Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has said that his side were too slow to react to Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane in the North London derby, The Sun reports.
The England U21 international striker scored two second-half goals as Spurs came from behind to beat Arsene Wenger’s men in front of a delighted White Hart Lane crowd.
It was a case of so far, so good for the Gunners at half time as a Mesut Ozil opener after just 11 minutes gave the visitors the lead heading into the interval.
However, the hosts showed renewed energy in the second period and the Gunners were simply too slow to react to Spurs’ movement and in particular Harry Kane.
“We found a way recently to prepare ourselves on crosses and be better defensively on set-pieces,” Mertesacker was quoted as saying by The Sun.
“But we did not switch on quickly enough and were not up for proper defending. So that was worse than in recent weeks.
“We have to analyse the problems Tottenham caused us and then focus on Tuesday’s game with Leicester to bounce back from this setback as quickly as possible.”
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Did Arsene Wenger make a mistake with his line-up?
One question which can be raised following the outcome is whether boss Arsene Wenger analysed the hosts’ strengths and placed too much emphasis on experience rather than tackling the problem.
Before Saturday, Kane had scored eight goals in his previous eight Premier League encounters – including a double against Chelsea – and his ability to move and bully defences is evident.
Wenger opted for Laurent Koscielny and Mertesacker as his centre-back duo, possibly for the latter’s height against Kane, but the Frenchman clearly didn’t envisage his duo’s lack of reaction.
While it may have been a risk to throw in new signing Gabriel Paulista in a heated North London derby, one can only suggest that his versatility and quickness would have been far suited to counter the Spurs threat.
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