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League Cup - Third Round

Tuesday 21st September 2010

With both sides set to be much changed from Saturday's league matches, it will be an absorbing if unfamiliar meeting in the League Cup Third Round. 

Younger and fringe players from both clubs will have a run-out and they will be trying to impress their respective managers and this will ensure that while it might not have the blood and thunder of a normal derby match, it will have an intensity which will be new to a number of those taking part.

Spurs might field a midfield of Palacios, Kranjcar, Sandro and Bentley or Livermore, with a defence of Naughton, Bassong, Caulker and Hutton with Pletikosa behind them, while up front Pav could play alongside Giovani.  This would allow the cover for the injured players to bed in and also to give some other players a rest ahead of the next derby game and Champions League group match.

Arsenal have much the same problem, with injuries to key players and their "policy" of playing younger squad players in the League Cup.  It has been a double-edged sword for Wenger over recent years, with the Gooner fans wanting silverware and this being seen as a viable option.  With Fabregas, Bendtner, Diaby, Walcott, Vermaelen, Frimpong and Ramsey all on the injury list and Song suspended after getting two yellow cards on Saturday, their resources are likely to be spread thin.

So, where will this game be won and lost ?

Probably, as most games are, in midfield, although the ability to take any chances that come along will be vital.  A game that will have to be decided on the night can go to extra time and penalties, but hopefully, it won't go the full distance.  Spurs may well have more experience on the pitch and that might count for something, but they will need to match the keenness of the Arsenal side, who might feature some players who have been given a run-out in the first team before, such as Vela, Denilson, Randall, Emmanuel-Thomas, Cruise and Eastmond ... a few of whom were here in the FA Youth Cup a couple of seasons back.

With new personnel coming in, the emphasis on possession and passing might take precedence over the 100 miles per hour stuff of Premier League derbies and with West Ham waiting in the wings for Spurs on Saturday, there is that yet to come.  The qualities of some of the players being picked by Harry Redknapp are on trial according to his pre-match press conference.  Will they rise to the occasion ?  Well, many have played on big stages.  Gio for Barcelona and Livermore against Barca at Wembley; Sandro has just won the Copa Libertadores and is in the Brazilian national squad, while Hutton, Pletikosa, Bentley, Pav and Niko are all internationals and Bassong and Palacios played at the World Cup, as did Gio.

While there is no doubt that the Arsenal youngsters have had the opportunity to play up and play with each other, the Spurs players need to take their chance and stake their claim for the rest of the season, when they will be needed to come in for cup games or to cover for injuries.  For that reason, they might have a little more to play for and that might give Spurs the edge at the end ...

PREDICTION : -  Tottenham Hotspur    2      Arsenal    1

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


TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : -  Younes Kaboul (out - hamstring); Vedran Corluka (out - back); Rafael van der Vaart (doubtful - calf); Jermain Defoe (out - ankle), Michael Dawson (out - knee & ankle), Jonathan Woodgate (out - groin), Jamie O'Hara (out - back); Luka Modric (doubtful - shin); William Gallas (doubtful - match fitness/calf); Ledley King (out - knee); - (-); 

ARSENAL :  -  Robin van Persie (out - ankle); Cesc Fabregas (out - hamstring); Emmanuel Frimpong (out - knee); Niklas Bendtner (out - groin); Thomas Vermaelen (out - Achilles); Diaby (out - foot); Aaron Ramsey (out - broken leg); Alex Song (out - suspended); Theo Walcott (out - ankle); - (-); - (-);


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Tottenham Hotspur   1    Arsenal   4    [after extra time]  (Half-time score : 0-1; 90 mins. 1-1)

League Cup Third Round
Venue : White Hart Lane  
Tuesday 21st September 2010
Kick Off :  7.45 p.m.
Crowd :   35,883
Referee :  Lee Probert (Wiltshire)
Arsenal kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.
Weather :  -  Mild, dry
Teams : - 
Tottenham Hotspur :

37  Pletikosa

16  Nauhgton     
45  Caulker
19  Bassong (c)
32  Assou-Ekotto

  5  Bentley
30  Sandro  (21  Kranjcar 96)
12  Palacios
29  Livermore       (  7  Lennon 46)

  9  Pavlychenko     
17  dos Santos (10  Keane 46 )

Unused subs: 
  2  Hutton
  6  Huddlestone
  8  Jenas

Arsenal :

