Tottenham’s Dog has its Day at Last – and what a Day for Them

Let’s face it: After all the stick Spurs supporters have had to put up with over the years – even prior to the match from yours truly – footballing karma almost dictated that when Tottenham finally landed a punch like they did tonight, it would sting. It was an all-knuckle face-smasher, with Tottenham finally burying their 21 game hoodoo over their old enemy, mauling Arsenal 5-1 at White Hart Lane.

Spurs 5-1 ArsenalPersonally I never envisioned the scoreline myself – Tottenham were always capable of winning it, but this was a real education handed out to some of the young players in the red and white out there. It all started rather brightly for Arsenal, who managed to string a succession of passes together for the first three minutes, only to have one stray pass stolen upon, with Berbatov advancing, and Jenas finishing from an angle for 1-0.

There’s an irony to Spurs’ first goal being scored against the run of play, as the rest of the goals that followed were pretty much dictated to Arsenal like a monarch’s decree. In the twentieth minute, Jenas – who has improved steadily since last season and played a blinder tonight – sent in a free kick which dipped in front of the advancing Dawson. Nicklas Bendtner, who only had him half covered, somehow managed to get his head on the end of it instead to plant a typical Bendtner header in the completely wrong goal.

-{…(Fabianski) really did not close down angles well for at least the first seventy minutes of the game.}-

Earlier, Denilson had complained of a hamstring problem and was later substituted by Cesc Fabregas, who came on to try and revive the ailing cause. Hleb – often magnificent (as usual) in his dribbling skills, was far too often left to worm his way past three defenders, who clearly were assigned to pressure Aliaksandr out of the game.

Tottenham had their chances, and Arsenal could only really pass it along the back four to try and get the pacey Armand Troare off and running. Nothing materialised as the half-time whistle went.

The second half started exactly as the first did – Arsenal started brightly, only to have a throughball put between their defenders as Robbie Keane latched on and drove home for 3-0. Fabianski was not having the best of days – being a keeper myself, I found myself yelling at him to advance when I thought he should have, and he really did not close down angles well for at least the first seventy minutes of the game.

More pain and anguish would follow, but only after Emmanuel Adebayor and Eduardo da Silva were sent on in a last-gasp rescue effort, replacing Armand Traore and Theo Walcott. Again, Tottenham beat the central defensive pairing of Hoyte and Gallas for pace, with Aaron lennon beating the line to sidefoot past Fabianski for 4-0 and 5-1 on aggregate.

Emmanuel Adebayor pulled one back for the visitors, and were it not for Tottenham’s carving up our own defence, would have been a very heralded goal – a lovely arrowing shot from the edge of the box to send the Togolese striker to 16 goals for the season; his first cup goal.

The Arsenal fans had already left by 4-0, which was dispiriting to see, but not something Tottenham can wash their hands clean of themselves. Adebayor and Eduardo had improved the side coming on, and while I was entertaining thoughts of some miracle comeback, those hopes were dashed when Gallas and Bendtner started bickering with each other quite visibly, while waiting for Fabregas to deliver a freekick. Adebayor and Bendtner were called to one side for something Bendtner must have done, and the set-piece fizzled out.

-{For a player I know to be very pacey, (Hoyte) was distinctly sluggish tonight.}-

I sat watching that match knowing that it was Tottenham’s day. 4-1 was a hard pill to swallow, but 5-1 gave it that historic significance that many Gooners will want to quickly brush underneath the carpet. Wenger looked on, depleted and defeated, as Jenas once again beat a bamboozled Gilberto to cross for an open Malbranque in front of an open goal.

The Wembley chants were out in full force, and even the lone fan with the Rocky shirt could not summon that famous Rocastle magic from this team once more. It was Spurs’ night, and no-one can deny that fact.

Third-Gen player ratings as follows, though I doubt they will make for good reading.

