Spurs v Arsenal: Match in pictures
Arsenal lost in the north London derby to Tottenham putting Mikel Arteta under pressure, fans returned to Premier League matches and Paul Pogba starred for Manchester United. Express Sport reporter Matthew Dunn is back with all the talking points in his latest column.
TOTTENHAM’S DOUBLE-EDGED HAMMER
Kane and Son? It’s the sort of listing you would expect to find in the Yellow Pages under demolition experts. No job too big or too small.
The 18 goals they have scored between them outstrip what the entire Manchester City squad have managed so far this season – and indeed 10 other Premier League clubs.
But this combination is a relatively new phenomenon for Spurs and is entirely down to Jose Mourinho’s unapologetic use of counter-attacking football.
With Harry Kane’s ability to hold the ball up and instinctive knowledge of who is around him, a player with Heung-Min Son’s pace is bound to benefit.
That, though, is to underestimate the South Korean’s finishing ability. In those terms, this isn’t Sutton and Shearer or Beardsley and Lineker. It’s Shearer and Shearer or Lineker and Lineker – and all the more deadly for it.
JUST IN: Jose Mourinho labels Tottenham star a ‘pain’ after vital Arsenal win
ARSENAL’S GRAND PLAN IN DANGER OF GOING DOWN THE U-BEND
Less than a month apart, Tottenham appointed Jose Mourinho as manager and Arsenal went for Mikel Arteta.
Daniel Levy went not just for a no. 1 but a Special no. 1. Unfortunately, the Gunners seem to have been left with a whole load of no. 2.
Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Zinedine Zidane, Jose Mourinho even Mauricio Pochettino… they are all dynamic, mesmerising individuals who can lead a dressing room.
Arteta simply does not give off that vibe. He may well have built his tactical acumen in the company of Arsene Wenger before attending the Guardiola finishing school, but this is first time where man-management skills have mattered more.
And like Peter Taylor, Brian Kidd, Steve McClaren and Andre Villas-Boas – to run through the generations – some people are just not cut out for the hot seat.
Time is running out for Arteta to prove the exception.
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P.LAYER O.WES. G.AFFER B.EST A.LWAYS
Well thank goodness for that then, Manchester United fans. Paul Pogba has decided he is one of the world’s best footballers after all and the season is saved.
Managers will be scratching their heads as to how to contain him in the sort of form he showed against West Ham.
But not as hard as poor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be rubbing at his bonce wondering what he needs to do to get him to play like that every week.
Clearly paying him a lot of money is not enough, as an inflated wage-packet has done little to create any sort of consistency.
But until Pogba does knuckle down and perform week in, week out, these flashes in the pan serve only to frustrate United fans even more. He is holding their emotions to ransom.
Man Utd wages: Pogba and De Gea ahead of Cavani and Fernandes as salaries emerge
TAKING THE CON OUT OF CONOR
Cheat has always been a word banded about in the top flight – initially in the direction of “diving foreign players”.
That myth soon unravelled and now we have gallumphing England centre-backs doing it in the hope of winning a penalty.
Cheating to deny a goal with a deliberate handball or deliberate foul as the last man leads to a red card. So should cheating to try to engineer a goal by falling over in the penalty area or deliberately handling the ball to help it on its way into the net.
Conor Coady of Wolves was shown by VAR to have unnecessarily thrown himself to the ground at Anfield just before half-time, a rare success story for the technology.
But let’s see real justice done – and the referee’s job made easier, perhaps – by taking action to stamp out this sort of skulduggery for good.
Red cards for clear cheats in VAR incidents, please.
BACK IN THE IRONY AGE
The chant of “You’re support is f***ing shit!” at the north London derby – open to 2,000 Spurs fans but still closed to Arsenal – did raise a smile, I’ll admit.
But it was only when Granit Xhaka hit a ball hopelessly out of play with Bukayo Saka on a completely different wavelength that I realised the what the specific noise was we had all been missing for so many months.
That ironic cheer of “wahey” fans reserve for the absolute howlers commited by the opposing team.
None of these authentic PlayStation audio reels seems to have that particularly cruel sense of schadenfreude.
It’s great to have the real fans back.
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