COMPETITION Premier League
DATE Saturday 27th September 2014
VENUE Emirates Stadium






Away at Arsenal after a midweek League Cup tie.  You can see the excuses already. 

But what excuses are there really ?  Most of the team will not have played Wednesday against Forest.  The team should be going there on a level footing with Arsenal, who have had a ropey start too.  And we have a side that is almost at full strength, whereas the hosts have a host of injuries.

Maybe, if the side have some belief, they will have the best chance to get something out of an away game against the Arse for a long while.  But that belief must extend to making a concerted effort to turn the amount of possession they have during the game into goals.  This is the magic that all teams seek, but Tottenham have the players who can do it, but they must have the confidence to take on that responsibility and make sure they are effective in doing so.  

Arsenal won for the first time in a  few games last weekend at Aston Villa.  Spurs got back to winning ways against Nottingham Forest after a shocking 60 minutes, but Arsenal crashed out of the League Cup to Southampton at home.  The pressure might be on them a bit, with the home crowd notoriously noisy if things don't go well.

I would start with Capoue and Stambouli in front of the back four, as they provide the best tackling option and they are both able to move forward and pass to a white shirt.   If Lamela is on his game, he could be influential in picking the Arsenal defence apart, but Flamini's introduction only says one thing to me ... and that doesn't bode well for Erik.  The three in midfield will have to battle against the likes of Ozil, Wilshire and Ramsey, with new signing Welbeck looking to get the ball through from them.  For Tottenham, Chadli and Eriksen need to get into the game and it will be a case of the pressing game being employed from the start to strangle any creativity that there might be in the Arsenal midfield.  The best thing for Spurs might be if Arteta plays, as his legs have gone and once past him there will be no coming back for the former Everton man. 

Trying to break down opposition defences is not yet a strong point  in Tottenham's armoury, but getting at Gibbs and Chambers (or whoever else might be fielded wide on the right and keeping them pushed back, will pull their own midfield back closer to them as well.  With Mertesacker and Koscielny in the middle of the back four, there is little point playing high balls forward to Adebayor, but keeping it on the ground might find more joy taking them on in the box.

Tottenham's defence will need to be alert and they will have to do better from set-pieces, as getting away with it against Forest will not be the same as making the same mistakes against Arsenal.  Also, the ball cannot be given away cheaply, as the movement of the ball to Oxlade Chamberlain and Sanchez will quickly put the back four under pressure.  So meaningful possession is what we want to see from Tottenham and then pressing when they haven't got the ball.

Has this game too soon for Spurs ? Well, it shouldn't have, because they have known about it for a long time and the players should be settling in, with Poch knowing who is best in which position.

Personally, I think we will lose out, but only narrowly and a good display will at least show we are getting there (that is where we want to be).

PREDICTION Arsenal    2         Tottenham Hotspur    1
Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.
Spura have virtually  a full squad to choose from, apart from Kyle Walker who is still getting over surgery on his pelvic injury.  Benoit Assou-Ekotto is suspended (3 of 3).
Per Mertesacker, Kieran Gibbs and Mathieu Flamini are likely to be in  the Arsenal side to face Spurs on Saturday, but ruled out are Mathieu Debuchy (ankle), Olivier Giroud (ankle), Yaya Sonogo (hamstring), Nacho Monreal (back) and Serge Gnabry (knee).

Sky Sports 1 - (live coverage)
Match of the Day  (BBC 1) - Saturday 22.30 (highlights)   [repeated at 07:30 Sunday]  Also available online.
Goals on Sunday (Sky Sports 1) - Sunday 11.00
Match of the Day 2  (BBC 1) - Sunday 22.30 (highlights)  Also available online.

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)
Commentary may be found on
>   BBC Radio Five Live (live coverage)  606/939 MW
TalkSport (DAB or 1089 MW)
Absolute Radio  (1215 AM/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
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 :   Live webcast  - subscribers only
BBC London - click on link to "Listen to Tottenham Hotspur live commentary" on top right hand menu.

