Post Match View – Tottenham Hotspur F.C.

Before the match, Robbie Keane (now famously) said, “You look at the two squads and we’re definitely on a par.”

Before the match, Harry Redknapp said, “They play fantastic football, but so do we. We have a squad here capable of matching anyone so we will be going there to win the game.”

In the 84th minute, the game announcer said, “I think Tottenham want the final whistle now.”

After the match, Arsene Wenger said, “We took advantage of two opportunities and that changed the game completely – it could have been four or five.”

It should have been more than that. Games against Spurs are never long enough for me. We can never score enough against them to satisfy me. Embarrassment is the order of the day, every time we play them.

Beating Spurs is the least an Arsenal player should aim for. Beating Spurs should never be taken for granted. Robbie Keane and Harry Redknapp underestimated these two tenets and clearly overestimated their club’s status. All the talk about a new club breaking into the top four has gone to their heads. They are inferior. End of!

Cesc has answered my calls to regain form. He’s been very good this season. There was a dip last week at Upton Park but no such thing yesterday. He and Robin have taken over from Gallas and Vermaelen as the most likely to score. Still though, I keep a question mark next to Andrey Arshavin’s name. I am growing increasingly impatient. Maybe it’s my own problem but I would argue that he has yet to turn on the style of a world class player.

He started well yesterday but faded. He was average in the end. I want more. Much more!

I read earlier in the week that Wilson Palacios would be a good counter for the creative thrust of Cesc Fabregas. I also read that David Bentley would have much to prove as he tries to find a way back to the first team. As it turned out, Palacios was a typical Spurs player, hyped but really less than average. Bentley was not any kind of difference maker. I wonder what players like Bentley do for a game since Redknapp has scrapped the reserves. It’s not my issue but I question how that policy benefits players.

It was also mentioned that Peter Crouch would trouble our center-halves. Vermaelen was impressive, again. Long may it last. Does anyone still question Wenger’s decision to demote Senderos?

I noticed how tense the Spurs players were when they lined up before entering the pitch. What a foul move by Robbie Keane to spit on the floor. We used to be ridiculed for our group huddles before matches. Spurs’ huddle before kickoff had little effect on the outcome. I wonder what Captain Scum told his troops.

The aforementioned Bentley and “You’ll Never Play For Arsenal” Jenas returned to their lineup. They’ve scored brilliant goals in the corresponding fixture. Almunia was back in goal for us. Hopefully, he’ll add some assertiveness and steel to his game and thwart the threat of young Vito.

We started with Bendtner missing the target after good build-up by Song, Robin, and Arshavin. Song gifted Spurs a corner in the third minute with a terribly hacked back-pass. We escaped unscathed. In the seventh minute, the lively Arshavin won a corner which was taken quickly by Cesc. Beanpole Crouch clattered into and seemed to injure the diminutive no. 23 but no penalty was given. Nor was a yellow given to Bentley for his challenge on Vermaelen less than a minute later. It deserved more than a verbal caution.

With Capello in the crowd, Bentley had a flashback to that wonder goal he scored from 45 yards in his first North London derby. He attempted to impress the England manager with a similarly audacious effort in the tenth minute but this version was high and ridiculously wide. Shortly after, Clichy showed the quickness we’ve known him for by intercepting a Huddlestone pass and setting off on a dangerous run. He opted to cross to Arshavin who shot straight at Gomes.

The next bit of action was at the other end as Keane played a lofted ball to Crouch who’s acrobatic attempt looked pretty silly. It was a move that could have ended up terribly wrong for us as Vermalen had been caught out of position. Clichy rightly remonstrated with his midfielders for not covering back quicker.

A Robin free kick in the 16th minute was effective but Gallas failed to make good contact. On 19, Diaby lost the ball for Bentley to hoof it to Crouch. He out-jumped Gallas with ease to nod down for the onrushing Keane. An excellent tackle from Song saved our skin as the Spurs captain strode towards goal.

Clean tackle! Clattenburg pointed for a goal-kick. WE’VE ONLY GOT ONE SONG…

A minute later, Clichy intercepted again. This time it was an errant Jenas pass. By then, Arshavin had been switching wings to good effect. He collected in midfield and raced into the Spurs box with gorgeous Ledley King trailing him. His shot was deflected by King to Cesc at the top of the 18. He hit it first time, low and to the right hand post. Gomes (who pulled off a candidate for Save of the Year vs. Portsmouth) did exceptionally well to palm our captain’s shot away and keep the score level.

He acknowledged the away section as they sang his name. Even Arry clapped. It was a good save.

