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Rocky II

Before I start, I would just like to say DENILSON IS THE REAL DEAL. Just in case memory does not permit me to include such detail in my ramblings. Yesterday afternoon was one of tension and nerves, as the game drew closer a feeling of utter dread pervaded me. The staff meeting completely bypassed me as my thoughts were instantly turned to the game. I just could not help thinking that complacency might effect us, thinking we had done all the hard work in the first leg. Given that the Spuds had not beaten us since November, 1999, I felt surely this must be their time.

My fears were redoubled when the red section began to sing '2-0 and you ****** it up' with barely a minute played. The Gunners began with Aliadiere and Walcott playing wide of Adebayor in a 4-5-1, the system that had served us so faithfully in the competition thus far. But Spurs started the quicker, with Malbranque's diving header skidding marginally wide. Wenger saw the signs early and reverted to 4-4-2. Aliadiere was able to pick up the ball in much more dangerous areas and Diaby did a superb job on the left. The omission of Lennon from the teamsheet did not altogether surprise me, I felt Tottenham's best chance was to keep it 0-0 until the latter stages, possibly even until extra time and then go for the jugular. To later hear that he went down with illness at the pre match meal added a sense of comedy to Spurts tragedy. (No doubt the work of David Dein's evil wizard overlords in the catering industry). The Gunners grew into the game and should have scored when fat boy spilled Denilson's tame shot into the path of Kolo Toure, who prodded his close range effort agonisingly wide. It was one of those slow motion moments, for all the world I thought the ball was in and rose to acclaim the goal, only to see it trickle onto the advertising hoardings, with Robinson still clambering out of the dent he had created in the pitch.

Denilson began to really boss the game in the centre of the park. This kid looks to have a bit of everything, he reads the game exceptionally well, time and again he anticipated Spurs passes in the midfield and provided the springboard for attack. He persistently outmuscled Zokora in the centre, his claims of rejecting Arsenal look even more laughable now than ever. Over the two legs, I cannot recall a contribution of any significance from him. Naturally, being a Brazilian, Denilson has all the requisite flair, twinkling his toes to escape tight situations and always finding the right pass. Passport control may have to get onto this boy because he cannot be 18! Aliadiere caused panic in the Spurs defence with his running at players and I also cannot remember him being wasteful with the ball, his goal was well deserved and I will reiterate that this guy has something to offer if he can get a good run of games. Having played four or five times in the last month, the improvement in him has been palpable.

The second half began in the same frenetic fashion that the first did, both sides needing a goal to steal the advantage and it really was end to end cup football at its best. The passion of a derby was evident with little of the inherent nastiness that goes along with it. Unfortunately, the referee (whose name escapes me, the effacious little so and so who does not appear to haev a neck) was hellbent on getting his slavenly mug on the box at every opportunity, pedantically pulling up the most minor offences. Diaby really came into his own in the second half, raging at the injustice of having being hacked by Ghaly, he turned on the style on the left wing, with his, dare I say, Vieiraesque pirouhettes and crunching tackling. A double substitution was to swing the game in our favour, a nasty tackle from Defoe saw Armand Traore replaced by Hurricane Clichy, whilst Rosicky replaced the fitful Walcott. Theo is clearly suffering a crisis of confidence at the moment, and I feel we as fans must bear some of the responsibility for placing such a huge onus on him to produce pyrotechnics every time he plays.

Denilson switched to the right, where his boundless energy combined with Hoyte's excellent overlapping frightened Assou Ekotto. Rosicky went to the left and began to cut in field and feed the forwards with his kinesis. With thirteen minutes remaining it was pandemonium as the Gunners pressing bore fruit. A Rosicky strike stung Robinson's palms (it looked a bit like he was wearing two of those giant foam hands), instead of performing basic goalkeeping protocol and pushing the ball out wide, for the umpteenth time he shoved it out straight in front of him. Rosicky picked up the rebound on the edge of the area and slipped a subtle slide rule pass to Adebayor who somehow slotted the ball past Robinson's massive frame. (Anyone else think he looks like that girl in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? You know, the one that turns into a giant blueberry?!)

