were the odds that Spurs would be playing Arsenal in a week when Sol
Campbell looks like staying at White hart Lane under the new management
of Glenn Hoddle ?? And they say that fairytales don't come true
?? We must hope that there is a happy ending to all this though.
David Pleat ends his most
recent period in charge of the Spurs team with a tough away trip to the
other (dark) side of North London. He goes boldly without Rebrov,
Campbell, Taricco, Thatcher, Carr, Leonhardsen and Sherwood. So,
there could be chances for some youngsters to stake a claim in the
bright new future and show the watching Hoddle what they are capable
of. The chance to learn at the master's foot must be very
appealing to all those who are currently at Tottenham.
But I imagine that Pleat
will not change things very much. Doherty in at the heart of the
defence, with Gardner detailed to man mark Henry should he play as his
pace will be dead useful against the flying Frenchman. Wiltord is
a more likely selection as they will not want to risk too many players
this weekend. Bergkamp is probably another cert to start or maybe
even the forgotten Kanu. Ljungberg will play just behind them,
alongside Parlour, Lauren and Pires. Edu is out injured, while a
number of players can be expect a rest, including Vieira no doubt.
Hey, if things are really surreal, Stefan Malz might even get a game ...
and nobody remembers who he is !! Jermaine Pennant, who starred
for England Under-18's at White Hart Lane last week might get a look in
too, if Arsene really wants to give the young kids a good go. It
wouldn't surprise me if Pleat showed off some of his young signings and
gave Davies and Etherington a chance to play together in the first
eleven before the reins are snatched back off him.
The Arsenal defence is
rumbling at the foundations with Adams, Keown and Upson all out injured
for long periods and the first two are unlikely to be risked in
Saturday's derby . Grimandi (by name grim defender by nature),
Luzhny, Silvinho, Stepanovs, Vivas, Cole and Dixon are all dodgy in one
way or another. Any combination of these could leave openings to
be used to crack the back line, but Spurs will have to make the most of
the possession they get and create enough for our forwards to have a
go. As always, it will be tight n terms of a battle rather than in
terms of goals, although I don't consider this to be set for a
glut of them.
With Wenger having been Hoddle's
mentor at Monaco, it is just as well that Glenn will not be there to
show his hand before the FA Cup semi-final. But, that may well
leave Spurs open to being beaten which will mean nothing in terms of the
following week, as there will be sides out there on Saturday which bear
no resemblance to those who will run out at Old Trafford on Sunday 8th
April. Lots of passion, lots of energy and lots of unfamiliar
faces, leading to ...
PREDICTION : -
Arsenal 1 Tottenham 0
For more information on
the opponents and their history, including full result history of
matches between the two teams, click here.
|Arsenal 2 Tottenham 0
- Saturday 31st March
Weather : - Mostly dry,
sunny, some light rain.
Crowd : - 38,121
Referee : - Paul Durkin (Poole)
Scorers : - Arsenal: Pires 71, Henry 89
Spurs : None
Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon (Luzhny
82), Keown, Adams, Cole, Vieira, Parlour, Lauren (Kanu 67), Pires,
Subs Not Used : Manninger, Ljungberg, Edu.
Tottenham: Sullivan, Gardner, Young, Doherty, Perry,
Thelwell, Freund, Iversen, Davies (Etherington 78), Korsten (Piercy 66),
Subs Not Used : Walker, Hillier, Ferguson.
The return of God as the new Tottenham
manager was one of a number of events that overshadowed this game.
The semi-final next week was clearly in everyone’s mind. David
Pleat in his caretaker role as manager was forced to line up with a very
inexperienced side due to the already extensive injury list being added
to during the midweek Internationals. The day started with the sad
announcement of the death of former Arsenal hero David Rocastle. A
minute’s silence in his memory was observed before the kick off by
both sets of fans. The Highbury announcer thanked the Tottenham
fans for their participation and respect. Glenn Hoddle and his
assistant John Gorman took their places in the stand to rousing cheers
from the Spurs fans and jeers from the home support. For Tottenham
Gardner made his full debut on the left side of a back three with
Doherty and Perry. There was an unfamiliar look about the midfield where
Freund in his central holding role was supported by Davies and Thelwell.
Young and Iversen were the wingbacks. Korsten was back to partner
skipper Les Ferdinand up front. The bench was dominated by youth with
Etherington, Piercy, Hillier and Ferguson all getting a chance to sample
the North London derby atmosphere.
