Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham: Still rinsing the beer out of my shirt!

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Probably the best photo ever!

Arsenal 3 (van Persie 41, Fabregas 42, van Persie 60)
Tottenham 0

Video Highlights | Minute-by-Minute

My goodness that felt good.

After all their pre-match talking Tottenham were made to look like utter chumps as Arsenal’s magic attacking mix put three answered goals to ensure the first North London Derby of the season went our way. I can still taste the sugar.

I said before the game that this was a contest where our big guns needed to step up and Robin van Persie and Cesc Fabregas certainly did, posting a pair of quickfire goals just before the break to effectively end the match as a contest. Van Persie got a second midway through the second half to put the icing on the cake and it could have been much more as Eduardo in particular contrived to miss a couple of nailed-on chances.

The starting team sent out by Arsene Wenger was very similar to the one which failed to beat West Ham last weekend, with two significant changes being the return of Manuel Almunia in goals and Nicklas Bendtner’s continuation on the right side of the attack at the expense of Emmanuel Eboue. Clearly the manager’s decision to bring back Almunia was based on a need for experience in what is usually an explosive encounter while Bendtner’s recall was as much about nullifying Peter Crouch on set-pieces as it was about the Dane’s attacking qualities.

As it was, Bendtner was Arsenal strongest attacking performer in the opening half-hour before being forced off with what looked like a painful groin injury. The Dane’s endeavour helped fashion chances for Andrey Arshavin, William Gallas and van Persie as well as the best opportunity of the first third of the game when Fabregas was denied by a truly wonderful save by Heurelio Gomes.

Bendtner’s injury caused a general lull in the team as Eduardo scampered around on the bench preparing to get ready and the midfield players struggled to manage essentially playing with ten men. After a dominant opening period by Arsenal the away side began to get into the game and Robbie Keane had their best (and only real) chance of the half snatched away by an outstanding sliding tackle by Alex Song.

Surprisingly, just as we started to look a bit flat and out of ideas we scored. Bacary Sagna’s quick thinking from a throw-in saw him play a one-two with Eduardo and the Frenchman’s low cross was stabbed home by a desperate van Persie. I say desperate in a good way because the effort the Dutchman put in to reach that ball was something to behold and it allowed him to score the type of goal that great poachers regularly do.

If the Arsenal supporters went mental at the Pig ‘n’ Whistle in Brisbane when van Persie found the back of the net, they become utterly delirious when we scored again just 11 seconds after the restart. Van Persie nicked the ball off Wilson Palacios from the kick-off, fed his mate Fabregas and the captain did the rest, skipping round two challenges before nutmegging King and firing a perfect shot past Gomes in the Tottenham goal.

I have to admit to being exceptionally confused when the replay screen of van Persie’s goal was removed to reveal the ball flying into the opposite corner. But replays have since shown it to be a truly great goal scored at a ball-crushing time for Spurs and the celebrations of the skipper showed just how much he enjoyed it. To say that we enjoyed it in the pub would be understatement of the century and I still haven’t got around to rinsing out the many pints of beer that spilled on my shirt as the Arsenal boys and I jumped around like idiots.

From 0-0 and flagging we were 2-0 up at the break and cruising. And while we may have been in the same position at half-time last weekend at Upton Park, there was no way Spurs were going to recover from the body blow they’d just taken.

The second half was something of a blur if I’m being completely honest – not because I was drunk but because I was too busy singing songs and telling anyone who wanted to hear how much I love this team – but by and large we dominated. Abou Diaby had a powerful shot blocked off the line, Eduardo missed two one-on-ones that he would usually score in his sleep, Fabregas and Diaby missed relatively easy headers. Meanwhile Almunia was called to make a save for the first time in the game at 2-0, doing what Vito Mannone could not do last week in parrying David Bentley’s free-kick away from goal and over the bar.

We scored a third when Sagna capitalised on the advantage provided to him after a foul on Eduardo to set up van Persie for his second. Both Gomes and King should have done better with the Frenchman’s cross but it should be noted that this was Sagna’s third assist in two games. While his mate on the other wing Gael Clichy might be struggling a bit with getting forward Sagna is having no such trouble.

So 3-0 it ended, an absolutely terrific result in the North London Derby and Tottenham have been well and truly put in their place. A great day for Gooners around the globe and in particular the lads that partied with me down at The Pig.

Talking Points

I touched on it earlier but the importance of our big players to step up and make contributions in big games cannot be underestimated. In Fabregas, van Persie and Arshavin we have three world-class players who have enough experience to know how to make the impact in games like this and all three did their job today. Van Persie’s overall contribution was immense, Fabregas provided a moment that few of us will forget while Arshavin, who I’ve noticed has received a little bit of criticism for his performance, was our main threat when the game was in the balance in the first half. While I stand by my statement that Bendtner was the best attacker on the pitch before he went off, Arshavin’s ability to run at defenders to create space and shoot is invaluable to the balance in our team.

