29th October 2005
Tottenham being ahead of Arsenal as we move into the North London
derby for the first time since April 1995, it opens an exciting
proposition with Arsenal having a poor time away from Lowbury this
Although Spurs have not
hit top gear yet, the need to grit their teeth and tighten up against
Arsenal will be necessary to ensure they do themselves justice.
In goal, the Gooners
will put Jens Lehmann between the posts. His shot-stopping is
his strength and he does not like being challenged in the air, so Mido
might have fun, as might Jermain Defoe, as the German custodian does
not like having his feet stepped on. In reserve, Sunderland's
Mart Poom has been on the bench, while Manuel Almunia is also in the
squad if required. Both are capable keepers, but may be lacking
the edge of competitive action in the Reds' side.
The defence will be
missing Ashley Cole, but Sol Campbell will be back in the middle of
the defence, probably alongside Kolo Toure. The two don't seem
to play that well together, but with the other options being dodgy
French centre-half Pascal Cygan or the inexperienced Philip Senderos,
Wenger will most likely opt for the African, who can lose his position
sometimes. At full-back, Lauren and Gael Clichy are likely to
feature. Both prefer attacking to defending, which might leave
Spurs some space to get into behind them, with Tainio and Lennon wide
in the midfield.
In the opposing
midfield, Gilberto, Cesc Fabregas, Pires, Ljungberg and Flamini are
the choices, but Alexander Hleb is missing with a knee injury that
will keep him out for some time. Pires is dangerous with his
dives into the box, while Ljungberg can also produce the unexpected
fall. Neither Fabregas nor Flamini have a desire to get involved
in the physical side of the game, so it is a shame they are unable to
face Davids in confrontational mood. There is skill in this part
of the side, but the tactic used on them recently by West Brom and Man
City was not to give them time on the ball and keep the hassling going
to make them move the ball quicker than they wanted, thus resulting in
them turning over the ball.
With Terry Henry
supposed to be less than likely to play, Wenger might pair the young
Goons Reyes and van Persie, with his old Dutch Bergkamp on the
bench. Reyes finishes well, but not often enough as to be
regarded as the finished article, while van Persie cannot claim to
have settled after his jailing for an alleged rape in Holland.
Spurs' defence will not face a physical threat from the forwards,
although that will come from set-pieces, but the movement off the ball
by the Arsenal strikers will need to be tracked and the players will
also need to hold their positions.
Spurs will undoubtedly
miss the competitive nature of Edgar Davids in midfield after picking
up his fifth booking at Old Trafford last week, but I imagine Teemu
Tainio will come in to replace the Dutchman. It is a shame we
are also not able to play Wayne Routledge against the Gooners, but
Aaron Lennon has shown a healthy disrepect for noted defenders and he
might yet cause problems for the visitors. Mido's physical
presence will also make the visit uncomfortable, while King and Dawson
will be up for the derby.
I would have gone for a
home banker, but with Arsenal's players coming back for this match, I
think that this might just take the result back towards their favour
: - Tottenham Hotspur 2 Arsenal
For more information on
the opponents and their history, including full result history of
matches between the two teams, click here.
(knee); Wayne Routledge
(broken foot); Anthony
Ledley King (thigh); Goran Bunjevcevic (broken toe);
: Freddie Ljungberg (hamstring); Sol Campbell (hamstring);
Ashley Cole (foot); Alexander Hleb (knee); - (-)
North America - Fox Soccer Channel (Sat
Oct 29 05:00AM Pacific, Sat
Oct 29 06:00AM Mountain,
Oct 29 07:00AM Central,
Oct 29 08:00AM Eastern,
Oct 29 07:00AM Central,
Oct 29 08:00AM Eastern)
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Oct 29 10:00AM Mountain,
Oct 29 11:00AM Central,
Oct 29 12:00PM Eastern)
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Hotspur 1 Arsenal 1
(Half-time score : 1-0)
||Venue : White Hart
|Saturday 29th October 2005
||Kick Off : 13.00 p.m.
|Crowd : 36,154
||Referee : Steve Bennett (Orpington)
|Weather : Warm,
Lennon (Reid 74)
Tainio (Pedro Mendes 80)
Defoe (Keane 83)
Ljungberg (Van Persie 66)
Flamini (Pires 46)
Reyes (Cygan 90)
: - (kits
courtesy of http://www.colours-of-football.com)
Dawson (Lehmann falling over him)
Report : -
It is rarely possible to enjoy a North
London Derby until it is over, but in this case, it was not possible
to enjoy what Spurs had done until I had calmed down about the
disgraceful display in the second half. Not of Spurs, but of
Arsenal's gamesmanship in trying to get back into the game by foul
means instead of fair.