21  Fabianski

27  Eboue
20  Djourou
21  Koscielny 
28  Gibbs  (22  Clichy 102)

17  Wilshire
15  Denilson
  8  Nasri
  7  Rosicky  (29  Chamakh 73)

46  Lansbury      
Vela  (23  Chamakh 73)

Unused subs: 
  3  Sagna
37  Eastmond

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

Scorers : -  
Tottenham Hotspur

Keane 49


Lansbury 15
Nasri (p) 92
Nasri (p) 95
Arshavin 105

Cards : -  
Tottenham Hotspur  

Livermore (foul) 21
Pavlyuchenko (foul) 38  
Naughton (foul) 43 



Koscielny (foul) 74  
Lansbury (foul) 82


Match Report : -  
What turned out to be a comprehensive defeat for Spurs was perhaps not as bad as it might seem on paper, with Arsene Wenger fielding a strong side for this Cup tie that doesn't matter to his fans and Spurs set up with a defensive midfield and lacked attacking options until Harry changed things at half-time.

Tottenham then looked a different proposition and took the game to Arsenal, before succumbing 1-4 in extra time, when the subs had been used and three players were carrying injuries or suffering cramp.  Oh, yes ... and the referee once more fell for Wenger's mind games. 

It took a side that started with more players with first team experience than Spurs and had to be bolstered by Chamakh and Arsharvin to finally overcome Tottenham, even though they had set the pace in the first half with their tempo and passing.

But for all that they only had one goal to show for it and that almost cost them.  Much has been made of Arsenal's obsession with passing and not for killing teams off.  That was certainly the story in the first 45, with the Spurs midfield containing three defensive midfielders in Livermore, Palacios and Sandro, leaving only Bentley to add some forward momentum, although he looked way off form and that cost Spurs on a number of occasions.

The game had started with a minutes' applause for the sad passing of Bobby Smith and so often when a Spurs legend has been celebrated, the atmosphere is not quite as heated as it usually is.

Early exchanges saw Vela blaze well over and Bentley do the same from a free-kick, which needed to be on target to test Fabianski or at least find a Spurs head.  Arsenal's quick passing opened Spurs up a number of times, but when Bassong slid in to stop Denilson's pass, the Arsenal player got the ball back off the Tottenham defender and hit his shot over Pletikosa's bar.  In the 15th minute, Arsenal did get one on target to open the scoring.  Naughton got drawn infield and there were two Arsenal players outside him, with Wilshire's low ball across the six yard box slid in by Lansbury as the Tottenham defence failed to cut out the cross.

Five minutes later, Tottenham had a good chance to get level, with the ball played up to Bentley and he turned away from a diving in Djourou and ran at goal.  He had Pav to his right and Gio well place dot his left, but he chose to shoot and the ball didn't go on target, missing by a yard or so.

Rosicky's shot from just outside the box took a flick off a Spurs defender and went just wide, while debutant Sandro took the ball out of the back and ran a long way with it before playing it left to Pavlyuchenko, who drilled in a shot but it went the wrong side of the post and hit the side-netting.  Spurs also raided up the right with Caulker joining in and his fierce cross took a deflection off Koscielny, flying just over the bar, with Fabianski worried.

Pletikosa didn't have a shot to save in the half, as he was not at fault for the goal, so for all Arsenal's neat passing and long sessions of possession, they failed to make it tell.  So at half-time, Redknapp brought on Lennon for Livermore and Keane for dos Santos to spark a bit more attacking style.  And it started straight from the kick off.  Immediately, Arsenal found themselves pushed back, as Spurs held the ball a lot better than they did in the first half and moved on the Arsenal goal. 

In the fourth minute of the half, Kyle Naughton moved up the right and came inside, waiting for the right time to release the ball through a square Arsenal defence and finding Robbie Keane, looking suspiciously offside.  Arsenal reverted to type and stood right arm raised for the offside decision but the flag stayed down and Keane went through to hit  shot that looked too near Fabianski and without enough power in it, as he reached the 18 yard line.  However, the Arsenal keeper proved his "dodgy" tag, when he flapped a weak wrist at it and the ball went in to make it 1-1.

