Arsenal (Away)
League Cup semi-final Second Leg

Wednesday 31st January 2007

 
 

Having lost a two goal lead from last week's first leg, Tottenham will need to up their game considerably to get anything from this second leg tie.  A consistent attacking display might give Arsenal's defenders more problems than they can cause us going forward.  Which player will be able to take the field will be one of the deciding factors though.

Ledley King is definitely out, with Berbatov joining him on the sidelines.  Mido pulled a back muscle on Saturday against Southend and Edgar Davids is ill/injured/in talks with Ajax.  The lack of forwards is perhaps the biggest worry, but then twin tots Keane and Defoe were stuck together in the first leg only for it not to work particularly well (as any fule no).

Arsenal will supposedly persist with the "youngsters" including Toure, Fabregas, Flamini and Hleb (although Hleb will miss the game injured), but Tottenham might well have an experienced hand in the back line, as Ricardo Rocha did well against the Shrimpers and could relish a local derby against the Gooners.

Spurs need to press the Arsenal players more quickly and further up the field.  This will hopefully stifle their attacking ambitions and if Fabregas is given the space and time he got at the lane, he will create the opportunities to punish Spurs.  The injury to Hleb will mean one less runner at our defence, but it will be good to have Jenas back to give our midfield some thrust and if Mido plays, he will need to put some effort into his performance to stop their back four having time on the ball.

There are too many aspects of Tottenham's game away from home for us to play the way we have been on the road this season, so now is the time to show some passion and some boldness to give the other team some problems rather than us pandering to their strengths and hoping for a goal-less draw.  Having said all that, I think the final score will be ...

PREDICTION : -  Arsenal  1  Tottenham Hotspur   1

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

 
 
PLAYERS UNAVAILABLE

ARSENAL :  Alexander Hleb (hamstring)

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Ledley King (foot); Edgar Davids (groin & flu); Teemu Tainio (ankle)

 
 
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
Planet football -
http://play.www.planetfootball.servecast.net/downloads/sky/spurs-pl04-kean0.ram (free - only available when match is on.)
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.

 
 
 

 

 

Arsenal   3   Tottenham Hotspur    1      (Half-time score : 0-0)
[After Extra Time - score at full time 1-1]
(5-3 on aggregate)

League Cup semi-final second leg
Venue : -  Emirates Stadium
Wednesday 31st January 2007
Kick Off :  7.45 p.m.
Crowd :   55,872
Referee :  Alan Wiley (Burntwood)
Weather :  -  Mild, turning chilly.  Dry.
Teams : - 
Arsenal :

Almunia

Hoyte
Toure
Senderos
Traore (Clichy 63)

Walcott (Rosicky 63)
Denilson
Gilberto (c)
Diaby (Fabregas 79)

Aliadiere
Adebayor

Unused subs: 
Poom
Flamini 

Tottenham Hotspur :

Robinson

Chimbonda
Gardner (Rocha 73)
Dawson
Assou-Ekotto

Ghaly (Huddlestone 80)
Jenas
Zokora
Malbranque (Mido 80)

Defoe
Keane (c)

Unused subs: 
Cerny
Lennon

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

Tottenham Hotspur
Scorers : -  
Arsenal

Adebayor 77
Aliadiere 105
Chimbonda (o.g.) 113

Tottenham Hotspur

Mido 85

Cards : -  
Arsenal

     
Denilson (foul) 21
Diaby (violent conduct) 53 


 

    

Tottenham Hotspur 

     
Jenas (foul) 31
Gardner (foul) 40
Ghaly (retaliation) 53
Zokora (foul) 71
Defoe (foul) 111  

     

Match Report : -  

Ghaly was showing why he frustrates so much.  A couple of fleet footed shuffles saw him leave Traore for dead, but he was also guilty of giving the ball away too frequently and easily.  When that did happen, he failed to race back and get goal-side to try and recover possession.  Hopefully, he will learn this and learn it quick.

Keane was played in by a Malbranque through ball and as he took an unnecessary extra touch, Almunia was on top of him and blocked his shot near the angle of the penalty area.  However, five minutes later, it was Arsenal who nearly went in front.  Another fumble from Paul Robinson, who pushed Denilson's shot straight out into the middle of the goal, let Toure run on and get a touch to the ball as it came at him.  The ball headed towards goal and the central defender chased after it, but left it and it bobbled past the post and went inches wide.  It was a let off for Tottenham, but perhaps signalled the end of their luck in this tie.

