Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham Hotspur – as it happened
Arsenal came back from 2 goals down against an awful Tottenham.
Photo courtesy of WellOffside.com
FULL-TIME: Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham. And so it ends. The way the scoreline went told a slightly different story than reality – Spurs were never worth their two-goal lead and put in a pretty wretched performance from start to finish. Arsenal didn’t have to be at their best to come back, with Spurs inviting all the pressure, and some fine finishing put an extra gloss on the scoreline. There wasn’t a great amount of overall quality on display, but nobody cares about that – it was a very good game. Spurs are still seven points clear, but they’ll have to face United at White Hart Lane without Parker. The season is getting very interesting indeed. Thanks for reading, and join us in a few minutes for live coverage of the Carling Cup Final.
88 min: I apologise for the poor MBM coverage but technical issues have done for us, which should be resolved by the time we kick off the Carling Cup Final coverage in ten minutes or so. Very little has happened at the Emirates since Arsenal’s fifth.
GOAL AT CARROW ROAD! Ryan Giggs has scored in the 90th minute of his 900th appearance. Absolutely incredible. And another huge boost for United – Scott Parker will miss the game at White Hart Lane, because he’s just been given the RED CARD.
80 min: Walcott won’t get a hat-trick – he’s replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who will be very much hoping he doesn’t score four own-goals.
80 min: United had better hope that Spurs’ bad run continues until next week, when they travel to White Hart Lane – City have another easy home game, against Bolton. It’s end-to-end at the Emirates, but neither side is looking particularly penetrative anymore, despite the defensive generosity.
78 min: News from Carrow Road: Norwich have equalised. It’s been a wretched United display, apparently.
75 min: Jenkinson comes on to give Spurs a bit of a chance. They’ll need it – they started badly and haven’t gotten any better, despite their 2-0 lead. Rosicky almost puts yet further gloss on the scoreline, but drags his shot wide.
72 min: Arsenal are two-on-two again and seeking to punish Spurs yet further, but King, who has been awful, executes a good tackle to avoid further humiliation.
GOAL! Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham (Walcott) This is getting silly now. Arsenal’s two worst players in the first half combine as Song plays a ball over the top for Walcott. Kaboul steps up to try and catch him offside, but it’s too late, and Walcott controls and finishes expertly to surely give Arsenal an unassailable lead. Spurs have been rotten.
GOAL! Arsenal 4-2 Tottenham (Walcott) As Spurs press for an equaliser, Arsenal double their lead. Van Persie receives the ball on the counter, but has the attention of two Spurs defenders. He manages to hold them off before supplying the onrushing Walcott, who finds himself clean through and manages to put the ball over the diving Friedel. Spurs will need something very special to get anything now, but this one isn’t over.
61 min: Sandro dishes out some enthusiastic tackling to Robin Van Persie and goes in the book for his trouble. This is finely-poised.
57 min: Rosicky slips Walcott through, and after a look up to see if he can supply Van Persie, he makes the correct decision to shoot, but his execution isn’t quite right, his low shot beating Friedel but rolling wide of the far post.
55 min: This is one of those games where whoever’s in the lead just takes their foot off the gas – the balance of play has drifted Spursward. Scott Parker plays Van der Vaart clean through, but he’s offside.
52 min: Better from Spurs, as Bale and Van der Vaart combine and almost get clear in the Arsenal area. It’s put out for a corner by Gibbs, which comes to nothing.
GOAL! Arsenal 3-2 Tottenham (Rosicky) Disaster for Spurs, whose defending is less wretched and more nonexistant as Sagna is once again allowed to cross unmolested, for Rosicky to get on the end of it and put Arsenal in the lead.
49 min: A pause in the game as Kyle Walker appears to have taken a knock, but it looks like he’ll carry on.
47 min: Benayoun goes close! Arsenal work the ball outside the Tottenham area, and Benayoun is left unattended. His finish is accurate but not quite hard enough, and Friedel tips it around the post.
Two changes for Spurs: Kranjcar and Saha off, Sandro and Van der Vaart on. The latter is a gamble, but the former is wise – Spurs were being overrun for the whole half.
Here’s yer highlights then, courtesy of 101 Great Goals. http://t.co/U2hVa6Nm
HALF-TIME: Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham What an utterly ludicrous half of football. Spurs looked to be cruising, but in truth they barely deserved their lead, and Arsenal soon restored parity with a one-two in the space of a couple of minutes. We have a very interesting second half lined up – and we’ll have the highlights from the first up shortly. In other news, it’s still 0-1 to United at half-time at Carrow Road. Don’t go anywhere.
GOAL! Unbelievable! Arsenal 2-2 Tottenham (Van Persie) I really can’t express how wretchedly Spurs have defended, and Van Persie takes advantage of Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s poor clearance to get the ball on his left foot and smash home from the edge of the area. Tottenham’s lead is gone in the blink of an eye and we have an extraordinary game taking shape here.
Goal! Arsenal 1-2 Tottenham (Sagna) After Robin Van Persie hits the post, Sagna – arguably Arsenal’s best player so far – puts them ahead with a great bullet-header in a crowded area. Despite Spurs’ two-goal lead, their defending had not improved, and now they’ve paid the price. Arsenal right back in it.
38 min: BENCH NEWS: Harry Redknapp has taken objection to some personal opinions an Arsenal was screaming at him from the stands, and has dobbed him in to the stewards, pointing out that a manager shouldn’t have to be subjected to EFF and CEE by some jumped-up EFFing CEE.
