Arsenal vs. Tottenham: Rating Both Sets of Players In the North London Derby

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2012

Arsenal vs. Tottenham: Rating Both Sets of Players In the North London Derby

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    The North London Derby is never a disappointing affair, and with Saturday’s seven-goal haul in hand, it officially became the Premier League’s highest-scoring fixture ever.

    The 5-2 replication of last season’s result means that Arsenal retain bragging rights over their bitter rivals once more, a result that was in no small part thanks to several key performers.

    That being said, both outfits had their share of better performers on the day, as well as players that didn’t quite cut it when it matters most.

    Each player has been graded on a scale of 10 for their input in an encounter that both sets of fans will regard as one of the most important of the campaign.

Arsenal Players (4-2-3-1)

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    Wojciech Szczesny: 7.5

    Making his Premier League return after suffering with injury, Szczesny brought a sense of security to the Arsenal backline once again, despite leaking two goals in the process.

    The Polish stopper was unfortunate to concede against Emmanuel Adebayor after saving Jermain Defoe’s low shot on goal.

    Szczesny’s distribution was solid throughout and the Polish international was blindsided by Bale’s late consolation.


    Bacary Sagna: 6.5

    Sagna had a difficult time coping with the pace of Gareth Bale at times, but was a constant outlet in attack and did well to help out Theo Walcott down the right-hand flank.

    Emmanuel Adebayor’s opener was scored largely due to some poor offside positioning by Sagna, and it seemed that defending became secondary for periods.


    Per Mertesacker: 7.0

    As has been the case for stretches of his Arsenal tenure, a distinct lack of pace let Per Mertesacker down for periods once again at the Emirates this week.

    Jermain Defoe’s nippy nature caught the German international out on a few too many occasions, but Mertesacker’s saving grace was the first-half equaliser that got his side back into the matchup.


    Laurent Koscielny: 7.5

    The faster of Arsenal’s two central defenders by some margin, Koscielny was responsible for clearing up quite a few of the messes caused as a result of teammates’ shortcomings.

    The 27-year-old mopped up a lot of mess and, despite letting the opposition score two goals, was fairly concrete against the likes of Defoe and Bale.


    Thomas Vermaelen: 8.0

    Filling in at left-back in the absence of Kieran Gibbs, Vermaelen was solid for the Gunners and restrained Aaron Lennon with some assuredness.

    The Belgian sometimes plays at full-back for his national outfit and, as well as being a rock in defence, Vermaelen was rampant in attack for periods, helping out massively going forward.


    Mikel Arteta: 8.0

    Since coming to the Emirates Stadium, Arteta’s role has gradually move further downfield, but the Spaniard has grown into the role of anchorman in a very astute manner.

    Arteta slowed play when it needed to be slowed, and was the catalyst his side needed, initiating attacks whenever it was needed.

    The 30-year-old made some very good tackles in his own half and floated a raft of delicate chips over the Tottenham defence that the likes of Theo Walcott and Lukas Podolski lapped up with a grin.


    Jack Wilshere: 8.0

    Although the youngster was notably fatigued in the second half, Jack Wilshere continued his return to Arsenal’s first team with an impressive display on Saturday.

    Wilshere, sat alongside Mikel Arteta, put in more than a few meaty tackles early on, and one wouldn’t be mad to think he was perhaps fortunate to escape with a yellow card.

    That being said, the 20-year-old broke up play well and effortlessly ignited the Gunners’ forays into the Spurs half on a frequent basis.


    Santi Cazorla: 8.5

    Arguably Arsenal’s man of the match on the day, Santi Cazorla was a constant supply chain for the hosts and provided Olivier Giroud with a steady stream of scoring chances.

    Cazorla assisted Giroud’s goal before latching onto the end of a Lukas Podolski cross to get on the scoreline himself, rounding off a wonderful afternoon for the Spaniard.

    Theo Walcott: 9.0

    Another candidate for the match’s best player, Walcott yet again backed up arguments why the Gunners may want to meet certain demands in the player’s contract negotiations with a fantastic performance against Spurs.

    Kyle Naughton had a torrid time trying to keep up with the England winger’s speed and was left in Walcott’s wake on numerous occasions.

    Late on, Walcott took up a role up front and bagged a deserved goal for his troubles, although the speedster’s dribbling and control could have been tighter at times.


    Lukas Podolski: 8.0

    After netting against Fulham last week, Lukas Podolski carried the momentum back to north London, and although his goal was slightly fortunate to have even gone in, the German put in a goal-worthy showing.

    An encouraging aspect for Arsene Wenger was to see his winger helping Thomas Vermaelen out in defence so much, and an assist on the Santi Cazorla goal was another welcome addition for the home side.


    Olivier Giroud: 8.5

    Arguably the Frenchman’s most assured performance in an Arsenal shirt to date, Olivier Giroud’s gaining in confidence continued against Tottenham.

    The striker turned up in the ideal fixture to put him in the good books amongst his own fans, and although it took 46 minutes, Giroud hit a Cazorla cut-back to record a deserved goal.

Tottenham Players (4-4-2)

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    Hugo Lloris: 6.0

    With Olivier Giroud showing some of the best form of his Arsenal career thus far, Lloris did well in his goalkeeping duties to ensure that the concession tally wasn’t higher than five.

