Looking Forward

 

ARSENAL (Away)

Premier League

Saturday 16th November 2002

Arsenal on a bad run, but salvaged by two 1-0 (boring, boring) wins.  Spurs not having scored for two games and not having won at Highbury for nine matches going back to 1993 for the last victory.  So what chance a win this time ??  Well ,stranger things have happened.

With Shaaban likely to deputise for shaky Seaman in goal, it will be a harder match than with the England keeper.  There are problems at the back with Cygan coming in this season and Keown being unable to hold down a place in the side as well as not being able to hold down a typewriter key.  The full/wing backs fly forward without much attention to defending and this area could be useful in opening up the home side.  It will need some of our players to be fit and willing to take them on, but Ashley Cole has deficiencies in his play that could lead to him becoming exposed.  We would need Etherington or Ziege to play and play well to make the most of the gaps on the other side.

The midfield is where Arsenal rule.  The influence of Vieira and the hard work put in by the pink haired floozy mean that Tottenham will not be able to afford a lack-lustre effort in midfield like they managed last week at Sunderland.  Plenty of effort will be the least we will want to see.  It depends who is fit, but there could be a battle royale with some tough tackling for each side to try and adopt supremacy in this area.

Up front, the pace of Henry will trouble any side and being without Gardner means that we lack a player with true speed to keep up with the Frenchman, so there could be a deep lying player such as Perry who will cover this threat.  Richards is OK when he builds up  ahead of steam, but a forward such as Wiltord can also be dangerous, with his movement off the ball.  Jeffers could come into consideration after a few outings recently, which would probably suit the Tottenham defence better.

As Blondel was rested from the reserves this week, it either means he is being considered to play or he is being preserved for a loan move to Bradford City.  Ricketts did play and showed why his style might suit this match with plenty of aggression and some silky skills on the ball.  Ledley might make an appearance, but will most likely be on the bench, with Les probably joining him as a physical threat should things require that for Tottenham up front.

Never a game to enjoy ... more one to endure, but there is no reason why, given a look back to our earlier performances this season, Spurs could not give them a hard time and with a bit of luck, which has deserted us in recent matches, we could bring home a point.  Both sides will not want to lose, but this might mean that it ends up all square at ...

PREDICTION : -   Arsenal  1  Tottenham  1

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

 

 

Arsenal  3   Tottenham  0   (Half-time score : 1-0)
FA PREMIER LEAGUE
Saturday 16th November 2002
Venue : -  Highbury
Kick Off : -  15.00 p.m.
Weather : -  Dry, bright
Crowd : -  38,152
Referee : -  M. Riley (Leeds)
Teams : -  Arsenal : - Shaaban; Cole, Campbell, Cygan, Luzhny; Vieira (Van Bronckhorst 79), Ljungberg, Bergkamp (Pires 29), Gilberto; Wiltord (Jeffers 76), Henry 
Subs: Taylor,Toure

Tottenham : - Keller; Bunjevcevic, King, Richards; Carr, Davies, Freund, Redknapp (Anderton 66), Etherington (Poyet 46);  Sheringham (Iversen 65) Keane
Subs: Hirschfeld, Perry

Colours : -  Arsenal -  Red shirts with white sleeves, white shorts, white socks with red turnover.

Tottenham -  White shirts, Navy blue shorts,  navy blue socks with black turnover.

Scorers : -  Arsenal -  Henry 14, Ljungberg 56, Wiltord 72

Tottenham -  None

Cards : -  Arsenal - None

Tottenham -  Davies (foul) 23, Davies (second yellow - foul) 27, Poyet (foul) 49

 
So another defeat to a team above us. But it was really no contest after 27 minutes when Simon Davies was dismissed for two tackles which, but the standards of North London derbies (and even others in this match), were questionable free-kicks, let alone bookings.  You might have said that it was no contest anyway, as the home side were one up and it could have been three within half an hour, but as Spurs showed last season, they are capable of getting back into a match against the old enemy, even if it is in the last minute. 

The gap that has grown between Tottenham and Arsenal over the last few years was big enough before Riley decided to make it even bigger by making Spurs play with ten men.  The traffic was mainly one way despite Richards producing a run through the centre of the Arsenal team in the second half and trying a little chip over the keeper (a la Keane last Sunday), but it didn't have enough strength to reach the line and was cleared before it got there.  Anderton drove in a fierce free-kick from the edge of the box, which Shabaan punched out and Keano had a great chance before Davies had been sent off, but headed his cross miserably wide.  Heading is really not his strong point.  Redknapp did produce an early shot that the Arsenal goalie saved in the first few exchanges before the hosts scored, but it wasn't a real threat to their goal.

I can't recall any other chances of note, but Arsenal had loads with Keller doing well to thwart players running into the box and King getting one away from in front of the line.  Pires lobbed just over, two goals were disallowed for offsides and the ball flew across the Spurs goalmouth with great regularity.  There were spells where it looked like Arsenal felt a bit sorry for ten man Tottenham and didn't want to press forward.

Their first goal came from our throw in on the edge of their box, but that distance was eaten up by Henry's pace and his virtually unhindered passage to our goal.  Matty's weak challenge was shrugged off and then nobody came to him to close him down away from Spurs' goal, leaving him suddenly on the edge of our box and a clear shot on goal.  The other goals were tap-ins with the hard work being done by others, but the second was started by a dubious "tackle" on Redknapp, where Ljungberg wrapped both his legs around Jamie's, who then lost possession.  Maybe another ref might have awarded a free-kick, but then we are talking about Riley here.  

