Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham Hotspur- October 29

Forget Liverpool vs Portsmouth, Hull vs Chelsea and Manchester United vs West Ham. This was THE game of the night. An incredible eight goal thriller at the Emirates in Harry Redknapp’s first North London derby, with Spurs producing an unbelievable late comeback to snatch a draw. And this performance would not have escaped the attention of Liverpool and Rafa Benitez, who will surely treat their opponents with a little more respect when the two meet at White Hart Lane this weekend.

Wenger started with Walcott and Nasri on the wings and Denilson and Fabregas in the middle, keeping Eboue, Song and Diaby on the bench. Kolo Toure was also on the bench, as Silvestre and Gallas retained their spots in defence.

Redknapp opted to start with Roman Pavyluchenko as his sole striker, with Luka Modric just behind him. With Ledley King and Michael Dawson not available, Assou Ekotto, Jonathan Woodgate, Vedran Corluka and Alan Hutton formed the four man defence. Huddlestone and Jenas were in central midfield.

Arsenal formation against Spurs

———————-Almunia————————————————-

Sagna————Gallas————Silvestre—————————–Clichy

Walcott———–Fabregas———-Denilson————————–Nasri

—————–Adebayor———Van Persie——————————-


Tottenham formation against Arsenal

———————–Gomes———————————————–

Hutton——–Corluka———–Woodgate—————————–Assou Ekotto

Bentley———Huddlestone——–Jenas—————————–Bale

——————————Modric——————————

—————————-Pavyluchenko—————————–

As expected, Arsenal fans booed David Bentley whenever he touched the football, but it was the former Blackburn winger who silenced the home crowd with a fabulous 40 yard volley 12 minutes into the game. Bentley expertly controlled skipper Jenas’ header and fired home a shot that Manuel Almunia could not stop from going in. The goal will probably go down as one of the best, if not the best of the 2008-09 Premiership season.  Bentley immediately ran to the away section to celebrate with the Spurs fans, thereby antagonising the Arsenal fans even more.

Arsenal controlled possession and did much of the running in the first half.  Theo Walcott was his energetic self, running across the pitch, darting and weaving his way into the Spurs box. Robin Van Persie tested Gomes with a well taken freekick and William Gallas fired his shot over as Arsenal threatened to restore parity. Cesc Fabregas then robbed the ball off David Bentley even as it seemed that the latter had been fouled, and his resulting effort was put away for a corner. Van Persie took it, and Gomes put on his eccentricity cap once again.  In an attempt to clear the ball, he only managed to punch Jermaine Jenas in the face. Mikael Silvestre rose ahead of Hutton and headed into an empty net. 1-1.

Just after half time, Tom Huddlestone conceded a free kick on the right ( unjust if I may add), and not for the first time this season, Spurs were got napping from the set piece as William Gallas headed home. Now, how many times have you seen BOTH Arsenal central defenders score in a game ? You need to take the clock back some time for that.

Arsenal doubled their lead when Robin Van Persie’s delightful long ball found Samir Nasri in the area. The former Marseille man lifted the ball over Gomes, and even as Alan Hutton raced back to clear off his line, Emmanuel Adebayor was there to poke it in. 3-1 to Arsenal.

Roman Pavyluchenko’s quite evening was complete when he was replaced by Darren Bent, and the latter scored just as he came on. Almunia spilled Huddlestone’s effort, and Bent gleefully stroked the rebound in. 3-2 to Spurs.

But Arsenal were not done yet. If Spurs thought they had a way back at 3-2, they were dealt a severe jolt seconds later. A horrendous pass from Hutton was picked up by Adebayor, and he unselfishly squared it up for Robin Van Persie. 4-2 to Arsenal.

Van Persie was replaced by Diaby after 80 minutes, and the former Feyenoord hitman left to a thunderous applause.  Youth, exciting thing that it is, can also serve to assist in self suicide when naiviety and immaturity sets in. And that is what happened to Arsene Wenger’s boys. Their carefree style allowed Spurs a way back into the game when the door should have been bolted for eternity.

Gael Clichy slipped and Jermaine Jenas took advantage of it to run 30 yards and curl a left footed shot past Almunia. And in an appropriate ending to a enthralling game, Luka Modric hit the post in extra time, and Aaron Lennon was on hand to pounce on it, just as Darren Bent had done some half an hour ago.

Anybody who had predicted that the game would end in  4-4 prior to the start, or had put his money on Spurs scoring four would have been termed as retarded.

Oh, it is a wonderful, wonderful game….the beautiful game.

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1 Comment »

  1. what a game, and the best result you can get.
    Lot’s of goals, lots of actions, didn’t deserved a winner

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