LONDON: The danger of bringing in a swathe of new foreign players – however talented – is that expectations of immediate success are compromised by the time it takes to adjust to the pace and power of the Premier League.
That lesson was underscored by the manner in which reconstructed Tottenham were given too much of a run-around in the north London derby and thus ended up losing the first time this season, by 1-0.
Tottenham have not yet officially sold Wales star Gareth Bale to Real Madrid but the deal is not in doubt, partly because Spurs have already spent all of the world record fee and more on the likes of Brazil midfielder Paulinho (£19m), Spain striker Roberto Soldado (£25m), versatile Belgian Nacer Chadli (£7m) and Frenchman Etienne Capoue (£9m), Argentina striker Erik Lamela (£25.7m), Romanian defender Vlad Chiriches (£8.5m) and Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen (£30m).
Four of the new men (Paulinho, Capoue, Chadli and Soldado) started against Arsenal but while they were all still learning each other names so Arsenal, under fire from their own fans for not signing anyone of note, demonstrated the value of teamwork and understanding.
Lukas Podolski will be missing for up to 10 weeks with injury but the Gunners looked highly dangerous thanks to the creative skill of Santi Cazorla, the pace of Theo Walcott and the goal hunger of Giroud. He swept home his third goal in three league games after 23 minutes.
Tottenham stepped up the pace in the second half but lacked coherent organisation and were unable to capitalise on the departure just before half-time of Arsenal’s injured-again England midfielder Jack Wilshere.
All their highly-expensive skill was set aside while they launched an aerial bombardment under which Per Mertesacker & Co held firm. The finest chance fell to Soldado in stoppage time but he sliced his shot badly off target.