Europe no problem, Wenger
> Arsenal can handle distractions, says manager
“Did we get a little mental blow when they equalised? I don’t know,” Wenger said.
“But overall when we were questioned in the final 30 minutes, we had no physical answer good enough to win the game. I cannot question the spirit, but we looked a bit flat.”
As well as welcoming Kane back from a seven-week lay-off, Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino sprang a surprise by setting his team out with a back three.
Arsenal winger Theo Walcott said the hosts had been surprised by the move, but Wenger insisted his players had been prepared for the eventuality.
Chelsea’s recent fine form was sparked by a second-half switch to a 3-4-3 system during their 3-0 defeat at Arsenal in late September, but Pochettino said he had not taken their approach as inspiration.
“Because Chelsea won 5-0 yesterday (Saturday), they didn’t discover the system,” he said.
“It’s a good system to use depending on the players. But we don’t play like Chelsea. We play with two strikers and Christian (Eriksen) behind.”
Dembele was Spurs’ stand-out player and hauled them back into the game by winning the penalty after driving into the Arsenal box from deep in characteristic fashion.
Pochettino described the Belgium international as “a genius”.
While Spurs have now gone seven games without a win in all competitions, they have avoided defeat in their first 11 league games for the first time since the Double season of 1960-61.
Spurs have lost Dele Alli to what Pochettino termed a “minor” knee injury and he conceded he will need to juggle his resources skilfully if his team are to repeat last season’s title challenge.
“All teams have good and bad moments during the season,” said the Argentine, whose side remained fifth in the table.
“If you have bad moments, like we suffered last month, and you are still unbeaten, all I can do is smile. Because I’m happy.
“When you compete in the Champions League and the Premier League, which for me are the toughest competitions in the world, you need all the squad fit.
“We have suffered some issues and maybe we cannot rotate in the way we want to give freshness and put the players in their best condition, so we have to use the same players.
“But I’m very happy with the way we finished now. The feeling is fantastic.” – AFP
Arsenal’s Shkodran Mustafi (L) trying to steal the ball away from Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane during their English Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium in London yesterday. –