The falling over and acting to get
free-kicks and Spurs players booked was worthy of one of the more
"theatric" European sides. Lehmann's antics were
frankly sickening and he succeeded in getting Defoe and Dawson
cautioned with little trouble, such is his ability in the throwing his
arms up in the air stakes. The way things went for Arsenal in
the second period, you would have thought that they were champions
elect and once more we are desperate for a 'homer' to take charge of
one of our games.
antics and Bennett's loss of control fo the game led to Pires
capitalising on Robinson's fluffed punch to grab a draw for the
visitors. They way they celebrated their goal (making their most
purposeful runs of the game right along the length of the East Stand
in front of the Tottenham fans) and at the end of the game, they were
the most grateful for the point. It is a matter of fact that we
have not won against them for six years, but at the moment they are
With Davids ruled
out by suspension, it was always going to be a tough task for
Tottenham, even though Arsenal were missing Henry, but having
Ljungberg and Reyes back. Tainio made a more than adequate
replacement for Davids and his terrierish tackling upset some of the
more gentile Gooner midfield, while also exhibiting a good turn of
speed to race away from opponents and also some good bits of
skill. With Jenas and Carrick both putting in fine displays
alongside him, Spurs set about humbling the other lot in the first
The fact that Spurs out-passed,
out-played and out-thought Arsenal in the first half, limiting them to
a couple of crosses into the Spurs box. The visitor's play was
shabby and really lacked any precision or passion, as they were often
second best, as Spurs showed their eagerness to compete and close down
the Gooners, when they had the ball. This was typified by Ledley
King's superb sliding tackle on Reyes as he broke into the Tottenham
box, while Ljungberg slid five yards into the Spurs net with nobody
The bookings went Arsenal's way in the
first fifteen minutes. A crude jab at Jenas' ankle brought
Gilberto a caution, while Flamini produced a nasty tackle on the same
part of Tainio's anatomy. How Toure escaped without a yellow (at
least) for a number of fouls from behind and a late, high second half
kick on Dawson, I don't know. Maybe Mr. Bennett does ?
Gilberto once more brought down Lennon from behind (a yellow card
offence usually), Spurs were given a free-kick by Bennett, rather than
having the advantage played, as Stalteri ran unchallenged into the
area. Referees really do not understand the frustration fans
incur when such decisions are made. If there was advantage, then
go back and book the player to at least make it worth while stopping
the play. Carrick's free-kick evened things up, as Campbell gave
his full concentration to preventing Mido getting off the ground, thus
leaving Ledley to make a perfectly timed run and jump to really power
the ball past the German keeper. The crowd enjoyed the goal only
slightly less than the Spurs captain !!
Rattled, Arsenal continued to give the
ball away with the object of the boos - S. Campbell - being the main
culprit. When Toure was played into trouble, Mido nicked the
ball off him, nut-megged him and tried a cheeky chip over Lehmann, but
put it too high. Any time Arsenal got near goal, the Spurs
players were willing to throw themselves in front of any effort and
Tainio and Dawson excelled at this. Arsenal were not so keen to
get in the way of the Spurs shots and Carrick and Jenas fired in
efforts from 20 yards out. Carrick's fizzed wide of the goal
with Lehmann helpless and Jenas struck a fine shot that the keeper
managed to get something on and divert it over the top.
the Tottenham fans almost had the ultimate to cheer. Shaky all
afternoon, Campbell headed one ball back towards his own goal and the
goalie had to grab it and then a cross from Stalteri on the right was
almost sliced into the goal off his foot, but it went narrowly
wide. From the corner, Mido got a free header, but could not
direct it on target. As in last year's fixture at Highbury,
Lehmann once more made great play that Defoe had stood on his feet as
they waited for a corner to come in. A yellow for the Spurs
striker, but nothing for Lehmann, who put his head into Defoe in the
same incident. A shame then that Defoe's wriggle past two
defenders and low cross was nto able to be reached by Jenas to add a
second goal right before the half-time whistle.
was obviously unhappy about the first half, with Flamini going off and
Pires replacing him. Spurs began the second half slowly and
failed to close down the other side as quickly as they had in the
first half. This resulted in Arsenal having more possession, but
still they failed to make a lot of it.
find some of the things that Arsenal do quite despicable. When
Lehmann went down holding his head as a corner was about to be taken,
he held the side of his head away from the crowd behind the
goal. I think that the ref did pick something up to take off to
the fourth official, but the German keeper made great play of his head
hurting (probably all that thinking we made him do). Then, when
the corner came in, he gathers the ball, barges into Dawson, who gets
on with play and pushes him back, only for Lehmann to take a dive and
roll around a bit. This caused a confrontation between players
from both sides and a yellow for our centre half !!
