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We've Got Bigger Fish To Fry

First things first....ouch! That hurt. I was fully prepared for defeat in this game, the second after the final whistle blew at the league game in December, I was convinced they would win this tie. If we're honest, we've had more than our fair share of luck in this fixture in the 9 year unbeaten run and there were real signs at the Grove in December that Spurs would end the run sooner rather than later. But the size of the scoreline makes it pretty unbearable in truth. I questioned the squad on this forum yesterday, I felt we had betrayed what this competition meant to us. The development of a number of our first team squad is owed largely to extended runs in the Carling Cup and taking the kids out now when they were good enough to win at Ewood Park, Anfield, Goodison Park, Bramall Lane and to come back from a two goal defecit at White Hart Lane, I felt they had earned their shot. With the trophy hunt on on three other fronts, I felt risking the fitness of Cesc, Gallas, Hleb and Adebayor was criminal. But in the end, as it turned out, the kids would surely have done a better job anyway! Ironically, Hleb and Gallas probably had their worst games in Arsenal shirts anyway and Adebayor might still face a suspension for a moronic reaction to Bendtner himself being a moron.

Anyways, my usual route to the Lane was disrupted by the fact that my tube was not stopping at Tottenham Hale, so myself, Barry and Elliott had to tolerate the long, long walk down the unsalubrious Seven Sisters Road. A couple of guys who appeared to be giving us the evil eye on the tube (bear in mind we weren't in colours) were promptly pulled aside by a line of Police at the entrance of Seven Sisters, suggesting that we were well and truly in the bowels of the trenches! Arsenal began brightly, with Diaby marauding forwards and Hleb looking to torment Tottenham (it was the only period of the game where he did look handy). But Spurs sucker punched Arsenal early on and never looked back. Jermaine Jenas strode forward and placed a shot in off the inside of the post from outside the box. The travelling Gooners had seen it all before....or so we thought! Bendtner drove Hleb's cut back just over, but it was all Spurs, with the majestic Berbatov in particular giving Arsenal's backline the run around. Spurs went two up when Jenas' free kick was floated in and Nicklas Bendtner repeated a neat trick of scoring in a North London derby. However, the fact that he so brilliantly placed his header past the hapless Fabianski and into his own net left the Tottenham fans tasting some revenge.

Minutes later, Lennon put Berbatov through with the Arsenal backline all at sea, Berbatov took an age to line up his shot before seeing his low strike cannon off the post. Half time came and it was strangely the Arsenal fans in better voice, 'we're on our waaaaaaaay' rang out throughout the half time, as did the new Adebayor ditty as aired at Fulham. A rather brave exclamation of 'two nil and you'll f**k it up' was quite funny at the time, but ultimately backfired in spades. Arsenal began the second period with purpose as Tottenham defended in numbers, it looked for a minute as though the ghost of seasons past would haunt White Hart Lane. But alas, Tottenham had a more cunning game plan than the shaky Jol incarnations of seasons past. Lennon broke away in acres of space, goodness knows where Gilberto was (he did play didn't he?), probably thinking if his next career move. His performance, together with Diaby's abject laziness should illustrate more than ever what a stupid prick Diarra actually is. Lennon slipped Keane through and the largely anonymous striker hit an early shot which Fabianski fumbled into the net.

The Gunners looked to reply instantly, Sagna's cross was hooked onto the bar by Nicklas Bendtner, the follow up header was easily saved by Cerny on the line. Spurs had the counter attacking game down to a tee and exploited it again on 59 minutes, Lennon finishing a flowing move which had scores of Gooners heading for the exit. Having watched a trouncing, I can well understand it on this occasion, usually I would rage at such an apoplexy. But given the rigours of the gauntlet on the way out of White Hart Lane, I can understand the desire to leave in one piece (more on that later). Even so, 59 minutes was a tad pathetic. At this point, I was thinking that Cesc should be replaced immediately with the game out of our reach, instead Adebayor was brought on and that was just plain stupidity from the manager. With the shock well and truly absorbed the travelling Gooners began to break out the enormous arsenal of material we possess to mock our neighbours, so songs about lasagne, 71 2004, will you ever see Tottenham win the league etc were belted out. Adebayor gave Arsenal a brief respite, continuing his ongoing vendetta against the White Hart Lane net by turning and blasting home a sweet twenty yard shot. The home fans went quiet for a brief spell, allowing those hardy souls who stayed to all too briefly mock their hosts, 'it's so quiet, at the Lane' being given more than one airing.

