Saturday 13th November 2004
a good time to be playing Arsenal ?? Well, it is if you believe
the press, with a defeat and two draws in the Premier League, they are
stumbling compared to their normal form and they haven't won at the
Lane for five years. On the other hand, we have just acquired a
new coach to replace the one who had served 13 games.
It is an odd situation for both sides, with a London derby not being the best thing for Spurs having only only won in 18 such matches of late. But form goes out of the window and we must hope that is the case.
Spurs will be buoyed by the fact that they have done well in midweek and it will be a rested, but totally changed side from their League Cup match. It will also be the first chance for the White Hart Lane audience to see Jol's side in action since he took over formally as the Head Coach and he will want to ensure that the team acquit themselves well against the Old Enemy.
For all the talk that the other side in North London do not regard this as an important fixture, it is always important for them to do well here. But with a new resolve about the Spurs team in defence and with the midfield now featuring some creativity, it may be that we can give the visitors to this part of London a few problems to consider.
There will always be a lot to think about for the coach, but Jol seems single-minded in his approach and I believe that he will be well prepared for the match. It is a game that could go either way, but with Defoe and Keane striking up the partnership they should have, they could exploit the lack of understanding in the back four and grab a somewhat unexpected bonus ...
PREDICTION : - Tottenham Hotspur 1 Arsenal 0
For more information on the opponents and their history, including full result history of matches between the two teams, click here.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR : - Thimothee Atouba (knee); Goran Bunjevcevic (acute compartment syndrome); Dean Richards (ears); Sean Davis (knee); Stephen Kelly (thumb & concussion)
Arsenal : Sol Campbell (Achilles); Edu (ankle); Gilberto (hamstring);
|Tottenham Hotspur 4 Arsenal 5 (Half-time score : 1-1)|
|Premier League||Venue : White Hart Lane|
|Saturday 13th November 2004||Kick Off : 12.00 Noon|
|Crowd : 36,095||Referee : S. Bennett (Orpington)|
|Weather : Bright, chilly|
|Teams : -|
Mendes (Davies 68)
Keane (Gardner 90)
Bergkamp (van Persie 81)
|Colours : - (kits courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)|
|Scorers : -|
|Cards : -|
Naybet (goal celebration) 39
|Match Report : -|
How can you explain what happened in this North London derby ? A match that for 45 minutes, Spurs seemed to have the upper hand, but then a late first half equaliser turned the game in the visitors favour.
It was a game full of incident, inconsistent refereeing, goals and deception. All the ingredients of a good thriller.
And while the Spurs fans might have left thinking they should have had a point, it was some defensive lapses that let the side down. From being an ultra-defensive team to one that scores and leaks goals is some leap of faith, but with Tottenham, such step changes in fortune have become boringly familiar.
From the off, Spurs tore into Arsenal, with Brown getting under the feet of Vieira, much to the lanky Gooner's annoyance (although the ref seemed to think the Sengalese midfielder's moaning was OK by him). White shirts shut down the red ones quickly and passed the ball well when they had it. It was fast and furious, but then, what North London derby isn't ?
An early chance saw Defoe set up Mendes at the far post, where he hit a volley into the ground and Lehmann's arms, while good runs down the flanks opened Arsenal up, but the final ball was lacking. A Carrick volley went weakly wide, while Bergkamp twice missed the target with volleys. Spurs had exploited the lack of cohesion between the Arsenal back four and tried to test Lehmann, but they failed to do so and Arsenal's breaks found the assistant referee caught out not in line with the last man, resulting in Ljungberg getting away to ping a ball across the face of goal, with no team-mate there to put it in.
However, from a left wing free-kick, Tottenham took a deserved lead. Carrick floated it in and as Vieira jumped under it, Naybet was stationed at the far post to drive a shot past the keeper and two defenders on the line. It was more than we could have hoped for before the start, but this game had hardly warmed up at this stage. Tottenham almost took a 2-0 lead when another free-kick, this time from Ziegler on the right, found Defoe's head and his flick made Lehmann stretch to just manage to tip it over the top. Then, just as it looked like a lead would be Tottenham's reward at the break, Lauren floated a ball into the Spurs box from the right and Henry took the ball down and as King and Robinson closed in, it was poked through and slowly into the net.
It was not a fair reflection of the game, with it being Arsenal's first shot on target, but it should have been a wake up call to the team and when they came out for the second half, they should have been fired up by Jol's half time team talk. However, they came out cold and got caught out. Straight away, a ball into the Spurs area saw the defender's miss their kick and the ball fall to Reyes, who hit his shot at Robinson from two yards out. Cygan snuck in twice at the far post as corners travelled right across the area and then a comedy of errors left Spurs supporters feeling less than happy. 54 minutes gone and Robinson takes a ball in his penalty box. As he looked to release the ball, King took the ball out of his hands and the ball fell to Ljungberg, who (unsurprisingly) went down under challenge from Pamarot and the ref immediately pointed to the spot. Lauren stepped up to stick away the penalty and Spurs were behind.
Tottenham tried to hit back straight away and Jermain ran at the defence and hit s shot that hit the side-netting, before Michael Brown got a yellow card for Vieira nagging the ref about tackles on him. It is quite amazing that the refs display a level of inconsistency that they do and nothing is done about it. Lauren had committed two poor tackles within a couple of minutes in the first half without caution and then raced over to the crowd when he scored, but also did not receive a yellow card ... unlike Naybet, who's celebrations brought the flashing of yellow by match official Bennett.