While the aforementioned trio all had superb games my Man of the Match yesterday was William Gallas. He never gave Crouch an ounce of space, always challenging the giant striker in the air and worked brilliantly with Thomas Vermaelen to ensure the loose ball was always ours. Normally it is Vermaelen who provides the grit at the back but Gallas lead by example today and deserved to end up with a clean sheet. Superb, superb, superb.

Throughout the delirium and justified happiness of beating Tottenham 3-0 today I think the game serves as a superb reminder of the incredible part that chance plays in the game of football. Had the result of Bentley and Diamanti’s free-kicks been switched between this game and last weekend’s, it would have been interesting to see the final results of the two games. Indeed, had Mannone managed to parry Diamanti’s kick away in the same manner that Almunia did I would be fairly confident that we would beaten West Ham by the same scoreline that we beat Tottenham.

Last week we were criticised in the media for being complacent, switching off and looking lazy while this week we are a Premiership threat. But in reality there really wasn’t too much difference between the games, just that last week the referee made a poor decision and an inexperienced keeper was unable to make a routine save. It’s not a criticism of Mannone, just a reminder that football is often much simpler and less controllable than we make it out to be.

Final Thoughts

The ladder shows us in third spot but with Manchester United and Chelsea facing each other in a top-of-the-table clash next weekend something has got to give. A draw between the pair and a win by our boys against Wolves would see us still in third, but just a point behind  United and three behind Chelsea with a game in hand. An excellent place to be, I’m sure you’d agree?

What’s more, with our game in hand not likely to be played for a while yet we should be able to maintain our underdog status for some time. I found it interesting that the media chose to talk more about Tottenham being found out rather than us being confirmed as title contenders but to be completely honest, the longer that sort of stuff goes on the happier I will be.

The one negative to come out of the game was of course the injury to Bendtner and it has been confirmed by the manager that he will be out for at least four weeks. A terrible blow to a player that is really starting to look the goods but fortunately for the team the ability to play any one of Eduardo, Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Eboue, Carlos Vela or Tomas Rosicky in his place means we probably won’t miss the big Dane too much.

Anyway that’s it. Enjoy the week everyone and if you have any stories from the weekend celebrations be sure to post them on the blog. Up the ARSENAL!

PS. I put down $10 on Arsenal to win 4-1 on Saturday at a hefty $21. So, so close!

Have your say on Arsenal’s 3-0 humilation (hahahahaha!) of Tottenham by leaving a comment.


35 thoughts on “Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham: Still rinsing the beer out of my shirt!

  1. Is anyone worrid as well what happens if Song and/or Vermaelen and/or Gallas could get injured?

    Dont wanna jinx us, but those three are irreplacable with our current squad I think.

  2. Diabe remains an enigma to erratic.
    song has grown in leaps and bounce.
    He was my man of the match

  3. Nice post , arsenal was extremely excellent against spurs ,d match was interesting . Arsenal played lyk a wounded lion , dey taught spurs a footbal lesson , fab & gallas were gr8 in d match.

  4. Awesome Gunners!!! I thought Vermaelen had an excellent game. Everyone was saying that he is not that good in the air. I was hoping to see Nasri though.

  5. the faces of the spuds in that picture is feckin hilarious. good post andy what a weekend, we thrash the enemy and i got a new job. that picture of our bench is brilliant look at wee patrick he is lovin it.

  6. @ Andy, Thomas – Love both links! Eat that, King. Spurs are always talking about how they’re gonna beat us every season and each time they fall short.
    Loved RVP’s celebration for his 2nd goal the most though, like he’s telling those Spurs to keep quiet =P

  7. nice one andy,
    am probably gonna annoy every1 today but i gotta clear this mannone thing up about last week because you just compared it to the save almunia made sat…andy,WHs free went over the wall to the unguarded side of the goal and was a great attempt,mannone did wel to see it late and get there,altho he parried poorly and showed his greeness a little. bentleys free went around the wall to where almunia was STOOD…his line of vision was not impeded and,lets be honest, it wasnt hit wit RvP venom…it was a stand and catch,bread and butter goalkeeping save,he elected to dive exageratedly upwards and turn it over,putting needless pressure on the defense,wot if theyd scored,then its 2-1.
    i just dont get wot ur sayin are you implyin that if manuel was in goal last week we wud not hav lost a 2 goal lead,becos let me tell you almunia wouldnt hav even got to the west ham free kick to begin with…i just cant understand how ur labelling mannones a ‘routine save’ and makin out that almunia has pulled 1 out of the top corner.
    we all know that ur a huge almunia fan mate but,c’mon let him earn his accolades when he actually does somethin and keep it real…let him put in a display like given yesterday and then you can sing about him,theres no need to put doubt in peoples mind bout mannone when hes done so wel of late

  8. @ shambogunner – Not implying that if Mannone and Almunia changed the results would have been different, just suggesting that had the mistakes been made in opposite games then they may have been. Almunia’s save was straightforward and so was Mannone, either keeper could have made either save on another day.