But as the minutes marched on and the prospect of a comeback evaporated, Arsenal fans indulged in one more chorus of 'we're on our waaaaaay' to remind the Spuddies what its like to contest the Champions League. Before acquiescing to the resignatory chant of, 'it only took nine years.' But Spurs fans were well past caring by this stage, filling the ground with their own coccophiny of Wembley songs. Arsenal attacked again and when Bendtner did not pass to Adebayor on the left hand side, I could see the Togonator's stare from the South Stand upper tier. The bad blood spilled over as the pair squared up to each other, and Ade clearly headbutted Nedntner. As Gallas tried to intervene , Bedntner turned his ire onto the skipper. Bad move Nicky. Arsenal tend to keep these things in house, but I would like to think/ strongly suggest that Bendtner and Adebayor's wage packets might find themselves being donated to Treehouse for the next two weeks. Nobody likes defeat, but I didn't go and plant one on every Gooner in my proximity. The pair of them behaved like utter twats and owe everybody in the Arsenal fraternity a huge apology. Kudos to Gallas for doing the skippers job. But Adebayor hadn't concluded his twatishness yet, thrusting his hand out to Lee Young Pyo's face which could easily have resulted in a second yellow card and Arsenal missing a player we simply cannot be without through the stupidest suspension ever. I await apologies from both 'men.'

With the board for injury time up, I have to admit it. Myself and Rich decided that, having watched Spurs thump Arsenal, and watched Adebayor thump Bedntner, we really didn't want to be on the end of a consolatory fist or coin on the way out, so we made haste for the exit to increase our chances of escaping the Lane alive. It is the first time I have ever left a game early, and I don't feel at all guilty about it. Having watched an insipid performance, I think I was well within my rights to look after my own personal safety. With Tottenham fans understandably not exactly in a hurry to leave, it was a simple and quiet exit for once. As we passed a pub on the Seven Sister's Road, I saw a screen through the window as Arsenal mounted one last attack. Hleb was dispossessed for the umpteenth time as someone or other, probably Lennon, skipped down the right and squared for Malbranque to score. I did not stop to watch the ensuing celebrations or the final whistle!

It was a pretty rough night all in all, we've lost badly and, most infuriatingly, the likes of Hleb, Fabregas, Gallas and Sagna have played games that they need not have played, which could have far more dire consequences on our season than a Carling Cup semi final. It was always going to happen and we have to take this one. Given the choice I don't think there is a Gooner out there who would have swapped this game for the six points we took off of Tottenham in the league. If you'd constructed a straw poll of a hundred Gooners, I bet 99 or more would rather take three points off of Newcastle in our next league game. But we can have no excuses, firstly, that was far from a reserve team, that is what is so frustrating, we should have given the kids another chance (they could scarsely have done worse!) Secondly, 6-2 on aggregate far from flatters Tottenham over the two legs, they were the better team both times. That's something I am prepared to take on the chin. Both of them!LD.