Davies was the victim of the Cole diver and an honest tackle for the ball on Vieira.  The Frenchman had been booked for a challenge like that at Chelsea earlier in the season, so no doubt expected Davies to be booked for it, but it is about time something was done about Cole.  His exaggeration of tackles which don't even connect is frankly the lowest form of sportsmanship there is.  It is surprising that Wenger fails to see that, when he even managed to have a good view of the second incident and felt that Davies deserved to be sent off !!

The real problem for me was the lack of aggression for a North London derby from our players.  Keane should have been booked for a bad challenge on Ljungberg, as should have Redknapp for going in high on Scumball, but the transformation into a Gooner is complete now, with his holding down of Redknapp and subsequent pushing and shoving because he had a free-kick awarded against him, before running away to avoid getting a yellow card.  Cygan has also learned valuable lessons in getting away with assaulting Sheringham.  But in truth, none of that would have made any difference.  There was little go in the Spurs team to get amongst them early on.

As for Spurs, there were few performances of note.  Freund kept going, but their midfield were passing around players and we were left chasing shadows.  Carr was all over the place and Bunjy is not a left back Glenn !!  We gave the ball away to cheaply today and then kept doing it, time and time again.  Against good teams they will punish you if you do this consistently and we were lucky that they didn't hit top gear today.  For all the players who were involved, Ledley King did best and his presence will hopefully steer Tottenham in the right direction over the chilly winter months.

MEHSTG TOP MAN : - LEDLEY KING

Terry Ogilvy

 

ON THE CARDS

 

The following is written without editing or pause, as I have to say what I have to say in ONEBIGBREATH! 

Barely and hour and a half after the Highbury Fiasco and where do you start....?  

How do you spell Apoplectic?  Dodgy Ref, unjust dismissal, stunning goal but "Where the defence?" barely cover the cracks.  They might buy us time, but only a sound victory in the return match will buy us...  erm, whatever it is we need to buy! (A striker, mid-field general WHO  CAN PASS, for starters!) A mini-plus point if there is one, is that Carr would hardly have impressed Wenger too much for him to mount a serious bid ... now where did I put those straws?

The December encounter is surely a match for which the word REVENGE was written.  We need to show we CAN be strong in the heat of battle, and not crumble and fall with the merest hint of opposition.  All that was left today would've been for ArSol to Bicycle Kick in the fourth ...

We were weaker in every department, not "Up for it" as they say.  Which, surprisingly their crop of foreign superstars were.  How come they know the meaning of these derby games, whereas our "home-grown" boys didn't have a clue?  Where was OUR passion and commitment?  Why did they seem to care more, whilst their fans would have you believe they had to check the papers this morning to see who they had today ...  just another 3 points?  Don't make me laugh.  Their fans care, our fans care even more.  Now we deserve to see how much our players really care.  I'll reserve full judgement until the return next month, then we'll see who has the desire to win, to prove wrong, to put right, to make amends, to settle scores, to see justice served, that Good will Conquer All and that Evil will be vanquished ... is that a little over the top?

Of course they're better than us, we all knew that long before kick off.  But why the hell didn't we prove that wrong for once, and cause an upset?  This must be the only local derby for which the "Form Book" can stay safely inside ... Jeeeesus, we didn't even bother opening the window, let alone toss anything out of it! (Except our pride of course). 

The image that springs to mind with Us and Them is of a Cartoon giant, arm outstretched, with his palm on the forehead of the little fella, his little face, contorted and red with rage, and whose arms in turn are whirring like high speed windmills ... We provide no opposition for them anymore, other than some mild amusement. THAT'S why their fans can feign disinterest about this fixture, whilst we constantly have a point to (unsuccessfully) prove.

Man City showed the country last week what can be achieved with self belief, "Hard Verk" (C.Gross, circa. 1998) and desire.  Please prove me wrong Spurs.  I love you passionately, with an unwavering fervour that knows no limits.... 

It pains me to see you like this, we are not Ars*nal's bitches, stop behaving like it!  Of course, and I'll say it again, until we've played them at home (and for that matter City have played at Old Trafford) the jury, unlike the "Form Book" will be out. 

Keep the faith.
May the Spurs Be With You

Matthew Lyons (Park Lane Lower)

 

Other scores this weekend :
Birmingham City 0 Fulham 0 Sunday
Blackburn Rovers 0 Everton 1 Sunday
Chelsea 1 Middlesbrough 0 Saturday

Leeds United

2 Bolton Wanderers 4 Sunday
Liverpool 0 Sunderland 0 Sunday
Manchester City 0 Charlton Athletic 1 Saturday
Newcastle United 2 SCBC 1 Saturday
WBA 0 Aston Villa 0 Saturday
West Ham United 1 Manchester United 1 Sunday

 

 

League Table
 
  P W D L F A Pts
1 Arsenal 14 10 2 2 31 13 32
2 Liverpool 14 9 4 1 24 10 31
3 Chelsea 14 7 5 2 24 12 26
4 Everton 14 8 2 4 17 15 26
5 Manchester United 14 6 5 3 18 13 23
6 Newcastle United 13 7 1 5 20 17 22
7 Middlesbrough 14 6 3 5 16 11 21
8 Blackburn Rovers 14 5 5 4 19 15 20
9 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 14 6 2 6 17 21 20
10 Leeds United 14 5 2 7 19 20 17
11 SCBC 14 4 5 5 14 15 17
12 Manchester City 14 5 2 7 14 20 17
13 Fulham 14 4 4 6 17 18 16
14 Aston Villa 14 4 4 6 10 12 16
15 Birmingham City 14 4 4 6 14 18 16
16 Charlton Athletic 14 4 2 8 11 18 14
17 Sunderland 14 3 5 6 8 16 14
18 Bolton Wanderers 13 3 3 7 16 24 12
19 West Ham United 14 3 3 8 14 24 12
20 WBA 13 3 3 8 10 21 12

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