The goal seemed to shake Arsenal's confidence and boost Tottenham's, with Keane playing in Pavlyuchenko, who hit his shot from a narrow angle too high.  Eboue shot wide after playing a one-two with Vela, then the Mexican headed Rosicky's cross over when he had got beyond Bassong and was five yards out.  Spurs opened up the Arsenal defence again, when Keane sent Lennon away, but when he got into the box, he hesitated and Koscielny got back to slide in to block his shot.  It was a good opening that needed a first time shot to test the keeper,

Arsenal brought on Chamakh and Arshavin to try and win the game, but they failed to make much of an impact in regulation time.  With ten minutes left, Spurs won two free kicks.  One for a crude and cynical challenge on Sandro by Lansbury, but Bentley hit his shot through the wall, but straight at the goalie, then he swung on in from the left and as it dropped to the far post with two Spurs players closing in, Robbie Keane shot from point blank range and hit the post.  The ball bounced away, but the flag was up for offside anyway.  It was a poor return from Bentley, who, if he does nothing else, is expected to deliver a string of quality balls into the box, but one in 120 minutes is just not enough.  His control let him down and he didn't chase back, so it hard to see where he fits into Harry's future Spurs team.

Pletikosa made his first real save in the 85th minute, when he had to knock down Lansbury's drive from the edge of the box and fall on it at the second attempt.  Palacios, who had a poor game too, lost the ball cheaply and Denilson was played in and hit another shot off target.  Stipe came into action again a minute from time, when Denilson fired in a shot on target this time and the keeper did well to get down to it and he had a little good fortune to see the ball bounce out in front of him, but it went far enough towards the edge of the area to confound Nasri, as he looked for the rebound.

The Spurs keeper had a rush of blood in the last minute, when Wilshire's free-kick eluded him and Steven Caulker, who had an impressive debut, despite suffering from cramp for a long period of the second half and extra time, headed off the line and Sandro hacked the ball away to safety as it dropped, causing him to seize up with cramp.

At the turnaround before extra time started, Arsenal were standing up and Spurs were on the floor.  It was perhaps a little obvious what would come and a minute inside the extra 30 minutes, Nasri ran into the box and as he was challenged by Bassong, he went down and the ref blew the whistle.  It appeared that the ref might have given offside, but he ran to the spot and everyone stood amazed, as no Arsenal player had appealed for the spot-kick.  Nasri got up to shoot past Pletikosa and did the same three minutes later when Chamakh took a fall when bumped by Caulker.  Clever maybe, but there wasn't a lot in it and as Caulker was the past man, it was somewhat surprising that the referee failed to give him a card of any sort.

Sandro was reprieved after struggling on with a hamstring pull, with Spurs almost making a last bid to get back into the game.  Kyle Naughton, another cramp victim, put in a cross to the far post from the right wing and found David Bentley unmarked running onto the ball.  With all the goal to aim at and only Fabianski to beat, he thumped his header wide of the post from about to yards out.

105 minutes in and the game was over.  Arsenal won a free-kick for Naughton's foul on Arshavin and with the Spurs defender struggling, they took the free-kick quickly (Wenger wouldn't have been happy if that had happened against him) and Arshavin was through into the box to shoot low past Pletikosa, who once more had little chance.

Not willing to give up, Tottenham almost had a goal straight away, but when Keane seize don a loose ball from a melee in the goalmouth following a corner, Fabianski stuck out a leg to block it on the goal-line at the end of the first half. 

The second half was open with players tired, with Arshavin twice missing the target with dragged shots and Roman Pavlyuchenko cutting in from the left to hit a shot that flew off for a throw-in.

So, in the final look back at the game, it looked on the face of it a simple win for Arsenal and while it should have been, it wasn't.  Spurs did put up a bit of a fight, but ceded too much space to Arsenal in the first half, sitting far too deep and allowing the visitors to keep the ball.  The same happened in the second half of extra time, but by then it didn't really matter.

So, the Cup that was derided as Mickey Mouse, when we beat the "Arsenal kids" 5-1 in the semi-final, was now something that brought a great amount of joy in the away section.  "Shall we make a DVD ?" the Arsenal fans chanted.  They probably will, but it won't be a best seller down N17 way.

gary kay

Match sponsors Gordonson Fire Protection Limited
Match sponsors Chigwell Construction
Match sponsors C2 Property Limited
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Fan Reaction : -



Even though he was sat in the stand for the game, serving a one match touchline ban, Arsene Wenger still managed to see that the two penalties awarded to Arsenal were correct decisions.

Once more, he managed to persuade the ref with his media comments that his precious players need to be looked after on the pitch.

Protecting his players seems a prime concern of Wenger and his persistent comments mask the fouls that his team commit.  Three first half bookings for Spurs should have been at least matched when the home team started to enjoy possession in the second half and could only be stopped unfairly by the red shirted players.  But it is in the official's mind that they cannot foul as they are always fouled against.  The speed of movement of the ball might mean that they are caught late, but their is not always intent and when the ball is there one moment and gone the next, it is likely that a foul will result.  A little bit different to a blatant body check when Lennon has left a defender for dead ... cynical at the very least, I would suggest.

