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Spurs learn silence is golden

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Phil McNulty | 18:52 UK time, Saturday, 31 October 2009

Robbie Keane's boast that Tottenham were now the equal of Arsenal sounded like optimism gone mad even before they met at the Emirates. It had a ludicrous ring after Arsene Wenger's team delivered emphatic evidence of the gulf that still exists.

Keane had added time to consider his ill-judged elevation of Spurs' aspirations when he was removed early from an encounter that was 42 minutes of hard-fought north London derby combat and 48 minutes of one-sided Arsenal domination.

Nothing wrong with talking up your team, but Keane learned a harsh lesson that it is always best to talk big after first backing up your words with deeds.

Spurs failed to do that and the Emirates, unsurprisingly, battered Keane over the head with all the derision at its command when he was removed after 65 minutes.

The big surprise came as Spurs boss Harry Redknapp sat in the Arsenal media theatre and refused to believe the evidence of his own eyes, announcing: "There is no gap between the clubs in my opinion."

Arsenal celebrate their opening goal as Robbie Keane (left) looks on
Arsenal celebrate their opening goal as Robbie Keane (left) looks on

Sorry Harry. You can make a compelling argument on most football matters, but no-one was swallowing this one.

Redknapp, in his defence, had a point when he claimed Spurs had the game under control for 42 minutes - but their pretensions at a top-four place (and consequently the argument propagated by Keane) is undermined by their tendency to then lose comfortably to the top teams.

Spurs have now conceded three goals in each of their meetings with Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. Hardly a cause for crisis but evidence that Redknapp's renewal of Spurs still has some way to go.

Redknapp was also right when he suggested Arsenal's fans were turning on their team at the very point Spurs conceded, or to be more precise gifted, two goals.

There was some real old chuntering sweeping around the Emirates until Spurs lightened the mood by allowing Robin van Persie to score after the small matter of failing to switch on at a throw in, failing to defend a cross from Bakary Sagna, and then watching goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes make a lame attempt at a stop.

If this was not galling enough, Spurs then proved it was no fluke within seconds as Cesc Fabregas robbed Wilson Palacios from the kick-off and was almost given a guard of honour towards the goal to complete the formalities.

Game over. Arguments about equality dead in the water. Spurs have now failed to beat Arsenal in 20 league games and Keane may be well-advised to take a vow of silence before the return.

Van Persie's second, the result of more defensive dawdling after referee Mark Clattenburg's superb utilisation of the advantage rule, merely set the stage for an Emirates gloat-fest and an opportunity for Arsenal to indulge in a few passing party pieces.

The empty spaces in the visitors' section of the Emirates as the seconds ticked away told the tale of an afternoon that put the current state of Spurs in its true context. Moving forward, but steady on the hype - especially from their own players.

The strength of Spurs' squad in comparison to Arsenal was central to Keane's claims, but they could not cope without the pace afforded by Aaron Lennon, the suspended Jermain Defoe and the craft of Luka Modric. The trio would have made a serious difference to an attacking game plan that appeared to involve little more subtlety than utilising the height of Peter Crouch.

And the players introduced when Redknapp tried to make changes did not present a glowing advert for their strength on the margins, with Roman Pavlyuchenko and Gareth Bale contributing little.

It was a tough afternoon for David Bentley, restored to the side against his former club and exposed to the taunts of Arsenal's fans.

Cesc Fabregas scores Arsenal's second goal against Tottenham
Cesc Fabregas scores Arsenal's second goal against Tottenham

He was by no means Spurs' worst performer, although he opened as if his shorts had caught fire on the way out of the tunnel, starting with a madcap deliberate handball, a wild tackle on Thomas Vermaelen and an ill-fated attempt to recreate his spectacular goal at Arsenal last season.

There remains a good player in there trying to get out. Whether this version of Bentley emerges at Spurs remains to be seen.

Tottenham are improving under Redknapp. They are perhaps not improving as fast as they think they are. Don't get me wrong - Spurs have a real chance of making the top five and Redknapp will no doubt make additions in January, but they are not as good a team as Arsenal and there is no shame in them admitting it.

Better times lie ahead for Spurs under Redknapp. At this stage of the redevelopment, though, they are not better than Arsenal.

Arsene Wenger was in buoyant mood, revelling in Arsenal's "serious" side and as proud of a clean sheet as he was about the goals.

Not all was well in Wenger's world, however, when his jacket went flying even with the reassurance of a 3-0 lead, explaining: "I couldn't communicate with the team because of the noise of the stadium. I'm not used to that."

