Arsenal’s subs expose the team’s flaws

Sep 26, 2023

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LONDON, England – The sudden collapse in Arsenal’s pressing approach after a pivotal double substitution at halftime, which upended their early strategy, was the second significant element influencing the game’s turn. When Kai Havertz and Jorginho were replaced, Fabio Vieira and Declan Rice significantly outperformed them in the midfield duel, giving Spurs’ play new life.

Throughout Arsenal’s poor second half, which was defined by a lack of assurance in the final third, this change emerged often. Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith Rowe, despite having talent, failed to have a substantial effect on the game, and Eddie Nketiah, who took over for Alexandre Lacazette, also failed to do so. It became clear that Mikel Arteta’s bench lacked game-changers who could shift the momentum when it mattered the most.

Jorginho had the biggest impact of all the substitutions, but not to Arsenal’s advantage. Jorginho was replaced in the game shortly after Bukayo Saka converted a penalty to give Arsenal a 2-1 lead. This move would later come back to haunt the Gunners. Spurs equalized just 98 seconds by taking advantage of the gap in the Arsenal midfield left by Jorginho’s absence.

This equalizing goal perfectly embodied the traits that Ange Postecoglou has ingrained in the Spurs squad: relentless intensity and self-belief. Spurs are already displaying hints of a Postecoglou-like character on the pitch, which is a credit to the Australian manager’s influence.

Postecoglou had stressed the value of such encounters for the development of his side prior to the game, saying, “This is the kind of experience I want the guys to have and for us to have as a group to help us grow. Shade doesn’t make you grow; you need to lift your head and look at the sun.”

Under his leadership, Spurs most definitely did not back down from the challenge. Spurs fans should be extremely heartened by what they saw, despite the fact that the outcome may not have been what either team’s supporters had hoped for. Tottenham Hotspur’s perseverance and dedication to Postecoglou’s football philosophy were clear throughout the game, indicating a bright future for the team under their new manager.

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