  9. I think the man of the match could have gone to a number of players. Sagna, Fab, Verm, Song, Gallas….
    It was a really good result. Our team has really matured. THey are much more physical, and technical. If there were som criticisms, which you did allude to, they could be of clichy. While he was never really caught out defensively, offensively he was lacking.
    Anyway… I watched the game amongst a man u supporter and two liverpool supporters ( which made their loss very much sweeter) and i had to defend van persies effort as brilliance and not just poor defence. I love Arsenal

  10. @ Shane – Regarding Clichy, I think with Sagna getting forward so often at the moment there’s a natural tendency for Clichy to sit a bit further back. Take Abidal and Dani Alves at Barcelona for example.

  11. Good job lads…though i thought for much of the first half it wasn’t vintage arsenal,of course rednap told his charges not to allow arsenal fluency.Now its reported that keane had an awful lot of stuff to say,like they’ve closed the gap on arsenal!….what’s lost on these morons is that what sets apart arsenal from the rest of premier league is the footballing philosophy we employ; otherwise called the wenger way,its only he who can make an ordinary to a world class,look at chelsea they have all the names but their football is drub.Bring on Alkmaar we have unfinished business with them.CESC FABREGAS,if they are not gonna give this lad the PFA this season,let them not consider him any other time…there isn’t a better player at that position in the whole of premier league.

  12. @andy,
    fair enough mate i think wer just on opposite sides of the fence,and im a bit over-zealous in my opinions,ha
    agree with you bout nic tho,nothin fazes the guy he has unrelenting confidence…when we get theo,nasri,rossy and even vela back fightin fit there wil be some serious competition and i think this is when ul see us kick on and hopefully grab this league by the scruff of its neck,if we win next weekend any result at the bridge wil suit,draw wud be super
    funny how all the pundits are now pointin fingers at each other about who said arsenal would be outside the top 4,same fellas are not slammin liverpool…idiots
    does any1 foresee us doing any business in jan?im not sayin we need to but chamakhs contract is up in the summer and we mite need cover for song…altho i fancy diaby to step in there and it may be the making of him,he was a different player in there sat for the last 15

  13. Great point about Gallas, Andy. He was excellent and Vermaellen too.

    It is a shame about B52 – hopefully Theo won’t be long away from a return and in the meantime we have Nasri and Rosicky who can cover there no problem.

    Also, would just like to put down how pleased I was to see Almunia back. He is our number 1 and let’s hope that position is back to normal. You can’t win a league rotating keepers every game.

  14. @shambogunner. I agree with u to a certain extent. Mannone doesn’t need the kind of criticism that we Arsenal fans labeling against him. yeah he may not have made a mistake that costed us a goal, but compare that with the many saves that he made a few matches back. some of them Almunia may not have been able to save.

    The truth is that, People have a tendency of forgetting the good very fast and not forgetting the bad one does.

    It is also surprising that Andy chose not mention Diaby’s uselessness. For sure if we continue this way it may become costly for us later. Diaby can never improve.

  15. Andy- Great post. I think you are right about us being happy with the underdog position. I think our team has shown in the past that we have a hard time with intense media pressure anyway it ws great to see the boys put Tottenham to rest and I’m glad Gallas had a great game must have been a relief for him. I never would have believed that Toure was the real problem in our central defense glad that capi has proved me wrong!

  16. cons :-
    we need either nasri or rosicky to be fit to play on the other side of the wing….they can deliver the final ball like andrei…
    whereas eboue/walcott/bendtner is still lacking the final ball at times.
    Diaby was a shocker…few times he tried to do too much instead of making the simple pass.

    pros :-
    alex song is a revelation this season. verminator is awesome for a 24 yr old defender. and VP has this fire in him and the maturity/hunger..was good to see him score the goals we normally concede against Drogba.

  17. This game was excellent for three reasons: We didn’t play well the first 40min and were patient enough to simply play our game. The individual ability was on show when things look stale. We kept clean sheet.

    Did you guys see when Wenger threw his jacket? Was he mad because the defenders kept coming up to attack all the time, or he wanted Daiby to stay and help on defense? I couldn’t tell.

    @Andy, you mentioned about us staying underdog is really a good point. That’s the only way we have our players firmly grounded till the end. I’m always worried when our players go out there and make pronouncments and get found out later (Keane anyone?). Arshavin and Clichy should just play the game and let Wenger do the talking, please!

