|A London derby = another
defeat, so we shouldn't be so surprised and from the action that passed
before us, we should be grateful that we only conceded once. But
then Robbie could have nicked a point at the death like he should have
done at Chelsea earlier this season.
So perhaps the hordes of Blues watching
on TV who were cheering us on deserved the wait for their title
celebrations. But for Spurs, the tired legs and tired minds have
to be geed up for the next three games, which they have to win to get
Whether that will happen now is
doubtful. Having been given an expert lesson in passing and
movement, we need to step our own game up to do well. Too many
times in the first half Tottenham gave away cheap possession and had to
chase after red shirts to try and get it back. For many, the
ability to hold onto the ball seemed a difficult skill and that allowed
the home side to run the midfield and easily mop up at the back.
Reyes could have started the damage
within 47 seconds, as he took Fabregas' pass and raced away round
Robinson and then hit his shot wide of a gaping goal. Spurs picked
up the pace of the game and edged forward tentatively. Kanoute hit
a weak shot wide and then Toure just beat Jermain Defoe to Fredi's cross
after ten minutes and the ball ended up in Lehmann's arms. Three
minutes after, Defoe turned Toure neatly on the edge of the box and
produced a delicate ship that floated a foot wide with Lehmann
scrambling back to goal. Jermain had an even better attempt on 17
minutes, as he took the ball just inside the area and hit a powerful
shot that the keeper blocked. On this occasion, he might have been
better placing it wide of the flopping German.
Then, Arsenal were ahead. A pass
through the left hand channel saw Fabregas pick out Reyes and he took
the ball into the area before striking a low drive past Robinson that
flew just inside the post. The pace that Arsenal were hitting
Spurs on the break was lightening fast, but most of the time Dawson and
King in the centre of the Tottenham defence were up to it and prevented
them passing through. However, when Spurs tried to match the
tempo, they lost the ball, with Fredi being the main culprit and then
they had their work cut out to get it back.
King threw a great block as van Persie
hit a shot on goal and from a long free-kick from Cole was headed wide
by Vieira, who had a free header. In between Tottenham had a
free-kick of their own. 35 yards out, Defoe played the ball to
Reid, but it was five yards too near Fabregas, who won the ball easily
and the opportunity had gone. With the half coming to an end, van
Persie got away on the edge of the box and hit a fierce drive which flew
outside of the post and then Edman was on his toes to block a Fabregas
volley to keep the gap one goal at the half-time whistle.
Into the second half, Spurs tightened up
a bit and made life a little more difficult for Arsenal. We were
missing Michael Brown getting under Vieira, who had the run of the pitch
tonight, while other players sat off the Arsenal men, leaving them more
time than they should have had to make their decisions on passes and
Spurs suffered a spate of second half
bookings, as Mike Riley made up for just speaking to players in the
first half. How Lauren avoided joining the yellow card gang with
an elbow into Edman's head and Lehmann escaped a red for throwing
Jermain Defoe to the floor for stepping on his foot, which the Spurs
striker did not do, I will never know. It was exactly the same
offence that he perpetrated to conceded the last minute penalty exactly
a year ago at the Lane. The ball wasn't in play this time, but the
same thing happened.
Spurs had some more occupation in the
Arsenal area, with Dawson nodding a corner over the bar and Defoe almost
hitting the Clock end boxes, while Senderos headed a clear chance over
from a free-kick. Another free-kick almost caught out Robbo, as it
was touched short to Toure, who hit a swirling shot that fizzed just
over the bar. Contrast this with Andy Reid's free-kick that flew
high and fifteen yards wide !!
Edu came on and ran through unchallenged
to chip Pires' pass onto the outside of the post and Reyes missed an
easier chance than the one he scored, when they worked the ball between
their players for ages and he was in on the left, but this time, he hit
the side-netting and not the back of it.
Arsenal were soaking up the pressure that
Spurs were trying to impose, but the supply into the box was not great
and when Lehmann got a cross, he threw it out and within seconds, they
were advancing on our goal with Bergkamp curling a shot five yards
wide. Then Edman threw himself in front of Edu when he had been
played in on the left of the penalty box to stop another effort on
Then with four minutes to go, Spurs were
denied the point they so richly did not deserve.
Reid popped up on the left wing and slung
in a cross that Senderos got underneath and Keane snuck in behind him to
have a free header, but he took his eye off the ball and it caught his
shoulder as it went through and bounced off it, wide of the goal.
Then, with time running out, a long pass through into the Arsenal box
was being shielded off by Cole, but under pressure from Keano, he fell
and appeared to use his arm to knock the ball off. Riley might
well have been unsighted, but where was the linesman ?? No penalty
then, just another corner, that came to nothing.
The final whistle brought to an end one
of the most one-sided 1-0 wins you might witness.
Dawson did well and Carrick covered a lot
of ground and played some perceptive passes to white shirts.
Ledley was very good and brought the ball out well, while Reid and
Kanoute had stinkers. A patchy team effort, when you needed
everyone to pull together.
Our ten efforts on goal were hardly
memorable and better will need to be shown against Villa, Boro and
Blackburn. Even better than that will be required if we do get a
MEHSTG TOP MAN : - MICHAEL CARRICK