Spurs started well
enough and had their fair share of early exchanges. It was however
difficult to see this young side coping with the threat from Henry and
Wiltord. With some good fortune, dogged and determined tackling and hard
work all round Spurs kept a clean sheet in the first half. Indeed but
for a last ditch tackle on Davies when he had weaved his way through to
create an opening the visitors could have nicked the lead. Sullivan made
a number of solid saves. The second half saw Arsenal gradually up the
tempo. Spurs had a short spell of pressure and Young was put in by
Ferdinand only to see his effort spiral past the post from another last
gasp deflection. Gradually the young Tottenham side was forced to defend
deeper. Sullivan continued to stop everything coming at him. Chris Perry
made some excellent tackles and interceptions playing in a head bandage
administered at half time. The deadlock was finally broken when Pires
surprised everyone by cutting inside and curling a shot into the net.
Arsenal continued to waste chances. (I hope their forwards are as poor
next week) With only three minutes left Etherington was dispossessed by
Vieira in a situation where the referee could have given a foul. He
didn’t and Gardner in his attempt to tackle played in Henry. The
Arsenal man teased Perry before sliding past Sullivan. A disappointing
result, but plenty for the Spurs youngsters to take from the game.
Gardner had a promising debut and Davies created some openings. Thelwell
did well in an unfamiliar position. It was however annoying to see
Korsten still not putting in the effort demanded and after his vain
attempt to beat Seaman to a through ball Pleat decided enough was enough
and replaced him. I can not understand Korsten. Here was his big chance
to impress his new manager in a North London derby and he again played
as if it didn’t matter. The Spurs fans did not seem too upset by the
defeat realising that next week is more important to them. They are also
clearly looking forward to the Hoddle era and David Buchler's objective
of galvanising the fans behind the club looks a viable one. As for the
Arsenal fans they were at their worst. The Library was quiet for long
spells and only when they took the lead did they come to life. Then we
were taunted with chants of “40 years” and "You’ve got your
Tottenham back”. I am sure those taunts would have hurt the
players and Glenn as much as it did the fans. Sooner or later
revenge will be sweet. Let us hope it starts next week in
Manchester. Finally it is good to report that a song which has
been missing from the Tottenham faithful is now back. I refer of
course to “Glenn Hoddle’s blue and white army"
MEHSTG TOP MAN – NEIL
Eric the Viking
|For all the excitement of the
North London derby, this match was played out in near silence a lot of
the time. The well observed minute's silence (by both sets of
fans) for the Arsenal midfielder David Rocastle who had died that day
set the tone for the home crowd. Not that there was a lot to get
excited about. Henry hitting the post after optimistic appeals for
a penalty after the ball ran into Gary Doherty's back while he was on
the floor. Sullivan pulling of a number of easy saves and a couple
of difficult ones. Davies having a shot deflected wide by a Gooner
defender and Seaman having a pretty easy afternoon when it came to shot
With Spurs reduced by injury to
playing a subs bench consisting of Ian Walker, one player who has made a
handful of appearances, another who has made a few less and couple of
players who have yet to get a taste of first team action, it was always
going to be a struggle. Arsenal had most of their first team out
on the pitch and so, it was all a matter of timing. The time of
the first goal that is and it was a surprise and a tribute to the stolid
defending of the Spurs team (not just the back line) that it took so
long coming. When it did, the second was also on the cards and
when Matty lost the ball in the centre of the pitch, Henry was set free
one-on-one with Perry (wearing a fetching hair band for the second half
after a clash of heads in the first). The rest is history and that
is what this game will be consigned to. With all eyes on Hoddle in
the stand (where he was sitting with former chairman Irving Scholar and
John Gorman) and the FA Cup semi-final next week, the match didn't
really mean as much as it normally should.
No psychological advantage will
have been gained by the Gooners for taking this match, especially as few
of the Spurs team will be running out at Old Trafford next week.
That is the match that matters to Spurs and if Glenn is in charge, then
it will start a bright new future if we win and a new future if we
Good performances from Neil
Sullivan in particular, Anthony Gardner, Chris Perry, Simon Davies and
Gary Doherty helped buoy the spirits a bit. Korsten started and it
took me while to notice that he had been substituted - that's how much I
missed him !! The only thing to get annoyed about was Freund's
booking, when he won the ball against Pires and picked up a yellow
card from Paul Durkin. Just before that, Vieira had gone down like
a sack of spuds in the box after getting past two players, even though
he was nowhere near a defender. Surely that was worth a yellow Mr.
It was only left for Olympic Gold
medal boxer Audley Harrison to make a substitute appearance for his
loving Arsenal ... oh, no. He was still in the crowd and it was
actually Kanu who came on. Still, you wouldn't be surprised to see
a boxer in the Arsenal team now would you ??