|DATE||Sunday 2nd October 2011|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
Apologies for a lack of preview, but hard drive malfunction prevented any work prior to the game.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 1 Arsenal 1|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , history, etc.|
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2 (1) Arsenal 1 (0)
Sunday 2nd October 2011 Kick off 16:00
White Hart Lane
van der Vaart (foul) 27
Parker (foul) 75
Mertesacker (foul) 32
|Crowd : 36,274||Weather : - Sunny, very hot|
|Referee : Mike Dean (Wirral)||Assistant Referees : S. Burt; S. Ledger|
|Fourth Official : - A. Taylor||-|
|Spurs kicked off and played towards the Park Lane end in the first half.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Arsenal :||kit|
van der Vaart
|Manager : Harry Redknapp||Manager : Arsene Wenger|
|Sponsor : Aurasma||Shirt sponsor : Emirates|
|Kit Supplier : Puma||Kit Supplier : Nike|
With the temperature turned up on this derby match by Emmanuel Adebayor's appearance in Tottenham's colours, it did not need the Indian summer's 30°C sunshine to add heat under Arsene Wenger's collar when his team finished on the raw end of a 1-2 defeat to Spurs … something that is rapidly becoming commonplace of late.
With Jermain Defoe reinstated in the Spurs line-up and Rafa van der Vaart taking the right midfield place, with Parker and Modric in the middle. In defence, the same four who played against Wigan took the field. For Arsenal, an unfamiliar name in Coquelin was in midfield, while Song lined up alongside Mertesacker in the centre of defence. Both Walcott and Gervinho made the starting line-up, but neither truly did Spurs much damage, although they both should have.
Tottenham failed to start the match with their usual tempo and Arsenal settled the better of the two teams, but their first half performance was a shining example of the problems which have plagues the Gooners over the last three seasons (at least). Lots of possession, lots of passes, but nothing to show for it. Spurs almost allowed Arsenal the free rein of the pitch until they reached Tottenham's final third. It was here that the lack of imagination and penetration displayed the issues which have held the Woolwich Wanderers back and it appears something that this is a failing of the side which Wenger is unable to see.
The only occasion they truly threatened the Spurs goal was in the 28th minute, when Kaboul allowed van Persie to waltz past him on the side-line and pull a pass back to Gervinho, 12 yards out, with the Spurs defence going away from him. However, the former Lille striker managed to put a precise shot precisely two yards wide of what appeared to be a gaping part of Friedel's goal.
In contrast, Szczeny was highly active with a series of stops required of him. Within six minutes, Defoe had headed over a van der Vaart cross and then when Song was robbed of the ball, Parker was played through by Rafa, after Coquelin had presented him with the ball just outside the Arsenal box. The England midfielder took one touch too many as he broke towards goal in the box, allowing the keeper to close him down and block his toe-poked shot. In between a van der Vaart free-kick had been bent into the box from the right wing, with no Spurs player attacking the area the ball was delivered into, leaving three Arsenal players all looking at each other as none of them made a move for the ball.
While Spurs went about creating their attacks, Arsenal had efforts on goal, but none too direct. Walcott blasted a shot at goal that flicked off Ledley King before going wide, with Ramsey winning the resulting corner with his head, only for Luka Modric to head the ball away from in front of goal.
Spurs continued to make opportunities, with Bale breaking down the left and pulling the ball back for VDV, who could only get a shot over the bar, but did well to get a shot on goal at all, with the ball being slightly behind him. The next time the Dutchman was threatening Arsenal, he met a low ball into the near post from the right wing and his flick was instinctively pushed out by Szczesny in the 28th minute.
Then came Gervinho's chance, but when that went wide, Tottenham started to push on. Despite Walcott coming inside to fire a shot over the top, a fine move opened up the gappy Arsenal defence, with Modric taking Assou-Ekotto's throw-in before feeding van der Vaart near the centre spot. He knocked the ball onto Defoe, who played it wide right to Adebayor, who waited his moment before crossing to the left side of the bx, where Rafael took the ball down with his chest and struck a low bobbling shot across the Arsenal keeper and inside the far post to give Tottenham the lead. Having seen it on TV again, the ball looked as though it might have been brought down with van der Vaart's arm, but the officials didn't think so and that was what counted … much as Arsenal had got away with decisions in the past. Good to hear that Wenger's sight is improving with age, as he saw clearly from where he was that it was handball.
