Cech saves Arsenal more woe with 7/10 as Mkhitaryan, Ozil struggle
Arsenal lost a one-sided north London derby 1-0 against Tottenham and sustained a significant blow to their hopes of finishing in the top four.
The Gunners travelled to Wembley in good spirits, after a strong January transfer window was followed up with a resounding 5-1 win over Everton. However, they were second best for most of this match, and it's remarkable that Harry Kane's goal was all that ultimately separated the teams.
It's difficult to derive positives from a derby defeat, but Arsenal should be glad they did not lose by a greater margin. A 1-0 win does not reflect Tottenham's dominance, especially in the second half, and were it not for Petr Cech and some wayward finishing this would have been a thrashing.
Arsenal's disastrous form on the road continues. The Gunners have assembled just 13 points from their 14 away games this season.
The other major disappointment will be the fact that Arsenal's "new start" has hit a stumbling block so early on. The optimism generated by the signings of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henkrikh Mkhitaryan is already threatening to evaporate.
Manager rating out of 10
5 -- Wenger's decision to go with a 4-3-3 panned out relatively well in the first half. However, it's after the break that things really fell apart. Spurs came out with a renewed focus and determination, whereas Arsenal looked alarmingly slack. The manager has to take responsibility for that.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Petr Cech, 7 -- This was a strange performance from Cech. His saves prevented the scoreline from becoming humiliating, but his footwork was nervy and led directly to a couple of Spurs opportunities. On balance, he deserves credit for keeping the Gunners in the game.
DF Hector Bellerin, 7 -- In the first half, the Spaniard was one of Arsenal's better players. He chased back well to battle with Son Heung-Min, and frequently burst forward to provide width on the break. However, as the team's shape fell apart in the second half, Bellerin's performance diminished.
DF Laurent Koscielny, 6 -- Arsenal's skipper on the day must be one of the most frustrated men in football. Despite his enormous individual quality, he consistently finds himself at the heart of a chaotic back-line. Perhaps he should take some criticism for that: he hasn't developed into the organiser Wenger must have hoped he'd become.
DF Shkodran Mustafi, 6 -- In the first half, Mustafi coped relatively well in his duel with Kane. However, like the rest of the Arsenal team, he allowed sloppiness to creep in as soon as the second half started. His passing was also well short of its best.
DF Nacho Monreal, 6 -- With most of Tottenham's attacks coming down the opposite flank, Monreal actually had a relatively quiet game. Recently he's been an effective attacking outlet, but he was well marshalled by Kieran Trippier.
MF Granit Xhaka, 5 -- What exactly does the Switzerland international offer Arsenal in this system? He's not quick, he can't dribble and he can't tackle. The £35 million they spent to sign him looks increasingly like a huge waste of money.
MF Mohamed Elneny, 7 -- The Egyptian was tasked with keeping things simple at the base of the Arsenal midfield, and actually had a very decent first-half. Once he went off, Arsenal completely lost their shape.
MF Jack Wilshere, 6 -- It's impossible to doubt Wilshere's passion for the derby, and he looked the player most likely to open up the Tottenham defence. However, Arsenal missed the energy of Aaron Ramsey, who was ruled out by an injury sustained in training.
FW Mesut Ozil, 5 -- When Arsenal made Ozil the highest paid player in their history, they might have hoped he'd finally begin to wield some influence in these big away games. Sadly, he failed to do that at Wembley. His failure to close down Ben Davies also contributed directly to the winning goal.
FW Henriky Mkhitaryan, 4 -- At Manchester United, Mkhitaryan had a reputation for failing to perform in big games. Unfortunately for Arsenal, that habit carried over into this derby -- several in this match, his final ball was disappointing. After such a promising full debut last weekend this was a significant backwards step for the Armenian.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 5 -- Those who watched Aubameyang closely in Germany insisted he was a striker that could be clinical -- if provided with the requisite service. Sadly he didn't get anything like the supply he would have hoped for, and was largely quiet. He finished the game looking out of sorts on the left wing.
MF Alex Iwobi, 6 -- Came on for Elneny (65) and played an excellent pass to Lacazette in stoppage time.
FW Alexandre Lacazette, N/A -- Replaced Mkhitaryan (84) and fluffed two excellent chances to grab an unlikely equaliser.
FW Danny Welbeck, N/A -- Introduced for Xhaka (86), the Englishman did at least add some energy to a lacklustre Arsenal front-line.
James McNicholas is one of ESPN FC's Arsenal bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter @gunnerblog.