FA BARCLAYCARD PREMIERSHIP
SATURDAY 17TH NOVEMBER, 2001
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0) ARSENAL 1 (0)
Referee:- Jeff Winter
Spurs (3-5-2):- Sullivan; Perry, Richards, King; Taricco, Freund (sub Davies, 84), Anderton, Poyet, Ziege; Sheringham (Capt.), Ferdinand (sub Rebrov, 69)
Subs not used:- Beasant (Squad Number 24); Bunjevcevic, Thatcher
Booked:- Ferdinand, Sheringham
Arsenal (4-4-2):- Wright; Lauren, Keown, Campbell, Cole; Parlour, Vieira (Capt.), Grimandi, Pires; Bergkamp (sub Kanu, 69), Wiltord
Subs not used:- Taylor (GK); Tavlarides; Van Bronckhorst, Ljungberg
There was a festival atmosphere around White Hot Lane today. This, after all, was THE game we had all been looking forward to since "The Despicable One" defected to the other side. We all wanted to let him know just how badly we felt about that, and the last thing we wanted was for the other lot to get a "snatch and grab" win. Thanks then, to ace midfielder, Gus Poyet, who scored a marvellous last gasp equaliser (thanks also to a Richard Wright fluff), to score his fifth goal in his last six games for the Spurs, and to gain a much deserved point for the Lilywhites.
The Minute of Contempt never stood a chance really, as the atmosphere throughout the warm-up, and following the entrance of the players, never allowed the signal for the silence to get though. Still, in my view the thought was a good one, and the campaign gained us much publicity in the build up to the game, and will have given Mr Campbell food for thought as he pondered his most unwelcome return. The press will no doubt focus upon the throwing of cans at the arriving Arsenal coach, the hurling of a ball at Pires on the East stand touchline, and the throwing of a plastic bottle of water that landed upon Campbell's back, but apart from those incidents (as far as I know), the anger was restricted to the release of the many white "Judas" balloons, and boos and jeers whenever Campbell touched the ball or even contemplated getting near to any Tottenham crowd. The press will probably also say that Campbell handled the situation well, and I think that is true. We did however enjoy one or two passes to the opposition, and a needless corner or two.
Glenn Hoddle was presented with his much-deserved "Manager of the Month" award before the game, to much applause. When was the last time that a Spurs manager won this award? Gerry Francis, I suspect during '94-'95. (I await correction). A broad "Contempt" banner was never removed from the corner of the East and Paxton Road stands throughout the game.
Spurs had the upper hand for most of the first half, and arguably had the ball over the line twice. Once through a Dean Richards header that hit the underside of the bar, and may have gone over the line, and also from a Ferdinand conversion of a Ziege cross that was disallowed for a foul. The midfield was tight, and that gave the Gooners space for their runners, who seemed to have a little too much space on the flanks as they counter-attacked. Pires was switched to the left, to accommodate Parlour, getting a rare outing these days, but the Frenchman could not resist the occasional run across to the left in the same vein as a certain other Frenchman that used to grace the lane.
It was almost first blood to Spurs as Les Ferdinand passed to Teddy, whose effort was blocked. Arsenal were being liberal with their concession of free kicks, and Wright was tested by the second of these taken by Darren Anderton from the left. Both Parlour and Poyet had early stiff talks with the referee, and I have to say that this was the best I have seen Mr Winter officiate, as he let what could have been a very tough game flow as much as possible, and without unnecessary bookings.
Dean Richards found many opportunities to get forward, and had an early glancing header from a Ziege corner go across the goalmouth. Arsenal's first potent retort came when Grimandi took a quick free kick to Cole, who was intercepted, but the ball ran to Bergkamp whose shot was held by Sullivan. After 17 minutes, Spurs fans nearly got one of their dearest wishes, when it could have been either Campbell or Keown who nearly got an own goal from a low Ziege cross, following good work by Steffen Freund and Gus Poyet. Three minutes later, Gus Poyet followed up a Ferdinand chest down, but hit his shot a yard over the target.
There followed some real pressure for Spurs who played surging passing football. The crosses came from left and right, and finally Ziege headed back off the bye line for Teddy to shoot, but to be blocked by guess who! Richards header that powerfully hit the underside of the bar and bounced down very close to the line came from a corner won by Les Ferdinand. The Jumbotron was careful not to show the replay more than once which led to suspicion that a goal should have been awarded!
Spurs had the ball in the net two minutes before half time, when Les converted yet another Ziege cross, but was adjudged to have committed a foul on the keeper. After the interval, Arsenal had more of the possession, and Spurs started to play like an away team. Sullivan had to fly to his left to keep out a Grimandi shot after Bergkamp, Wiltord and Pires had eluded the defence. At the other end, Gus Poyet headed a Taricco cross just over, and managed to put Keown down in one stroke!
With 57 minutes gone, Les Ferdinand flicked a Steffen Freund throw back into the path of Richards, who missed contact. The ball ran back to Poyet who drove well, but brought a fine save from Richard Wright in the Arsenal goal. Wiltord crossed from right to left to feed Pires, given too much space, forcing another good save from Neil Sullivan. (Being shadowed today by 42 year old number 24 Dave Beasant!)
Glenn Hoddle at least tried to change things with a reasonable time left, as Rebrov replaced Ferdinand with 20 minutes to go. Similarly, the insertion of Kanu for Bergkamp added zest to the opposition attack. Ziege tried a rocket shot after a short corner on the right in front of the Paxton Road stand. His shot was blocked on the line, and Teddy seemed to be held by our former captain, as he tried desperately to get onto the ball, which ran for a corner.
Then came the blow which might have sent us all home miserable. Wiltord again used his pace to run in from the right. He was successfully challenged by the impressive Anderton, but the ball ran to Pires who hit a cracking right foot curler to the left corner. Sullivan got a touch, but could not prevent the goal, that suddenly caused the visiting support to be heard. (They had been well beaten by the very vocal home support). With five minutes left, Gus Poyet took a quick free kick, finding Ziege in space on the left. Sheringham met his cross with a diving header at the near post, but could not get the angle to send it goalward.
Richards had two more headed chances. One was a really powerful effort as he arched back to head for goal. Wright saved well. The Arsenal number two keeper repeated his trick when diving to his left corner to save again from Richards, as he headed Simon Davies' cross down. Then came that dramatic equaliser. Davies passed out to Rebrov on the right. Sergei hit a high cross that was falling just behind Poyet's right foot. Gus magnificently hit the ball to the low right corner of goal. Wright dived, and could only help the ball into the net, when he should have saved. In the circumstances the equaliser was as good as a winner, and we went home happy.
· Brian Judson's Preview for this game can still be read here
· Declan Mulcahy's Last Five Stats for this game can still be read here
· Check the current team appearances, cards and scorers in all competitions
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