Lee then saw yellow for a trip on
Fabregas, as he ran onto a through pass and took the foul rather than
bother about the ball, immediately pointing for a penalty. Spurs
though play by different rules. Defoe was tight on the left
wing, but managed to work his way with great skill past two defenders,
only for one of them to lunge at him in the area. Now, if he had
raspberry on his short, he would have taken the proffered leg and won
a penalty, but no. He is Spurs and stayed on his feet to hit a
low shot that Lehmann kept out with his foot. Straight away
another flash of yellow saw Tainio in the book for a swing at the ball
that failed to connect with it and also failed to connect with
Ljungberg, but such an expert faller is he, that the ref was suckered
The move that probably
changed the game came when the Swede pulled a hamstring and was
replaced by van Persie. He produced a shot that Robbo saw late,
but got a good hand to and then the Dutchman failed to reach Pires'
through pass as he ran through the centre. His pace was causing
problems, but it was Reyes who won the foul for a free-kick that led
to the equaliser. His squeal after Stalteri's tackle was worthy
of Ned Flanders and certainly loud enough to impress Bennett.
ball was put over and Robinson, coming out of shadow into the sun,
half-punched, half-pushed the ball away to the back post, but Pires
was there to side-foot a volley into the open gap between defenders
and into the net. His celebration and Campbell's were designed
to incite Spurs fans and they succeeded. But where was the
referee's card ? Firmly in his pocket.
remainder of the game saw Arsenal pick up possession as Spurs cleared
the ball or turned the ball over to them, but they did not carve out
another decent chance. Robinson ran out to the right edge of his
box to meet Pires, as he broke down the line, making Spurs fans'
hearts leap into their mouths, but the England keeper blocked the shot
with his legs. When Cygan replaced Reyes, you know it was the
same old Arsenal.
What this game proved to me was that
the team we have has greater potential than Arsenal's at this moment
in time. While some of our players have less Premiership
experience than theirs, they have welded together into a good unit and
for the future, they look to be heading in the right direction.
Arsenal, with Pires, Bergkamp, Campbell, Lehmann and Ljungberg, look
like a team in decline. They are still well experienced and use
that to the full in trying to get back into games whichever way they
In the next few years, I think I know
where I would rather be watching my football. And I will be
seeing it the way it was meant to be played.
MEHSTG TOP MAN :
- MICHAEL CARRICK
KICKS AND DIRTY TRICKS
|This might seem a little
unusual, but I want to rate the opposition in today's game.
LEHMANN : Always looks
dodgy on crosses and why didn't we put Mido on him to unsettle him
rather than Defoe ? Well beaten by King's header and also by
Carrick's shot, which flew inches wide. Did well to tip Jenas'
shot over the bar. Unbelievable antics when hit by something
from the crowd (the consensus seems to be a conker) and when he bumped
into Dawson and got some back. The bloke is a liability and I am
surprised more teams don't play on him.
CLICHY : The one player who had a good game for them. Pacy
and difficult for Lennon to get past, he was impressive.
CAMPBELL : Slow, indecisive, really poor distribution, lack of
positional sense, do I need to go on ? His elbow in Tainio's
face was supposedly helping him jump. Yeah, right. Glad we
have King after this pale shadow of our captain demonstrated to the
watching England coach who should be in his mind when Germany 2006
comes along. The best run he made all day was the one in front
of the Spurs fans to celebrate their goal ... showing just how much it
hurts when he gets booed !!
TOURE : Please someone explain to me who Dawson gets booked for
giving Lehmann a nudge while Toure gets away with more than van Persie.
