I returned from watching the North London derby feeling a little deflated, although I have to say it was one of the most exciting Arsenal games I have seen.
There was an electric atmosphere at the Grove, Bentley was abused as you might expect, and there were plenty of goals.
Tottenham scored first, Bentley (who else?) lobbed Almunia from about 40 yards. We couldn’t get the ball down in midfield and we were all over the shop.
The goal provided the usual wake up call, and we pressed back, getting a few good opportunites, with lovely passing moves, Theo and RVP linked up well. Then came our reply on ’37 – Silvestre got a goal from a corner – Gomes got nowhere near the ball, he looked very weak at corners.
We were hoping for a quick start after half time and we got it, RVP was felled and the freekick was swung into the box for Gallas to head in, 2-1 on ’46.
Things were looking up, and we went into cruise control as Ade put Nasri’s stunning chip over the line and made it 3-1.
THIS IS WHERE WE SHOULD HAVE CLOSED THE GAME.
Spurs then went on to get a lucky goal within 3 minutes, Almunia spilled a strong shot from Huddlestone, and Bent picked it up, 3-2 on ’67.
We went back up the other end and scored straight away, Hutton gifted Ade the ball, and he set up RVP for a beautiful goal, everyone went wild, 4-2..
Eboue, Diaby and Song all came on as Theo, RVP and Nasri got a rest. We seemed to relax a little – in the 89th minute Clichy (who was fantastic all night) slipped on the ball, presenting Jenas with an open run on goal, his shot went past Almunia – 4-3.
Now panic set in, and Arsenal looked in disarray, the feeling in the crowd was that we couldn’t hold on, and it was only to true, in stoppage time Modric shot took a deflection off Silvestre, which put it onto the post, it bounced back out perfectly for the onrushing Lennon who easily put it away. The few remaining Spurs fans went mental.
Tonight was very disappointing, there were positives, Denilson had a fantastic second half, and RVP played amazingly, but our defensive mistakes cost us yet again. We were unluck, but all of their goals could have been prevented by more astute defensive work.
Interestingly, two of our goals came from centre backs today – maybe representing how much more of an attacking team we are!
In all, it was an amazing Arsenal performance, but the last 4 minutes where we lost focus cost us 3 points which we thoroughly deserved.
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