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Desperate Arsenal risk being cast adrift of relentless Leicester and Tottenham in title race - Telegraph

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Tuesday 11 December 2018

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    Desperate Arsenal risk being cast adrift of relentless Leicester and Tottenham in title race

    Harry Redknapp: Gunners were poor at Old Trafford and Spurs can turn the screw in the North London derby

    Arsene Wenger reflects on another disappointing performance from his Arsenal side at Old Trafford Photo: GETTY IMAGES

    By Harry Redknapp

    8:41PM GMT 28 Feb 2016

    Arsenal were out-run, out-fought and out-played on Sunday by a very young, makeshift Manchester United team. There are no excuses for the way they performed. They were dreadful. It was a desperate performance.

    They did not look like a team with so much at stake. It was just unbelievable and not something I had expected after I saw the two team-sheets. You see Michael Carrick needing to play centre-back and so many young players in the team and you could not have had a better opportunity to play Manchester United. I thought that Arsenal were certainties and yet they never looked like winning.

    Arsene Wenger said after Arsenal's defeat by Manchester United that his side were still in the title race

    I have watched them quite a bit recently and it is not the first time I have seen them play like that. They just don’t look good enough. At the moment, they look a very average team. They were poor everywhere. The back four don’t look good enough. Theo Walcott wants to play through the middle, he got to play through the middle and didn’t do anything. And what has happened to Alexis Sanchez? He does not look the same player since his injury.

    Arsenal have got it all on now. If they don’t play better than that, they could end up back in fourth in a season which, without any doubt, has been their big chance. It is hard to put your finger on why they have struggled for consistency and Tottenham could very well put Arsenal out of the title race in Saturday’s derby. You couldn’t fancy Arsenal from what you have seen of them at Old Trafford. Not when the chips are down. I can’t see them getting a result at White Hart Lane and it is a massive week now as well for Tottenham.

    Danny Rose smashes home Tottenham's winning goal  Photo: Getty

    They play West Ham and Arsenal – which are two hard games - but they will be in great shape if they win those. Leicester City and Tottenham are now rightly the title favourites and this felt like a potentially pivotal weekend.

    It is an interesting dynamic when you have the teams all playing at different times. When I have had that with clubs who might be competing to finish in the top four or are in a relegation fight, I think it is usually better to go first. It’s a bit like when you have a putt in golf; you stick yours in and it makes the other guy’s putt look twice as long. You put all the pressure on them.

    That’s how it would have been for the other top teams watching Leicester against Norwich on Saturday. Seeing them score in the last minute is like getting a big punch on the jaw in the 10th round. The way that they got over the line underlined their never say die spirit.

    Leonardo Ulloa celebrates scoring the winner for Leicester

    Then, for Leicester on Sunday, they would have been sitting there with 20 minutes to go when Tottenham were also losing to Swansea and be thinking ‘what a chance we have got here’. Leicester have opened gap now to Arsenal and Manchester City and I just think that it was such a key victory, especially when you know that Tottenham or Arsenal will drop points on Saturday. It also again showed that, while Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez have understandably got most of the attention, there are also many unsung heroes in the team.

    I still think their key signing was Robert Huth, first on loan from Stoke in the January transfer window last season and then permanently in the summer for only about £3 million. He was such a consistent player for Stoke that his transfer really came out of the blue. At 31, he is still very much in the prime as a centre-back but also has the experience of helping Chelsea win a few Premier League titles. When I was managing Tottenham, I remember that, even when he was asked to play right-back for Stoke, he contained Gareth Bale as well as anyone at a time when Gareth was destroying opponents.

    Robert Huth celebrates heading Leicester's third against Manchester City

    He is a powerful runner when he gets into his stride and he is a huge presence; good in the air, tough, not a centre-half that forwards like playing against. When he tackles people, they know that they have been tackled. He will be a big influence. They had different people playing at centre-back with Wes Morgan – who I felt was also underrated – but their upturn coincided with Huth coming in. Huth can also score vital goals and he is great in both boxes.

    Leicester’s work-rate has been incredible and they deserve to be top of the league. I think it is a big advantage that they are out of every other competition. It can make a massive difference. Arsenal, for example, play six times in the next 20 days while Leicester just have their four league fixtures in that same period. They have got a great run-in too. Leicester and Tottenham have got every chance now while Arsenal, if they keep playing like they did at United, will win nothing.

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