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Premier League

Wednesday 14th April 2010

 
 
Having had a tough game at Wembley on Sunday, Spurs now face a fresh Arsenal team, who might have Robin van Persie back in their ranks.  The Dutch striker is returning from an injury sustained when on international duty with Holland, but while he strengthens the visiting team, Tottenham are weakened by suspension to Wilson Palacios and injuries, with more knocks picked up on Sunday. 

While the next three games were supposed to be the ones that mattered, the season might have been irreparably damaged by the last two results.  Losing to Sunderland was a bad result in light of their defeat by West Ham at the weekend.  Losing to Portsmouth now rules out any chance of silverware for this season,  so all there is to play for is fourth place, but has this been put out of our grasp as Manchester City are hitting form at the right time and are four points clear, just when Spurs seem to be tiring as they reach the final furlong. 

The onus on Luka Modric might be telling, as his influence in the last couple of matches has not been as telling as previously and Gareth Bale is the major source of attacking threat with his runs down the left wing.  If Aaron Lennon should be fit, then a two pronged wing attack could give opposition sides more trouble than they can cope with.  Some players played on Sunday although they might have not been fully fit and how that will have affected them for this match will be determined by who Harry decides to put out in the starting eleven. 

Almunia can be an inspired keeper, but many Arsenal fans see him as one of the weak links in the side, costing them points as they have gone through the season.  The defence is also shaky, with the previously golden boys of Clichy and Sagna attracting some criticism.  With the promising prospect Gibbs and the experienced Gallas out injured, there may be changes at full back and they may have to call up an aged centre half to play alongside the impressive Vermaelen. 

The midfield will be missing Cesc Fabgregas, who has almost single-handedly got Arsenal to where they are this season.  While Nasri and Walcott possess different skills, their flirting acquaintance with the game do not make them as much of a threat as Fabregas, although they can do damage in short bursts.  Tottenham’s midfield will need to find the energy to track the runs made by the visitors’ midfield and any space will be utilised even more punishingly than Portsmouth managed at Wembley. 

In attack, Nicholas Bendtner is the one player who Arsenal fans seem to identify as a weakness, as he cannot score the goals in quality or quantity that they think they need to win trophies.  With van Persie’s possible return, there is more of a goal threat, but he has been out for quite a while and will be rusty at the very least.  The Croatian Eduardo knows what it is like to be out for a long time after breaking his leg last season, but he has looked less potent since then. 

So, do Spurs have any chance ?  Meeting another team who seem to be on a good run of form, it is going to require an immense effort to pick themselves up from Sunday’s defeat and to overcome a side who we traditionally have trouble with.  I would like to think we can do it, but unfortunately, it is a game that is coming at the wrong time for THFC.

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur    1      Arsenal    2

For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.

 
 
TEAM NEWS

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Carlo Cudicini (out - hip and wrists); Jermaine Jenas (out - groin); Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin); Aaron Lennon (out - groin); Danny Rose (out - knee); Wilson Palacios (out - suspended); Niko Kranjcar (out - ankle); - (-); - (-); - (-); 

ARSENAL :  -   Cesc Fabregas (out - broken leg); Aaron Ramsey (out - broken leg); William Gallas (out - calf); Andrey Arshavin (out - calf); Johan Djourou (out - knee); Alexandre Song (out - knee); - (-); - (-); - (-); 

 
 
 
Coverage

TV
Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)
For coverage in all parts of the world, check here and here
.