36 min: If I was an Arsenal fan, I’d have just put my foot through the TV, set fire to the shards, and got in my car to find and kill Theo Walcott. He collects a pass and bursts clear of the Tottenham defence with Van Persie in space, but he makes the atrocious decision to play it early, leaving Van Persie with three defenders to beat rather than one at the most. He’s soon crowded out and the chance goes.
GOAL! Arsenal 0-2 Tottenham (Adebayor) Adebayor puts a great penalty away after Szcesny brings Bale down. After some heavy consideration, it appears there’ll be no further action from Mike Dean, fortunately for Arsenal. Bale was the last man.
Penalty to Tottenham!
30 min: Arsenal do that free kick where they roll it back and forth for no reason, and Arteta thumps it into the wall, who of course have had time to advance. Poor stuff.
29 min: Van Persie gets clattered outside the Spurs area by Parker. A fine free-kick opportunity for the home side…
28 min: Another fine cross from Sagna finds Benayoun at the back post, but Walker is with him and puts the ball over. The corner comes to nothing.
25 min: It’s all Arsenal. Sagna’s cross is deflected into the path of Arteta but Kaboul gets it clear. If Spurs don’t do something they will lose this – their defending has been just as bad so far.
21 min: Van Persie suddenly escapes into space outside the Tottenham area from Arsenal’s throw-in, and his shot takes a big deflection off Kaboul to fly just wide of the near post. From the corner, Spurs’ defending continues to be atrocious, and Rosicky’s flicked header is clawed desperately over by Friedel. Spurs really need to wake up here.
18 min: Bale gets the better of Sagna down the left, and his cross finds Kranjcar at the back post, but the angle and flight of the ball left him unable to get anything other than a looping header on it, which lands on top of Szczesny’s net.
15 min: An incredible miss from Van Persie! Spurs defenders haven’t covered themselves in glory either, and Sagna’s cross from the right finds Van Persie – he turns but scuffs his shot with Walker putting him off, but gets a second attempt, which he skews wide from all of eight yards. That was a big chance.
13 min: Bale wins a relatively cheap free-kick and Spurs have an opportunity to float one into the Arsenal box. With the sun in his eyes, Szczesny can’t quite claim it, though Arsenal eventually get it clear. The sun is causing their whole defence problems, seemingly – any long balls Tottenham whack forward seem to be giving them gyp.
11 min: Arsenal are doing most of the attacking, and Spurs are struggling to get it clear in a convincing manner. The home crowd want a penalty for a supposed Parker handball in the area, but replays show it hit his chest.
8 min: Benayoun plays a brilliant ball to release Walcott down the left, but his centre is dreadful, played without looking, and Spurs clear… but only as far as Gibbs, who soon goes down under the challenge and pleads for the penalty. Nothing doing, correctly.
There’s also been a goal at Carrow Road – Paul Scholes has put United in the lead.
GOAL! Arsenal 0-1 Tottenham (Saha) And Spurs have the lead! A superb counter-attack from Tottenham, who take advantage of calamitous positioning in the Arsenal back-four as they track back, with Adebayor slipping Louis Saha into a gaping chasm of space, from which the Frenchman gets a deflected shot in the back of the net. What a start from Tottenham.
3 min: We’re off, and we have been for a few minutes. You’ve missed nothing except me moving our hosts up a few places on the list.
Gaz is on co-comm. Yippee! Hurrah! Rejoice!
Pre-match viewing dept. Want to know what’s going to happen in today’s game – well, look here.
For THE SPURS meanwhile, Saha gets a surprise start. I don’t know if it’s really a surprise, but it’s a surprise to me. I assumed Van der Vaart would be playing behind Adebayor. Kranjcar also starts in place of Lennon, which means that Spurs haven’t got their strongest line-up out, but on the other hand, comparing the benches, Spurs’ powder seems to be drier, powderier, and more EXPLOSIVE than that of The Arsenal.
So, no AOC for Arsenal. It’s as if Wenger’s doing it on purpose, and his place has been taken by Yossi Benayoun – remember him – so at least we’ll know what’s going to happen in around the 60th minute or used to blame the defeat on after the match.
You’ll be wanting your teams:
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Song, Arteta, Walcott, Rosicky, Benayoun, van Persie. Bench: Fabianski, Park, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jenkinson, Gervinho, Chamakh, Miquel.
Tottenham: Friedel, Walker, Kaboul, King, Assou-Ekotto,Kranjcar, Parker, Modric, Bale, Adebayor, Saha. Bench: Cudicini, Lennon, Van der Vaart, Defoe, Dawson, Rose, Sandro.
Referee: Mike Dean (Wool)
Preamble: I seem to say ‘this one needs no introduction’ quite a lot before games, and the thing we have to conclude from that is that it’s sheer laziness. Wolves v Sunderland, this one needs no introduction! Et cetera. But today we’re fortunate enough to be witnessing a game in which my excuse is actually the case, with a North London Derby straight outta hell, in a good way.
Arsenal, of course, have had their fair share of problems this season, while Tottenham have been superb, and have duly built up a 10-point lead over their usual masters. Victory here will be essential to keep their slim title hopes alive, while a defeat could start to see them put their Champions League place in jeopardy. Arsenal have no hope of winning the league, but are somehow still hanging on in fourth, but with Chelsea, Newcastle and Liverpool’s breath on the back of their necks considerably moister.
I’ll also be giving you updates from Carrow Road, where United are battling it out with Norwich. But only the important stuff – The Emirates is where the real action is today.