Five observations from Tottenham's North London derby loss to Arsenal

White Hart Lane 5

Spurs lost a tight North London Derby 1-0 through Tomas Rosicky's wonder goal, despite large spells of pressure and possession.

Spurs have to learn how to make better use of possession

After going behind so early to Tomas Rosicky's thunderbolt strike, it was easy to fear for a Tottenham side who had been on the receiving end of beatings against those above them. What actually transpired was that Spurs put in their best performance for several games, restricting Arsenal in possession and ensuring the Gunners were the side under pressure for the 90 minutes. The performance was scant consolation for a derby defeat, and after having so much of the ball but so few truly threatening chances, the side need to learn how to increase the tempo of their attacking play to turn possession into chances.

On paper this looked like a team down to their bare bones

Nabil Bentaleb, Kyle Naughton, Nacer Chadli and Danny Rose, none of these names are the kinds of players to strike fear into Premier League rivals. Given all the talk of squad enhancement after the Gareth Bale transfer, the side put out against Arsenal looked a long way off top four contenders. Despite the status of some of the starting eleven, Spurs dominated the ball and were unlucky to remain behind, but the fact remains that they lacked a player to make the difference today.

Adebayor had a strong game, but lacked support 

Emmanuel Adebayor was a standout performer for Spurs, matched only by the centre-backs he was up against, and the Togo striker was full of enthusiasm and full of running as he sought to drag Spurs level. The problem was there was no one stepping up to shoulder that attacking burden. Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen had decent games but were happier stroking the ball around outside the box than busting a gut to get in there to support their striker. Until that changes, either from within the club or through a transfer, Spurs will struggle to get to the levels they were at in the last 2 or 3 years.  

Top four is an impossibility now

But in truth, it's been over for some time. This was Tottenham's fourth loss in seven games in all competitions, and their third in four Premier League games. Games with Chelsea and Arsenal were always going to be difficult, but the defeat at Norwich sparked it all off, and losing to the Gunners at home for the first time in seven years has bookended an awful spell for Spurs and their under pressure manager Tim Sherwood.

Is Sherwood the man to get these good players back to form?

Tim Sherwood has done a fantastic job at bringing Emmanuel Adebayor back into the team, he has also been able to employ Nabil Bentaleb in midfield and demonstrate that he is a decent Premier League midfielder who become a really good one in the future. However, there are 20-25 other players who are playing nowhere near the level they are capable of, and if they were, Spurs would be a significantly better outfit. That Sherwood hasn't coaxed form out of any other squad players implies that selecting a real top level manager to do that would leave the team in a real competitive position. Someone like Louis van Gaal has the experience and nous to do that, but there aren't many others available who can.

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