Arsenal  1 (0)                                                                                   Tottenham Hotspur  1 (0)
Premier League
Saturday 27th September 2014                                                                                                 Kick off 17:30
Emirates Stadium
Oxlade-Chamberlain 74m 51s
Chadli 56m 30s
Oxlade-Chamberlain (foul on Capoue)  11
Wilshire (foul on Mason)  22 
Chambers (foul on Lennon)  86



Lamela (persistent fouling) 27
Chadli (goal celebration) 57
Adebayor (foul on Cazorla)  69
Mason (foul on Ozil)  72 
Rose (time-wasting ??)  83
Lennon (foul on Mertesacker) 69


Crowd :   59,900 Weather :  Warm
Referee :  Michael Oliver (Northumberland) Assistant Referees :  Mr. S. Burt; Mr. J. Brooks
Fourth Official :  Craig Pawson -
Arsenal kicked off and played towards the Clock End in the first half.
Game time : -  90 + 6 Minutes.
Arsenal : kit Tottenham Hotspur : kit
  1  Wojciech SZCZESNY

  3  Kieran GIBBS
  6  Laurent KOSIELNY
21  Calum CHAMBERS     

  8  Mikel ARTETA (c)  (20  Mathieu FLAMINI 28)
  Mezut OZIL
10  Jack WILSHIRE       (17  Alexis SANCHEZ 63)
16  Aaron RAMSEY  (19  Santi CAZORLA 45)

23  Danny WELBECK

Unused subs: 
13  David OSPINA
34  Francis COQUELIN
  7  Tomas ROSICKY
  9  Lukas PODOLSKI

    1  Hugo LLORIS

  6  Younes KABOUL (c)
  3  Danny ROSE       (15  Eric DIER 85)

29  Etienne CAPOUE
38  Ryan MASON     

22  Nacer CHADLI         (42  Nabil BENTALEB 80)
11  Erik LAMELA
23  Christian ERIKSEN  (  7  Aaron LENNON 62     )

10  Emmanuel ADEBAYOR     

Unused subs: 
13  Michel VORM
Federico FAZIO
17  Andros TOWNSEND
  9  Roberto SOLDADO

Manager :  Arsene Wenger Manager :  Mauricio Pochettino
Sponsor :   Fly Emirates Shirt sponsor :  AIA
Kit Supplier :  Puma Kit Supplier :   Under Armour
Match report

Spurs put in a stern defensive display to thwart Arsenal's attempts to grab all three points from this match, which had seen Tottenham take the lead against the run of play, but  with very little of the possession to do much with.  It had taken 2 minutes and 23 seconds for Spurs to get a touch of the ball, as Arsenal played it around at the back from the kick off.  This was to be the pattern of the following 93 and a bit minutes.

Ryan Mason was an interesting choice to be slotted in alongside Etienne Capoue in front of the back four, while Kaboul was reinstated next to Vertonghen, with Naughton keeping his place at right back.  Otherwise, it was the team that lost to West Brom, minus Chiriches.  How they would face up to Arsenal was the question we were asking, with a sea level change in performance needed to stop us getting a mauling.

Not much really happened in the opening stages.  Oxlade-Chamberlain got a yellow card for a late, late tackle from behind on Capoue, when Spurs broke away and a better ball from Lamela might have set up a good chance. The same player was denied getting a cross in by a dogged tackle from Rose, but Vertonghen did considerably worse when he went to challenge Welbeck on the halfway line, but the England striker flicked the ball past him and he was away. Kaboul came over to block his shot as he got to the penalty area.

Tottenham's final pass was loose and ended up finding a red shirt mostly, but they sat off Arsenal a bit, inviting them into the Spurs half, looking to hit on the break. However, the flow of the game was mainly towards the Tottenham goal, with little pressing on the home side's back four allowing them to play the ball out easily. However, in the first twenty minutes, Hugo Lloris only had to field two weak low shots from Ramsey and Welbeck.

Wilshire flew in on Mason and got a yellow card, after he had wanted on for a nudge on him earlier. From the free-kick, Adebayor had a header at goal, but without too much threat. Arsenal threatened the Spurs goal, but without meaning it, when a Oxlade-Chamberlain cross came off Rose and caused Lloris to paw it away from the crossbar.

Every time Arsenal got the ball in the box they showed their professionalism. Players went down, claims for handball every time the ball hit someone and jumping at the man and not for the ball. Lamela got booked for a few tackles and the one he picked up a yellow for was on the Gooner captain Arteta, who needed quite a bit of treatment before leaving the field. This brought Flamini on ... a red card waiting to happen if the refereeing up to that point was anything to go by.

