Match Preview: Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal
White Hart Lane, London N17 - The World Famous Home of the Spurs
Wednesday 14th April 2010, Kick-Off 22:00
Premier League, Match 33 (34 for Arsenal)
Tottenham Hotspur: 5th in Premier League, 58 points from 96
Arsenal: 3rd in Premier League, 71 points from 99
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Assistant referees: Dave Bryan & Michael Murphy
Fourth official: Stuart Attwell
Tottenham Hotspur face arch-rivals Arsenal in a Premier League match on Wednesday 14th April which is vital for both club's ambitions of securing a good finish to the season as Spurs chase a fourth spot and subsequent UEFA Champions League qualification while The Gunners still harbour title aspirations.
The last outings for both clubs saw Cup knock-outs with Arsenal victims of a masterful performance by Barcelona's Lionel Messi, who scored four goals in the Champions League while Tottenham's hopes of an FA Cup Final appearance were crushed by a dogged Portsmouth side, who had been relegated from the Premier League the previous day, who scored twice in extra time at Wembley in the Semi-Final on Sunday.
Spurs are out to avenge a 3-0 defeat at the Emirates at the end of October but it's been over a decade since Tottenham last took all three points off their neighbours in the League - Steffan Iverson & Tim Sherwood supplied the goals back in November 1999 in a 2-1 win at White Hart Lane. Another home London derby follows for Spurs when they face Chelsea on Saturday and the trio of matches against the current Top Three is complete with a visit to Old Trafford on 24th April.
Last season's two Premier League matches both ended in draws with a thrilling 4-4 draw at the Emirates in October 2008, in which David Bentley, Darren Bent, Jermain Jenas and Aaron Lennon all scored for Spurs followed by a goalless draw at White Hart Lane in February 2009.
Harry Redknapp is without key players for Wednesday night's huge North London derby at the Lane. The manager has ruled out any possible return for both Aaron Lennon (groin) and Jermain Jenas (groin) while Niko Kranjcar joins the injury list after damaging his ankle against Portsmouth on Sunday. Niko will undergo a scan later this week while Harry reported this morning (Tuesday) that Aaron felt sore after training on Monday. Wilson Palacios also misses out as he's suspended for two matches after picking up a 10th yellow card in the FA Cup semi-final defeat at Wembley.
"We've a few injuries and we'll have to wait and see who is available," said Harry before training. "There might be an opportunity for one of the younger lads, that's in my mind at the moment. But we'll be okay, whoever plays." Harry didn't completely rule out Ledley King, who has been out since February 14 with a thigh injury. "He hasn't trained this week, but he's coming out this morning to see how he is."
Younes Kaboul and Kyle Walker return to the fold after being cup-tied on Sunday.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed forward Robin van Persie will return to the squad exactly five months after rupturing ankle ligaments. Alex Song has not recovered from a knee problem in time to play. Arsenal have Andrey Arshavin, Cesc Fabregas, Aaron Ramsey, William Gallas and Kieran Gibbs all on the injury list.
• Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 20 Premier League meetings with Tottenham. It is the Gunners' joint longest top-flight unbeaten run against another team - they also went 20 matches without defeat against Huddersfield Town from April 1928 to September 1937.
• Spurs last beat their North London rivals in the league in November 1999; Sol Campbell was part of the side that won 2-1 at home. Seven of the subsequent nine meetings at White Hart Lane have been drawn.
• Tottenham did, however, thrash Arsenal 5-1 at home in the League Cup semi-final second leg in January 2008.
• Spurs had won five league matches in a row prior to their defeat by Sunderland last time out. They have not lost back-to-back league matches in six months.
• They are unbeaten in their last eight league matches at White Hart Lane, winning their last three. This is their second-longest unbeaten home run under Harry Redknapp - they went 13 home matches without defeat from December 2008 to August 2009.
• Tottenham have only conceded 10 league goals at home this season, fewer than any other club in the division.
• Vedran Corluka is poised to make his 100th Premier League start.
• The Gunners are unbeaten in their last eight league matches, earning 22 points out of a possible 24.