Arsenal obviously thought that the Tottenham left back slot would be where most joy could be had, with both goals coming from there in the first game.  Balls to Walcott were hit into the space in front of him, but Benoit Assou-Ekotto did pretty well and when the young winger did get away, Spurs were not punished, as he wasted nearly every opportunity to set up his team-mates.  

Conversely, when Spurs did have the opportunity to break, they were halted by some cynical tactics.  Zokora was breaking from midfield and slipped the ball past Denilson, who stepped into him with no attempt to play the ball, earning a yellow card, but preventing a chance on goal, even though the incident took place near the halfway line.  With the home players hitting the turf every time they were tackled, Alan Wiley, who had a decent enough game, was suckered into giving a few free-kicks which did not deserve the award.  Also, he ended up handing out five yellow cards to Tottenham players, while Arsenal's got away with similar offences.

The supply to the Tottenham front two was limited and the Arsenal back four picked off most of the balls up to them, but they battled away with the aim of making the most of what came their way.   Defoe got away when Hoyte kept the ball in with a header, but it dropped for Jermain, who tried o cross to the far post, but it drifted away and he might have been better trying to chip Almunia.  The best chance came when Ghaly got away on the right and pulled a cross back to the edge of the box for Malbranque to run onto it and throw a diving header at the ball.  it went a couple of feet wide, but could have beaten the keeper had it been on target. 

Adebayor went past a couple of challenges, but having done the hard bit, he sliced his shot very, very wide.  Giving the ball way frustrated some of the Spurs players and Jenas got a yellow when he clattered Diaby, but it was worse than it looked.  Gardner followed him into the book when a tackle on Traore found the ball gone and the Arsenal player went up in the air.  Keano was losing it, when he blasted the ref for Diaby's tackle on him, which was not much worse than Gardner's a minute or so earlier.

At half-time, Spurs warmed up YP Lee and wanted to bring him on, but someone had to tell them that he hadn't been named among the subs and therefore, Spurs just had the four to choose from.  Taking the field with the same eleven, Spurs probably wanted to keep Arsenal out for fifteen minutes and then push on.  The reality was that Jenas was playing only his second game back and Malbranque had tired after putting a lot of effort into the first period.

The second half started with corners for both sides, but all were poorly delivered and the first opportunity came for Adebayor, who made it into the area, but was shepherded wide and defended for a corner by Zokora.  Just after this, it all kicked off when Ghaly was halted in the area by Traore and the Egyptian slid into Senderos, while Adebayor scythed down Jenas.  Diaby raced in and threw an arm across Ghlay's throat, while the Spurs midfielder got up to confront him with there heads in close proximity.  A yellow card apiece resulted, with Adebayor getting away scot free.  Once more, Keane disagreed with the ref's decision in no uncertain terms, as Senderos hauled him down without punishment.

After 64 minutes, the change that probably turned the game happened.  Walcott was taken off and Rosicky came on to replace the disappointing boy wonder.  Also Clichy came on for Traore to add some more experience, but more importantly some fresh legs.

The pace of the new players caused Spurs problems and openings were created for Denilson, who shot well wide and then hit the side-netting, when he should have crossed.  Rosicky changed feet to leave Zokora tackling thin air and bringing him down, being the third player to go into the book.  With Gardner committing a couple more fouls and being on a yellow already, Jol brought on Ricardo Rocha to add some experience in the face of the head of steam the home side were building up.  Dawson was being the usual rock he is in central defence, but when Aliadiere went down by throwing himself to the floor as Daws went into the challenge, we all held our breath, but Mr. Wiley saw what was intended and waved play on.

 With the pressure all one way, it was perhaps just a matter of time before Arsenal scored. Rosicky's shot was beaten out by Robinson, but the bal came straight back in and  the Czech put in Adebayor to score.  The goal saw Diaby substituted and Fabregas brought onto try and force Spurs back further.   However, Jol changes the dynamic of the Spurs team by putting a big man on up front with Mido replacing the tiring Malbranque and dropping Keane back behind the front two and Huddlestone came on for Ghaly to add strength and a wider range of passing to the team.

Suddenly Spurs started creating chances.  Dawson nodded Jenas' cross over the top, Mido looked keen to impress in what the press were billing as his last game for Tottenham and when Dawson knocked on a Robinson long ball, a free kick gave the Egyptian the chance to prove his worth.