  • Fabianski – 4: The goalie is young, and has a very long way to go in his career. He will get nights like this where the defence is outclassed and he himself has a bad night. Hoyte and Gilberto certainly did not help his cause, but he seemed afraid to advance to far and cut off the angles of Tottenham’s attackers. Perhaps the scoreline might have been a bit more respectable, but he was never going to stop this Tottenham side from winning tonight.
  • Sagna – 5: Had some tangles by the corner flag with Robbie Keane, and the Irishman came out the better of the two, tonight. Failed to run onto a number of passes from midfield on a night where the side never got going.
  • Gallas – 5: His ego will be dented after his ‘Tottenham will crack’ comments, and his angry words at Bendtner does not bode well. Seemed off the boil and failed to conjure anything from his central partner.
  • Hoyte – 4: For a player I know to be very pacey, he was distinctly sluggish tonight. The copious amount of throughballs that Spurs strung together found Justin wanting. He simply did not live up to his billing, tonight.
  • Traore – 6: Actually had quite a good game, given the circumstances. Showed lightning pace at times, but was subbed off to give Arsenal more attacking options.
  • Hleb – 6.5: If he played like he did tonight on any other team he would probably be awarded an 8, such are the standards he has set this season. Spurs identified him as the midfield threat and shut him out of the game. Could not thread enough passes through to the strikers, though his dribbling skills remain a joy to behold.
  • Denilson – N/A: Only on for ten minutes in which he hit a few short passes before coming up with a hamstring complaint. Subbed off for Cesc Fabregas.
  • Gilberto – 4.5: Funny how one season you’re the king of a club, the next you’re near-clueless to what’s around you. On the rare occassion that Arsenal attacked he distributed adequately, but was not at the races when it came to defending Spurs’ advances. Left Hoyte very exposed throughout, and was handsomely beaten by Jenas for the fifth goal.
  • Diaby – 5.5: Yes, he plays better on the rare occassion he actually gets into the centre of midfield, but I really do not mind Diaby as a backup winger. While not having the right pace for an out and out attacker, he shuffles onto his stronger right foot well enough to get most teams worried, and distributed the ball without too many complaints. Having said that, did not really do anything of note throughout the match.
  • Bendtner – 5: An own goal to make it 2-0 to Tottenham conjured memories of Julio Baptista’s inspired comeback in the same fixture last season, but Spurs were sick of having repeat shows tonight. Unable to get onto the end of midfield passes apart from one chance where he hit the bar from a Walcott cross, when it was probably easier to score.
  • Walcott – 4: Has soul searching to do to get his Arsenal career on track, though we really have to take it easy on him, given his age. Like most of the team, simply not at the races today.
  • SUBSTITUTES: Fabregas – 6: On for Denilson, and did what he could to revive Arsenal’s flailing chances in the Carling Cup. Was dangerous, but dealt with by Spurs. Had a good shot which was comfortably saved by Cerny late on.
  • Adebayor – 6.5: Scored a great but inconsequential goal to bring the scores back to 4-1, and was a genuine threat as he has proved himself to be throughout the season.
  • Eduardo – 5: Came on with Adebayor, but only had a might-as-well-try dipper from way outside the box to speak of.

And now, the moment the Spurs fans have all been queuing up for: The Excuses…

…frankly, there are none. Not even the ‘second string team’ moniker will suffice, here. Spurs had built themselves up for this match, resting key players against Sunderland in their league fixture, they were that committed to this one.

Arsenal were played off the park. And I am referring to ‘Arsenal’ here, not ‘Arsenal’s young guns’ or such like things. Fans can try and paper over the cracks, but there is some careful thinking to do in light of Spurs’ win. Yes, most of our second string played tonight, and they will have learned from the two home and away matches in which they played distinctly poorly over 180 minutes.

-{If Arsenal are worth their salt, they’ll make sure it’s only Tottenham’s day instead of a sign of things to come.}-

Yes, it is ‘only the league cup’, and despite the fact we are still looking for our first bit of silverware since 2005, being thrown out of this competition is far from the end of the world.

But make no mistake, history will not say ‘Arsenal sent out a squad of youngsters at White Hart Lane and came away with the only logical result’. History will say ‘Tottenham Hotspurs 5 – 1 Arsenal’.

And that’s all that matters in the end. Time to take this result on the chin, and give Spurs their day. If Arsenal are worth their salt, they’ll make sure it’s only Tottenham’s day instead of a sign of things to come. Of course, Spurs will be full of belief now that they have had the experience of dicing our team in two – which only bodes well for the depleted standard of the North London Derby.

-{Spurs fans about to embark on my comments board – “Do Your Worst”.}-

In the end, it is a full and hearty congratulations to Spurs. You’ve waited nine whole years for a victory, and God-almighty, did you get it. Well worth the wait, I am sure, and Ramos no doubt is going to be cast in gold for this. After all the confidence and bravado from this here blogger, I learned it the hard way to take a result for granted – or at least to be as cocky as a lot of us were.

There’s a lovely parallel between Spurs wait for a win over Arsenal and the drought that has just broken here in Queensland, Australia. I wont start thinking of Spurs’ fellatio just yet. They deserved their win – heck, they deserved the scoreline – and their taste of Wembley sunlight.

In the meantime, some of us will duck for cover while we figure out the strategy to playing Newcastle in the FA Cup. Spurs fans about to embark on my comments board – “Do Your Worst”. To the rest of you Gooners, keep the faith, and we’ll see you tomorrow.

To end it all off, some famous last words:

“Oops.”

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14 Comments

Filed under Arsenal

14 responses to “Tottenham’s Dog has its Day at Last – and what a Day for Them

  1. Nic B

    I was at the game and am a spurs fan and the first thing I want to do is give you a bit of a round of applause for that article. Pretty much summed up the game and didn’t go for the “well it’s only the CC and it was our reserve team line.” which is flawed on quite a few levels.

