BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SATURDAY SEPTEMBER, 27TH, 2014
ARSENAL 1(0) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 1(0)
Referee:- Mr. Michael Oliver
Assistants:- S. Burt & J. Brooks
Fourth official:- C. Pawson
Arsenal (4-2-3-1):- Szczesny; Chambers, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta (Capt.) (sub Flamini, 28), Wilshere (sub Sanchez, 63); Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey (sub Cazorla, 45), Ozil; Welbeck
Subs not used:- Ospina; Coquelin; Rosicky; Podolski
Booked:- Oxlade-Chamberlain (foul on Capoue), Wilshere (foul on Mason), Chambers (foul on Naughton)
Spurs (4-2-3-1):- Lloris; Naughton, Kaboul (Capt.), Vertonghen, Rose (sub Dier, 83); Capoue, Mason; Lamela, Eriksen (sub Lennon, 62), Chadli (sub Bentaleb, 80); Adebayor
Subs not used:- Vorm; Fazio; Townsend; Soldado
Booked:- Lamela (foul on Gibbs), Chadli (celebration), Lennon (foul on Mertesacker), Adebayor (foul), Mason (foul), Rose (time wasting)
In a game where many Spurs fans were feeling pessimistic to say the very least, Mauricio Pochettino's team showed sufficient grit, determination, and defensive expertise to take a deserved point away from The Emirates Stadium. In doing so, they scored their first goal against Arsenal in four games, and their first point here in four years.
Nacer Chadli scored the Spurs goal, to enhance his position as our top scorer so far this season, with four Premier League goals, following good work by Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela. Arsenal dominated possession, with wave upon wave of confident attacks upon the Spurs goal, which was well defended on the whole, with particularly good performances by Younes Kaboul, and Hugo Lloris in the Spurs goal. I thought that Danny Rose had a good game too, mostly against Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The Arsenal crowd of course wanted blood, and although a mighty roar went up when Oxlade-Chamberlain did score in front of goal, after an involuntary touch by Welbeck, and a deflection or two, by and large they were subdued, as were their team.
Mauricio Pochettino sprung a big surprise, with Ryan Mason making his first Premier League start, after his outstanding cameo off the bench on Wednesday night. Playing beside Etienne Capoue, Mason's job was clearly to try and promote a Spurs attack or two, although he is not averse to "getting a foot in". In such a big game, and in such a big arena, Mason acquitted himself well, and can surely look forward to more exposure.
Midfield competitors such as Mousa Dembele, Benjamin Stambouli and Paulinho didn't even make the 18. Perhaps they had suffered a knock or two on Wednesday. No doubt they can look forward to a game against Besiktas next Thursday.
Jan Vertonghen also got the nod today, ahead of Fazio and Chiriches.
Arsenal always looked the more confident, and competent side going forward, with Jack Wilshere to the fore, making plenty of runs, and finding too much space for my liking. Wilshere took an early booking; a mid-half knock; and had to replaced after 63 minutes by Sanchez. Arsene Wenger also lost Aaron Ramsey just before the half-time whistle.
One of those early forays by Wilshere led to a chance for Oxlade-Chamberlain, but the right winger's shot ran direct to Hugo Lloris. Referee Michael Oliver was never going to be reluctant today in waving his cards (9 in all), and Oxlade-Chamberlain was first in the book for a foul on Capoue.
Danny Welbeck broke clear from just inside our half, but while he took his time in making the decision, Younes Kaboul ultimately closed Welbeck down efficiently, conceding a corner. Following a corner or two, Spurs made a break through Eriksen and Adebayor, but the attack fizzled out, after Chadli had half a chance to make progress in the box.
Welbeck picked up a cross from the right and fed the ball to Ramsey, whose shot basically went straight to Lloris.
Spurs had a free kick after 22 minutes, taken by Lamela, and headed by Adebayor, but easily into the arms of Szczesny. Following another Welbeck pass, Wilshere had a shot on goal, which was held by Lloris.
Arteta had to go off after only 28 minutes, and was replaced by Flamini. Mason got forward well at this stage, combining with Chadli, before hitting a shot that was held by Szczesny inside his right post.
Wilshere won a corner at the other end, but needed treatment. Spurs then had a brief spell of pressure, after a Naughton cross, winning a corner or two. More pressure and another corner led to half a chance which was headed into Szczesny's arms.
Wilshere moved forward and carried the ball inside from the right, feeding Ramsey, whose shot was straight at Lloris. Ramsey then got crocked and had to be replaced by Cazorla.
Shortly after the break, Ryan Mason made a good run inside Adebayor, and received the ball, winning a corner. The was pressure at the other end, with Kaboul deflecting a Cazorla shot for a corner. Ozil had an attempt on goal, which was saved, having been fed by Wilshere.
Mason was fouled about 25 yards out, and Eriksen's free kick was held by Szczesny. Shortly after that though, Spurs dramatically took the lead in front of their own fans. Eriksen battled for and won the ball about 30 yards out, and passed to Lamela. Lamela fed the ball out to Chadli, who got just inside the right side of the area, beating Szczesny with a shot across his right hand. Chadli got booked for over-exuberant celebration. I was over exuberantly celebrating so much that I didn't spot this infringement!
Almost immediately, Mertesacker had a header saved on the line, after Ozil's ball. Eriksen was replaced by Lennon, who very quickly saw yellow for a foul on Mertesacker.
The cards for Spurs players started to come thick and fast, as they sought to defend the relentless attacks by the home side, desperate to get back on terms.
Right back Chambers, plucked by Arsene Wenger from Southampton in the summer, hit a good shot just over the bar from distance, before the home side did equalise. The ball came from the left, and seemed to be subject to some ping-pong inside the area, before Oxlade-Chamberlain latched onto it and fired home.
After that, it was pretty much a case of Spurs having their backs to the wall in the face of successive attacks. Vertonghen did manage to carry the ball beyond the halfway line, but then lost momentum, and the initiative to offer a decent pass.
There were a full 5 minutes of added time, but Spurs saw it out, and can be well satisfied with a point gained on hostile territory.
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