• They have scored in the last 10 minutes in each of their last seven league matches. In total, Arsenal have scored 17 league goals after the 80th minute this season, more than any other top-flight side.
• They have scored a stoppage-time winner in three of their last six league matches.
• The club have won all five league matches in which Nicklas Bendtner has scored this season.
HARRY ON ARSENAL:
Harry Redknapp has shrugged aside any suggestion that physical and mental tiredness might be a factor against Arsenal after Sunday's defeat at Wembley. We take on the Gunners tomorrow night (Wednesday, April 14, 8pm) just three days after playing extra time in a devastating 2-0 defeat to Portsmouth in the semi-final of the FA Cup. It's one of the most important North London derbies of recent seasons as we challenge for fourth place in the Barclays Premier League and Arsenal still fight for the title. Asked how much Sunday's defeat and 120 minutes at Wembley could be a factor, Harry insisted: "This is a London derby and we'll find the energy".
"We did it last year. We played United in the Carling Cup Final on the Sunday, it went to extra time and penalties and we came back and played Middlesbrough on the Tuesday night and won 5-1. We'll be okay. There are no excuses and we'll be ready to play. These matches are always significant. Tottenham against Arsenal is always a massive game for both sets of fans and it's a game we want to win. It will be a tough game. They are a tough side and they are going well, but we're in great form as well. We had five straight wins in the league before Sunderland. We had one of those days against Portsmouth on Sunday. It didn't go our way. That's history and there is nothing we can do about it now. You put it behind you and move on again. That's what you do. You pick yourself up, brush yourself down and start all over again. You can't look back - what happened last week, happened last week. It's what happens tomorrow that matters now. It's another day, another game - a London derby. The adrenaline will carry the players through whether they are tired or not. We're ready for a big game."
LAST MATCH LINE-UPS:
Tottenham Hotspur (L 0-2 AET Portsmouth, Wembley FA Cup Semi-Final)
Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, Bale, Bentley (Kranjcar 79), Palacios, Huddlestone (Gudjohnsen 102), Modric, Defoe (Pavlyuchenko 59), Crouch
Substitutes: Alnwick, Assou-Ekotto, Livermore, Rose
Yellow Cards: Bassong, Huddlestone, Palacios
Arsenal (L 1-4 Agg 3-6 Barcelona, Champions League Quarter Final A)
Almunia, Sagna, Vermaelen, Silvestre (Eboue 63), Clichy, Diaby, Rosicky (Eduardo 73), Nasri, Walcott, Denilson, Bendtner
Substitutes: Fabianski, Traore, Campbell, Eastmond, Merida
Yellow Cards: Eboue, Eduardo, Denilson
Goal: Bendtner 19
MARK LAWRENSON'S PREDICTION (BBC):
To follow later.
Saturday afternoon's match will be the 236th meeting between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal. The two clubs have never met in a Major English Domestic Final.