It looked as though nobody could touch Vieira after that. Or so it would have seemed from a burst through the Spurs midfield in the 60th minute. Three players missed tackles on him, leaving a clear run through on Robinson and the ball was lifted over him to make it 1-3. The two-goal lead didn't last long, as Defoe took the ball from the kick off and making a direct run in the inside left channel, he left defenders in his wake and hit s hot that Lehmann didn't even move for. 2-3 and all to play for again.
Well, for seven minutes anyway !! What should have been a routine clearance for Reto Ziegler, saw him hang onto the ball a bit too long and the kick was blocked, fed across the face of the area to Ljungberg, who shot over Robbo from eight yards and it was 2-4. Another five minutes, another goal. With Lauren (again) taking Defoe late, Spurs got a free-kick on the left touchline. Carrick floated it into area around the penalty spot and Ledley King rose to nod it past Lehmann, who was badly positioned and really should have saved it.
Robinson was alert to an in-swinging Henry free-kick and touched it wide, but he couldn't stop the fifth Arsenal goal. It was another that could have been avoided and when a great block stopped Henry grabbing the goal just inside the 'D', the ball dropped for a red shirt, was played wide to Pires on the left and Pamarot failed to close him down quickly enough, allowing him to nip past and slot the ball home beating Paul at his near post. It was a sloppy goal and Pamarot had a poor second half, perhaps suffering after giving away the penalty.
With time running out, Tottenham threw players forward, including Fredi Kanoute, who replaced Michael Brown, who had given his all for the cause. Ziegler picked up Henry's loose pass and dinked a delightful ball into to the penalty spot, where Kanoute arrived to stick out a long leg and divert the ball past the keeper as he came out. As the four minutes of added time ticked away (which might not have covered the three minutes it took Reyes to leave the field when subbed, as Mendes raced past him for the same reason at the same time), the pressure built on the Arsenal back four and they cleared the ball anywhere away from goal. One such clearance fell on the edge of the area and as Simon Davies rushed onto it, he was closed down and his shot flew wide.
It was a match very reminiscent of those in the 1950s and 1960s that ended up goal-heavy, but with some more concentration, Spurs might have walked away with something from this game. And it might have been more than one point too, as Arsenal seemed to be outfought in the first half. If only Tottenham could have kept that going.
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - MICHAEL BROWN
|PRESSING THE SELF-DESTRUCT BUTTON|
|There is a huge amount to be
said about what went on yesterday at White Hart Lane.
Much of it is not pleasant.
Why Santini has chosen to speak about his failure to adapt to the Spurs management structure so soon is a mystery. Why not when he resigned or at an Employment Tribunal if he feels he is being shoved out ? Why did he chose to do it on French TV ? Why at a derby game, was he trying to steal the limelight in case Spurs did better without him ?
While Naybet did well to take his goal, just like a striker, his defensive performance in the second half was dodgy in the extreme. Two goals came from his failure to get shot of the ball quickly enough and although he did make some timely interceptions, it is hard enough trying to defend against an Arsenal side at the best of times, but we can't quite afford to give away four goals to them just yet. It's too early in our development.
King's inadvertent intervention when Robinson went to throw the ball out was another gaffe that we didn't need. Perhaps he was a bit too keen to get things going, but he should have been aware of who was around him when the ball was in his hands. Then Pamarot slid in to early on Ljungberg for the penalty and let Pires skip past him for the fifth. He looked out of sorts from the start of the second half, but then so did Ledley. Once completely missing the ball in his own box and another almost kicking it in off another Spurs player. It seemed as though the panic that we had caused Charlton when they were under pressure came back to haunt us.
Robinson did one good thing though and that was after the penalty when he kick ed the ball out in anger and got Reyes right in the side of the head. It was an accident, but even so, the cheating little diver deserved that as he threw himself to the ground in our box, without getting a free-kick given against him. Play went on and ended with Arsenal's equaliser just before half-time.
The red shirts really are a despicable bunch. Cole diving and diving in. Vieira giving the ref a headache. Reyes and Pires a couple of Greg Louganis wannabes. Lehman always coming out with knee in forward's faces or in their stomachs. The arrogant Henry. There are few redeeming features about such a bunch of reprobates.
With a little luck ... Defoe's header being a couple of inches higher ... Davies' last minute effort being on target ... the ref being more even handed about who he booked and what for ... we might have got something from the game. But when you play the Gooners, you know that any luck going will be going their way.
|A VERSE FOR SPURS VERSUS ARSENAL
Well, our defending was
|Goodness knows what the watching
Jurgen Klinsmann must have made of it all. He probably thought
that Ossie was back in the manager's office !!
And when Naybet scored, the reason he left the pitch was to go to his interpreter to find out how to express his joy !!
Benny The Ball
|Other scores this weekend :|
|Bolton Wanderers||1||Aston Villa||2||Saturday|
|Charlton Athletic||4||Norwich City||0||Saturday|
|Manchester City||1||Blackburn Rovers||1||Saturday|
|West Bromwich Albion||1||Middlesbrough||2||Sunday|
|Newcastle United||1||Manchester United||3||Sunday|
|18||West Bromwich Albion||13||1||6||6||12||24||9||-12|
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