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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday January 23 2008

Time: 1:32PM

Your Comments

I was expecting defeat, but 5-1 is a painful bitter pill to swallow. Would have liked to have seen it respectable. Like you say they thoroughly deserve the win, we've more than rode our luck against them in recent times.
saisho
when was the last time you put 5 past us? need i say more? Fighting each otehr? what a laugh!!!!
bullers
oh **** up bullers...like i said on a previous post "the next match for Arsenal cant come soon enuff...Spurs can mark this one down on their calendar...but they better remember to write 22 IN BOLD beside it ". I wouldnt still change positions with u guys right now...i kinda prefer 21 - 1
number14
November 2004 we put five past you at the Lane bullers.
Little Dutch
Totally agree LD, the defeat I can just about stomach, no sane gooner would say we deserved something out of it, but seeing 2 of our players coming to blows on the field was truly devastating, and then for Nik to carry it on to gallas was one of the most appalling sights I have seen, the fact it was in front of the spuds at WHL just adds insult to injury
TR7
oh thanks for te history lesson LD...BULLERS ...u care to reply? u silly boy
number14
i didnt see Nik and 'Bayo fighting...i was whincing too much by then...lol.
number14
Manu - “Overall I think that we should have been more calm during the game and although I was pleased to get a goal back for the team when I came on, I am sorry for the disagreement with my team-mate Nicklas. “We are both passionate about this Club and sometimes that can be projected in the wrong way. It was a mistake. We want to focus on the games ahead and rely on our squad’s great togetherness to achieve a fantastic season.”
saisho
All round **** night. Was humiliated by Ade & Nic, they could've clapped us few hardy souls who stayed to the bitter end n all.
AFC85Lew
Well that's apology number one. Hopefully, threehouse can look forward to a £100k paycheque from him. Bendtner next up please.
Little Dutch
I was going to say, the Gunners stuck 5 past us not long ago but it was far from a rout. What I saw was a lack of pride in wearing the Arsenal shirt - only Adebayor seemed to have this. And interesting as you mention, it was your senior players who really flopped. As for Adebayor/Bendtner, I recall Bowyer/Dyer - both got three match bans and Bowyer was successfully prosecuted by the police - it seems the penalty is worse if its your own team mate than an opponent.
EnglishSpur
oh lay off it ES..what else do u want...our blood. And how dare you say we struck 5 past you and it wasnt a rout...so your 5 past us is a rout eh...please can you try and make some sense. Enjoy this dude...VICTORY AT NUMBER 22..
number14
Bowyer/Dyer incident was far worse, and bear in mind Bowyer's previous court appearance? Don't think it'll be anywhere near as bad, a public handshake/donation/apology is what is required. And to smash Newcastle off the park would be nice.
AFC85Lew
The FA have asked for footage of the bendtner/ade incident.. so now we're in deep deep trouble.. cuz if found guilty.. we've basically lost 3 strikers and hav walcott and eduardo available.. i so hope that nothing happens.. but i can only hope.
arsenalrulz4ever
When was the last time we put 5 past you? 3 years back at the lane mate. Coming back to the article, LD I agree with you on many things. Gallas, should have played and should have Hleb not because we were poor in the first leg but because we had injuries and players on international duty. Who would replace Djorou and Senderos? There's no one. I'm just happy this is over and we can just concentrate on the league, the trophy most Gooners want most.
WouldYouBelieveIt?!
I totally agree about Gilberto and Diaby. Gilberto I can excuse because he has been such a fantastic professional at our club but Diaby was just plain self indulgent whenever he got the ball - always holding on to it too long or trying too much. Diarra would've been great yesterday. We also definitely need a central defender - if we lose Gallas to injury now, where would be then?
Gooner_Vin
"The referee can look at the incident and decide what action he would have taken if he had seen it," stated an FA spokesman, confirming that such a review was standard procedure in the circumstances. What sort of utter b@llocks is this? Retrospective refereeing? We are told that if the ref sees an incident and takes no action then it is case closed. He spoke to the players and told them to calm down. That should be the end of it. Now we are being told if TV picks up something the ref didn't see he can change his mind??? I can see this opening up a can of worms. And talking of aggressive behaviour did anyone see the FA reviewing Blackburn manager Mark Hughes' thuggish behaviour over the weekend? No, I thought not.