Here are the results of the previous 235 matches with Spurs' score shown first:
19-Nov-1887 Friendly - H W 2 - 1 unknown scorers 04-Feb-1888 Friendly - A L 2 - 6 unknown scorers 22-Sep-1888 Friendly - A W 1 - 0 Baldock 09-Mar-1889 Friendly - H L 0 - 1 21-Sep-1889 Friendly - A L 1 - 10 Parker 01-Oct-1892 Friendly - H W 3 - 0 Jull, Harston (2) 16-Mar-1896 Friendly - A W 3 - 1 Hunter, Brown, Gilmer og 30-Apr-1896 Friendly - H W 3 - 2 Almond, Clements, Payne 11-Mar-1899 United League6,000A L 1 - 2 Meade 29-Apr-1899 United League5,000H W 3 - 2 Smith, Joyce, Ord og 17-Apr-1900Sth Dist Comb Lge4,000H W 4 - 2 Smith, Pratt (2), Kirwan 24-Apr-1900Sth Dist Comb Lge500A L 1 - 2Pratt (Abandoned after 75 minutes - bad language) 16-Sep-01London League4,000A W 2 - 0 Gilhooley, Brown 23-Apr-02S/CharityCupSF 3,000H D 0 - 0 17-Nov-02London League- A L 1 - 2 Morris (pen) 01-Sep-03London League- H L 0 - 1 10-Oct-04S/CharityCup1 - A W 3 - 1 Brearley, Woodward (2) 28-Apr-06S/CharityCupSF Replay 8,000H L 0 - 5 22-Aug-14War Relief Fund - H L 1 - 5 Minter 04-Sep-15London Comb1 14,879A L 0 - 2 13-Nov-15London Comb1 7,000H D 3 - 3 Travers, Bliss, Steel 04-Mar-16London Comb2 6,000A W 3 - 0 Barton, Banks, Bliss 08-Apr-16London Comb2 7,000H W 3 - 2 Clay (pen), Bassett, Bliss 09-Sep-16London Combination 6,000A D 1 - 1 Bassett 02-Dec-16London Combination 11,000Hi W 4 - 1 Bassett, Banks (3) 06-Apr-17London Combination 5,000Ho D 0 - 0 09-Apr-17London Combination 12,000A L 2 - 3 Rance, Banks 22-Sep-17London Combination 10,000Hi L 1 - 2 Potter 17-Nov-17London Combination 10,000Ho W 1 - 0 Nuttall 12-Jan-18London Combination 9,000Hi W 4 - 1 Walden, Banks, Peake, Chipperfield og 09-Mar-18London Combination 15,000A L 1 - 4 Minter 12-Oct-18London Combination 19,900A L 0 - 3 07-Dec-18London Combination 12,000Hi W 1 - 0 McCalmont 01-Feb-19London Combination 16,000A W 3 - 2 Bennett, Minter, Jack 29-Mar-19London Combination 33,000Hi L 0 - 1 24-May-19Friendly - A D 0 - 0 29-Sep-19Lon Prof Charity Fund 10,000A W 1 - 0 Minter 25-Oct-20Lon Prof Charity Fund 17,436H W 2 - 0 Wilson (2) 01-Nov-20Lon Char Cup 2 14,500H W 3 - 1 Grimsdell, Walden, Banks 15-Jan-21Division 1 39,221H W 2 - 1 Cantrell, Bliss 22-Jan-21Division 1 60,600A L 2 - 3 Smith, Cantrell 14-Nov-21Lon Cha rCup SF 11,000N D 0 - 0 (a.e.t) 21-Nov-21Lon Char Cup SF Replay9,028N L 1 - 2 (a.e.t) Clay (pen) 15-Apr-22Division 1 40,394H W 2 - 0 Grimsdell, Seed 22-Apr-22Division 1 42,000A L 0 - 1 23-Sep-22Division 1 40,582H L 1 - 2 Lindsay 30-Sep-22Division 1 55,000A W 2 - 0 Dimmock (2) 23-Oct-22Lon Cha rCup 1 12,000A L 2 - 3 Handley (2) 17-Nov-23Division 1 50,000A D 1 - 1 Seed 24-Nov-23Division 1 31,624H W 3 - 0 Lindsay (2), Elkes 25-Oct-24Division 1 51,000A L 0 - 1 28-Feb-25Division 1 29,457H W 2 - 0 Elkes, Dimmock 29-Aug-25Division 1 53,183A W 1 - 0 Dimmock 02-Jan-26Division 1 43,221H D 1 - 1 Thompson 18-Dec-26Division 