Three tackles from behind and an outrageous jump over the back of Mido
(who admittedly didn't jump, but when he did he got a free-kick given
against him) failed to convince Bennett to reach for his pocket
LAUREN : Despicable display from a player who got away with an
elbow in the face last season. This time, having brought Mido
down, he felt it necessary to lean over him and give him mouthfuls of
abuse. Again Bennett saw it all, but did nothing. This
behaviour is more inclined to wind up the crowd than a lot of other
things that go on. For a strongly built player, can't take a
tackle without falling over.
FABREGAS : Light-weight midfielder, who showed no stomach for
the battle. Stronger built than some of our midfielders, but
didn't want to get stuck in and flitted around the periphery.
Supposedly skillful, but showed little of his ability and was harassed
out of it.
FLAMINI : Light-weight midfielder, who got pulled off at
half-time. Put in two bad challenges on Tainio, one shirt-pull
(a favourite of the Arsenal players) and one a late tackle on his
ankle which got him in the book. Didn't make any memorable
contribution to the game and didn't live up to the rhetoric that
LJUNGBERG : Back from injury and then left the pitch with
one. Spent most of his time on the pitch face down on the floor
or moaning at the ref for those nasty Spurs players tackling him
fairly. Shame he couldn't have stayed on, as he was not doing
any damage at all ... apart to his own reputation.
GILBERTO : Tall, strong and good in the air, Gilberto would be a
fine replacement for Vieira, but he hasn't got the desire of the
Frenchman and lacks the ability to dominate other players. I am
sure Wenger was pinning his hopes on the Brazilian taking over
Vieira's mantle, but he looks like he has made a mistake. Booked
for a really late tackle on Jenas and only kicked Lennon as he was the
smallest player on the pitch.
BERGKAMP : Old man of the Arsenal side. Looked it
today. Fell like an OAP on ice and moaned to the ref more than
old-time about the price of bread. Didn't get the space he needs
and although he showed some nice touches, they were in areas where
they didn't matter.
REYES : A typical lightweight who can't handle a tough
tackle. Stalteri's on him for the free-kick that lead to the
goal was "won" rather than anything else. He obviously
has inner ear problems, because he couldn't stand upright for
long. Even when someone jumped up with him to head the ball and
he got bumped into, he started limping and had to be comforted by
PIRES : Objectionable player who whinges and whines when he gets
tackled. It just had to be him who scored didn't it. His
celebration might have been deemed suitable for a yellow card though.
VAN PERSIE : Showed a bit of pace and nous, but he didn't hurt
Spurs. Robbo made a great save from him and he showed that he
hasn't got the desire to go in where it hurts, as a couple of times a
bit more bravery could have earned him a goal.
CYGAN : Lucky he didn't spend too long on the field, so didn't
have much time to cock things up.
left little in the engine for the second half and that let Arsenal
back into the match. They should have got the second goal with
all the effort they put into the first period and that would have
meant that the Goons would have had to have got the ball past Paul
Robinson twice ... which would have been highly unlikely.
The one they
did get was a mistake by Robbo and he will hold his hand up to that,
but who was marking Pires at the back post ? When you watch the
Spurs goal, for all the Arsenal defenders in the area, most of them
moved away from the middle of the goal to the back stick, while Ledley
King had a free run in on the cross to head home. Our defence
did the opposite. Packing the goalmouth when the free-kick came over,
there was nobody on the line, leaving Pires a straight shot on goal.
building on Spurs, they started playing percentage balls forward,
which invariably were won by their defenders. Only Defoe showed
skill and determination to hold the ball up and run at their players,
almost bringing a goal with a wriggling run that brought a fortunate
stop from Lehmann.
Carrick was the
star of the show with a great offensive showing in the first
half. Getting forward to hit a screamer of a shot that flashed
wide is what we all want to see more of him doing. I also lost
count of the number of times he was back in defence heading the ball
away or breaking up play.
mention should also got o Michael Dawson, who was a rock alongside
Ledley. Winning headers, throwing blocks and using the ball
really well, he is going to be a fantastic signing and I hope all
those other teams who hesitated in snapping him up will be green with
Tainio played very well in midfield too, with Lee and Stalteri making
good ground up the line. If only the ref had played on when the
Canadian was through !! Mind you, sod the advantage. It
was one of the hardest headers I have ever seen from a Spurs player
and must be about the best goal Ledley has scored.
disappointed on losing two points, but buoyed by the fact that we were
better than them over the 90 minutes. I would rather be a Spurs
supporter than a Gooner (that goes without saying) in the next few
years, as Spurs are on their way up and that lot are not.
this weekend :
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