  18. Arsha was way off his game most of the second half (I can’t comment on the first cuz I didn’t walk into the bar until the 40th minute). He tends to let his frustration affect his workrate and attitude sometimes. I haven’t had a chance to watch the match a second time and it may be my personal ‘anti-Diaby’ bias tinting my view, but it seemed like Arsha was getting more and more frustrated every time Diaby touched the ball. Sometimes he would make a good run and Diaby wouldn’t even see him or Diaby’s pass would be woeful.

    Like I said, I could just be seeing what I want to see, but I think Arsha would play more like he did at the end of last season if Diaby was finally replaced.

  19. @medeski,
    thats a great point i noticed RvP do it aswel with diaby when we wer 4 v 3 before wed scored and he overplayed and the chance was gone…its somethin that isnt healthy and unprofessional…but players do it and the boss should see this and in fairness if his lack of ability/under performing isnt enough to see him dropped then the players reactin this way may do it,i mean if wer playin chelsea and he concedes possession as he usually does and the 2 guys just shrug their shoulders and stop then wot sort of state wil we be in…its terrible to say it but with rosicky or nasri in there then everyone is on the same page and we are a well oiled machine baby…but look at abou in the first half sat he looked like a lost child,i mean wher was he playin,he often was in front of arsha and gave clichy no protection…even if AW has given him some role we cant understand ud think he wuda mastered it by now considering hes been givin so many games,hes rarely subbed!!!and it took him 7mins to get the point of wot the boss and pat rice were shouting out at him,i mean come on kid get yourself together or you be a gonner in the summer….
    would like to hear your thoughts andy, i know u dont like coming down on players but he is so inept at times….do you think AW wil giv him a run in songs role after xmas???

  20. @shmbogunner

    I don’t know how Diaby can possibly play Song’s role. Have you seen him slide tackle? I just cringe everytime he goes down to the ground. He will break someone’s leg one of this days. He may turn out to be a great player next season as Song did this year, but man I just trust AW because I can’t understand how he could play so many games so far. As to Arsha, I think he has that awkward body language one minute and terrorizing run the next. So, I don’t read too much into it.

  21. @ shambo – I don’t know how many people will agree with me but the value that Diaby brings to the team is in his unpredictable and awkward nature and his ability to do some amazing things with the ball. He’s a different sort of player to Fabregas and Song because he likes to dribble and play odd passes and I think Wenger likes him because he adds versatility to the attack.

    I’m not saying he’s the finished article or that he’s playing well or not or anything like that, just trying to explain the value I think Wenger sees in him. Personally I see it too and I like the unpredictability he brings with him.

  22. @ Andy I disagree about Bendtner he will be missed,Diaby, Bendtner are our team tallest players we desperately need these two on set pieces which has been our weakness we have great ball players on the ground ,most teams try to attack us in the air,anyway hope B52 is back soon his has improved a great deal this year a few MOM are waiting for him this year.

  23. “While his mate on the other wing Gael Clichy might be struggling a bit with getting forward Sagna is having no such trouble”

    Dude u forgot the 2 interceptions made by clichy followed by his run, which almost resulted in goal scoring opportunities?.. may be he is holding back a bit not to get caught with 2 full backs forward..

    One thing is seriously bothering me- who is the backup for Van Persie ?. I feel he is so important to the team that i cant imagine anyone doing the role he is doing as the target man. May be Wenger will have to change the system a bit then. For all the other areas of the pitch, I feel we have suitable replacements.

    Another interesting thing I observed. Among the big 4 clashes, Arsenal finish all their big 4 matches before february 9,so they have a chance of having a good run towards the end. looks exciting !!!

  24. great point about having 39 points out of which we should atleast have 30-32!
    i think if we can have a good january in the premierleague i dont see why we wouldnt be contesting for the top spot in the league !

    diaby, i dont understand why we would play him when we have nasri, rosicky from the bench and merida, wilshere from the young guns!
    merida in my opinion should get a bit of playing time in the first time coz he seriously deserves it and hes a gem!
    hes not exactly fabregas, hes a silva, wish him luck and i hope he gets the contract and signs it soon.

    and now that nicky is injured, i pray that carlos vela should get a bit of first team action!!!

  25. and by the way did anyone read the arsenal comment on about fabregas being the best midfielder in the world ?
    great article i must say!

  26. Dear Panda berar,
    I’d like to thank you for the entire beer that you enmeshed in my Arsenal shirt on the weekend

  27. As someone who put £20 on a 2-0 win, I was the only person in the pub with his head in his hands when VP got his brace! haha! if anyone else had a bet on the game, take a scooby at this: – it’s from the right2bet petition, showing how much money you could have lost depending on where you happened to be in the EU. The difference in odds is absolutely shocking!

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