1 49,429A W 4 - 2 Seed, Osborne (2), Handley 07-May-27Division 1 29,555H L 0 - 4 02-Jan-28Division 1 13,518A D 1 - 1 O'Callaghan 07-Apr-28Division 1 39,193H W 2 - 0 O'Callaghan (2) 04-May-31Lon Char Cup F 10,160N L 1 - 2 Lyons (pen) 16-Sep-33Division 1 56,612H D 1 - 1 Felton (pen) 31-Jan-34Division 1 68,674A W 3 - 1 Howe, Evans W (2, 1pen) 20-Oct-34Division 1 70,544A L 1 - 5 Hunt GS 06-Mar-35Division 1 47,714H L 0 - 6 20-Aug-38JubileeTrust 41,997H W 2 - 0 Morrison, Lyman 17-Apr-39Friendly - N L 1 - 2 Duncan 01-Aug-39JubileeTrust 32,702H L 0 - 1 18-Nov-39FL South A 15,000A L 1 - 2 Howe 25-Jan-40FL South A 9,054H L 0 - 1 30-Mar-40FL South C 15,000H D 1 - 1 Medley 24-Apr-40FL South C 4,455A W 4 - 2 Duncan, Morrison (2), Dix 12-Oct-40Reg Lge Sth 4,568H X 2 - 3 Abandoned 47mins (Air Raid) Skinner, Medley 16-Nov-40Reg Lge Sth 1,916A D 1 - 1 Burgess 05-Apr-41FL War Cup 22,107A L 1 - 2 Howe 12-Apr-41FL War Cup 25,258H D 1 - 1 Ludford 03-May-41Lon War Cup 9,651H D 3 - 3 Ward (pen), Bennett K, Gibbons 21-May-41Lon War Cup 6,673A W 3 - 0 Gibbons, Duncan (2) 20-Sep-41London War Lge 17,446A L 0 - 4 27-Dec-41London War Lge 16,777H L 1 - 2 Ludford 07-Nov-42Football Lge Sth 21,551H W 1 - 0 Beasley 13-Feb-43Football Lge Sth 30,690A L 0 - 1 08-May-43Friendly - H L 1 - 2 Ludford 18-Dec-43Football Lge Sth 22,683H W 2 - 1 Beasley, Rowley 22-Apr-44Football Lge Sth 26,330A D 3 - 3 Burgess, Beasley, Martin 02-Sep-44Football Lge Sth 13,625H W 4 - 0 Broadis (2), Ludford (2) 09-Dec-44Football Lge Sth 29,432A W 3 - 2 Gibbons (3) 19-May-45Friendly - H W 4 - 0 Walters, Flavell, Dix, Howe 09-Feb-46Football Lge Sth 38,927A D 1 - 1 Blair 16-Feb-46Football Lge Sth 44,510H W 2 - 0 Hall AE, Whitchurch 25-Jan-47Friendly - H W 2 - 0 Woodward, Hall AE 08-Jan-49F.A. Cup 3 47,314A L 0 - 3 26-Aug-50Division 1 64,638A D 2 - 2 Burgess, Walters 23-Dec-50Division 1 54,898H W 1 - 0 Baily 29-Sep-51Division 1 72,164A D 1 - 1 Murphy 09-Feb-52Division 1 66,438H L 1 - 2 Walters 20-Sep-52Division 1 69,247H L 1 - 3 Harmer 07-Feb-53Division 1 69,051A L 0 - 4 04-May-53Friendly - A W 2 - 0 Bennett, Duquemin 10-Oct-53Division 1 69,821H L 1 - 4 Robb 27-Feb-54Division 1 64,311A W 3 - 0 Walters, Robb (2) 04-Sep-54Division 1 53,971A L 0 - 2 15-Jan-55Division 1 36,263H L 0 - 1 02-Mar-55Friendly - H L 1 - 4 Robb 10-Sep-55Division 1 51,029H W 3 - 1 Stokes (2), Baily 14-Jan-56Division 1 60,606A W 1 - 0 Robb 20-Oct-56Division 1 60,588A L 1 - 3 Smith R 13-Mar-57Division 1 64,555H L 1 - 3 Medwin 12-Oct-57Division 1 60,671H W 3 - 1 Medwin (2), Smith R 22-Feb-58Division 1 59,116A D 4 - 4 Harmer (2, 1pen), Smith R (2) 13-Sep-58Division 1 65,565A L 1 - 3 Clayton 31-Jan-59Division 1 60,241H L 1 - 4 Smith R 05-Sep-59Division 1 60,791A D 1 - 1 Medwin 16-Jan-60Division 1 58,962H W 3 - 0 Smith R, Allen (2) 10-Sep-60Division 1 59,868A W 3 - 2 Saul, Allen, Dyson 21-Jan-61Division 1 65,251H W 4 - 2 Blanchflower (pen), Smith R, Allen 26-Aug-61Division 1 59,371H W 4 - 3 