Arsenal 2-1 Spurs (Spurs not Keane on victory)

Arsenal 2-1 Spurs (Spurs not Keane on victory)

Postby Reverend Gooner » Tue Dec 25, 2007 12:38 am

It is an old cliché that football is a game of two halves but that is the best way to sum up Arsenal’s performance during this well anticipated London derby. In the first half Arsenal were extremely poor when it came to their passing and attacking creativity whilst in the second half they started to play in the way we all know how and put in a riveting 45 minutes of football. Tottenham on the other hand were playing close to their best for the whole game and that is what made this tie so nerve racking and what made the win so satisfying for the gunners faithful.

Apart from Robin Van Persie who seems to be suffering from Michael Owen’s “continuously injured syndrome” the Arsenal team was pretty much full strength with Fabregas, Hleb, Flamini and Eboue all settling back after injury. Tottenham gave 21 year old Jamie O’Hara his first full debut and moved right back Pascal Chimbonda to centre back to cover their defensive crisis.

Arsenal had the first chance of the game when the ever reliable Mathieu Flamini hooked a technical volley just past the post after a slick build up, it was curling towards goal and to parts of the crowd may have thought it was in but it was just not to be.
Most of the half was pretty much a non event and I felt like the Gods of irony were focusing their powers on me this week. I say this because I spent a few hours in the pub after the Chelsea game with my friends and we were all agreeing how the North-London derby was the only derby that ever fulfils its hype. Well this half could not even fulfil the most non expectant of fans, it was quite simply awful to watch with Spurs being the better team but nothing really happening.

Arsenal’s passing was appalling with even the phenomenal Cesc Fabregas laying one long pass unbelievably wide to the astonishment of everyone who watched. Tottenham were not playing poorly themselves, in fact they were first to nearly every 50/50 and they were playing the ball with a desire and motivation which the Arsenal players seemed to be lacking. Unfortunately for them despite playing very well they were not able to fashion any chances. The Arsenal defence was not suffering from the same affliction the attack was and so the ever surging Spurs attack was kept in their place. Arron Lennon was well bossed by Gael Clichy who despite not always taking the ball off him always showed him into a safe position.

Despite being second best Arsenal had the best chances of the half with the best being a power header by Toure from a corner. The ball from Fabregas was planted perfectly for the unmarked Toure to think out his attempt on goal, with perfect posture and power he nodded the ball goalwards but Robinson was theatrical with his dive and palmed it away for a throw in.

Eboue also had a shot saved by Robinson but the Gunner’s attack was never convincing enough to truly worry the Tottenham goal. The half time whistle went and the crowd knew that all Spurs needed to do was find that final ball and the game could be theirs for the taking. Arsenal had to change something and change it fast as they had just been a part of what could have been the most boring and awful half a north London derby had seen for ages.

No-one knows what Arsene Wenger said to his team at half time, he is rumoured to be calm and calculated in his team talks but whatever was said certainly had the right effect as a different Arsenal team walked out onto the Emirates turf and in complete contrast to the first half took part in what was one of the best halves a north London derby has seen for ages.

It took only 3 minutes for the game to burst into life. Fabregas started a move on the halfway line and played the ball to Rosicky who took the ball up the left at pace. The Arsenal attack Galloped forward in numbers in support and when Fabregas received a pass he had a number of options available to him including taking a shot which he has been so good at this season. Instead he laid a cunning backheel to Adebayor who was darting in from the left hand side of the pitch. The backheel presented Adebayor with a one on one chance and he slotted the ball perfectly under Robinson and into the corner of the net.

The Arsenal fans went mad and Adebayor saluted the crowd and hugged his team mates who congratulated him on making the breakthrough and for scoring his 10th league goal of the season. Tottenham must have been shell shocked because the Arsenal team of the first half would not have been capable of such a spectacular goal.

Another old cliché in football is that you are most vulnerable after you have scored but with Arsenal it is the other way around, after scoring is when they are most dangerous. It is amazing how many times over the years that scoring a goal has doubled their confidence and motivation and today was no different when they almost made it 2-0 a minute later.

After getting the ball back from kick off Fabregas played a cute through ball for Adebayor to chase. With pace and power Ade ran the ball into the area but he was under pressure from 3 defenders the whole time and eventually the run came to nothing. The crowd roared in approval and the tone was set, this game was on!

Tottenham played the same way they did in the first half which was accurate, confident, coherent and intelligent and they looked every bit a good side but the difference was that their opponents were now playing much better and finding the back of the net was going to be even more difficult.

The game was end to end and Spurs just managed to keep the edge on possession just like they did in the first half. They tried desperately to score that equalising goal and maybe go on for a winner, a win here would really have kick started the Tottenham resurgence. There were signs from Arsenal from about the 60th minute that they did not feel that urgent about killing the game off and the passing started to go a bit down the untidy route. However 6 minutes later they were kicked right back into touch and back to attention when Tottenham scored a screamer of a goal.

In truth the goal should have been scored a minute earlier than it was when Robbie Keane missed the first of two glorious chances. The move began the only time Lennon managed to get the best of Clichy and stormed into the area, the defending prevented him from getting a cross in on his prominent right foot but he managed to pull a perfect cross from his left to the unmarked Keane at the back post only a few yards from goal. The resulting shot however rattled off the bar and fizzled out for a throw in leaving a dejected look on Keane’s face. It was harder to miss than to score but the prolific Irish international could not find the scoring touch which has blessed him so far this season.

From the resulting throw in a move as equally spectacular as the one that resulted in the Arsenal goal took place and Dimitar Berbatov slammed the ball into the back of the net. The ball was thrown into the area and Keane performed a backheel to Berbatov who hit it high from an acute angle (via a slight deflection from Toure) into the far top corner. It was a wonderful goal and I imagine Robbie Keane was thanking his lucky stars after missing the previous chance.

