Tottenham turn the corner over Arsenal

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By tommy_doleman, tommy_doleman is a Roar Rookie

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    It has been seventeen long years and 68 matches since Tottenham Hotspur recorded an away win against one of the Premiership’s traditional “big four”.

    That win came against Arsenal back in 1993 at the old Highbury ground, thanks to a brace from John Hendry and a further strike from Teddy Sheringham.

    Eight managers have since been and gone in the Spurs hot-seat since Osvaldo Ardiles achieved that feat. Step-up
    Harry Redknapp – whose presence at the club has well and truly ended an era of mediocrity at White Hart Lane underlined by a stunning comeback overnight, recovering from two goals down to win 3-2 against the old enemy.

    At half time though, it looked like a familiar story would unfold in North London as Arsenal raced to a two goal lead thanks to Samir Nasri and Marouane Chamakh. Spurs looked bereft of ideas with Roman Pavlyuchenko cutting a forlorn figure up front and could have been further behind had it not been for the heroics of their captain William Gallas.

    Gallas had been amongst the pre-game hype having formerly played for Gunners and been involved in a publicised rift with Nasri from their days in the France setup. The Frenchman has always had his best performances in the biggest games however, and this was no exception as his determination and desire to win ultimately set him aside as the most outstanding player on the day.

    For years Spurs have been living in the shadow of their more successful rival, though victory at White Hart Lane last season and a 4-4 draw at the Emirates in recent years have somewhat closed the gap. A gulf in class was visible for 45 minutes before a remarkable second half shift in momentum.

    Jermain Defoe was introduced, and soon after he nodded on for Rafael Van Der Vaart to feed Gareth Bale who coolly finished. Van Der Vaart has added a touch of class to the Tottenham midfield since signing from Real Madrid, in a bargain eight million pound move, and could well prove to be the final piece to their jigsaw.

    It was his free kick that was then inexplicably handballed by Cesc Fabregas in the box, to which he converted the penalty himself. He then supplied the free-kick for Younes Kaboul to guide in the winner with five minutes to spare. A hand in all three goals for the Dutchman in a game he didn’t particularly play well in, has emphasised just how important he has become to his side in such a small period of time.

    But this game was about the result and not the performance, and while the fans will cherish such a result for years you really do feel that there could be better things to come from this team. That second 45 could well prove to be a turning point for both teams this season in what is shaping up as one of the closest title races in years. They are only four points behind Arsenal now and six behind leaders Chelsea who also slipped at Birmingham. In essence though, it’s their inconsistencies against sides like Wigan and Wolves that Spurs need to patch up on.

    For Arsenal it was a case of an opportunity wasted to show just how far they have come this season. Top spot was on offer for Arsene Wenger’s men with victory, but instead they were consigned to a third home loss of the season.

    Once again their inability to defend set-pieces was highlighted as Kaboul nodded home without any pressure from the Gunners defence. That weakness coupled with their incapacity to kill of teams continuously comes back to trouble Wenger. It makes one wonder whether they can genuinely be considered a serious title challenger with such deficiencies. For the moment they continue to be a “nearly” team on the cusp of great things, but the demand for a trophy is surely growing by the day at Arsenal having not tasted silverware for five years.

    Just how much of an impact this result has on both sides remains to be seen. Back to back league wins over their London rivals, in addition to Champions League football, suggests that perhaps the gulf in class between these sides isn’t as great as what people may believe.

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    The Crowd Says (15)

    • November 21st 2010 @ 10:19am
      tony yeboah said | November 21st 2010 @ 10:19am | ! Report

      Watched the game, great game, stunning comeback. However, the Premier League may be one of the Premier footballing leagues in the world, but sorry, when of the starting 22 players, only 1 of them are actually English, it is a joke. North London derby, more like a French derby with 7 Frenchmen starting. No wonder the frogs put one over the poms at Wembley the other night.

      Man Utd vs Wigan, 2 english players started, 0 from Wigan
      Chelseas started with 1 english player

      Sorry, i now the passion of these games, but they need to sort it out. It’s not only bad for the England national team, but if you are going to watch your team play and there is not one english player, let alone a local player heaven forbid, what’s the point. You may as well be supporting anyone. Do the scousers love Stevie Gerrard more because he is a local lad, or do Arsenal love Cesc Fabregas just because he is good.

      • November 21st 2010 @ 11:39am
        Fisher Price said | November 21st 2010 @ 11:39am | ! Report

        So, you’d rather see inferior English players on show?

