Tottenham claimed a lucky point against Arsenal for the last time as the introduction of VAR next season means they will never win another thing against their north London rivals.
As long as Arsenal fans can remember, Spurs have been picking up points and goals by diving and cheating. Mauricio Pochettino has already admitted he schools his players in the dark arts and here we are, once again, talking about them stealing points with the help of the Premier League’s poverty officials.
Was it Danny Rose’s non-yellow for a blatant dive early in the match? Perhaps it was the penalty that allowed them to draw level when Harry Kane was offside? What about Vertonghen practically standing beside Auba as he took the penalty? Or maybe Rose going studs up into the midriff of Bernd Leno yet only getting a yellow was the standout decision that VAR would have helped rectify if it was in operation on Saturday afternoon.
Going into this game Arsenal were on a high and Spurs a low but this was always going to be a huge ask for the Gunners who have struggled so badly on the road this season they’ve yet to keep a clean sheet.
Before the game started BT Sport dedicated most of their build-up to telling us why Unai Emery got his selection wrong and that Aubameyang should be starting. It didn’t matter to them that Lacazette can’t play on Thursday night or is the better player. What consequence is it to pundits paid to explain the game that Arsenal subs score more goals than anyone else or that Spurs concede more late on than any other side? Emery’s selection was panned.
But the Spaniard got it right.
Arsenal contained Spurs and made these ‘world beaters’ look ordinary. Sokratis kept Harry Kane in his pocket all match, apart from when the linesman let him out for a few seconds.
If Spurs winning thanks to awful refereeing decisions is old hat and you want to chat about something else, how about we talk about their celebration when Aubameyang’s penalty was saved? After Arsenal beat Spurs 4-2 earlier in the season following all their crowing about how they were the best thing London had ever seen, Pochettino was incredibly dismissive of the Arsenal players daring to celebrate a win. “Personally, I don’t like it,” he said. “Obviously if you win a trophy, like I won when I was a player, it is a moment to celebrate.”
Yet here we are with his charges celebrating a penalty save like it was a trophy. To be fair, it’s probably the closest they’ll ever get to a one and you can’t blame them for not knowing the difference.
The footage is already on its way to the DVD makers.
We also, however, need to take a minute to discuss the wasteman that it Shkodran Mustafi.
Even though their penalty shouldn’t have been given because Kane was offside (did I mention that?) I didn’t even have to look up to know that it was the German who had given it away. More brains can be found inside the football he doesn’t know what to do with than his head. The sooner he leaves, the better. No matter where he plays in the Arsenal backline he still finds a way to f**k up in the most remarkable fashion.
It’s a skill, I’ll give him that. Perhaps we can charge extra for it.
Still, with VAR, the penalty isn’t given. Perhaps Rose gets a red for his second yellow, or a straight red instead of his first.
The introduction of VAR should spell the end of Tottenham as any sort of footballing force and I, for one, cannot wait for their relegation.
This article first appeared on Paddy Power.