Spurs picked off a pass and Chadli broke, feeding Mason's run to the left wing, but his ball aimed at Adebayor didn't have enough on it and the keeper caught it without trouble. Wiltshire tried to get a penalty running at Rose, but his appeals were turned away, as he lay on the floor and the Arsenal physio was busy again.

Spurs were getting more offensive and Naughton's ball in to Adebayor was laid off to Lamela, who returned the pass, but Ade was behind the ball and could only keep the ball alive with Naughton's second cross in deflected for a corner. It was played deep by Eriksen to Capoue but he could get past Mertesacker. Then Eriksen nearly got on the end of Adebayor's pass, but Arsenal won it at the expense of another corner, which came to nothing, but the next saw Jan force Mertesacker to head low at his own goal, with only a dive by the Arsenal goalie keeping the ball out.

The pantomime booing for Adebayor only accompanied a good finish to the half for Spurs. Chadli was released through the left channel although he produced a weak cross shot that went to the goalie and Emmanuel tested his reflexes with a quick shot on the turn. It got even better for Spurs when Ramsey pulled a hamstring in trying to foul a Spurs player as they broke away and had to be subbed.

A quick break at the start of the half saw Mason's right wing cross headed out for a corner, but it came to nothing (no change there then).  Arsenal then broke and had Tottenham out-numbered but Cazorla's cross was kicked out by Kaboul in the six yard box. From the corner, the ball was played straight to Christian Eriksen, but he mis-controlled the ball and Gibbs fizzed a cross in which almost turned out to be a shot, but was too high. A slick passing move found Ozil in the box, but his low shot was kept out by Lloris' save and from the resulting corner, the ball went out for a Tottenham throw on the other side of the pitch.

Kaboul was clearing crosses that were coming into the heart of the Spurs box from wide areas, but the first shot on target came ten minutes in from an Eriksen free-kick, which the keeper took in the top corner. However, as they played the ball out, Eriksen nicked the ball off Flamini and the ball ran to Lamela, who put Chadli in on the right. The big Belgian stroked the ball across the goalkeeper and into the inside of side netting on the other side of the goal to put Tottenham ahead in the 56th minute.  minute. He got a booking for cupping his ear to the crowd in his goal celebration ... so I look forward to all players who do so getting yellow carded in that case (Stephen Gerrard a regular user of the gesture ... either that or he is getting old and his hearing isn't what it used to be).

It was a free-kick at the other end that almost got Arsenal back in it a couple of minutes later. It was swung in from the left to the far post, where Adebayor was beaten to the jump by Mertesacker and his header down was stopped on the line by Hugo, who had the presence of mind to palm it away as the ball ran loose. When Ade did win the ball in the air, at the other end, he was off-side.

Poch made his 62nd minute substitution by bringing on Lennon for Eriksen, with the thinking behind it, I imagine, to add some pace getting back when on the defensive. Arsenal threw in their last card with Sanchez coming on for the disappointing Wilshire. Lennon might be fleet of foot, but not of mind, as he lost the ball on halfway and Arsenal broke, with only Sanchez's poor control in the area letting Spurs off from what could have been a dangerous situation.

The Arsenal crowd were moaning (at least they were making some noise) about the ball being played back all the time, but you would have thought they were used to that. The bookings were being dished out by the weak referee too quickly, with Lennon and Adebayor getting cards, for less than dangerous challenges, with the threat that one of these would turn red sooner or later. Kyle Naughton had the ball played at him from point blank range and with the penalty awarded against him at West Ham United, at least the match officials got this one right. Mason saw yellow when Ozil just got a toe to the ball as he had committed to the tackle as Spurs started to started to get heavily punished. It is all very well booking a player if it is deserved, but then they have to play carefully for the remainder of the match.

Chambers blazed a shot that flew just over from 25 yards and that was the pre-cursor to a goal for Arsenal, when a cross came in from the left, after Lamela had cleared back towards his own goal. Welbeck completely missed his kick, but Oxlade-Chamberlain was behind him and shot high into the net from six yards out to beat Lloris with 73 minutes on the clock.