Cardiff felt close but history was to repeat itself in a gut wrenching manner. Juts as in the first leg, Denilson brilliantly used his bodyweight to turn Assou Ekotto on the right, but was pulled up by Wiley, who simply can never have played football in his life. As soon as Jenas lined up the free kick, my friend, the prophet that is John Lowe declared 'goal.' Well when Mido connected with the inswinging free kick, his prophesy was made sickening reality (no wonder he works at a bookies). An entirely inconvincing rendition of '3-2 and you ******* it up' emanated from the Spurs end as Tottenham went in search of a winner. They camped in our half and I felt revenge for Rocky and 87 was in the air. The full time whistle blew and unbelievably, Club Level emptied and people down below me cheered, thinking we had won. Who are these people? I feared that we would sit back and try to see out extra time and expected a tidal wave of Spurs attacks would be the theme of Extra Time. Most of our players looked deflated, except Denilson, who spent the short interim stretching and psyching himself up.

Extra time was all Arsenal, and we did what Tottenham really should have been doing, attacking with impunity. We were rewarded right at the end of the first period. Ricardo Rocha attempted to cut out Hoyte's cross by smothering the ball, diving on it like a last gasp hero thwarting a bomb, prepared to bear its terrible brunt for the good of his men. Aliadiere duly detonated the device by blasting it into the net. Spurs were blown away and Arsenal grabbed the clincher. Adebayor collecting Toure's ball down the line and pulling back for Rosicky, who danced past two Spurts defenders before his shot cannonned off the inside of the post and in off the hapless Chimbonda. (Who scored a scarily similar own goal for Wigan against Man United last season). The Spurts end emptied quicker than Boris Becker's nutsack and at the final whistle the Totts players suffered the indignity of applauding a plethora of empty seats.

Make no mistake, this tournament has shown a herculean effort from our youngsters, we've played away in every round at tough opposition and I think the younger players deserve to play in this final. The likes of Denilson, Aliadiere, Hoyte and Baptista should play. Hopefully, the return to fitness of William Gallas will add some spice and experience to the side. I also think that this could be a cute psychological ploy. If we elect to play a crop of the youngsters, the pressure would be placed squarely on Chelsea and they do not look comfortable with pressure just now. It would be a nice time for Wenger to break his hex on Mourinho's wallet and reward these young players with a richly deserved showpiece final. A further touch of sentiment was added to the occasion as I enjoyed an all too brief encounter with me old mate Jim at half time. Jim used to travel to away games with me back when we were at school, until stringent student financing and marriage and mortgage curtailed his Arsenal exploits. Get yourself on the red membership next year Jimbo and get yourslef down t'Grove more often! Bring the missus, what better setting for romance than the Grove? The romance of the cup was certainly permeating through the arena last night. LD.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday February 1 2007

