Arsenal 5 Spurs 2: Match report
FROM GOODPLAYA AT THE EMIRATES
THE BLAME GAME
Blaming a red card for everything that subsequently follows is a tactic beloved of many a football loser. “X (where X is something for which the winners can be attributed no credit) decided the game” is how the argument goes and because one can’t prove otherwise, the notion gains a lot more credibility than it really deserves.
Except in the instance of the Emmanuel Adebayor sending-ff we have a reference point that kind of demolishes that theory. It was nine months ago, Arsenal were not one goal down, but two goals down to Spurs in the same fixture. Further to that we had no man advantage. And the result? Exactly the same. 5-2 since you ask.
So while the red card was undoubtedly followed by an improvement in our fortunes, I simply don’t buy the idea that at the very least a watered down version of what happened wouldn’t have happened anyway. They did, after all, concede four goals without reply and pretty quickly at that.
Of course, we remain defensively porous. Collectively, our defenisve line was woeful for their opener. I’m not sure Szczesny could actually have done much more than he did but quite why Vermaelen seemed to give up tracking Adebayor I don’t know.
THE RED CARD
Was a shame because my preference is always to see 11 v 11. I also didn’t think Adebayor’s intention was to hurt (it hadn’t been that kind of game). But the tackle was reckless and the red card decision was clearly the right one. Off he went to a sea of red season ticket-holders being waved.
I’VE NOT HAD MUCH GOOD TO SAY ABOUT THEO WALCOTT IN THE PAST…
But it dawned on me a few games ago that he really had improved of late and his cross for our equaliser was his first contribution to another excellent performance. It seemed to take an eternity for his ball to reach Mertersacker but when it did the header was immense. 1-1.
Reminded me of Louis Saha’s deflected goal in the same fixture last season. Lucky, yes. But also the kind of luck that can be decisive when you’re eight yards from goal in a shooting position.
Was beautiful from Cazorla. Fouled in the build-up, he kept going, running towards the corner where we sit. I could sense he was about to make something happen, so much so that I turned to my brother sat next to me and said: “He’s on one here”. A beautiful pull-back and a smart Giroud followed.
IT WAS ALL ABOUT CAZORLA’S AMBIDEXTERITY…
For the third he had pulled it across with his left leg but for the fourth it was his right that he used to finish off a flowing move that seemed to take in all our attackers.
I REMEMBER THE SIGHT…
Back in February of Spurs fans going home after 68 minutes. Our three goal buffer arrived a little earlier on this occasion and there were no more than a handful of early leavers. Then after they scored nobody else left, so much so that in injury time all parts of the ground were still full, mindful of the 4-4.
Was nicely done, though Mertersacker and Koscielny probably should have got better challenges in.
Eventually and Theo got the goal his performance deserved. Something has changed with him and it is welcome to see.
Were Walcott and Cazorla, who was a godsend at the end as we kept possession.
DID WE LEARN ANYTHING?
No, but then I don’t think we were ever going to. We knew both of these teams could attack and we knew they were both very brittle too. You do sometimes wonder if Spurs exist to make us feel better about ourselves. Or perhaps they are a shadow, puppet organisation in fact run by the Arsenal board, with the express aim of always finishing that little bit beneath us. It would certainly explain where our money is.
IN TERMS OF THE SQUAD…
We had no striker on the bench on Saturday, which is frankly criminal.