The next 10 minutes saw end to end play from both teams and you could tell by watching that a point was no good to either team. When the clock struck 75 an incredible 2 minutes began, 2 minutes which will remain in Arsenal premiership history for a long time.

After a free kick into the box was cleared by the defence the ball landed at the feet of a Spurs player who struck hard and low into the box towards a throng of players. The ball could have landed anywhere but it landed at the feet of Berbatov who wanted to find a good shooting position. A couple of Arsenal players slid in to take the ball including Kolo Toure whose attempt took out Berbatov’s leg rather than the ball and after a couple of seconds thought the referee pointed to the spot. It was a clear penalty and despite Toure’s protests deep inside he knew it was the right decision.

The crowd went silent; there was a sense around the ground that if it went in then Spurs will win the game. Robbie Keane stepped up to take the penalty and he has been excellent from the spot all season so expectations were high. Almunia flayed his arms around in preparation for the kick, this was his chance to be a hero.

The whistle blew and Keane stepped up and shot the ball low and towards his inside left. The shot lacked pace and direction leaving Almunia who had guessed the correct way with the splendid job of palming the ball to safety in the area and the defence cleared it further once and for all. The crowd went wild and Almunia was congratulated by his teammates. The only Arsenal player on the bench or in the stands who did not look happy was Jens Lehmann, lord only knows why ;)

The ball swiftly was played up to Adebayor who earnt a corner for Arsenal, all this within two minutes of eachother. Robbie Keane looked dejected and he was brought off by Ramos for Jermaine Defoe and Wenger bought on Nicklas Bendtner for Emmanuel Eboue.

The Spurs area was primed with Arsenal players at the ready and Fabregas curled a danger ball towards the crowd of players. Nicklas Bendtner who had only been on 5 seconds lost his marker and leapt like an Olympic salmon into the flight of the ball and headed it low into the back of the net. The crowd went cockamaimy and Bendtner ran to the crowd to celebrate his fabulous winner. Wenger was delighted and Ramos was shocked to the core. The crowd went mad with joy and what could have been victory turned to defeat for Spurs.

Spurs tried to press forward for the rest of the game but the closest any team came to a goal was an outside of the foot powershot from Fabregas which just curled wide. The Arsenal defence solidified and despite a couple of wayward passes by substitute Gilberto putting them into trouble all danger was dealt with and Arsenal completed the double over their bitter north London rivals.

The Tottenham players walked off with their heads down whilst it was a very merry Christmas for the gunners who guaranteed themselves top spot for Christmas and gloating rights over their neighbours. After the dire first half no-one could have imagined what happened in the second half would have happened but in the end it was a thrilling match worthy of any local derby. This victory after a win against title rivals Chelsea shows that Arsenal can bounce back from defeat in fine style and are ready for the gruelling months ahead.

The next trip is to Pompy and with Steven Pienaar’s stupid piece of defending bringing United back to within a point of Arsenal the pressure is on for the young guns but they seem to love to be tested and this team love nothing more than a good battle ahead. As we come to Christmas, at a time where Spurs were supposed to be ahead of Arsenal according to the pundits at the start of the season, the reality is that the gap is so big you cannot even talk about the two in the same breath. They may only be a mile away in location but they are light years away in class, simple as that.

Merry Christmas fellow gooners, and a victorious new year.
Last edited by Reverend Gooner on Tue Dec 25, 2007 2:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Arsenal 2-1 Spurs (Spurs not Keane on victory)

Postby absolutely_fabregas » Tue Dec 25, 2007 12:40 am

rev gooners barmy army!

i cant read thru all that at the min, but i trust it wil be exquisite
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Re: Arsenal 2-1 Spurs (Spurs not Keane on victory)

Postby Fordy » Tue Dec 25, 2007 12:47 am

top stuff as always mate i really do look forward to reading your reports some of them are better than the game it self
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Re: Arsenal 2-1 Spurs (Spurs not Keane on victory)

Postby Trina » Tue Dec 25, 2007 12:49 am

Excellent report!!

Gave me goosebumps in some paragraphs! and also laughter at the end of the penalty save :D
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Re: Arsenal 2-1 Spurs (Spurs not Keane on victory)

Postby absolutely_fabregas » Tue Dec 25, 2007 12:51 am

olympic salmon :rolf23:
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Arsenal 2-1 Spurs (Spurs not Keane on victory)

Postby SE13 » Tue Dec 25, 2007 2:06 pm

A couple of the similies really brought a smile to the face!!

Cracking stuff as always, Rev.
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Please note that my comments are my own view, and not that of GoonersWorld. Everything I write is subject to © 2007-2013, and is my own work unless quoted otherwise.
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Re: Arsenal 2-1 Spurs (Spurs not Keane on victory)

Postby Reverend Gooner » Tue Dec 25, 2007 3:01 pm

Cheers dudes, my pleasure as always.

When they had the penalty i really feared the worse and i thought that this report was going to have a much sombre tone. However i think Santa Clause is a gooner cos he stepped in and sent St Nicklas to score the winner ;)

A merry christmas for us gooners then and another miserable one for the Spurs, i bet those Chaz and Dave cd's they are getting for christmas won't sound so great now :lol:


There is only one team in north London! :3: :3: :3:
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Re: Arsenal 2-1 Spurs (Spurs not Keane on victory)

Postby Cheese » Wed Dec 26, 2007 10:12 am

Haven't read it all YET but will get back to it later, so far so good and as for the title "Spurs not Keane on victory" Top stuff :lol:

Another great report Rev :cool:
“What a great day for football, all we need is some green grass and a ball.”
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