Time: 1:47PM

Your Comments

oops sorry. Work=worth
questforavalon
Took a long time coming mate. but work every min of the wait.
questforavalon
Take the 's' and the 'i' out of Rosicky 7 and what have you got?
Little Dutch
I said exactly the same thing to my little brother. Right when he knocked him over i've said to him, they're gonna score off this cos its the same bull***** way malbranque got his freekick against Denilson. A bit of a case of deja vu that was. Oh well still didnt help them... And they call us soft?
Ozi Gooner
Is there anywhere I can catch the highlights(youtube anyone?) becoz as usual they dont air CC in India. Wanting to look at denilson for sometime now. And he says he wants to play where Fab plays :) Gonna be interesting times for AW.
questforavalon
LD, you get Rocky7!! (not the tubby one that runs this site though :P)
simmy8_2000
the Czech Rocky Rocastle ya recon?
Ozi Gooner
Denilson has surely put himself into first team contention. Apart from a slight lack of height he is going to be a much better player than Gilberto (given time). I have said it before, the kid has everything, pace, strength, shooting ability & skill. He also displays an experience you would expect of someone 10 years older. After he was booked last night he managed to play out the whole game without ever looking in danger of committing another rash challenge. Its not just the future that looks bright its the here & now. Lets hope we win the cup, that will shove Hansen's words back down his throat 'arsenal's kids wont win anything'!!
Ashburton Gooner
"...with Robinson still clambering out of the dent he had created in the pitch." - LOL...to quote a couple of Gooners that I was watching the game with at the HQ of Spur's Canadian contingent, "England's Number 1!" "What?" "England's Number 1!" "What?"
Shinobi
AG, I dont think Wenger has Denilson as replacement for Bertie...Its probably gonna be Diaby.
questforavalon
Just in case any more spuds want to talk about them missing King, Big Fat Berbatov and Lasagna Lennon please read the following and f*** off. Lehmann, Eboue, Djourou, Gallas, Ljungberg, Hleb, Van Persie, Henry, were not in the squad. Rosicky, Clichy and Cesc came on late. Sheeesh boys, you do the math as the Yanks would say. Jacky B, that isn't directed at you, unfortunately you appear to be in the minority when it comes to intellectual Spurs fans.
hatespur
Denilson or Didier '80's shoulder pads' Zakora? what a terrible footballer poor Didi is. Jermaine Jenas is a 1st class C*** cupping his hands to his ears when they equalised whilst forgetting he had been getting cained for 85 minutes by an 18 year old, embarrasing. Huddlestone seems to be carrying a little extra weight and has a face like a 40 year old Banker I wouldnt want to be holding my last Rolo standing between him and Mr Robinson. A great night and a good day to laugh at Sp*rs!
iceman10
Nice artice LD, sorry I could only muster a rant in response.
hatespur
Oy, poke it iceman, I'll be a 40 y.o banker in 7 years (providing I don't get tinned for blogging on here all day).
hatespur
Maybe things have changed so I dont know but Wenger definately said Denilson was brought in as Gilberto's long term replacement when he signed him!!
Ashburton Gooner
Haha, did you look like a 40 year old banker when you was 19 tho!? please accept my apologies il send you a free road map to cardiff that I just picked up from Sh*te hart lane, they've got tons of em all sealed and unused.
iceman10
^^ yer theyll be on youtube mate ------------------------------------------ I read denilson in the gyardian saying his positions cesc's one and i chuckled to myself, thinking at least hes got confidence but he seems abit confused but after that game it doesnt sounds so ridiculous now. He looks like hes been playing there all his life, he only started 5 games for sao paulo so i want to know how on earth wenger found him, he looks breath taking, did u see him hyping up the crowd after ali's goal LOL, p.s spurs are ordinary
hazzagooner
As for them missing Barbie-tov who hasnt scored away yet this season...please. Lennon was the big miss but its not our fault they spent £30 million in the summer on Zakora, Chimbonda, Barbie etc and loaned out a similar style replacement (Routledge). We are getting a lot of stick on the Sp*rs site for apparently playing our 1st team minus Henry!!!!!!
iceman10
I won't need one thanks iceman, i have been to Cardiff more often than Tom Jones over the last seven years. If I go back twice more I get to take it home with me.
hatespur
Enjoy it mate you wont be going there again in the near future unless that arch falls down at wembley!
iceman10
Should have bought some timeshare in Cardiff back in 2001. This will be my TENTH visit, that's insane, we should be allowed to keep it surely?
Little Dutch
"Huddlestone seems to be carrying a little extra weight and has a face like a 40 year old Banker I wouldnt want to be holding my last Rolo standing between him and Mr Robinson. A great night and a good day to laugh at Sp*rs!" Iceman - you made me spit my drink back into the glass...now there's a tiny bit of toast floating round. lol. Oh to Oh to be...
simmy8_2000
Damn LD, that's a fair few visits!
simmy8_2000
Simmy if you take that glass down to ****e hart lane they will put it in their trophy cabinet and add it to their list of honours! "2000 peace cup" 2007 Toast Float cup"
iceman10
I have missed 1 charity shield in all our trips to Cardiff (the one where Gibba scored on his debut) so I must at least be due the freedom of the valleys. Speaking of Gilberto, anyone else think that PV4 leaving has given his the opportunity to step from the shadows and become a great leader?? Normally those leadership skills are inherent, but he appears to have developed his. Magic player among magic players. God i'm f***ing happy today.
hatespur
hahahahha, top bombing iceman. Mind you, i'd laugh at anything for the next couple of days.
hatespur
