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Arsenal Reserves v Spurs Reserves, 07.04.08

Courtesy of:- Ray Lo, and the Spurs List
[e-mail Ray Lo]

       Premier Reserve League, South                      
           Underhill, Barnet                              
        Monday 7th April 2008, 7pm
        Arsenal    v      SPURS
      (Red/White)      (White/Blue)
         4-4-2             4-4-2
          1(1)              1(1)
  Lucasz Fabianski 1 Tommy Forecast
       Paul Rogers 2 Chris Gunter
       Gavin Hoyte 3 Gilberto
       James Dunne 4 Jake Livermore
Havard Nordtveit(C)5 Troy Archibald-Henville(C)
    Johan Djourou  6 Dorian Dervite
   Nacer Barazite  7 Jacques Maghoma
        Abu Ogogo  8 Danny Rose
        Rui Fonte  9 Tomas Pekhart
       Giles Sunu 10 Simon Dawkins
    Armand Traore 11 Jonathan Obika
		     NOT Taarabt as stated
			on Arsenal TV!

       Rene Steer 12 Lee Butcher
     Vito Mannone 13 Cian Hughton
       Tom Cruise 14 Takura Mtandari
       (9)59Mins.    (10)88Mins.
     Sanchez Watt 15 David Hutton
      (10)59Mins.    (11)82Mins.
                  16 Adam Smith

       Traore 27     Pekhart 11

   Watt 76(late)

      N.Banfield     C.Allen

Referee:- A.Halliday
Assistants:- J.Lodge, M.Bampton

Attendance:- 1928

It was a cool evening for the North London Derby in Barnet. A good sized crowd were here to cheer their sides on – that’s because entry is free – despite the game being shown on Arsenal TV. One I could have done without was an elderly woman with a voice like a foghorn. I have no doubt that her husband would have walked under a steam-roller after a few years having to put up with that level of volume.

Spurs lined up with Archibald-Henville and Dervite at the back with Gunter on the right and Gilberto on the left. Livermore and Rose were in centre midfield with Maghoma on the right and Obika on the left. Dawkins again partnered Pekhart up front.

Spurs defended the low end in the first half and in the opening spell both sides had difficulty in retaining the ball. After Traore’s pace allowed him to put a dangerous cross in, Spurs caused the home side a scare when Gilberto put in Livermore to hit the bar after being flagged for offside. Two minutes later and good work on the left by Obika and Gilberto drew the gooner defence so that a cross field ball found Maghoma in space on the right. He quickly drove the ball hard and low across the goal for Pekhart to score at the far post.

In a fast paced game with both sides attacking with pace and guile it took the home side another five minutes before their first chance which fell to Sunu, whose effort was cleared off the line. Barazite worked an opening but his fierce drive was blocked by Dervite. Dervite blocked another effort by Barazite a minute later. Sunu then put a chance over as the gooners pressed.

Traore picked up the ball some twenty yards out on the left and let loose a thunderbolt that almost broke the net as it flashed past Forecast. Both sides kept up the pace as the game settled into a midfield contest of passing football with Spurs putting in a number of good crosses without reward. Rose and Livermore were doing a good job in the middle breaking up attacks and starting their own.

Playing down the slope is always an advantage and allowed Spurs to have the better of the second half. After Traore had fired wide Fabianski had to save from Maghoma and then from Dawkins. Gunter then got down the wing and put in a lovely cross that found Pekhart in the middle of the box. Tomas connected well but Fabianski saved. Pekhart had another shot from the rebound which was blocked on the line by Djourou.

With Archibald-Henville and Dervite so dominant at the back Banfield replaced both strikers as well as Hoyte. This did not stop Gilberto getting round the back and forcing Fabianski to save his low drive. Allen replaced Obika (Note for Nigel Winterburn and his gooner TV co-commentator - this was not Adel Taarabt!)with Hutton who took up position on the right with Maghoma going to the left side. Hutton made his presence felt with a run down the flank and putting in a great cross. Maghoma went down under a challenge from behind in the area but nothing was given.

Watt received the only yellow card within ten minutes of coming on when he caught Gunter late and high – his only contribution to the game. Rose won a freekick just outside the gooners area fairly central. Hutton touched it for Dervite to drive it over the bar after it was deflected by a defender. The tricky Barazite fired over on the break before Livermore ran onto a ball from Pekhart but hit it wide. Rose then put a free kick well over from a good position. Allen replaced Dawkins with Mtandari who went into midfield allowing Rose to push up. This somewhat defensive move allowed the gooners to put Spurs under a bit of pressure in the final minutes but they failed to create any chance.

This was a much better performance from Spurs than in their last two games which were laboured victories. Archibald-Henville and Dervite stopped most of the attacks through the middle with good screening by Livermore and especially Rose in front of them. Arsenal had to use the flanks where their pace got them in good positions. Spurs also used the flanks to mount attacks with Obika doing well. Support from the full backs did leave space behind for the home side to attack. Livermore and Rose not only broke up play in the centre but also pushed forward at every opportunity to create chances for the strikers as well as spreading the play out to the wings. As Gilberto is well over 20, I suppose Wenger will say that they had a younger and less experienced side than Spurs to account for this result.

Next week the Reserves will be at Brisbane Road for the visit of Chelsea on Monday evening. Before that the U-18’s will play their last match at the Lodge where Ipswich Town are the visitors on Saturday.


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