With the scores level, the match was heading for extra time.  Adebayor pulled a shot well wide, Defoe nearly got onto the end of a ball into the area, but Almunia beat him to it and when Mido shifted the ball through Senderos' legs and shot, it looked like he might have won it in injury time.  However, the ball went a foot wide and with it maybe Spurs' best chance of going to Cardiff.  With Arsenal now hitting Spurs on the break to try and avoid extra time, Denilson struck a hard shot that Robinson turned up over the bar.  The Spurs keeper had to repeat the save when he palmed away Toure's shot from the left and Senderos headed it back towards goal, bur Dawson cleared the danger.

At the end of 90 minutes, Spurs had achieved parity and the game went into extra time, with away goals not kicking in until the end of the added half hour.  With that in mind, Tottenham needed a goal.  Pushing for it, they left space at the back and Fabregas was the first to test Robinson with a shot straight at him and then Denilson tried his luck, with Robbo knocking it down and grabbing it at the second attempt.

With half time approaching, a cross from Denilson on the right was played in and Rocha appeared to want to head the ball away when it was just a foot off the floor.  His header went about a yard and he could not get up again quick enough to deny Aliadiere a shot that he powered in between Robinson and the near post.  It was a lead that Tottenham would need to peg back to take the game to penalties.

120 mins: The final whistle blows. Arsenal certainly deserve their place in the final after dominating the last 165 minutes of this tie. Ultimately, the absence of van Persie and Henry proved far less significant than the absence of King, Berbatov and tonight Lennon did for Spurs. In truth, Spurs lacked the ambition to chase the game until they went behind in the tie with 12 minutes remaining. That forced Martin Jol to introduce the out-of-favour Mido, who clearly should have played from the start.

The second half of extra time saw Spurs tired and deflated.  Without width and the pace of Lennon, they lacked the guile to open up the Arsenal side, who played the ball around and frustrated the Tottenham players.  Defoe picked up a booking for a late challenge on Senderos and from the free-kick, the ball came to Adebayor put him in and he rounded Rocha, hit the post with his shot, but it hit Chimbonda as he tried in vain to clear it and went just over the line to wrap the tie up.

Not that Tottenham gave it up.  Dawson headed on for Mido to volley at goal, but it was deflected wide, although from the corner, Arsenal broke away with five players against Didier Zokora, who managed to thwart them with a well-timed tackle.  Again Spurs were caught on the break, but Aliadiere pulled his shot well wide.

Defoe had one last effort go wide, but it was not enough for Tottenham.  They had taken Arsenal all the way and forced extra time, but losing the two goal lead at home was what had cost Tottenham.  Yes, the players need to learn and with their opponents having lost three League Cup semi-finals prior to this, it is not the end for them.  For all the praise for the Arsenal team, Tottenham had four members of their regular first team missing and had a very young average age.  it is not all as bad as we might think.

BARRY LEVINGTON

 

 

 
 

Reaction : -

 
 

GOON TO CARDIFF

 
 
23rd December 1978

The worst day of my life - everÖ 

Tottenham 0 Arsenal 5.  I was at that game all that time ago with a couple of Arsenal fans and I thought my head was going to explode. 

That result cast deep my lifelong (much more than) hatred of the Gooners and a burning desire for revenge which 28 years later is still unsatisfied (1991 semi final excepted).  

But Iím letting it go now.  2006/2007 has taken the frustration too far.

It wasnít the manner of the league defeat in December; or the way we gave away a two goal lead at home; or the defensive cock up that was extra time in the Carling Cup. Whatís finished me is their bloody ground.  The attendance figures for the two games at the Irritates Stadium were 60,115 and 55,872.  Our best of the season is just over 36.  The project strangled their cash for players, but despite that we are still the population of a whole town behind them, both on and off the pitch.  

It feels right now like Arsenal just shagged my wife and then got killed in a car crash on the way home.  I want the living daylights kicked out of the b******s, but it just canít be done.  Every bit of my rage and longing to get even is going nowhere.  Theyíre beyond Spurs for the moment and unfortunately it seems so are the rest of the top four.  

We need a new ground, a more constructive local council or a Sheikh Moremoney if we are to get back on a par with the Gooners fast.  If thatís not going to happen (and clearly it is not), then we are just going to have to learn to be patient and wait for the kids (hopefully British) to come through.  

I think Levy has done a good job after years of underinvestment, but I accept that right now weíre punching in a different weight from the Arse. 

So forthwith and from today and for the sake of my own sanity - Iím going to forget all about them.

As for West Ham Ė now thatís a different ball game !

Paul Robinson (not that Paul Robinson)

 
 

 

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