Arsenal Analysed: The story of our Spurs draw

Gabriel in action against Tottenham Hospur

The spoils were shared at Emirates Stadium in the first north London derby of the season, as Tottenham Hotspur twice managed to pull level with us to earn a point from the game.

To find out why we couldn't quite register a fourth-straight win over our neighbours, Adrian Clarke has looked back at proceedings and delved into the stats to discover how our opponents managed to keep us at bay, and highlight some things Mikel Arteta would have been impressed by: 

A hostile early press

Mikel Arteta’s side provided the visitors with a host of problems early on, especially whenever they opted to play out from the back. Spurs were determined to play through the thirds, and content to take risks with intricate passing around their own penalty box.

As you can see on the chalkboard below left, during the opening third of this clash we had created 15 turnovers inside Tottenham’s half, including three within their 18-yard box. Perhaps tiring a little after our European exploits in midweek, whereas our opponents had eight days between their games, we became less effective in this department throughout the remainder of the game, adding another 18 possession regains, shown on the right:

Chalkboards showing our turnovers against Tottenham

Gabriel Jesus (8) and Bukayo Saka (7) were our best pressers on the day, regaining the ball on 15 occasions between them. Had we been able to sustain the energy levels displayed in the opening 35 minutes, there could have been more opportunities for us to grab the all-important winner.

Spurs stifle our fluency

The ball was only in play for 52 minutes and 12 seconds of the 104 minutes and 21 seconds which were played at Emirates Stadium, equating to a lowly 50.4% share. Frustratingly, this was the second-lowest figure registered in the Premier League season across 59 matches.

What caused this? Ange Postecoglou’s side were super-aggressive in their approach, making 19 fouls, the second most of any team in a single match so far in 2023/24. Referee Robert Jones blew his whistle for 31 fouls in total, which is the joint-second highest in the current campaign.


Fouls Conceded

Bournemouth v Chelsea


Brighton v Newcastle


Arsenal v Tottenham


This pattern, exacerbated by injury delays, broke up play on a regular basis - and this impacted the rhythm we could find as a team. This outstanding Arsenal side thrives on fluent, cohesive passing and because this match became very stop-start in nature, it was harder than usual to build momentum or sustained pressure.

Tottenham also made a concerted effort to keep hold of the ball for longer spells, limiting us to just 377 passes. By comparison, we made 532 passes in the 3-1 success at home to Manchester United. In essence, we did not enjoy enough time in possession of the ball, which obviously curbed our threat.

Captain curtailed

Martin Odegaard playing against Tottenham

Our opponents did an impressive job of closing down space for our chief creators. Often finding themselves faced up by two or three white shirts, it wasn’t easy at all for us to consistently produce the flowing attacking moves that are now synonymous with our side.

They managed to cut off the supply to Eddie Nketiah, and none of our outfield players were able to find the striker with more than one successful pass, while Martin Odegaard, unlike against PSV Eindhoven in midweek, found time and space hard to come by.

Spurs showed outstanding industry in order to limit his influence, and our skipper was only able to find fellow attackers Jesus, Saka, Nketiah, Fabio Vieira, Kai Havertz, Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith Rowe with an aggregate of nine passes.

Saka stands up again

Bukayo Saka in action against Tottenham

Saka’s duel with Destiny Udogie made for an outstanding watch throughout the course of the afternoon. Our brilliant 22-year-old winger tormented the Italian left-back throughout the first period, running at him almost every time he took possession of the ball.

His teammates constantly looked to release our number 7, especially after his marker received a caution before halftime, and the bulk of his touches occurred inside the final third.

To his credit Udogie stuck to his task and made life more difficult for Saka after half-time, but by the final whistle, the Hale End graduate led our matchday rankings in a variety of different categories.

Bukayo Saka v Tottenham:




Chances Created



Touches in Opp Box



Penalty Area Entries



Tackles Won



Duels Won



Have a go at your own analysis by digging deeper into the numbers or building your own chalkboard with our revamped Stats Centre

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