It was developing into a fairly even game with us leading on points if it had been a boxing match. We weren’t fluid but we were creating chances. Notable however was how Spurs were playing long, hopeful crosses to either Crouch or Keane. Bentley crossed to Keane on 27. He headed wide. Arry had no plan B.

On 29, Arshavin fed Sagna down the right. He crossed. King intercepted to Assou-Ekotto. The fullback played the ball directly to Cesc. Cesc fed Robin but he totally muffed a right foot shot into Gomes’s side netting. An excellent chance to go ahead was wasted.

I began to feel a little restless. Bendtner pulled up lame with a groin pull on 33. On 35, Corluka was sprung down the wing – a wide open space because Bendtner was clearly unable to continue and Clichy had tucked in as per usual. The dangerous cross to the charging Crouch was dealt with by the excellent Vermaelen. Less than a minute later, Arshavin expertly made space for himself in the center of a triangle of white shirts. He received from Diaby, charged forward, shot and won a corner.

Bendtner was subbed by Eduardo on 37. On 38, Keane just barely missed a through ball after doing well to beat the offside trap. Wenger rose to his feet with a plea to his team to tighten up. On 40, Sagna fed Robin only for him to miss-hit his shot embarrassingly to Gomes from very close.

I was beginning to feel frustrated and wondered what the odds were on us scoring two before Half Time. Seriously, I thought that as I looked at the clock wind down. Well, on 42, Eduardo won a throw deep in Spurs territory. Sagna played to Cesc who gave it back. Sagna crossed to the near post. Robin beat King to the ball and volleyed a low shot past Gomes at the near post.

Arry and the away section didn’t applaud this time. The Emirates erupted. I felt better.

And then, right from the kick-off, Wilson Palacios lost the ball to Cesc Fabregas.

Wilson Palacios lost the ball to Cesc Fabregas.
Wilson Palacios lost the ball to Cesc Fabregas.
Wilson Palacios lost the ball to Cesc Fabregas.

Cesc would then leave an indelible mark on the history of our rivalry with Tottenham Hotspur. Our captain ran by no less than five Spurs players to shoot past Gomes, near post again. A classic goal! I felt much better.

Eat shit Spurs.

I cautioned my colleague that we still had 45 minutes to go. The Second Half started with a reminder from the announcer that Spurs came from 4-2 down last year to draw 4-4. After the recent let downs in Holland and at Upton Park, I expected the boys to do exactly what they did. We never let up yesterday. We were not naive about it but we continued looking for more goals. The balance was right.

On 50, Robin did well to smash a ball across the goalmouth. The ball went to an open Diaby. In the end, Bassong did well to block a well struck goal-bound shot. On 53, Eduardo was in with just Gomes to beat. The keeper made a good save to keep the score 2-0. On 54, Crouch and Keane nearly connected from a long ball headed down by the tallest player in the EPL.

Bale entered for Huddlestone on 56. On 58, Bentley peppered Almunia’s hands from a free kick at the edge of our 18. On 60, Essou-Ekotto slammed into Eduardo from behind. Sagna received the errant ball and looked behind for a whistle but referee Mark Clattenberg allowed play to continue. Sagna crossed. Robin got a foot on the ball to beat King and Gomes.

At 3-0, all true Arsenal-loving, Spurs-hating inhabitants of the planet wanted more. The three points are fine but the objective was to remind everyone that Spurs are not Arsenal class.

Fitting that Keane would be subbed on 65. It was a chance for the depth advantage he claimed was in Spurs favor to make a difference. Instead, Eduardo was sprung again by Cesc. His effort went around Gomes but also around the post.

Arsene’s passion showed through on 68 when he slammed his suit jacket down on his seat. Apparently he was frustrated for not being able to communicate with his team. “I could not communicate with my players because of the noise in the stadium. I am not used to that.”

Hahahaha!

There were few Spurs efforts of note in the remaining 20 minutes. Arsenal chances fell to Eduardo and Diaby. It was good to see that we kept our concentration level high until the end. Arry had no answer for our three-goal lead. He continued with the same tactic of pumping balls up the field to beanpole Crouch. Surely their injured/suspended midgets would have made a difference but that is not our concern. We play what’s in front of us.

Redknapp and Keane talked about being a match for us and strength in depth. I didn’t see that yesterday. I saw Keane subbed by an ineffective Pavlyuchenko and Arry seated with a very unhappy look on his face. The gap between the two sides remains. Some might say it grew wider yesterday. For the record, I hope the midgets are fit next time we play them.

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