Was that a lighthearted swipe at the inhabitants of the old Highbury "library"? Surely not.

Arsenal were not fluent, but Wenger is right to insist they can have genuine title ambitions in what is fast becoming a maverick Premier League season when it comes to results. Chelsea and Manchester United hold sway, but Arsenal are in the mix - make no mistake.

Wenger was also missing some gifted attacking talent such as Theo Walcott, Tomas Rosicky and with Samir Nasri on the bench as he makes his way back to full fitness.

And the jewel in Arsenal's crown is Fabregas, the grand manipulator of football matches, a master dictator of tempo and the man that makes it all happen.

Asked if there were many who could make matches march to his own beat like Fabregas, a smiling Wenger said: "No. That's why he plays for Arsenal. The first time we saw him play at 16 he had those certain things you cannot teach players."

Fabregas still has "those certain things" - and has added much more besides.

I asked Wenger whether the words from the Spurs camp provided an added incentive, but he said: "The good thing is football is about performance not opinion. Everybody can have an opinion, but what is important is what happens on the pitch.

"Robbie Keane cannot say they are worse than us because it's part of the preparation of the team, but it is about performance not opinion."

And the satisfied Wenger then departed, delighted that Arsenal's performance spoke more eloquently than any other opinion.

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  • Comment number 1.

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  • Comment number 2.

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  • Comment number 3.

    First off Phil, every defence and team can have an off day. So why base your assement of Spurs progress on todays performance when you refuse to do the same for the performance of Liverpool week in week out?

    Spurs may not yet be the equal of Arsenal, but Liverpool still trail in their wake in the league! And as both teams have had injuries to key players that can't be used as an excuse, as I say they may not have threatened Arsenal today, and I don't think they will over the season, but they are currently one of the many teams showing your Liverpool for the title prediction is looking more and more misguided by the week, they way they are playing they'll be lucky to make the CL next season!

  • Comment number 4.

    spurs will always be spurs behind arsenal just wait and watch when harry houdini redknapp leaves. Southampton west ham Portsmouth in a great financial not Tottenham are next

  • Comment number 5.

    Sort out the defence, and the title should surely be heading Arsenal's way...the kids are grown enough now :-)

  • Comment number 6.

    I don't know about anyone else, but I'm sick of football at the moment.

    Sick of the kneejerk nonsense, sick of the 'three strikes and yer out' attitude, sick of the total lack of any long-termism, sick of the endless highs and lows from the media as if there's no in-between, sick of the uninformed, sick of the informed being caught up in the moment, sick of whining fans, whining managers, whining players, sick of billionaire owners, sick of smartarsiem.

    I don't even know whether we were rubbish or not (the scoreline and two sendings-off suggest we were), I'm so sick of it all.

    I never thought I'd see the day I'd be sick of football - perhaps it's just because I'm sick?

  • Comment number 7.

    I'm no Spurs fan but as demonstrated by Man United last season, the position you finish in the league isn't always determined by how you do against the (other) top four teams, but by how you do against the rest.

  • Comment number 8.

    And if Rafa had an ounce of sense he'd get out of LFC NOW and never look back.

    And not because of the current situation - I'd be absolutely gutted if he left, personally - but simply because the man deserves better.

    I'm a proud Liverpool fan, as is Rafa a proud Liverpool manager.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    Robbie Keane knows Spurs aren't quite at Arsenal's level yet especially when they are missing their main 3 attacking threats in Modric, Lennon & Defoe. But he has to show they are not intimidated or frightened of their arch rivals before the game.

    The usual top 4 have had many years of champions League football, bringing in more income & the added prestige of being in europe's top competition. Its easier to attract the best youngsters n quality internationals if your a team that's always in the CL every year.

    Spurs don't need to beat Arsenal to finish above them this season. Spurs beating Liverpool won't guarantee finishing above them this year, although more likely than finishing above Arsenal. There's the top 3 & the next 4 going for 4th spot it seems.

  • Comment number 11.

    Fair do's to you mind, McNulty - picking out the Spurs game when the Liverpool one was obvious to have fun with.

    If you're not careful you'll have people thinking you've swapped the blue for red.

  • Comment number 12.

    wow, is this guy really a journalist. My bet is he's a gooner. So are Man utd 'miles behind' liverpool after the defeat last week. Really talk about an over reaction!