Radio :  
BBC LONDON 94.9FM (London area only), Digital Radio (London area only) &  Sky Channel 0152
 (live coverage)
BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW

If available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard in these countries on these stations ...
Australia (Melbourne) SEN  -  116 AM  Live Transmissions: TWI, Saturday. 12.45 & 1500 matches
Australia (Sydney)  Radio 2  -  1611AM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 12.45 Match
Singapore Media Corp Radio  -  93.8 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
South Africa  SABC (Radio 2000)  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
Uganda  Radio 1 (English) 90.0 FM, Radio 2 (Lugandan) 87.9 FM  Live Transmission: TWI, Saturday, 15.00 Match
North America (USA, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean)  Sirius Satellite Radio  Live transmission: Saturday - 12.45, 15.00 (TWI) & 17.15 (BBC) Sunday - 14.00 & 16.05 (BBC) Mon, Tue, Wed - Various times (BBC)

Internet :
www.spurs.co.uk   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2005/10/12/live_commentaries_feature.shtml
click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

 
 
 
Ar
 
 

Tottenham Hotspur   2    Arsenal   1      (Half-time score : 1-0)

Premier League
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Wednesday 14th April 2010
Kick Off :  8.00 p.m.
Crowd :   36,041
Referee :  Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)
Arsenal kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Mild, dry
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

  1  Gomes

32  Assou-Ekotto
26  King (c)
20  Dawson
  4
  Kaboul     

  3  Bale 
  6  Huddlestone     
14  Modric     
25  Rose    (  5  Bentley  46)

  9  Pavlyuchenko  (15  Crouch 88)
18  Defoe (17  Gudjohnsen 67)

Unused subs: 
27  Alnwick
19 
Bassong
28  Walker
29  Livermore

Arsenal :

  1  Almunia

  3  Sagna  (14  Walcott 52)
  5  Vermaelen  (18  Silvestre 20)
31  Campbell
22 
Clichy

27  Eboue
  2  Diaby
  7  Rosicky
  8  Nasri

15  Denilson        (11  van Persie 68)

52  Bendtner 

Unused subs: 
21  Fabianski
37
  Eastmond
32  Merida
  9  Eduardo

Colours : -  (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Tottenham Hotspur

  Arsenal
Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Rose 10
Bale 47

Arsenal

Bendtner 86

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

    
Modric (foul)  33
Kaboul (foul) 36
Dawson (foul) 83   

    

Arsenal

    
Denilson (persistent fouling)  36   

 

     

Match Report : -  
With a strange line-up and a FA Cup semi-final defeat in extra time behind them, the Spurs eleven took the match to their more favoured rivals and took the three points with a dynamic performance that shook the Gooners and transformed them into Gonners, as Danny Rose and Gareth Bale struck to hand Spurs a 2-1 win.

The team performed in a manner that brought them a well deserved victory against an Arsenal side who dominated possession, but failed to make a lot of it, with a lack of conviction when it came to the final third.  Their play up to the edge of the Tottenham penalty area was good and adventurous, but when it came to the crunch with a damaging final ball or effort on goal, the visitors failed to capitalise on the situations they created, by passing responsibility and the ball to someone else.

An early chance came when a corner hit Sol Campbell's not insubstantial frame and bounced goalwards, but Benoit Assou-Ekotto was in the right place to chest the ball down for Heurelho Gomes to grab the ball in front of the line.  That was after just ninety seconds and it looked as though it might be a long night for Spurs fans.  But despite Denilson hitting Spurs players with late tackles (and Clattenburg doing nothing to reprimand him), the game was moving in the opposite direction and when Rose and Kaboul linked on the right, the defender crossed low for Pavlyuchenko at the near post to shoot, but it flicked off Vermaelen and went over the top.  From the corner, it was one of those slow-motion moments that you will probably remember for years to come.  Modric's corner was too near Almunia and the keeper punched the ball out to a good distance from goal, but it went straight to Premier League debutant Danny Rose, who returned the ball with interest.  Rose had moved to left side of the box to counter any breakaway by Clichy, but unexpectedly ended up in the right place to meet the ball with his favoured left foot and time it so sweetly that he didn't even kick right through the ball.  It was enough to see the ball fly back past Almunia at head height, but as he had flopped to the floor after the punch to make it look good, he was not up quick enough to stop the volley and it rippled the net behind him to cue rapturous celebration from 80% of the crowd.

Rose had started to counter the pace in the Arsenal side, but his 10th minute volley saw him using his speed to race to the other end of the ground with his team-mates in his wake.

The early goal gave Spurs something to work on. 