Younes Kaboul was playing a skipper's role in winning a lot of what was played into the area, but others were tiring and Arsenal were finding space around the box. Chadli went off with Bentaleb coming on and then Danny Rose took a knock that brought Eric Dier on. That was only before the fool in the black shirt booked Rose. What for, nobody knew. If it was for not getting off the pitch quick enough you could have said that about both Arsenal players in the first half who were both injured as well.  How often do we see players waste time against us and not get punished if that was what Rose was shown the yellow card for ?

Lennon brought down Chambers on their right wing near the dead ball line, but the cross from the free-kick was defended away. Then the Arsenal man pulled Lennon's shirt off him, as he robbed him of the ball and looked to get away. Spurs started to sit deep again and cede possession to Arsenal, looking to break away when they could, but that wasn't often. Dier broke on the right wing, but dug out a cross that went behind for a goal-kick.

All the excitement in the crowd from the goal turned to jeers as the ball was not moved forward quickly enough for them, but with Arsenal players throwing themselves to the floor (Sanchez in particular), they were looking for a second yellow for a Spurs player rather than a second goal. Towards the end of added time, the only noise you could hear was the Spurs fans.

The pressure from the home side as time ran out built, with Dier making two interventions to conceded corners as Arsenal looked to fashion chances in the box. With Tottenham closing players down higher up the pitch, but not without having enough back to cover, the final whistle blew on a point for Tottenham, who might not have had the possession in this game, but played with energy and some good passing.

The yellow card count of 6-3 to Tottenham was farcical, as it wasn't a particularly dirty or even niggly game. But Tottenham defended with heart. Kaboul was outstanding and the full backs had a tough time but stuck to their tasks. Mason didn't look out of his depth being thrown in to a game like this, while everyone appeared to realise the importance of getting something out of the game after the two home defeats.  Poch got the tactics just about right, but the turning over of possession will be of concern, when Spurs were trying to see the game out, along with the use of the ball when in promising positions.  So, still things to work on before we play Besiktas and then Poch's old team Southampton, who are still second in the table.

It will be a busy week !!

Hellwyn Ballard



Arsenal are not in fact from North London originally, but from Tula in Russia, where they were first formed in 1946.

Goonersuarus was actually found under the old Woolwich ground in South London where Arsenal once played (after moving to England from Russia).  The remains were dug up by a crack team of archaeologists and the dinosaur played at centre half for many years.


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What you thought
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Other scores during this week :
Chelsea 3 Aston Villa 0 Saturday
Crystal Palace 2 Leicester City 0 Saturday
Hull City 2 Manchester City 4 Saturday
Liverpool 1 Everton 1 Saturday
Manchester United 2 West Ham United 1 Saturday
Southampton 2 QPR 1 Saturday
Sunderland 0 Swansea City 0 Saturday
West Bromwich Albion 4 Burnley 0 Sunday
Stoke City 1 Newcastle United 0 Monday




League Table
  P W D L F A Pts GD
1 Chelsea 6 5 1 0 19 7 16 +12
2 Southampton 6 4 1 1 11 4 13 +7
3 Manchester City 6 3 2 1 12 7 11 +5
4 Arsenal 6 2 4 0 11 7 10 +4
5 Swansea City 6 3 1 2 8 6 10 +2
6 Aston Villa 6 3 1 2 4 7 10 -3
7 Manchester United 6 2 2 2 11 9 8 +2
8 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 6 2 2 2 8 7 8 +1
9 Crystal Palace 6 2 2 2 10 10 8 0
10 West Bromwich Albion 6 2 2 2 7 7 8 0
11 Stoke City 6 2 2 2 5 5 8 0
12 Leicester City 6 2 2 2 9 10 8 -1
13 West Ham United 6 2 1 3 10 10 7 0
14 Liverpool 6 2 1 3 8 9 7 -1
15 Everton 6 1 3 2 12 14 6 -2
16 Hull City 6 1 3 2 9 12 6 -3
17 Sunderland 6 0 5 1 5 6 5 -1
18 QPR 6 1 1 4 4 13 4 -9
19 Newcastle United 6 0 3 3 5 12 3 -7
20 Burnley 6 0 3 3 1 8 3 -7


Position before match :  10th
Position after match :  8th
Position after the weekend :  8th


* Pub facts may not actually be true, but after a few pints everyone will think so.


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