, it was honours even after 90 minutes, with a whole lot to talk about after the 1-1 result.

Here are four thoughts from one of the most hotly anticipated games on the English footballing calendar:

The media are ridiculous

We already know this, but this assertion was shown to be truer than ever during the build-up to this derby. Whether I was listening to the radio or reading the paper, the media consensus was clear: Tottenham were going to get annihilated by Arsenal. Wenger’s side were in imperious touch, whilst Spurs were going through a stuttering period. Journalists, pundits and bloggers queued up to suggest a cricket score.

What made this even more ridiculous is that Spurs have the meanest defence in the Premier League. They might be struggling to score, but were they ever likely to concede five or six goals in this fixture?

Tottenham need Harry Kane

Okay, so the return of Spurs’ number one centre forward didn’t result in a goal from open play, but Tottenham fans will no doubt have been cheered by the return of their talisman. Even playing a long way from match fitness, Kane brings something different to Spurs, and he will be a key player during the Christmas run-in as Tottenham look to recoup points lost over this series of draws.

Unfortunately for Vincent Janssen, Kane is now likely to be ushered back into the starting line-up, with the Dutchman having to play second fiddle. The 22-year-old hasn’t played badly, but he is yet to truly arrive in the Premier League and will need to be content with substitute appearances for a while. In truth, this may help take some pressure off him.

Pochettino shows he can play more than one way

The 3-4-3 formation that Spurs deployed at the Emirates had only ever been used by Pochettino once before, but it showed the Argentine’s ability to change his side – and the way that they play. His usual 4-2-3-1 formation has failed to get the side firing in recent weeks, and the manager deserves plaudits for trying something different, especially in such a vital game.

Arsenal were lucky to avoid the ‘cursed November’ headline

In case you missed the game, the Arsenal goal was blatantly and ludicrously offside, and the linesman should have done better there. This is not to say that the Gunners would have lost without Kevin Wimmer’s own goal, but it’s important to recognise that this was a realistic eventuality, especially if the correct decisions have been made.

For all the bravado surrounding Arsenal, this was not a fantastic performance, and while the point will avoid any ‘cursed November’ headlines, failure to kick on where they left off against Sunderland next week might tempt the media into bringing up Arsenal’s regular and repeated failures during the 11th month.

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About the author

Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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