A lot of people forget that Gilberto had a terrible injury the season before last. Last year he did a great job but was maybe a little wary of that previous injury this season he has been spectacular.
iceman10
Happy days indeed if your a gooner! Must say my legs are Aching as we stood for the full 120 minutes!
iceman10
Me thinks a vital Arsenal cup final drinky-poo's is in order...anyone game?
Rocky7
I know, and nobody told me to siiidddaaann. Didn't Spurs go to Cardiff once to play a relegation threatened Blackburn??
hatespur
Can't decide where until the ends are sorted. The big old Wetherspoons is always a good venue.
hatespur
The lotto Chavs will have the
Little Dutch
New song for the Tottenscum; "SAME OLD TOTTENHAM, YOU ARE STILL *****! SAME OLD TOTTENHAM, YOU ARE STILL *****!"
Ozi Gooner
Computer fit there... the chavs will have the South End. Rocky, I'll have a pint of farmer's guff- or whichever ale has the stupidest name!
Little Dutch
Waggle dance or Bishops finger!!!
Rocky7
Anyone ever tried The dogs *********? (I don't mean Stella Rocky)
simmy8_2000
I have, but I keep getting hairs in my mouth!!
Rocky7
Ha. I always knew something wasn't quite right about you! I always thought it was the random twitching but I guess it wasn't. :D
simmy8_2000
Elton John keeps getting hairs in his mouth, but that's a different story.
hatespur
All p**s taking of spurs aside (hard to do I know), the spurs faithful must be really short sighted. When all their fans were coming on here last season saying that spurs are the future & we are in decline etc I just couldn't help think how far removed from the truth that actually was. On the pitch spurs had certainly got a lot closer, but off the pitch the gulf between the clubs had become huge. Arsenal were moving to a brand new stadium (which is one of the best in europe) & spurs have stood still. We are a european force despite never winning the big one, but spurs are hardly recognised these days. Where can the poor spurs go now but backwards?? The cost of Liverpool's new stadium a few years ago when they started their project was between 80 & 88 million, its now going to cost 240 million & thats in liverpool so the price is much cheaper. As spurs are limited by the s**t hole of an area their ground is in which means expanding is not a real option (poor transport links etc), they will also have to build a new stadium!! How much will that cost them now, bearing in mind arsenal's cost 390 million. You are probably looking at 500 million plus which without regular cl football is unrealistic & even with cl football it would be stretching things. Abramovich doesn't want to spend that sort of money on a new stadium. Now that the two teams have drifted miles apart on the field again (as spurs proved in the summer by cashing in on carrick who was vital to them), I really dont see them coming back again. They will point to our debt but its not an issue at all, the finance is well & truly sorted & in 3 years time our debt will be cut significantly once the highbury complex is finished & a guranteed 100 million profit. I honestly believe the Arsenal/Spurs rivalry on an even playing field is now dead, probably forever!! Spurs RIP!!
Ashburton Gooner
There hasn't been any rivalry on the field since 1987. I agree, they are ****.
hatespur
Waggle Dance is a particular favourite of mine, nice honey texture and all that. Though I prefer a nice jug of hangman's gut, or fisherman's bladder.
Little Dutch
the goal we conceeded last night had me thinking that, what if it was a cl tie 0-0 and we take a 1-0 lead and the opposition equalise with a set piece late on and it's 1-1 and we're out on away goals. such defensive mistakes have become a familiar site this season, one that we need to eradicate before the cl resumes if we have to mount a real assault on it this season too, last season's team was built on a solid defence, and with all our best defenders fit and present for the campaign, we should go all the way this season, we will (i hope)..
luckys_10
Ozi Gooner you can watch almost every game live! All you need is a good internet connection. www.live-footy.org
G4L
questforavalon - they do air cc in India.. Zee Sports has rights to telecast cc in India.
arsenalrulz4ever
we wudnt go out on away goals at 1-1 coz we had 2 away goals ... from the first leg .... Neways im begining to feel were gettin about selfish first we took the champions league off em and now we have knocked em out the League cup .... ohhh what ever will we do ... **** it we may aswell have FA Cup off em soon lmao
Achilles
let's be fair, the young players the spuds have got are promising, and were we any other team, we'd have to admit so. It's just that Ours are in a completely different stratosphere. Their's are very good, our are just unbelievably superb. And as a footnote, Jenas is a ©**t. »»Arsene Knows««
Wingston75
btw. the atmosphere inside the grove last night was awesome, we baited the scum relentlessly. Me and my mates ed and knuckles were right at the back behind the goal, above t'spuds, and managed to stand for the 120 minutes, which was grand :) their 'support' was pathetic, and their vile chant aimed at wenger was the sole effort they mustered during the whole game, pretty much, bar when they scored. we outplayed, outfought, outmanouevred and out-thought them. All over the park, and off it, they were second best. It was one sided, three-one-derful. »»Arsene Knows««
Wingston75
great article and well written...................
ernshaw
Great articl,a very intresting one. lets hope that Theo can get his form back
afghenry
"Huddlestone seems to be carrying a little extra weight and has a face like a 40 year old Banker I wouldnt want to be holding my last Rolo standing between him and Mr Robinson. A great night and a good day to laugh at Sp*rs!"-------------------------------------------- LOLOLOLOL thats brilliant!
LondonGooner
What would arsenal be without the brazilians ,eh?They are the only ones i have simpathy for.
k_chelski
 

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