  • Comment number 13.

    i think today proved that ledley king is not nearly as good as people think. to those people who say he would be in the england team without his injuries, did you see him today when he came against a good striker (van persie).

    as a liverpool fan, i wish that spurs could have defended, or generally played, half as bad against us on the first day of the season. arsenal were clearly so far ahead of them, and spurs should think twice before comparing themselves to their rivals.

  • Comment number 14.

    Keane was made to eat humble pie today - it will be many years before Spurs are at Arsenal's level, if ever.

  • Comment number 15.

    "i think today proved that ledley king is not nearly as good as people think."


    Pure and simple.

  • Comment number 16.

    It does say a lot, mind, that Harry Redknapp can spend as much as he does and not a word is said up until now.

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    Good blog, I am sure that even the most optimistic Spurs fans didn't believe they would get a result today. Phil, like you rightly said Spurs were missing their three most influental players of the season so far. If you took Fabregas, Van Persie and Vermaelen out of the Arsenal side I think they might start struggling for results too. Are the gifted attackers Wenger has really that good? Arsenal's recent lack of silverware suggests not. I think you should concentrate more on Redknapp's team selection today, Jenas & Bentley for me have little to offer to the team other than to pose for the cameras, should Ledley King really be "wheeled out" for games of this magnitude? To get Spurs to the next level will require some big decisions by Harry.

  • Comment number 19.

    ach, u could have commented on harry having a hissy fit when being interviewed, whiny little kid cos things never went his way :) good blog ;)

  • Comment number 20.

    I'm shocked that anyone's having a go at Ledley King, given the fact that he hardly trains, plays every other two games and is almost a cripple (in footballing terms).

    I've always been surprised that, given his well-documented injuries, that he is even considered a top PL player anymore - it's not as if he can be relied upon week in, week out.

    King is one of the few players I have respect for - although, to counterbalance that statement, we'd all, as young lads, destroy our bodies for a few million quid.

    Is he going to think it was worth it in twenty years time, when he's in a wheelchair?

    Again, it goes back to the destruction of the game on the plinth of cash.

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    morningjean, you're missing the point.

    It's not that Spurs lost to Arsenal but as Phil says fairly clearly, they've failed to beat Arsenal in the last 20 encounters. Add that on to the fact that they have not been competitive enough with the top teams in head to head (And he was fair in saying 'not just yet')

    It's 10 games in which is about the right time to make reasonable suppositions on league positions (As oppose to the poor pundit/predictions at the start of the season...were they being coached by Keane?)

    Spurs are doing pretty well. They are still ahead of City (until tomorrow at least)and Liverpool.

    BUT as McNulty rightly points out, as feeble as Arsenal seem at times, we are in with a shout this season.

    Well done Phil.

  • Comment number 23.

    Wenger should be applauded more than he is because he has kept Arsenal comfortably in the top 4 for years on a budget that is a fraction of that of the main rivals both inside and increasingly outside the top 4. I agree with Spurs fans who make the point that you cannot judge a teams season on one game. However, if you judge it on the past few years then you realise that Spurs have been in this position many times, where they have threatened the top 4 and fallen away at the crucial time. Villa did it last year, and I'm sure someone else will do it this. The fact is that for a team outside the top 4 to finish in the top 4, one of the current top 4 needs to have a shocking season and the team outside the top 4 needs to overachieve. Look at Liverpool at present, they seem to be in awful shape, yet they are right in their with Spurs and Man City, who seem to be having a great season!

  • Comment number 24.

    The funniest thing about this is, most people on here will have watched the matches on free internet telly.

  • Comment number 25.

    How long until football is treated like music?

    5 years?

  • Comment number 26.

    3-0 didn't flatter Arsenal, though the goals were gifts from a pretty woeful Spurs defence. Yet as an Arsenal fan, I wasn't sitting comfortably until the 85th minute or so - the horror show of last season, when Arsenal were similarly in control and wound up conceding two late goals, was fresh in my mind.

    I think it's pretty poor that so little has been made of the performance of Song today. He was the best I've ever seen him, shutting down Tottenham attacks left, right and centre and always available for a pass when Arsenal were under pressure. Less impressive was Diaby, who was utterly clueless for 60 minutes, losing the ball at the slightest hint of a tackle and not showing any desire to win it back. Hopefully once Nasri, Rosicky and Walcott are all fit we can have the likes of Diaby and Eboue as backup.