        • November 21st 2010 @ 12:48pm
          tony yeboah said | November 21st 2010 @ 12:48pm | ! Report

          In one word….yes!! They are at times only inferior players because they actually never get a chance to play first team football. The development of players in England has fallen so far behind the pace of the other FA’s, yet the popularity of the EPL and the TV revenues have increased so much, it is far cheaper to just buy a player from another country that has been developed correctly, rather than doing it yourself.

          • November 22nd 2010 @ 9:20am
            Fisher Price said | November 22nd 2010 @ 9:20am | ! Report

            That’s perhaps all true, but why should the clubs follow this approach?

            Surely they’re entitled to seek the best players and not choose players on racial, affirmative action grounds.

      • November 21st 2010 @ 7:00pm
        Ben said | November 21st 2010 @ 7:00pm | ! Report

        To be fair, Bale and Hutton are at least British 🙂

        • November 22nd 2010 @ 2:27pm
          Mattay said | November 22nd 2010 @ 2:27pm | ! Report

          And Spurs had King, Woodgate and Dawson out injured, with Defoe coming on off the bench.

          By the way, there were 2 English players in the Spurs starting line-up – Lennon and Jenas

    • November 21st 2010 @ 11:55am
      Stephen Smith said | November 21st 2010 @ 11:55am | ! Report

      “Frogs”, “Poms”, “inferior” English players. Dear oh dear. Only in narrow-minded Australia does nationality attract such fascination and derision.

      Nobody cares where players come from these days. Grow up.

      • November 21st 2010 @ 1:03pm
        tony yeboah said | November 21st 2010 @ 1:03pm | ! Report

        Amazing, in one sentence, you summed everything that i was saying, yet you missed the whole point of what i wrote!

        Yes, nobody cares where players come from these days, yet we loyally support clubs that have less and less affiliation of where they are based. Local boy does good…now those were the days.

        If you seriously think that i was deriding people for their nationalities or i am narrow-minded in my point of view because i question the English FA’s allowance that a English Premier League team can field a complete team without a single English player in it, which in turn is detrimental to the whole developmental system, the English National Team, and to an extent the fans, then you are seriously misguided or have a poor grasp of the english language. If you find the term ‘frog’ or ‘pom’ offensive in anyway, then i apologise, but don’t watch the cricket this summer with all those redneck commentators calling them ‘poms’ all summer long!

        Grow up. Such a childish retort.

        • November 21st 2010 @ 10:50pm
          Imannuel Kant said | November 21st 2010 @ 10:50pm | ! Report

          Perhaps the Convicts don’t understand this but….

          a lot of us in England are more interested in club than country. Many of us are pretty uninterested in the national team’s fortunes.

          The Convicts don’t see this, I guess. Whenever I hear the Convicts comment on English football, it makes me laugh. They don’t get it, methinks.

      • November 22nd 2010 @ 9:22am
        Fisher Price said | November 22nd 2010 @ 9:22am | ! Report

        What do you mean “at least British”?

        Bale is not more English than Luka Modric. Not that this should matter.

        • November 22nd 2010 @ 10:04am
          Ben said | November 22nd 2010 @ 10:04am | ! Report

          Wales is part of Great Britain is it not? Hence Bale is British, yes he’s not English but he’s British.

    • November 21st 2010 @ 1:30pm
      Mark said | November 21st 2010 @ 1:30pm | ! Report


      I agree. There might just be a shift in power developing in North London. It’s been gradually developing over recent years mainly because Spurs now have a squad to challenge the best sides. You are right though the games against wigan and wolves are the games they need to win if they ever want to match it with the big boys. A season is played over 38 games – not one game (even if the result was great). Kudos Tottenham and Redknapp

      • November 22nd 2010 @ 9:23am
        Fisher Price said | November 22nd 2010 @ 9:23am | ! Report

        It’s down to Wenger’s post-2006 ineptitude.

    • November 22nd 2010 @ 1:05pm
      leigh said | November 22nd 2010 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

      typical – arsenal think they are much bigger than what they are.

      once again they prove that they are pretenders and NOT contenders

    • November 22nd 2010 @ 1:11pm
      John Collins said | November 22nd 2010 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

      Nice to see somebody writing about the EPL for once.

      Makes a change from all the other repetitive articles on here about the A-league and its cup competion, new team or second tier.

      Keep up the good work mate, very insightful piece

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