Wyn Mills
I have almost never seen this bad a performance from us since the past 11 years or so. Diaby, Hleb, Cesc, The back four, Theo were all absolutely horrid. I didn't think Gilberto was that bad actually, he was calm but Diaby....WAKE UP mate!! You can take a team on on your own!!!
WouldYouBelieveIt?!
I forgot what it feels like to lose to spuds, and today I'm having a pretty rough day, but most of all I hope we recover in time to beat Newcastle twice and avoid injuries. We have half our first team rested but a dilemma at CB as Hoyte was shaky and Gilberto is our next option. And what to do with Bendtner and Walcott? Wenger can hardly afford to sit them out as they may be needed on the bench. I hope the 'fight' was a one off and not an underlying issue with the players, we have a fantastic squad and need to keep it intact (even though some Gooners are quick to write players off in defeat).
JakeB
These things even themselves out. We won the league at WHL in 04 (plus countless other wins). Remember when Manure spanked us 6-1, they loved it but we came back with winning the league at their ground. It's important to get the reaction right after this game, should fire everyone up.
saisho
Oh how I hope there'll be a backlash against the scums!! Arsenal5-1Newcastle
WouldYouBelieveIt?!
I agree with that LD, and I said that it would be confidence-sapping to mix the seniors in as it blunts the wits of the younger players. It's a mistake by Wenger to play a half-and-half squad and if he started with them, he should have stuck firmly with kids - however unproven they were... back on the terraces, although many left early, we still managed to "we love you Arsenal we do" even when we were 3 -4 goals down. I left just as Gallas was coming over to acknowledge the fans - he is the only one who does it religiously, and others could take a leaf out of his book for away matches at least.
Andy-bayor
The question is in the game that ended 5-4, the Spurs team kept on fighting back - whilst you lot admittedly came forward, it often looked like you could continue to do that and rarely fashion a goal
EnglishSpur
I had half a mind on switching off the tele (It was 3AM here) and then they showed a single Gooner wearing a Rocastle Tee singing his heart off. I truly admire him...
WouldYouBelieveIt?!
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA what a joke, 5-1. when we played at your place in the league with 10 1st team players out we only lost 2-1 and thats after playing so well and what happened yesterday, all the talk of kids, well there not that good are they then??? also 4-5 1st team players were playing and to thing we could and should have score a few more. That what you get when you think your too good a team. i can now see your season falling apart and also the fa want to look into what happened with your players fighting eachother. Nearly forgot your captain Gallas was class last night we were running rings around him so many time i felt sorry for him. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
Safe001
Arsenal P23 Pts 54 Spuds P23 Pts 27 Please mind the gap. :)
saisho
Safe, nice summary of last night. How do you explain the nine years that preceded it?
Little Dutch
Notsosafe - don't take your eye off the league now will you - you are only a few points above the relegation zone. I cant see spuds producing that kind of performance too often, so a couple more losses and you could be in line for champinship football next year. Never mind, we may still meet in the FA cup next year.
Cesky
sorry lads, someone left the latch off the cage door.........
Scott Spur
Some of these Spuds are so pathetic. They need a reality check. Congratulations, you beat Arsenal, wow! If we took the tournament as seriously as the Spuds did, we would NEVER have lost this tie. Laugh all you want Spuddies, it means nothing unless you win the cup. And as much as it pains me to do it, I'll be supporting Chelsea all the way and hope they kick your butts like they normally do!
Gooner_Vin
I wish both Spurs and Arsenal go through in the FA Cup and then are drawn together in the next round!
Gooner_Vin
form is temporary class is permanent.....i bet spurs couldnt win the next two games,and make it three in a row,thats why they are lower mid table...mind the gap
fran merida
ummm.........last night made it three wins in a row, Reading, Sunderland and Arsenal.
Scott Spur
Bad night for us and a good night for Spuds but in the pantheon of footballing achievement it doesn't even match that of Coventry away at Old Trafford this season in the same competition. You won't be able to tell the Spuds that though. Spot on though that it was a mistake to take this competiton as (half) seriously as we did and risk key players. Better to have given Gibbs and others a run out.