    The French No. 1 may have conceded a hatful of goals, but can take comfort in knowing that there was little he could have done to keep that amount down.

    Arsenal’s goals were attributed to bad defending and not bad goalkeeping; however, the stopper may still be getting to grips with playing a new backline.


    Kyle Walker: 5.5

    Although his best assets undoubtedly lie in attack, Kyle Walker was largely unnoticeable in all aspects against Arsenal.

    Walker found himself inundated by opposition attackers, and between Podolski, Cazorla and the overlapping Vermaelen, it was a poor day at the office for the England youngster.


    Jan Vertonghen: 6.0

    Playing in his preferred position of centre-back, Vertonghen was perhaps the most comfortable of Tottenham’s defenders, which varied between having four and three at the back.

    It was the Belgian’s pass that launched Jermain Defoe forward resulting in Adebayor’s early goal; however, Vertonghen’s pace did let him down on occasion.


    William Gallas: 5.0

    Playing against his French compatriot, Gallas was bullied off the ball by Olivier Giroud way too frequently, and gave the Arsenal striker ample room to notch up numerous efforts on goal.

    Steven Caulker’s presence was missed by Spurs and a lack of positional awareness ensured that Gallas was always kept on his toes, to his downfall.



    Kyle Naughton: 4.0

    Possibly the worst player on the pitch against Arsenal, a good day’s outing for Theo Walcott meant a terrible one for Kyle Naughton.

    The youngster is filling in for Benoit Assou-Ekotto at left-back, but isn’t doing much to stake his claim on the spot on a permanent basis.

    Naughton was left in Walcott’s vapour trail too many times for Tottenham to cope with, and the Spurs full-back was fortunate that Walcott’s delivery was lacking for periods.


    Tom Huddlestone: 5.5

    Much to the joy of Santi Cazorla, Tom Huddlestone’s anchor partnership alongside Sandro was an ineffective one, and Huddlestone’s match was one of damage limitation in the end.

    Usually, the Englishman likes to express his creative ways in a looser fashion than he did at the Emirates Stadium, but restraining the Arsenal offence ultimately became a priority, a task that Huddlestone seemed to fail.


    Sandro: 6.0

    Lucky to not be carded in the first half, Sandro eventually found himself in the referee’s book in the second period, and deservedly so after a series of rash challenges.

    The Brazilian failed to contain Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski and was of little to no help in attack, despite being slightly more secure than Huddlestone.


    Aaron Lennon: 5.0

    Despite his best efforts, Aaron Lennon was permitted to use his pace only in the early exchanges before Thomas Vermaelen seemingly sussed out the winger’s attack.

    Arsenal’s left-back did a good job containing the Tottenham speedster, and Lennon was pushed further back, forced into helping Kyle Walker cope with the oncoming Gunners onslaught.


    Gareth Bale: 7.5

    Tottenham’s best player by some margin, Gareth Bale was a rare glimmer of light in an otherwise grim environment for the visitors on Saturday.

    The Emirates Stadium was an unkind environment for Spurs, and although it’s undoubtedly difficult to pick yourself up after conceding five goals, Bale kept on going to the best of his ability until the final whistle.

    While he didn’t offer Kyle Naughton the necessary cover in defence, Bale was his usually devilish self going forward at time, and did well to grab his side a consolation goal 20 minutes from full-time.


    Emmanuel Adebayor: 4.5

    The man who will ultimately be looked upon as the reason Tottenham capitulated in the way they did, Adebayor’s opening goal contribution is blotted out by his first-half sending off.

    Adebayor’s challenge on Santi Cazorla was unnecessary and irresponsible, contributing massively to his side's eventual thrashing.

    One thing for sure is that the Togolese international will not be a much-loved person at White Hart Lane at the moment.


    Jermain Defoe: 5.5

    Following the Adebayor red card, Jermain Defoe was left to handle striking responsibilities on his own and was unable to conjure much to threaten the likes of Kosielny or Mertesacker alone.

    It was Defoe’s shot that resulted in Adebayor’s opening goal, but the second half didn’t result in many chances for the striker, who became increasingly frustrated as the game wore on.

Arsenal Substitutes

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    Aaron Ramsey: 5.5

    Came on for Jack Wilshere with 20 minutes left in the match but failed to offer the same steel in midfield that his English teammate contributed.


    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 7.0

    Coming on for Giroud with just five minutes left to go, Oxlade-Chamberlain still managed to feed Theo Walcott to claim an assist, and didn’t really have enough time to put a step wrong.


    André Santos: 5.0

    A 10-minute cameo for Santos contained nothing worthy of note, and the Brazilian defender was almost absent for the duration.

Tottenham Substitutes

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    Michael Dawson: 6.0

    Introduced as part of a halftime double substitution for the visitors, Dawson came on for Kyle Walker to add a bit of stability to the Tottenham backline, succeeding but only to an extent.


    Clint Dempsey: 5.0

    Brought on in an effort to give Jermain Defoe an attacking partner, Clint Dempsey was absolutely unmentionable and didn’t contribute much in a second half display.


    Tom Carroll: 5.5

    Replacing Tom Huddlestone after 70 minutes, Carroll didn’t look completely out of his depth in his cameo, and showed some promising control and a good touch.