And while Wiltshire did get clattered a couple of times, he is more than capable of going in with force and a foot raised off the floor.

All you ask for is an equal application of the laws of the game.  Wenger would do well to remember that, for when the next red-shirted player sees red, he will be the first to complain.

east stan


I now live in Bristol, but still share a season ticket, so I had to get to Stevenage to collect the ticket and left at 3.45pm.

Four miles from my destination the A1(M) was closed for an hour plus.
Got ticket at 7.40.

Raced to Cheshunt to get train whilst listening to us getting beat.

15 minute train wait, so had quick pint in adjacent pub watching game. 

Slow train to WHL station.

Run to the closed turnstiles.

Run to the big glass doors, steward lets me in.

Keane scored as I was let through the door (I didn't even see the goal !).

The rest of the match ... well, we know what happened.

For the first time I left before the final whistle and drove home like a man with six points shouldn't.

Satisfying comfort from the missus by one o'clock. 

steve campbell


For a game that we lost 1-4 to the Woolwich Wanderers, I was strangely happy when I came out.  

"Why ?", you ask. "Are you stupid ?"

Well, I hope not, as I have seen two of the most promising debuts in a long time, with Sandro and Steven Caulker both showing up very well despite the score-line.  Pletikosa could also have made a good debut, but he didn't really have a lot to do and had little chance with any of the goals.

But the ground that Sandro covered was unbelievable.  Playing his first game in England, the young midfielder put in a good shift, showed he could run with the ball and pass it well, but the most impressive thing for me was his box to box running.  At one stage, a Spurs attack saw the final pass delayed and delayed so long that Sandro had run offside, but when the move broke down and Arsenal attacked, the Brazilian was back on the edge of his own box in a flash to defend the situation.  And that was after his leg stretching after getting injured !  What will he be like when he's fit and used to the Prem ??

The thing I liked about Caulker was that he didn't look out of place in the side.  His physique is ideally suited for a central defender and he's still only 18.  His calm defending and good use of the ball was only damaged by a rash cross when he made a run up the right wing, but then full credit for him being there ... especially at that stage in the game.  He got suckered into fouling Chamakh, who took a dramatic fall to accentuate the tug, but Caulker will learn from that and be a better player for it.  Without wanting to heap pressure on the youngster, he looks a worthy successor to Ledders.

So, one cup run has ended, but how many more will these players be part of in the future ?

sparky marky

After our exit to Arsenal this week in the Mickey Mouse cup (whoops sorry went into arsenal fan mode for a minute), I mean the Carling Cup, I'm quite pleased.

A few years ago we were struggling with two points from eight games, remember ?  With Juan, who had just won us the Mickey ... sorry Carling Cup. 

Now look at us ... Champions League, top half of table and ... oh yes, Arsenal putting out a strong side against "our kids", then only beating us with some dodgy diving (remember that Arsene when you get a wrong decision again). 

What's this ... even Arsenal players admitting to national newspapers that "we want to
win the Carling Cup", "Carling is our darling" rang out one headline.  We haven't won nothing for 5 years (boo hoo), we want a trophy - my, my !!  Talk about lowering your sights.  Oh, how it makes me laugh.  Who first devalued this competition by playing kids Mr. Wenger.

So when you think of who's improved over the past 2 years in North London there's only one answer ...

Tottenham nuff said.





Other scores this weekend :
Birmingham City 3 MK Dons 1 Tuesday
Peterborough United 1 Swansea City 3 Tuesday
Burnley 1 Bolton Wanderers 0 Tuesday
Brentford (1-1 a.e.t.  Won 4-3 on pens) 1 Everton 1 Tuesday
Millwall 1 Ipswich Town 2 Tuesday
Stoke City 2 Fulham 0 Tuesday
Sunderland 1 West Ham United 2 Tuesday
Wolverhampton Wanderers 4 Notts. County 2 Tuesday
Aston Villa 3 Blackburn Rover 1 Wednesday
Chelsea 3 Newcastle United 4 Wednesday
Liverpool 1 Northampton Town (2-2 a.e.t.  Win 4-2 on pens) 1 Wednesday
Scunthorpe United 2 Manchester United 5 Wednesday
West Bromwich Albion 2 Manchester City 1 Wednesday
Wigan Athletic 2 Preston North End 1 Wednesday


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