Tottenham’s dominant 3-0 win over Arsenal yesterday provided more of a boost to Antonio Conte’s side than the three points in the standings signify.
Arsenal left Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with their collective tail between their legs. Mikel Arteta’s side were humiliated in the most important match of the season to their most heated rivals.
A team made up of wily veterans with unbreakable confidence probably wouldn’t be severely impacted by such a demoralizing, even humiliating loss. Arsenal, however, doesn’t have too many players who fall into the wily-veteran category.
This version of Arsenal has shown frailties, as recently as a few weeks ago when they lost three in a row to Southampton, Brighton and Crystal Palace, so it will be very interesting to see how yesterday’s defeat will impact their collective morale and confidence.
Arsenal’s rearguard decimated for trip to Newcastle
Ben White didn’t play yesterday but was available for selection.
While he’ll play against Newcastle, it will be interesting to see how well he adapts to coming back into the team, particularly without central defensive partner Gabriel. The Brazilian will almost certainly miss out after suffering a muscle injury against Spurs.
That’s not the end of Arsenal’s defensive woes, as Rob Holding, who was sent off in yesterday’s match, is set to miss the Newcastle match due to suspension.
Arsenal will invariably challenge the central defender’s dismissal, but their attempt should fall on deaf ears. Holding’s second yellow was purposeful and malicious. There’s no way the Premier League should overturn the suspension.
That leaves Arsenal severely short-staffed at the heart of defence, which should make their task of winning both remaining matches all the more difficult.
While it might be hopeful thinking, losing two of three first-choice centre backs and having the other return after being out of the lineup with an injury is by no means insignificant.
Only time will tell whether Arteta’s side is resilient enough to withstand the potential loss in confidence along with the aforementioned personnel deficiencies.