With Ledley King back in the line-up, he showed pace of old when he raced back to make one interception and he and Dawson were blocking very well.  Rosicky did manage to get between Assou-Ekotto and Bale, but his shot skewed off his foot and went very wide indeed.  Defensively, things got worse for Arsenal when Vermaelen kicked the ball out before falling to the floor.  He limped off to be replaced by Mikeal Silvestre, making the central defensive pairing carry a combined age of 118.

The play was slower when Arsenal were in possession, except when they broke out from Tottenham corners, while Tottenham were trying to make headway at breakneck speed.  Free-kicks were being conceded around the edge of the box and Modric was booked when Sagna went over his leg and then Kaboul got a yellow after bringing down Rosicky as he ran through towards goal.  Nasri took the resulting free kick from the corner of the box and missed by a yard or two.

In the last five minutes of the half, Tottenham worked the ball through the middle with some Arsenal like short passing and a return pass from Pavlyuchenko set Modric through to the edge of the area and as he got into the box, Almunia was out quickly to him and the Croatian's shot went up in the air to be headed out for a corner by the covering Campbell.  Nothing came of the corner, but Clichy got away at the other end on the Arsenal left, but, in a good position, he chose to hit a shot at goal rather than crossing and he could not beat Gomes at his near post and hit the side-netting.  Just before the half-time whistle, Defoe did well to show strength enough to hold off the bulky Campbell and hit a shot that was straight at and straight-forward for Almunia to stop.

The half-time interval was brightened up by the repetitive re-runs of Rose's goal and the appearance of David Ginola, who showed a politician's ability to not answer the questions that Paul Coit asked him.  In the background, David Bentley was being taken to the dressing room to prepare to come on for Danny Rose, who had tweaked his knee.

Spurs kicked off the second half kicking towards their favoured Paxton Road end and you could see why after just 100 seconds of the new half.  Hud lifted a ball to Defoe who was up front on his own.  He brought the ball down with the outside of his boot up around his hip and then held Campbell off until he shook off the lumbering defender and played a diagonal ball through the middle of the Arsenal defence to the edge of the area.  Silvestre stood and looked while Sagna did his best Tony Adams impersonation appealing for offside, but Bale had timed a great run from the right side of the box and waited until Almunia had committed himself before passing the ball left-footed past the keeper and into the net from five yards out.  Again, the Spurs crowd, who were very vocal all night, went into frenzy. 

2-0 up can be a dangerous lead for many teams and even more so for Spurs (although 3-0 is worse).  Arsenal were obviously going to get back into the game, but they looked shell-shocked and Tottenham pressed forward relentlessly.  In one move Pav, JD and Bale all had shots that were blocked or in Bale's case went over the top.  Wenger made a change that brought the wonder boy of English football (apparently) - Theo Walcott on in place of Sagna.  Eboue dropped back to right back and with Bale and Assou-Ekotto on that flank, it was a move intended both to push them back and to get Arsenal going forward.  It failed to work too often, as they still looked for a pass rather than a shot and Walcott's passes were rarely finding their target. 

25 minutes from time, Walcott did put Bendtner away through the right hand channel, but his shot went across Gomes and wide, even wider than the trickling effort he screwed wide in the first half.  Defoe was taken off and Gudjohnsen replaced him, while Arsenal threw Robin van Persie into the fray in place of the inconsequential Denilson.  Spurs almost went further ahead, as BAE took the ball down the left and pulled a low ball back for Gudjohnsen, who failed to get a good contact and the shot went wide.  Not quite as wide as Rosicky's effort when he cut in from the left and fired a drive at goal ... which hit the corner flag !!

With ten minutes to go, van Persie started to get involved.  Diaby's ball onto the Dutchman's chest brought a waist high volley that was heading for the top of the net, until Gomes produced a fine save by getting a strong palm to the ball and pushing it over.  From the corner, Rosicky had a shot that came off Dawson's leg and went just wide.  In the next minute, Dawson was booked for a foul on Diaby and with the ball just five yards outside the box, van Persie hit a fierce shot that was flying towards the top right corner of Gomes' goal, but the Brazilian threw out a long arm at full stretch to tip the ball wide and made a memorable save.