Allen, Dyson (3) 23-Dec-61Division 1 63,440A L 1 - 2 Mackay 06-Oct-62Division 1 61,749H D 4 - 4 Mackay, White, Jones (2) 26-Jan-63Friendly - H W 3 - 1 Greaves (2), Jones 23-Feb-63Division 1 59,980A W 3 - 2 Marchi, Smith R, Jones 15-Oct-63Division 1 67,857A D 4 - 4 Mackay, Smith R (2), Greaves 22-Feb-64Division 1 57,261H W 3 - 1 Jones (2), Greaves (pen) 10-Oct-64Division 1 55,959H W 3 - 1 Robertson, Greaves, Saul 23-Feb-65Division 1 48,367A L 1 - 3 Gilzean 11-Sep-65Division 1 53,962H D 2 - 2 Gilzean, Saul 08-Mar-66Division 1 51,824A D 1 - 1 Posse 03-Sep-66Division 1 56,271H W 3 - 1 Greaves (2), Jones 07-Jan-67Division 1 49,851A W 2 - 0 Robertson, Gilzean 16-Sep-67Division 1 62,936A L 0 - 4 20-Jan-68Division 1 57,885H W 1 - 0 Gilzean 10-Aug-68Division 1 56,280H L 1 - 2 Greaves 20-Nov-68League Cup SF (1L) 55,237A L 0 - 1 04-Dec-68League Cup SF (2L) 55,923H D 1 - 1 Greaves 24-Mar-69Division 1 43,972A L 0 - 1 16-Sep-69Division 1 55,280A W 3 - 2 Chivers, Gilzean, Pratt 02-May-70Division 1 46,969H W 1 - 0 Gilzean 05-Sep-70Division 1 48,931A L 0 - 2 03-May-71Division 1 51,992H L 0 - 1 24-Nov-71Division 1 52,884H D 1 - 1 Chivers 11-May-72Division 1 42,038A W 2 - 0 Mullery, Coates 09-Dec-72Division 1 47,515H L 1 - 2 Peters 14-Apr-73Division 1 50,863A D 1 - 1 Chivers 13-Oct-73Division 1 41,856H W 2 - 0 Gilzean, Chivers 16-Feb-74Division 1 38,892A W 1 - 0 McGrath 19-Oct-74Division 1 36,294H W 2 - 0 Perryman, Chivers 26-Apr-75Division 1 43,762A L 0 - 1 27-Sep-75Division 1 37,064H D 0 - 0 22-Oct-75Friendly/Test - H D 2 - 2 McAllister, Knowles 03-Apr-76Division 1 42,031A W 2 - 0 Pratt, Duncan 09-Oct-76Friendly - A W 2 - 1 Conn, Duncan 23-Nov-76Friendly/Test - H W 3 - 2 Talyor, Greaves (2) 27-Dec-76Division 1 47,751H D 2 - 2 Young, Duncan 11-Apr-77Division 1 47,432A L 0 - 1 22-Nov-77Friendly - A W 3 - 1 Heffernan, Coates, Duncan 12-May-78Friendly/Test - H L 3 - 5 Perryman, Moores (2) 23-Dec-78Division 1 42,273H L 0 - 5 10-Apr-79Division 1 53,896A L 0 - 1 26-Dec-79Division 1 44,560A L 0 - 1 07-Apr-80Division 1 41,365H L 1 - 2 Jones 30-Aug-80Division 1 54,054A L 0 - 2 04-Nov-80League Cup 4 42,511H W 1 - 0 Ardiles 17-Jan-81Division 1 32,944H W 2 - 0 Archibald (2) 02-Jan-82F.A. Cup 3 38,421H W 1 - 0 Crooks 29-Mar-82Division 1 40,940H D 2 - 2 Hughton, Archibald 12-Apr-82Division 1 48,897A W 3 - 1 Hazard, Crooks (2) 27-Dec-82Division 1 51,497A L 0 - 2 04-Apr-83Division 1 43,642H W 5 - 0 Hughton (2), Brazil, Falco (2) 09-Nov-83League Cup 3 48,200H L 1 - 2 Hoddle (pen) 26-Dec-83Division 1 38,756H L 2 - 4 Roberts, Archibald 21-Apr-84Division 1 48,931A L 2 - 3 Archibald (2) 01-Jan-85Division 1 48,714A W 2 - 1 Falco, Crooks 17-Apr-85Division 1 40,399H L 0 - 2 08-May-85Friendly/Test - A W 3 - 2 Crook, Falco (2) 04-Aug-85Friendly/Test - H D 1 - 1 Leworthy 01-Jan-86Division 1 45,109A D 0 - 0 29-Mar-86Division 1 33,427H W 1 - 0 Stevens 06-Sep-86Division 1 44,703A D 0 - 0 04-Jan-87Division 1 37,723H L 1 - 2 Thomas M 08-Feb-87League