That has to be the best North London Derby I’ve seen in my life. Yes it did help it being a draw,
but it was more than that this time. It had drama, bite, and some wonderful football from both sides.
A draw was a fair result, but an unwanted one when you look at what both teams were playing for.
Tottenham were looking to get level with Manchester City in the final strait of the Second Battle of Fourthplace. But the draw means that Spurs will have to win every forthcoming game and hope that Manchester City slip up somewhere.
Arsenal were looking to save face after Emmanuel Eboue [‘surprisingly’ absent from the squad tonight] threw two vital points away and the title along with it on Sunday. A win against Tottenham would’ve put the pressure back onto League leaders Manchester United after the goalless draw with Newcastle United last night.
A lot to play for ahead of this game, but neither got one over on the other tonight. A perfectly balanced game.
Walcott opened the scoring just five minutes in. Van Der Vaart replied two minutes later with a perfect right-footed drive into the bottom right corner. Nasri replied for the Gunners by striking a sweet shot under Dawson’s legs into the net to make it 1-2 to Arsenal. Modric was brought down in the penalty area by Diaby, but the referee didn’t give the penalty.
It got more frustrating for Spurs as Gallas did a ‘Rocha’ (tried to clear a ball at feet-level using anything other than his feet) allowing an opposing player to score. Gallas knocked the ball with his chest and straight in to trouble. Walcott picked it up near the six-yard box and chipped it in for Van Persie to head it. Gomes to his credit did pull off a great save against the header, but the Dutch striker had another bite of the cherry and knocked it in to make it 1-3 to Arsenal at 40 minutes.
Spurs had it all to do now. But four minutes after Arsenal made a two-goal cushion, another response from Tottenham had been made. Huddlestone pulled off his patented back-lift strike which fortunately went under Van Der Vaart’s shorts and into the net leaving Szcezny to watch in awe. Huddlestone hadn’t really been at his best. A lot of his cross-field passes were, if I’m honest, a bit crap.
The half-time score resembled that of a nail-biting full-time score: 2-3 to Arsenal at half-time.
The second half didn’t let up at all. Both teams got straight back to work.
Bale got injured in the first half after having his legs taken out form under him by Arsenal goalkeeper Szcezny in a challenge for the ball. The goalie didn’t even wince. He winked, in fact.
Aaron Lennon came on for Bale in the second half.
Fabregas was put through on goal and scored, but was considered offside by the linesman.
Replays showed that he was actually onside by half a yard. A relief for Spurs, but an annoyance for Arsenal.
Spurs’ long-awaited equaliser came about when Lennon was tripped up by Szcezny in the penalty area.
Van Der Vaart stepped up to take it and struck it in cleanly to draw Spurs level with Arsenal.
It was a frantic race for Spurs to get the fourth goal. Modric had a clear shot from just six-yards after a cross from Kaboul (on for Corluka), but Szcezny had a lucky escape as his trailing foot prevented him from conceding another goal.
A point each then. But it could’ve gone either way.
On a sidenote, Wenger is fast losing respect from me. At full-time, very limply shook Redknapp’s hand after such an exciting hard-fought game and then stormed off. What’s more is that when I was in the pub watching it, at full-time, a Gooner came over and shook MY hand properly *cue jokes about disinfectant use*.
If your garden-variety Gooner can be decent enough to respect opponents (in some cases), why can’t the manager do so?Follow @TrfficTottenham