Bukayo Saka has become inevitable for Arsenal as Tottenham’s naivety shows – Premier League hits and misses

Plus: Ange Postecoglou sees the size of the task he faces to take Spurs to the top and Brighton’s hopes of a return to Europe are wrecked by Bournemouth

Like Robben, Saka has become inevitable

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Watch free highlights Arsenal’s 3-2 win over Tottenham

“I feel sorry for Ben Davies, in a way, but you know Saka is coming back on his left,” said Paul Merson of Arsenal’s second goal in their thrilling 3-2 win over Tottenham. “You cannot let him do that.”

You cannot let him. But, increasingly, you cannot stop him either.

The 22-year-old has become inevitable. Like the former Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid winger Arjen Robben, you know exactly what is coming next. You just don’t know how to stop it.

Davies is not the first defender to find this out. It is what Saka does.

  • Tottenham 2-3 Arsenal – Match report and highlights
  • How the teams lined up | Match stats | Premier League table

Image: Bukayo Saka's open-play Premier League goal map for the 2023/24 Premier League season

His latest goal was his 15th in the Premier League this season and the vast majority of them have come from almost exactly the same place; many in almost exactly the same style. That curling finish into the far corner, having cut in from the right, is becoming his finish.

Thierry Henry perfected something similar from the opposite side of the box, of course. But it was another Arsenal legend whose scoring feats came to mind on this occasion. Saka is the first English player to reach 15 Premier League goals for the club since Ian Wright. It is not bad company to keep.

His role in the victory went beyond that goal, though. Saka worked tirelessly off the ball and also set up the opener, his inswinging corner flying into the net off the head of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

He just keeps getting better. Last season, he produced 26 goals and assists combined, his highest total. This term, with 19 goals and 14 assists in all competitions, he is already up to 33.

Further improvement feels as inevitable as his latest goal.
Nick Wright

Spurs’ naivety costs them when it matters

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Ange Postecoglou says Spurs made it too easy for Arsenal on Sunday

“They are a team that deals with the details well and we aren’t.” Ange Postecoglou’s analysis neatly encapsulated the difference between Tottenham and Arsenal in Sunday’s north London derby.

Had you not been paying close attention, you would have been perplexed to see the side in red leading 3-0 at half-time, but the devil was in the detail for Mikel Arteta’s title challengers.

Two set-piece goals and a swift counter were all they needed. It got tense at the end but proved to be enough to take all three points in one of their biggest games of the season.

Spurs’ set-piece vulnerability will come under more intense scrutiny now, but Postecoglou insists their issues run far deeper than that. “If I thought fixing defensive set-pieces was the answer to us bridging the gap then I’d put all my time and effort into that,” he said.

“Our defensive set-pieces for those first two goals were very poor,” he added. “But there is a lot more than that to fix.”

Arteta has had nearly five years to work on those details, while Postecoglou is still early in his journey with Spurs. Taking that next step and addressing those shortcomings will define how his tenure is judged.

Spurs’ naivety was laid bare by a side that have had to learn the hard way. Pain is inevitable on the journey with Postecoglou – Sunday’s failure to stop Arsenal being a case in point – but necessary if Spurs are to ever bridge the gap.
Zinny Boswell

Brighton’s hopes of a European return all but over

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Highlights from the Premier League match between Bournemouth and Brighton.

In spite of the added rigours of playing in European competition for the first time, Brighton always looked in with a shout of qualifying for a second time – for the first half of the season, at least.

But this has been a true season of two halves, and, with four games left to play, those hopes are hanging by a thread.

  • Bournemouth 3-0 Brighton – Match report and highlights
  • How the teams lined up | Match stats

Since the turn of the year, they have won only two of their 15 games and picked up 14 of the 45 points on offer. What’s more, they have only scored four goals in their last nine games and found themselves no match for Manchester City and Brighton this week.

Even if they do manage to string together four straight wins, they will only reach 56 points; fifth-placed Tottenham are already on 60, Manchester United have 54 and Newcastle have 53.

Speaking in his press conference after the defeat at the Vitality Stadium, Roberto De Zerbi suggested the Seagulls are too far from the European positions and do not have a clear target anymore, so are suffering with motivation as a result.

It’s hard to argue against that, but this tough period will likely shape what Brighton do next season to avoid a repeat – albeit without playing in a fourth competition.
Dan Long

Sourse: skysports.com

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