Cup SF (1L) 41,256A W 1 - 0 Allen C 01-Mar-87League Cup SF (2L) 37,099H L 1 - 2 Allen C 04-Mar-87League Cup SF Replay 41,005H L 1 - 2 Allen C 10-Aug-87Friendly/Test - H W 3 - 1 Thomas, Allen C, Claesen 18-Oct-87Division 1 36,680H L 1 - 2 Claesen 06-Mar-88Division 1 37,143A L 1 - 2 Allen C 13-Aug-88Friendly - W L 0 - 4 10-Sep-88Division 1 32,621H L 2 - 3 Gascoigne, Waddle 02-Jan-89Division 1 45,129A L 0 - 2 18-Oct-89Division 1 33,944H W 2 - 1 Walsh, Samways 20-Jan-90Division 1 46,132A L 0 - 1 01-Sep-90Division 1 40,009A D 0 - 0 13-Oct-90Friendly 14,806A W 5 - 2 Stewart (3), Samways, Walsh 12-Jan-91Division 1 34,753H D 0 - 0 14-Apr-91F.A. Cup SF 77,893W W 3 - 1 Gascoigne, Lineker (2) 19-Aug-91Charity Shield 65,483W D 0 - 0 01-Dec-91Division 1 38,892A L 0 - 2 22-Feb-92Division 1 33,124H D 1 - 1 Stewart 12-Dec-92FA Prem 33,707H W 1 - 0 Allen 04-Apr-93F.A. Cup SF 76,263W L 0 - 1 11-May-93FA Prem 26,393A W 3 - 1 Sheringham, Hendry (2) 16-Aug-93FA Prem 28,355H L 0 - 1 06-Dec-93FA Prem 35,669A D 1 - 1 Anderton 02-Jan-95FA Prem 28,747H W 1 - 0 Popescu 29-Apr-95FA Prem 38,337A D 1 - 1 Klinsmann 18-Nov-95FA Prem 32,894H W 2 - 1 Sheringham, Armstrong 15-Apr-96FA Prem 38,273A D 0 - 0 23-Nov-96FA Prem 38,264A L 1 - 3 Sinton 15-Feb-97FA Prem 33,039H D 0 - 0 30-Aug-97FA Prem 38,102A D 0 - 0 28-Dec-97FA Prem 29,610H D 1 - 1 Neilsen 14-Nov-98FA Prem 38,278A D 0 - 0 05-May-99FA Prem 36,019H L 1 - 3 Anderton 07-Nov-99FA Prem 36,085H W 2 - 1 Iversen, Sherwood 19-Mar-2000FA Prem 38,131A L 1 - 2 Armstrong 18-Dec-00FA Prem 36,062H D 1 - 1 Rebrov 31-Mar-01FA Prem 38,121A L 0 - 2 09-Apr-01F.A. Cup SF 63,050N L 1 - 2 Doherty 17-Nov-01FA Prem 36,049H D 1 - 1 Poyet 06-Apr-02FA Prem 38,186A L 1 - 2 Sheringham (pen) 16-Nov-02FA Prem 38,152A L 0 - 3 15-Dec-02FA Prem 36,076H D 1 - 1 Ziege 08-Nov-03FA Prem 38,101A L 1 - 2 Anderton 24-Apr-04FA Prem 36,097H D 2 - 2 Redknapp, Keane (pen) 13-Nov-04FA Prem 36,095H L 4 - 5 Naybet, Defoe, King, Kanoute 25-Apr-05FA Prem 38,147A L 0 - 1 29-Oct-05FA Prem 36,154H D 1 - 1 King 22-Apr-06FA Prem 38,326A D 1 - 1 Keane 02-Dec-06FA Prem 60,115A L 0 - 3 24-Jan-07League Cup SF (1L) 35,485H D 2 - 2 Berbatov, Baptista og 31-Jan-07League Cup SF (2L) 55,872A L 1 - 3 (a.e.t) Mido 21-Apr-07FA Prem 36,050H D 2 - 2 Keane, Jenas 15-Sep-07FA Prem 36,053H L 1 - 3 Bale 22-Dec-07FA Prem 60,087A L 1 - 2 Berbatov 09-Jan-08League Cup SF (1L) 53,136A D 1 - 1 Jenas 22-Jan-08League Cup SF (2L) 35,979H W 5 - 1 Jenas, Bendtner og, Keane, Lennon, Malbranque 29-Oct-08FA Prem 60,043A D 4 - 4 Bentley, Bent, Jenas, Lennon 07-Feb-09FA Prem 36,021 H D 0 - 0 31-Oct-09FA Prem60,103A L 0 - 3
LAST TIME WE MET...
Arsenal 3-0 Tottenham Hotspur
Emirates Stadium, Premier League, Saturday 31st October 2009
