FA BARCLAYS PREMIERSHIP
SATURDAY 2ND DECEMBER, 2006
ARSENAL 3 (2) TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 0 (0)
Gilberto (2 pens), 42, 72
Attendance: - 60, 115
Referee: - Graham Poll
Arsenal (4-4-2):- Lehmann; Eboue, Toure, Djourou, Clichy; Ljungberg, Fabregas, Gilberto (Capt.), Rosicky (sub Hleb, 54); Van Persie (sub Baptista, 79), Adebayor (sub Walcott, 86)
Subs not used: - Almunia; Hoyte
Booked: - Gilberto
Spurs (4-4-2):- Robinson; Chimbonda, Dawson, King (Capt.), Ekotto (sub Lee, 46); Lennon, Tainio (sub Defoe, 80), Zokora, Malbranque (sub Jenas, 46); Keane, Berbatov
Subs not used: - Cerny; Huddlestone
Booked: - Ekotto, Jenas
Oh Spurs Ė why do I love you and hate you? I love you because you have been in my blood ever since I was aware of the existence of football. I love you for all the glory days you have given me, all the entertaining football, and all the heroes I have seen. I love you this season for your success in Europe, for beating Chelsea at long last, and for being amongst the plethora of teams in with a realistic chance of making a European place in the Premiership.
I hate you because you make me follow you through thick and thin. You made me travel to the Emirates Stadium today carrying a real hope that you might come away not just with a point, but maybe even with a win. After all, Arsenal had lost their last two games, and had not exactly been convincing at their new home so far this season. Most of all, currently I hate you because you allowed a team that should have been lacking composure and confidence to walk all over you, to dominate the park in every area, to show twice the desire and application that you, the representatives of my beloved team failed to show.
I hate you Spurs because you, the players do not seem to understand what this match means to me and my fellow supporters. How many of you really and truly BLEED Tottenham. Answer Ė NONE OF YOU. Any one of you, and I include Ledley, Robbo in this statement, would pack your bags and play elsewhere, given the right offer. Why should I spend more money and trust you to satisfy my lust for glorious football Ė Spurs style Ė at an away ground in the Premiership? Still, you have failed to score a goal for yourselves in open play away from home. Still, you have failed to win an away game.
I question the manager, who appears to have failed to properly motivate his team for this game. I specifically criticise Assou-Ekotto, substituted at half time, partly because of his ineptitude, but also partly because he might have earnt a second yellow card. I also openly criticise Didier Zokora, who seemed to play like an over-excited school-kid, and whose passing was so poor today. Many other names amongst the eleven who started are open to criticism for just not competing a) to the extent of their opponents and b) anywhere near the level expected of them by the travelling (paying) support. Oh, I hear you say we only had to go down the road, but you know as well as me that Spurs fans come from all points around the country.
Note that I, like Martin Jol, have chosen not to harp on about the fact that all three goals against us arose from controversy. TV replays appear now to show that Pascal Chimbonda played on Adebayor, as he was allowed to advance single-handed upon Paul Robinson from Toureís ball. Adebayor, playing in place of the injured Henry, made no mistake as he placed the ball calmly across Robinson. Just imagine the fuss the opposing manager would have made about that and the two penalties that were later awarded against Spurs. Many of you have seen for yourselves how Chimbonda actually made a good tackle against Rosicky, who (Arsenal style) threw himself to the ground all too easily. In the second half, Van Persie clearly handled the ball as he squeezed between Ledley King and second half substitute Jermaine Jenas. It didnít matter though as referee Graham Poll focussed on Jenasís clip of Van Persieís ankles and pointed again to the spot.
Gooner skipper Gilberto scored from the spot both times. The first just beat Robinson; and the second sent him the wrong way.
I love you Spurs because you donít tend to cheat, but I hate the fact that opposition teams have no qualms about cheating, and I hate you Spurs for not cheating enough. I hate you for not being nasty enough.
I hate you today, my Spurs because I can list the good things you managed in this paragraph:- A good opening move where Berbatov headed down a Dawson ball, and Robbie Keane took the ball on to start an attack down the left which fizzled out. There was a good ball by Malbranque, returned by Berbatov, but then fired wide across the beckoning goal by the ex-Fulham midfielder, and in the second half, when Lehmann parried Jenasís shot from a Lennon cross, Lennonís follow-up was also blocked.
I loved you today Spurs, as I made my way to the ground full of pride and optimism. I hate you because after an abysmal performance, I had to slink away amongst over 57,000 gloating gooners to contemplate facing the next few days of insults and jibes.
My dear Spurs, you owe me two glorious and convincing victories in our next two home games. You owe yourselves, and you owe us all.
∑ Squad numbers,appearances,bookings & goalscorers
∑ Read the preview for this game.
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