Does Arsenal's defeat to Spurs show they're the same old team?
By Joe Harker
The showdown at Wembley was seen as another chance for Tottenham Hotspur to show whether the balance of power in London had changed. Whether you believe a Spurs victory showed as much, they won 1-0 thanks to Harry Kane's 101st Premier League goal and Arsenal showed several problems that will be all too familiar to fans despite their new signings.
Writing in The Telegraph, Jim White believes that the club are still showing the same problems, saying the slim margin of victory flattered Arsenal as their rivals missed several golden chances to score. The Gunners had just defeated Everton 5-1 with new arrivals Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan dazzling on their debuts, but both players were largely anonymous against Spurs and a hoped for new dawn the pair might bring seemed false.
The defeat is a setback in Arsenal's hopes of making the Champions League, as they lag seven points behind fourth placed Spurs. Although their hopes of qualification via the top four are looking less likely, Arsene Wenger has not yet decided to prioritise the Europa League campaign as Manchester United did last season. The Gunners are one of the favourites for the competition but success is by no means guaranteed and Wenger is not prepared to slack off in the league. He said: "We want to qualify through the league first.
"Because you cannot bank on a cup success you know? That would not be reasonable."
Even more galling for Arsenal fans is how their team came so close to getting something from the game. Despite being second best for much of the game they did have a few chances in the final minutes, with the opportunities falling to Alexandre Lacazette, a player who may see his position usurped by Aubameyang. If this was the striker's moment to win back some favour he did not take it, missing a pair of chances that could have meant Arsenal drew or even won the game.
Goalkeeper Petr Cech poured more misery onto Lacazette, saying those chances cost the team in "a game which had huge importance". Even worse, former Arsenal player Emmanuel Petit believes Lacazette's career is as good as over He said: "Lacazette is under massive pressure. He needs to improve or face the exit this summer.
"Aubameyang's signing tells me it might already be too late. Arsene Wenger's belief in Lacazette has gone."