Amos.
I blame that c*@t Diarra :)
iceman10
thats really good....so does that mean your run will come to an end now? probably
fran merida
well it would be great to see you extend it to the mind blowing sequence of 6 games in a row....now that would be an achievement
fran merida
ouch! oh well, times change...good luck with the important competitions now
pompeycarpet
Hmm... Simmo, actually... can you post the Newcastle match preview a bit sooner this week? Er, like the players now, I think now I'd better 'just focus on the next game' (i.e. forget this one asap) too... (I felt the post-Birming week was a hellishly long one...) The game's on 26 Jan, we can start talking about it like now, yes...?
Lou the Gunneress
All Gooners will take 6 points off the spuds before a Worthless Cup final.
Warri Gooner
thanks pompeycarpet but rest assured times have not changed - it was just a nasty blip and normal service will be resumed next year!
nikolaijns
I hate say this but I think we going to lose Adebayor for a few games. We will be screwed if this happens.
King Kolo
Kolo, thank god that's confirmed not to be the case! I wouldn't be able to sleep if he's suspended if we lose either/both of them. Imagine if we only had eduardo and Theo for 3 games... that doesn't even bear thinking! But even so, the guys (PLURAL there, not just Ade!) should be penalised internally. And Arsene should tell Bendtner Sr to shut up and his son to get on with his job. How dared he call his son's teammate 'without bringing his brain'?! That's all Arsene's call, not his. Like father like son.
Lou the Gunneress
If we could smash your first team (fibreglass, shreck, adeballsup, ballas, sagnuts) 5-1, think what we would have done to your kids, 10-1? I dont think *****er would have survived your boards backlash after that, but dont worry, jol would have made a fantastic replacement. Ha ha ha!!!!!!!!! What a thrashing, admit it you gooners are feeling the hurt. wish we could play you every week and thrash you up so that your players can cry like babies and fight amongst with each other. CLASSIC!!!!!
powerspur
*****er = wenger
powerspur
By the way, what bigger fish do you have to fry? You wont win the league, you definitely wont win the CL, you stand a small chance of doing well in the FA Cup, so this was your best chance of winning a trophy and we stuffed you good and solid. and the pompey supporter, better watch out, the way we're going, we'll be in the hunt for top 6 before you pull your head out of the gooners arse.
powerspur
I'd say, as it stands, Arsenal have a better chance of winning the league, the CL and the F.A Cup than Spurts do. You want to play us every week? Well, if you can cope with one win every nine years then I admore your resilience.
Little Dutch
as long as that one win is a convincing 5-1 thrashing I dont mind. but that 1 win in 9 years will never happen again and you know it, dont you?
powerspur
Yep, we all know that it will definitely never happen again :-)
Little Dutch
powerspur, as much as LD admires your resilience, I admire your ambition too - one win in 9 years will do for you.
Lou the Gunneress
Tim, I enjoyed reading your piece as a Spurs fan. It was a refreshingly honest piece, well done. I wish your manager was a little bit more humble and not such a bad loser, even in the last couple of days he has been going on about the number of passes his team made in comparison to Spurs and the fact the score didn't reflect the play. WENGER IS SUCH A BAD LOSER ! I think this is why Spurs and other teams do not like Arsenal (despite the way they play their one-touch football and there dominance over the last decade). This along with his annoying 'I DIDN'T SEE IT' line when it suits him, makes him a very a very annoying character! (despite being a great manager of football)
ricardo_archibald
why do u insist this was our first team powerspur lmfao ! we had only 3 first team players starting the game ... its clear u dont no your football with comments like this... oh and the fact u support that ****!
Achilles
I think its about time to starts talking about St Totterings Day isnt it ??? it wont b long now :-D
Achilles
lol Achilles, i can imagine it becoming like an annual festival for the spuds, in memory of the day they managed to beat us. THey will gather at Sh*te hart lane and drink from their special mugs and watch the commemorative DVD on the big screen, probably whilst fellating each other the dirty ****ers! AFter another 9 years of humiliation, it will be their most treasured memory and holy day!
Cesky
 

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