Five things we learned about Tottenham from Arsenal loss

Spurs are eliminated from the FA Cup after losing 2-0 to Arsenal at the Emirates, leaving several questions to ponder.

Here are five things we learned...

The lack of defensive cover in midfield was notable for Cazorla's goal

On more than once occasion, the Arsenal midfield overcrowded the Tottenham midfield, breaking beyond them often through the pace of Walcott and finding someone like Cazorla with a clever pass, most noticeably for the Spaniard's goal. The Spurs midfielders, none of which are naturally defensive, struggled to track back and intercept or disrupt the moves. This would have been the perfect game for someone like Sandro to have been a destructive influence ahead of the defence. It is hard to say Capoue should have been selected given that Nabil Bentaleb impressed as much as he did, but he may have provided a more defensive option in midfield.

All of a sudden things don't look so Rose-y at fullback

After looking like he could be Spurs' answer at left-back answer recently, Rose blew the good impression he made with a moment of terrible judgement that led to Arsenal's second goal. With the transfer window now open, and rumours of Benoit Assou-Ekotto about to be recalled, such a mistake could mean the end of Rose's chance in the first team. If he gets another chance against Crystal Palace next week, the young fullback needs to have an outstanding match.

Nabil Bentaleb justified Sherwood's confidence

The young Frenchman really impressed against Arsenal, in what is arguably the toughest place for a Tottenham youth to make his first start. Bentaleb looked assured in possession and full of superb close control. His passing wasn't too ambitious, meaning that he rarely gave the ball away, and he looked more than worthy of his starting berth. It would be interesting to see how he would perform against a standard four man midfield, as the only thing that stopped him influencing the game further was that he and Dembele were often dealing with five or six players drifting into their central area, with little help from their teammates.

Tottenham should have pushed on more after Walcott was stretchered off

Once Walcott was carried off with 10 minutes remaining, there was a lengthy spell where Tottenham could have really pushed on and tried to overload an Arsenal side a man down. I was fully expecting Sherwood and his offensive outlook to risk losing 3-0 to try and get back into the game. That it didn't come, and that Spurs didn't throw on one of the two strikers available to them from the bench, was a surprise, and an opportunity missed.

The result showed that there is still a need for forward alternatives

That Sherwood didn't have many options for getting back into the game, against 11 men or against 10, shows that there is a real need for alternative options in attack. Even if Jermain Defoe would have been on the bench, his appearance certainly wouldn't have struck fear into the Arsenal defence. And with Defoe likely to be leaving the club in this transfer window, Spurs need to make sure that any striker they bring in can provide an alternative to both Adebayor and Soldado, as well as being able to play in tandem with either, or by himself. It is also necessary to bring in a younger striker, given that all of the senior strikers on the clubs books are either the wrong side of 30 or approaching it. Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata would be a good short-term fix if Daniel Levy doesn't want to spend big - now would be a good time to test that strategic partnership flows two ways.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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