Arsenal emphatically swept aside claims from Tottenham that they were ready to challenge the supremacy of their north London rivals with a convincing victory at the Emirates. The game turned inside 11 seconds shortly before the interval as the Gunners struck twice to set up a victory that gave manager Arsene Wenger 1000 Premier League points since his arrival at the club in 1996. It also ended any hopes Spurs may have harboured of ending a winless league sequence against Arsenal that now stretches back 20 games. Boss Harry Redknapp would have been satisfied with how his side had coped with Arsenal's threat until they imploded spectacularly as half-time approached.
Robin van Persie reacted quicker than Ledley King to meet Bacary Sagna's cross in the 42nd minute, but Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes should have done much better than fumble the ball over the line. And worse was to follow for the visitors straight from the kick-off when Wilson Palacios gifted possession to Cesc Fabregas, who ran through the heart of a static defence to beat Gomes. Any lingering optimism that Redknapp's side could follow in the footsteps of West Ham and claw back a two-goal lead against Arsenal was snuffed out by more crass defending that saw the hosts add another on the hour. Referee Mark Clattenburg played a clever advantage after Benoit Assou-Ekotto had fouled Eduardo and, while Spurs inexplicably waited for a whistle that was never going to come, Sagna set up Van Persie for his second from eight yards.
Robbie Keane had insisted, perhaps unwisely given the timing, that they now had a squad capable of competing with their neighbours. But it soon became clear that the absence of suspended Jermain Defoe, injured Aaron Lennon and long-term casualty Luka Modric had robbed Tottenham of a crucial cutting edge. Arsenal had absentees of their own with Theo Walcott and Tomas Rosicky again sidelined, but they coped with their losses more convincingly than Spurs. The vast swathe of empty spaces in the visitors' section, well before the final whistle, told the story of another day of derby disappointment for their half of north London. And, as the Gunners performed their passing party pieces in the closing stages - when Eduardo should have added a fourth - Spurs's misery was complete as defender Sebastien Bassong pulled up with a hamstring injury.
Wenger recalled Manuel Almunia in goal with Lukasz Fabianski sidelined by a thigh injury and Vito Mannone relegated to the bench while Spurs gave starts to Peter Crouch and David Bentley. The former Arsenal man, so often a marginal figure in his Spurs career, appeared over-eager to prove a point in the early stages and was fortunate to be spared by the leniency of referee Clattenburg. He escaped a yellow card for deliberately handling a clearance and then received only a lecture when a late lunge left defender Thomas Vermaelen requiring lengthy treatment. Spurs keeper Gomes has been dogged by inconsistency - as he was to subsequently prove - but he showed his best side when he saved superbly from Fabregas after 20 minutes when Andrey Arshavin's effort deflected invitingly into his path off King.
