Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta must fire a £250,000-a-week trio following their performance against Tottenham in the north London derby.
Three Arsenal players completely failed Mikel Arteta in the Premier League during Arsenal’s north London derby against Tottenham.
The Gunners threw away a two-goal lead against Spurs at the Emirates, and three players in particular performed poorly.
Arteta must simply omit the trio from his starting lineup for Arsenal’s Carabao Cup match against Brentford in midweek.
What began as another potential north London derby win for Arsenal quickly turned into a nightmare, with Mikel Arteta’s team allowing Tottenham two simple goals to earn a draw in a thrilling Premier League match at the Emirates.
Whether it was the tired legs after the midweek Champions League game against PSV or anything else, the Gunners just didn’t look like themselves, and a handful of particularly poor performances made for a miserable afternoon for the home side.
Arsenal’s Carabao Cup match against Brentford on Wednesday provides Arteta with the option to rest and rotate anyway, but based on the performances of the three players listed below, the Spaniard may contemplate omitting them. Here are the three players who let their coach down against Tottenham on Sunday.
Given that Gabriel Martinelli and Leandro Trossard were both injured – the latter’s absence being a surprise when the team-sheets were published – Arteta almost had no say over whether Eddie Nketiah would play or not.
The Arsenal manager would have hoped that the striker, who had lately been called up to the England senior squad, would deliver on the biggest stage, but he hopelessly fluffed his lines. Arteta had such faith in Nketiah that the senior man, Gabriel Jesus, was pushed out wide, with the Arsenal youth product leading the line.
While England U21s’ record goal-scorer toiled hard as usual, the lack of an end product was once again a major disappointment for him. When he picked up an errant back-pass from Spurs left-back Destiny Udogie, he had all the time in the world to either pick his spot or lay it off to the onrushing Fabio Vieira, but he only managed to strike it straight at Guglielmo Vicario and out for a corner.
The fact that he only completed six passes in the entire 90 minutes he was on the field tells you all you need to know about both his lack of service and his complete lack of involvement.
It was no surprise that Gary Neville, who was on co-commentary duty for Sky Sports, expressed concern over Nketiah’s movement in and around the box throughout the game, with the striker sitting back rather than attacking the far post after a flick-on. While much of the groundwork has been built, it appears that Arsenal’s number nine position still needs to be improved.
While it would be far too harsh to blame Jorginho for Arsenal’s loss against Tottenham, the Italy international’s gaffe was unacceptable. The midfielder didn’t seem to read the game correctly after the kick-off following Bukayo Saka’s successful penalty, which is unusual for a player of his experience and normal serenity on the ball.
After retaking the lead, the Gunners needed to take the emotion out of the game for a few minutes, but instead of realizing this, Jorginho dilly-dallied and was caught far too easily.
Declan Rice’s likely injury and absence would deprive Arteta of another first-team midfielder, considering Thomas Partey’s inability to return to action anytime soon.
Mohamed Elneny, on the other hand, is clearly someone the Arsenal manager rates, and after returning from injury to make the bench against Spurs, the Egypt international may well consider his chances of a surprise start have increased significantly, despite Arteta admitting that he would back Jorginho to the hilt.
Fabio Vieira’s performance, arguably the most anonymous of the bunch, would have come as a significant surprise to Arteta given how well the Portugueseman has started this season.
After scoring the game-winning penalty in the Community Shield triumph over Manchester City at Wembley, the former Porto man appeared to have made a significant improvement from his rookie season at the Emirates, as evidenced by two great assists in back-to-back games against Fulham and Manchester United.
And, having been chosen over Kai Havertz for the number eight position in midfield, Arteta would have wanted Vieira to leave his mark on the game. Instead, his physicality got the best of him once more, as up against Yves Bissouma and Pape Mate Sarr, the small playmaker struggled to get going and was eventually hooked at halftime.
While Havertz has struggled since joining Arsenal from Chelsea, Arsenal fans may be hoping that one of their own, Emile Smith Rowe, gets given more opportunities. After Vieira’s virtually nondescript performance against Spurs, that choice could come as soon as this Wednesday’s Carabao Cup match against Brentford.
The trio, who earn a combined £250k per week according to Salary Sport, were considerably off the pace against Spurs, and Arteta must make a significant decision not only for the cup match, but also for the future. The Gunners are dealing with injury issues as they prepare to face Manchester City in the Premier League in a few weeks, and they cannot afford to be carrying passengers.