I am extremely grateful to my good friend Declan Mulcahy for this report on last night's game
CARLING CUP SEMI-FINAL SECOND LEG
WEDNESDAY 31 JANUARY 2007
ARSENAL 3 (0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1 (0)
a.e.t. (1-1 after 90 minutes.)
Arsenal win 5-3 on aggregate
Emirates Stadium, Attendance: 55,872
Referee: A Wiley.
Almunia - Hoyte, Touré, P Senderos, A Traoré (sub Clichy 63) - Gilberto Silva (Capt) - Walcott (sub Rosicky 63), Denilson, Diaby (sub Fŕbregas 79), Aliadiăre - Adebayor.
Substitutes not used: Flamini, Poom.
Booked: Denilson, Diaby.
Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2):
Robinson - Chimbonda, Dawson, Gardner (sub Rocha 73), Assou-Ekotto - Ghaly (sub Huddlestone 80), Jenas, Zokora, Malbranque (sub Mido 80) - Keane (Capt), Defoe.
Substitute not used: Cerny (Lennon).
Booked: Jenas, Gardner, Ghaly, Zokora, Defoe.
This was always going to be a difficult game for Spurs. The 2-2 draw at home last week meant that Spurs either had to win or achieve a 3-3 draw to progress to Cardiff for the final. Given the away form this season, with the exception of Europe, you had to be a supreme optimist to have serious thoughts of reaching Cardiff.
Spurs made six changes from the weakened team which had faced Southend in the FA Cup. Robinson, Chimbonda, Gardner, Assou-Ekotto, Malbranque and Defoe replaced Cerny, Stalteri, Rocha, Lee, Lennon and Mido. Lennon was originally selected to play. However he was feeling unwell and dropped to the substitutes bench. Then during the warm up it was decided that he was not well enough to be a substitute. Spurs tried to replace him with Lee. However due to an administrative cock up the late change was rejected and Spurs were reduced to four fit substitutes.
Much has been made in the media of the achievements of Wenger's youngsters. In reality in both games against Spurs they were supplemented by 'heavies' from the first team. Tonight Gilberto Silva and Adebayor played from the beginning and Rosicky and Fabregas came on as substitutes.
Ultimately it was one of the heavies, Rosicky, who made the difference in this game. He had a big hand in the first goal. He hit a hard shot which Robinson parried but could not hold. When the ball was returned to him via Clichy he set up Adebayor on the left to give the Gooners the lead. It was also his shot which hit the post and rebounded off Chimbonda for the third goal.
Mido scored Spurs equaliser with five minutes to go following a free kick by Jenas from the left. He could have won the game for Spurs right at the end of normal time when his attempt from the edge of the box was narrowly wide.
Arsenal's second goal came when Rocha lost his balance while trying to head a cross clear and the ball fell to Aliadiere who had an easy chance to restore the Gooner's lead.
Early in the second half there was a flashpoint. Ghaly and Traore had come together before Ghaly brought done Senderos. As a result Diaby confronted Ghaly and they had a frank exchange of views before the referee booked both of them.
Twenty five seasons ago Spurs had a very good run in the league and successful runs in the two domestic cups and a European one as well. In the end they won the FA Cup. This season they are in the midst of three reasonable cup campaigns and hopefully can repeat history by winning one of them.
In the meantime reality beckons on Sunday in the shape of the top of the table Premiership team Manchester United. Spurs must try and demonstrate once again that White Hart Lane is not a ground where away teams can earn points cheaply.
· Feature Article - "Bleeding Spurs"
· Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
· Read the preview for this game.
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