Some fans around me had been slating the players and said that it was against the run of play, but realistically, Spurs had the bulk of the shots on goal. Three minutes before half time, one of them, from Gareth Bale nearly doubled the lead. Fed by VDV, the Welsh midfielder unleashed a fierce drive from 30 yards out that had the Polish goalie diving across the goal to see the ball end up swerving a yard wide.
The cheers that came from the majority of the crowd at the half-time whistle were in vast contrast to the red corner, who had been full of vocal taunting of the Spurs fans and of Emanuel Adebayor in particular, by singing that he should have died in the shooting of the Togo coach at the African Cup of Nations in Angola in 2010. With Roger Lloyd Pack appearing at half-time to profess his love for all things Tottenham, there was little for the Gooners to take their mind off the score-line. Only a gap in the netting at the foot of one of Friedel's goalposts delayed the restart, but once the second half started, Spurs pushed forward again and a couple of corners lead to a chance for Luka from a quickly taken corner, but he failed to get a kick on the ball. One Spurs player who did manage a decent contact, was Gareth Bale, who struck a dipping shot just over the bar as he cut inside Sagna from his left wing position.
However, a Song run was ended with a pass to Gervinho, who was robbed by Walker and the ball went out for a corner, but as it came in, Kaboul cleared it away, but only as far as Song again and he drove down the left to put in a low ball into the six yard box. With Scott Parker not picking up Aaron Ramsey, the Welshman met the ball unmarked and lifted the ball into the roof of the net from close range. It was a poor goal to concede and exposed the cover for Kyle Walker down the Spurs right by Rafael van der Vaart in front of him, as he put in a half-hearted tracking back of Song, allowing him the space to put in the killer ball.
It looked as though Spurs might suffer from keeping the leg heavy Dutchman on, but despite the goal giving Arsenal some impetus, they failed to create much mire than a weak effort from Gervinho and a shot wide when Ramsey broke into the box. With 57 minutes gone, Emmanuel Adebayor had the chance to give Spurs the lead against his old club. When Bale slipped him through the middle of the Arsenal defence, looking suspiciously offside, but not given so, you would have bet money on him scoring, having seen him in good form since joining Tottenham, but Szczesny spread himself to block the Togo striker's shot.
Shortly afterwards, Rafael van der Vaart made way for Sandro and the Brazilian midfielder added a stability to Tottenham's centre two, with Modric moving into a floating role. This caused Arsenal more problems and the space opened up for Spurs to create more attacks. Another factor that helped this was the unfortunate injury to Sagna, who jumped for a high ball on the touchline in front of the West Stand with Benny and with the Spurs man heading out for a throw-in, the Arsenal defender hit the running track and lay prone until carried away by stretcher. It later transpired that he had broken his fibula on landing and will be out for some time.
The loss of the right back brought Carl Jenkinson on and the leggy Finnish youth international showed that he was no match for Wales' finest. Bale linked with Assou-Ekotto to out-manoeuvre the newcomer and Benny pulled a low ball back for the strikers, but it went between and behind them to allow Arsenal to clear in the 70th minute. Soon after Wenger brought on Benayoun for Walcott in what seemed like a point saving move. While Walcott had been having a largely ineffective match, his pace is always a threat, but obviously, the Arsenal boss thought a more experienced head in midfield would be the best thing.
Sadly for the "Professor", his calculations were not correct. A throw-in to Spurs on their left wing saw Scott Parker make a move for it, but then pulled back, leaving Sandro to move into the gap to the left edge of the penalty area. His low ball back towards the edge of the area was met by Luka Modric, but his effort was blocked and as it came out halfway to the halfway line, Kyle Walker raced in to win it ahead of Gervinho. Striding forward, the young right back looked up and struck a shot that fizzed a foot off the floor until it got to Szczesny and then it sipped and swerved, leaving the Pole only capable of flapping at it as it passed under his hands and into the bottom right hand corner of his net.