But Heurelho was not done yet, as form the corner, Campbell headed goalwards and the keeper reacted excellently to push the ball up and onto the bar and away to keep the opposition out.

However, Gomes was finally beaten a minute later, when van Persie played in Walcott on the right and his low ball across the six yard box cut out Gomes and left Bendtner the easy chance to knock the ball home from a yard out.  Even the Dane couldn't miss that one.  So, 84 minutes gone and six minutes left and plus four minutes to be added on.  Would Spurs be able to hold onto their lead ?

As Arsenal pushed forward, it did allow Spurs to hit on the break, even with their tired legs.  Gudjohnsen put Modric through the middle, but the midfielder took a heavy touch and the ball ran through to Almunia.  As the ball was coming back too often when Spurs cleared it, Harry took Pavlyuchenko off, replacing the Russian with Crouch, who did well in his short time on the pitch.  It was Spurs, who looked the more likely to score, with Bale breaking away, still full of running in injury time, but he could not keep the ball in and then a break saw Bentley get the ball on the edge of the box and strike a shot that deflected off Silvestre and took the sting out of the effort.  As a corner was taken short, with Spurs trying to keep the ball there, the final whistle went to the massive cheers of the Spurs fans and silence from what had been a subdued away section and was now already the half empty away section.

The team put in a heroic effort coming so soon after the Wembley semi-final, but it was what the team needed and will need to reproduce again on Saturday and the Saturday after.

It might have damaged Arsenal's chances of winning the title, but what will it do to our chances of finishing fourth ??

 stanford rivers 

 
 
YO
 
 
 

Fan Reaction : -

 
 

YOU'RE JUST ...

 
 
Well, if Spurs fans think that Theo Walcott is just a s**t Aaron Lennon, then surely Sol Campbell must be a s**t Ledley King and Tomas Rosicky a s**t Luka Modric.  Add to that Clichy being a s**t Benoit Assout-Ekotto, Sagna a s**t Younes Kaboul, Nasri a s**t Gareth Bale and Nicklas Bendtner a s**t Roman Pavlyuchenko, would it be reasonable to consider Arsenal to more or less be a s**t Tottenham ?

the funky phantom 

 
   
 
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Other scores this mid-week :
Chelsea 1 Bolton Wanderers 0 Tuesday
Wigan Athletic 0 Portsmouth 0 Wednesday
Aston Villa 2 Everton 2 Wednesday

   

 

League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 34 24 5 5 85 30 77 +55
2 Manchester United 34 23 4 7 77 27 73 +50
3 Arsenal 34 22 5 7 76 36 71 +40
4 Manchester City 33 17 11 5 69 41 62 +28
5 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 33 18 7 8 60 33 61 +27
6 Liverpool 34 16 8 10 54 33 56 +21
7 Aston Villa 33 14 13 6 46 34 55 +12
8 Everton 34 13 12 9 54 46 51 +8
9 Birmingham City 34 12 10 12 35 43 46 -8
10 Stoke City 33 10 13 10 32 35 43 -3
11 Blackburn Rovers 34 11 10 13 35 50 43 -15
12 Fulham 33 11 9 13 35 37 42 -2
13 Sunderland 34 9 11 14 44 52 38 -8
14 Wolverhampton Wanderers 33 8 9 17 30 53 33 -23
15 Bolton Wanderers 34 8 8 18 36 62 32 -26
16 Wigan Athletic 33 8 8 17 29 62 32 -33
17 West Ham United 34 7 10 17 41 57 31 -16
18 Burnley 34 7 6 24 36 72 27 -36
19 Hull City 33 6 9 18 32 70 27 -38
20 Portsmouth 34 6 6 22 28 60 15* -32

*   9 points deducted for going into administration.

 

Position before the match :  5th
Position after the mid-week matches :  5th

 

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