    Not what I was expecting when google surfed me in the direction of your site.

  2. jammathon

    I dont do player ratings of opposing teams, but I must say Chimbonda’s mini-afro gets about an 8.

    Something to lighten us all up?

  3. top yid

    Lets face it. these are the facts. Spurs can only beat the team in front of them. wenger insists on his youth policy which in turn rests his so called first teamers for the league etc. this was not a team of kids as per the first leg. (which you were lucky to get away with a draw). yes ok, you could have had almunia in goal. yes if african cup of nations hadnt been on you would have had a couple more “first teamers” playing…. if my auntie had bollocks she would have been my uncle. You got beat in every department today. had both teams played the best teams, the score would have been closer, but today was our day. 5 goals… could have been a similar result at the emirates,,,, who to blame… easy Wenger. he picks the team. he puts 100M of talent on bench.???????????????????? why, he could have played them… now you gotta take the flak for his decision. welcome to the down side of the kide blooding policy…. have a good day tomorrow.

    coys

  4. top yid

    WAS THAT NOT ARSENAL OUT THERE TODAY. WENGER PICKED A TEAM HE THOUGHT WOULD WIN. HE FAILED. YOU FAILED. HE COULD HAVE PLAYED HIS FULL STRENGTH TEAM HE DIDNTG. WE WIN. YOU LOSE 5- 1. YOUR BOYS TOOK A HELL OF A BEATING. BOYS INCLUDING FABREGAS, GALLAS, SAGNA, DIABY, GILBERTO, PHLEM, ADEBAYBOLLOCKS, EDUARDO. ALL RESERVE TEAM PLAYERS APPARENTLY.

  5. jammathon

    I predict someone accusing Spurs fans of illiteracy. Read the article. Youre just repeating what’s already been said.

  6. Menace

    Spurs have had their seasons highlight. I hope Wernger has learned that in future we always play our full team against Spurs and wipe them into Australian undergrowth. The are so far below us in the league that 5-1 shows where their bread is buttered. Their 1day is 2day ours is all their tomorrows. I am gutted because they were allowed to get away with many physical challenges. We didnt pass the ball quick and accurate enough. We were woeful at their manor and our coach doesnt realise the pain we feel.

    We are better than them and our league position shows that. What they have done though is hijack the glory just like Middlesboro did some years back.

    We have learned a lesson – never give an underdog anything cause it will bite your hand off if you do.

  7. Good article, just hope Arsenal fans can take it on the chin and accept defeat.

  8. the artist formerly known as eboue's hand

    Yeah, very good piece Jammathon, nice work. agree with you on everything except not minding diaby as back-up winger. He was absolutely bollocks there for the last two matches and couldn’t even pretend that he had a left foot he might cross with.

    Now, i don’t want to atart that shite of “Its only the Carling Cup so I don’t care” but I can honestly, hand-on-heart say that our draw with Birmingham hurt me more than tonight’s game. Tonight was simply embarrassing and we need to forget about it as soon as possible.
    Well done Spurs but when it comes down to it you know you’d swap tonight’s result to be joint-top of the league with double our points total. Who wouldn’t?

  9. Gooneriano

    Well done Sp*rs! You beat us! That was 9 years in the making. I got some kind of pleasure in seeing you celebraate at the final whistle like you had won the league!! I suppose 9 years eh, it’s a bit like not having sex for nine years, when you finally do it’s one hell of an explosion!! God love ye’s. There hasn’t been celebrations like that seen at Shite Fart Lame since we won the league there!!

    You were twice as good as us tonight but if you look at the league:

    Arsenal: 54 points
    SP*rs: 27 points

    Oh yeah!! That’s double your total isn’t it? ST. Totteringham day is gonna come real early this year!!

    I’d let you beat us every season in The Carling Cup if it meant that we got our usual 6 points off you in the league!!

  10. Neamman

    Yeah, the spuds deserved their victory but the league tells the story. 27 points and hopeless.
    Only thing that bothered me is the disention in our ranks but I guess it shows losing to the spuds hurts!

  11. RedEyeGooner

    Strange, i dont remember seeing 100million’s worth on our bench top yid?! sure you were watching the same game….? Has Wenger even SPENT that much since he came?!

  12. Great article mate, tough loss but it happens sometimes. We’ll come back and play well in our next game I think to get back on track. Hopefully Walcott improves…he was awful yesterday.

  13. Our largest buy was around 13million for Wiltord, and he actually did something. There have been shite players bought for around that price.

  14. Carter

    Arsenal Bench Last Night:

    Fabregas Under 1 Million
    Adebayor Under 2 Million
    Flamini Under 2 Million
    Mannone Marginal
    DuDu 8.5 Million

    That’s really close to 100 Million…