North London Derby-Match Report

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal - White Hart LaneTomas Rosicky’s thunderous strike and a defensive masterclass from Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny secured a vital win for Arsenal as they fight to live another day in this engaging title race. As for Spurs they can kiss their top 4 ambitions goodbye. North London is Red, it never has been white.

Arsenal made only one change from the side that lost to Stoke. Chamberlain in for the injured Jack Wilshere. Gibbs was the surprise inclusion ahead of Monreal.

Arsenal couldn’t have dreamt of a better start, Chamberlain played Rosicky down the right and the Czech ran into the acres of space vacated by Danny Rose, the Spurs left back who was caught high up the pitch. Rosicky fed to Chamberlain on the edge of the box and the Englishman’s touch wasn’t  great but the ball fell kindly to Rosicky who smashed home a rasping shot from the right into the top corner of the net. A goal worthy of winning any game. 1-0 to Arsenal in enemy territory.

The Ox had a glorious opportunity to double the lead but dinked it wide. A huge let off for the Europa league side. They played a suicidal high line and Arsenal were repeatedly beating the offside trap but couldn’t finish the promising moves. It is in these matches that we miss Walcott’s searing pace.

Sagna was booked for a lunge on Rose when he actually got some of the ball but Rose’s histrionics meant Mike Dean had no choice. Adebayor had half chances and Spurs for all their possession created little and hardly tested Szczesny.

Tim Sherwood’s side came out fighting in the second half. Szczesny had a nightmarish minute or so, he flapped a cross and Sagna bailed him out with the clearance. Seconds later he inexplicably spilled a cross that fell to Chadli who dummied twice before hitting, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker threw their bodies on the line and Kozzer made that last ditch block that wins you titles. Remember Gibbs late block at West Brom two years back? Townsend, England’s greatest hope fired in a cross from the left and Chadli contrived to miss it from a yard. That was the only meaningful action from England’s greatest hope all day.

Arsenal were on the edge and they couldn’t get their passing game going. The substitution was inevitable and on came Flamini for the goalscorer Rosicky as Arsene Wenger tried to protect the one goal lead. Arsenal should have a penalty when Vertonghen had his arms around Kozzer’s neck but Mike Dean waved away the claims. You know, Dean and Arsenal. Oops I am afraid that the FA will fine me for insinuating the ref.

Flamini received his customary booking for halting Ericksen It ain’t a match, never mind a derby if Flamini doesn’t gets booked. Monreal tucked on the left side for the exhausted Podolski.

Mertesacker and Koscielny stood firm as Spurs tried route one football playing long diagonal balls to Emmanuel Adebayor. A couple of free kicks on Arsenal in injury time knocked the life out of the their neighbours and their champions league hopes.

The Gunners despite not at their best held on to a crucial
win and I would take drab 1-0 wins for the remainder of the season. The wise men on the match of the day would have you believe it as an unconvincing and scrappy win and were it Chelsea, Mourinho and his little ponies would have been glorified for their tactical acumen. I can’t quite understand the logic when Sherwood said that they deserved to win. His team hardly created anything and the two chances were Szczesny’s gifts. He definitely is a Spurs manager. I find the criticism quite annoying. It’s a cynical world we live in. COYG

FT: Tottenham Hotspurs 0- Arsenal 1