FA CARLING PREMIERSHIP
SUNDAY 7TH NOVEMBER, 1999
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (2) ARSENAL 1 (1)
Referee:- David Elleray
Spurs (4-4-2):- Walker; Carr, Perry, Campbell, Edinburgh; Leonhardsen ( sub Fox, 87), Sherwood, Clemence, Ginola ( sub Dominguez, 89); Iversen, Armstrong
Subs not used:- Baardsen; Vega, Young
Booked:- Edinburgh, Leonhardsen, Clemence, Carr
Arsenal (4-4-2):- Seaman; Dixon, Keown, Adams, Winterburn; Ljungberg, Vieira, Petit ( sub, Grimandi, 76 ), Overmars; Bergkamp, Kanu ( sub Suker, 72)
Subs not used:- Manninger (GK); Vivas, Upson
Booked:- Petit, Bergkamp, Keown, Vieira, Dixon, Suker
Sent off:- Ljungberg (53), Keown (90)( second yellow)
Spurs bounced back from their mid-week Euro defeat in the best way possible, by taking the game to Arsenal in superb style for the first 20 minutes, taking a two goal lead, which they then defended valiantly for most of the remainder of the game. Despite losing Ljungberg for violent conduct against Edinburgh after just 52 minutes, the 10 man Arsenal side dominated second half possession, but Spurs preserved their lead thanks to some heroism in the ranks from Sol Campbell; Sherwood ( seeking to prove a point to Kevin Keegan no doubt ); and Ian Walker who made a superb double save from Overmars and Suker.
This was a blood and guts derby game, and it looked at one stage as if every Arsenal player would get in referee Elleray's book, as the tackles flew, and no quarter was given by either side. Clear cut chances were few and far between, as Kanu, Bergkamp and co. were held at bay outside the Spurs box for much of the time. Naturally, the atmosphere was hot, helped by the tremendous start by the "Lilywhites", but this was a stirring game to say the least.
In the first minute, Leonhardsen, a dynamo throughout the game, found Iversen with a telling pass. Iversen's shot was deflected for an early corner, and Spurs maintained the pressure for the first ten minutes, with Arsenal hardly getting out of their half. Spurs were rewarded with a goal after just 6 minutes. Sherwood blocked a clearance, and passed to Leonhardsen, who cleverly chipped over the defence, for Iversen to run round the left side, and slot home underneath Seaman. The Arsenal defence held their arms aloft, but there was no offside question here.
Arsenal responded eventually, and a deep Petit corner was headed well over by Adams. Petit was in the spotlight again after 18 minutes, when he clattered Armstrong on the edge of the area, and became the first entry in Mr Elleray's book. The Frenchman had been given an early warning beforehand. Spurs took an age over the free kick, but when it came, Sherwood exchanged a short pass with Ginola, and then curled a magnificent right foot shot inside Seaman's left post.
The tackles started to fly, and so did the referee's hoisted arm, as Edinburgh and Leonhardsen became the first of many to be disciplined. An Arsenal "goal" by Kanu from another corner was disallowed for a foul on Armstrong defending on the line. Iversen too was to be seen defending the left flank, and I vow that I saw Ginola pass back to Ian Walker !
The pressure from Arsenal was mounting, but I feel that we should have continued to take the game to their half, rather than defend the lead. The inevitable goal came when Vieira headed home a Petit free kick. The ball hit Walker's right post and bounced across goal, and over the line. Ginola was assisting the defence, and robbed Bergkamp of the ball, and went haring down the line, until the Dutch striker brought him down, getting a booking for his trouble.
Spurs had a couple of decent chances just before half time, both falling to Iversen. He headed a Ginola free kick wide, and then, having been brilliantly picked out by Sherwood, hit a right foot shot closer to the target.
Arsenal threatened early in the second half, with Dixon getting in space to receive from Kanu. His long range shot was easily collected by Walker. Then came some superb defending by Sol Campbell, as Ljungberg was through, but the Spurs captain robbed him of the ball. Ljungberg ( playing in the absence of Parlour ) was to take little further part, as he got in a tussle with Edinburgh, pushing Justin to the floor, and then having to be held off, as an ugly melee resulted. As he was sent off, he raised two fingers at the ref, and apparently damaged the dressing room door afterwards. Mr Wenger actually accepted that he deserved to be sent off, but once again, has failed to stem the appalling disciplinary record of his entourage. I understand that David Ginola got struck on the head by a coin thrown from the crowd. Bearing in mind this incident took place in front of the lower East stand, the missile was no doubt meant for Ljungberg, but the stewards were kept busy, for the remainder of the game, as tempers broke on and off the pitch.
Ginola had one or two forays forward, with one shot going well astray, but Spurs did not manage one clear cut chance in the second half. Quite often, players like Clemence, and Leonhardsen would do the hard part like win a fifty-fifty situation, but in Clemence's case a pass would go astray, and in Leo's case his forward run would become fruitless. So, the pressure was not lifted off the defence. Overmars worked his way into the centre more often, and Kanu was replaced by Suker.
With fifteen minutes to go, Ian Walker made a marvellous double save from shots within the area from Overmars and Suker. Suker was to get a decent shot on target from a Bergkamp back header, but it was straight at Walker. With minutes to go, Fox and Dominguez replaced Leonhardsen and Ginola, and Dominguez did a good job, holding the ball, and beating defenders. It was a late tackle by Keown, that earnt the defender a second yellow, as Arsenal completed the game with only nine men on the pitch.
After the trials and tribulations of the last week, Spurs now go into the two week break on a high, and can reflect positively on great wins over Manchester United and Arsenal. Six out of the last nine league points available is no mean feat, considering the opposition.
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