The Spurs fans went wild, with another first timer goal against Arsenal being a real cracker after Danny Rose's unforgettable volley a couple of years back. The defender soaked up the adulation of the crowd and when Spurs set about playing again, they almost went 3-1 ahead, when Friedel launched a long kick up-field and with Mertesacker and Song leaving it for each other and Szczesny still on his line, the keeper came out as the ball dropped to Gareth Bale. Looking up, Gaz touched the ball wide of the out-rushing keeper and was horrified to see it slip wide of the right hand upright. A goal then would have killed the match with fifteen minutes left.
As it was, Arsenal's attempts to get back into the game were frenetic and the closest they came was when Ledley King had to head up and over from an Arteta free-kick. For all the passing, passing, passing the visitors had done, players such as Arteta, van Perrise and Coquelin were not hurting the Tottenham defence, with King looking comfortable enough to break out and start then join in an attack, with the final ball not finding him on the edge of the Arsenal box. Kaboul had a solid game, apart from his earlier lapse, but he was strong and decisive most of the time. Benny kept Walcott quiet and Gervinho did that himself, leaving Spurs little to un-nerve them.
With time ticking on, Spurs created more openings. Bale raced past Jenkinson as though he wasn't there and laid the ball back low for Defoe, whose shot was unnecessarily acrobatically pushed wide for a corner by Szczesny. Both Defoe and Modric went it alone, with the striker trying to curl one in from the right with the outside of his right boot, just fading it too far beyond the far post and then Modric picking up the ball from Bale's throw and poking it into the side-netting after wriggling free along the dead ball line.
With a couple of corners seeing the Arsenal goalkeeper coming into the penalty area for confusion's sake, it only served to confuse his own side and neither was well delivered and Spurs dealt with them, although Corluka needlessly conceded the second with time almost up, when he could have let it run out.
But the win was Tottenham's and although Arsenal had the bulk of the possession and passed it around nicely, there were also more than their fair share of misplaced passes, turning possession over to Spurs and also some poorly weighted passes, which were over-hit to the forwards or to the full backs, which went off over their heads. it is easy to say that this is not the Arsenal team of years gone by, but the lack of spirit in the side and the lack of leadership, on and off the pitch, has left them floating adrift with no pattern to their play or the way they are supposed to organise themselves.
As for Tottenham, they play with a solidity and flair that was all the talk of Arsenal less than a season ago. Playing off the cuff, they have players who can turn games and players who can cause panic in the opposition's ranks. Bale, van der Vaart, Modric, Defoe, Adebayor and Walker all threaten to unlock the other side, while Parker, Sandro Assou-Ekotto, Kaboul and King are the rocks on which the side is built.
Not a typical derby and not one that might be recalled as one of the greats, but the winning goal will be and the outcome might have a greater bearing on the near futures of the two sides than could have been foreseen before this season started.
Andrew M., Ware
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|What you thought|
|Stan Chun||Class was
something the media associated with Arsenal during their heyday of
the last fifteen years, but the final six of those have shown them
for what they really are.
While many welcomed Arsene Wenger as a breath of fresh air in the Premier League when he first arrived, he is now stinking the place out with his rancid tactics and putrid observations. The man has little constructive to say and from the way his team are playing, it looks as thought he has little constructive to input into their style of play.
While our fans are not absolved in singing songs which defame others, the Gooners surely sank as low as a van Persie dive with their abuse of Adebayor.
And while players are sent off left, right and centre, the manager looks on, not seeing what the wants to and seeing what he does need to, although, luckily, he cannot see the glaring deficiencies in his team.
His failure to shake hands with Clive Allen says more about Wenger than anyone needs to.
Someone who doesn't like losing is fair enough. A sore loser perhaps.
Someone who can't accept it graciously is nothing more than a loser. Pure and simple.
|Other scores during this week :|
|Aston Villa||2||Wigan Athletic||0||Saturday|
|Blackburn Rovers||0||Manchester City||4||Saturday|
|Manchester United||2||Norwich City||0||Saturday|
|Newcastle United||2||Wolverhampton Wanderers||1||Saturday|
|Sunderland||2||West Bromwich Albion||2||Saturday|
|Fulham||6||Queens Park Rangers||0||Sunday|
|Swansea City||2||Stoke City||0||Sunday|
|11||Queens Park Rangers||7||2||2||3||5||13||8||-8|
|17||West Bromwich Albion||7||1||2||4||5||10||5||-5|
Position before match :
Position after match : 6th
Position after the weekend : 6th
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