Arsenal were forced into a change two minutes later when Nicklas Bendtner, who had made a bright start, signalled to the bench that was struggling with an injury and limped off, to be replaced by Eduardo. Wenger later said Bendtner can expect to be out "for a while".
The away side were surviving in relative comfort and even threatened to prosper as the Emirates crowd started to show signs of frustration, but they gifted Arsenal control of what had been a tightly contested game in a minute of madness shortly before the interval.
Slack marking from a throw-in allowed Sagna to cross for Van Persie to beat King and steer in a near-post finish which left question marks over Gomes, who allowed the ball to squirm through his grasp. As the Emirates basked joyously in the breaking of the deadlock, matters became considerably worse for Spurs as Palacios was robbed straight from the kick-off by Fabregas, who waltzed through unchallenged to fire a composed shot low past the exposed Gomes.
The gap between the goals was timed at 11 seconds - and in that space of time, the destiny of the three points was decided. Spurs needed to find a way back into a game in which they had self-destructed, and Bentley almost provided hope with a long-range free-kick turned over the top in acrobatic fashion by Almunia. Then, as if to confirm their defensive incompetence of the first half was by no means an accident, Spurs switched off fatally once more as Arsenal extended their lead with a third goal on the hour. As the linesman flagged for a foul by Assou-Ekotto on Eduardo, Spurs defenders stood around obligingly as referee Clattenburg played a splendid advantage. Sagna took advantage with a ball into the box that was bundled home by Van Persie.
Keane was hauled off to a reception liberally sprinkled with mockery as Redknapp took the desperate measure of introducing Roman Pavlyuchenko. Arsenal were revelling in the time and space they were being afforded and Eduardo was guilty of squandering an opportunity to make it four when he shot wide with only Gomes to beat after being released by Fabregas. Tottenham simply indulged in damage limitation until the final whistle - but many of their aspirations have now been placed in context, after they failed to seriously test an Arsenal team they believe they can beat to a place in the Premier League's top four.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:
"It was the kind of game where both teams lacked fluidity in the first 25 minutes. We took advantage of two opportunities and that changed the game completely - it could have been four or five. We should have scored more. The back five did very well, we didn't give any chances away and during a difficult period of the game they kept us in it. But any mistakes and your opponent can take advantage of them, and we did that. It was a shock for them to concede the first goal and we took advantage of the goal. Our club deserves a lot of credit - a derby is a very different game no matter how good you are, but it shows we can prepare and turn up for the game every time."
Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp:
"On 42 minutes I felt the crowd were getting onto them, they weren't creating anything worth talking about, and I felt very comfortable. I'm looking up at the clock with three minutes to half time and thinking we've done our job. I could see us certainly getting a big result. But it all turned upside-down. We switched off from a throw-in, then gave them the ball back, we're 2-0 down and the game's over. We committed suicide, really. All three goals were scandalous, there wasn't a good goal amongst them. Giving Fabregas the ball from the kick-off was Sunday morning football. We've not hit a blip - we got beaten by Arsenal today but we've got 19 points and we'll still be right up there at the end of the season."
Almunia, Sagna, Vermaelen, Gallas, Clichy, Diaby, Fabregas, Song Billong, Arshavin (Eboue 78), Van Persie (Ramsey 86), Bendtner (Eduardo 37)
Substitutes: Mannone, Senderos, Gibbs
Yellow Card: Vermaelen
Goals: Van Persie 42 & 60, Fabregas 43
Gomes, Bassong, Corluka (Hutton 86), King, Assou-Ekotto, Bentley, Huddlestone (Bale 55), Jenas, Palacios, Keane (Pavlyuchenko 65), Crouch
Substitutes: Button, Dawson, Woodgate, Kranjcar
Yellow Card: Crouch
Referee: Mark Clattenburg, Attendance: 60,103