    Whether or not there's a gulf in class between the two sides, I'm not sure. In fairness, Spurs were missing their two best players: Modric and Defoe. But Keane's "strength in depth" comments really did come back to haunt him - Huddlestone was completely anonymous, Keane likewise, Crouch worked hard but needs specific conditions to flourish. And Bentley failed to cause the kind of problems that a fit Lennon would pose. Arsenal meanwhile were missing key talent, but their wealth of attacking firepower means that they will score goals, regardless of who is missing. More concerning would be the loss of a CB; the last thing any Arsenal fan wants is to see Senderos back in the first team.

  • Comment number 27.

    i wasn't saying earlier that i don't have respect for King, but i think it's unfair that fans expect so much from a player who has never really delivered against a great player. i don't think a player who doesn't train with the rest of the team should be around for too long anyway. i recommend that spurs choose a new captain soon, or they could suffer from not having a regular captain on the pitch, and training with the team.

  • Comment number 28.

    I honestly hope, as a Liverpool fan, that Spurs overtake Liverpool this season.

  • Comment number 29.

    Footy's a kids' game now, with the wall to wall coverage where they don't have to think or analyse or just live with it - they're told to.

    I'm 40 in two years' time - I'm already sick of being told what to think.

    Be it football or, more importantly, the world around me.

    I've never done the latter.

    People - just stop it.

    Take back the game - sexual assault cases resulting in jail time is down to us, the punters, letting these idiots do it because they make staggering money.

    Who has allowed them to make staggering money?

    You and me.

    Not these idiots on the BBC - they get it free, with all the perks.

    You're being toyed with.

  • Comment number 30.

    How old is Phil anyway?

    You're being told by people who are too old to

    a) Understand the audience

    b) Following a BBC line.

  • Comment number 31.

    And can anyone tell me why there is such a thing as cencorship on the BBC?

    Moderation is one thing, but this particular site is censored.

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    thanks for your comments.Good article, and I am glad that the Arsenal let their football do the talking. Even after the victorious match, RVP wouldn't be drawn on this issue. I feel for Spurs though missing Lennon and Defoe which made it easy for Arsenal to press the ball high up the pitch without worries about pace.
    As a gooner, it is encouraging to see something positive from your blog about the Arsenal. I have long given up on expecting any positive comment from BBC pundits. Even when Arsenal, have blown away teams at home and even away this season, the comments have been focused on the poor defending of the opposing team and no comment on the great attacking prowess of the Arsenal. It seems that teams have tended to defend abnormally poorly this season when playing the Arsenal this season, which seems to me a big coincidence or Arsenal being 8 times lucky! Although I have red and white tinted spectacles, my view is that Arsenal have not looked like losing any game this season (including the Manchester games)apart from the Fulham game which they won.
    So far this season, Arsenal (and Chelsea perhaps) is proving to be the best team going forward in the league and I don't think they get enough credit for this from BBC pundits and other journalists.I feel the title fight will be between Arsenal and Chelsea (as I predicted pre-season) especially if they (Arsenal) sort out their attack/defense balance in their new formation. I think Man U will come in a close in third and Liverpool will do well to get the fourth champions league place. However its only a third of the season gone, so i'll keep a golden silence and let the football do the talking.

  • Comment number 34.

    Arsenal fan here. I for one was impressed with Totenham today and have them down to finish ahead of Liverpool who, in my opinion, will continue to struggle. Managers come out and talk about turning points alot and the play of chance is often understated in these debates. I am sure that Arsenal's starting 11 is stronger than Totenhams and we certainly have a much stronger bench but Totenham made several very poor individual errors today, which flattered us somewhat. It is clear from the match stats that we deserved the win but Totenhams performance for the first 40 minutes had me worried and without their 3 best attacking players. Did anyone see Perry Groves assessment of the game today? I am so tired of pundits harping on about how we lack a good holding midfielder,SONG, SONG,SONG,SONG. Is the guy invisible? I, like most right minded football fans have been very frustrated at Wenger for persevering with him in the past but he has been immense for us for so long now. Ho much did Totenham pay for Palacios? I think he is a decent player but better than Song? Not in my opinion. Arsenal to finish 2nd, Totenham top 5, as for Liverpool. . .

  • Comment number 35.

    Arsenal have been very good this season. In fact they might have been the best team so far this season even better than Chelsea. I do agree that Spurs are not better than Arsenal but they look in much better shape than Liverpool. I think Citeh, Spurs or Villians might pipp Liverpool for the 4th place.

  • Comment number 36.

    Another poor piece of journalism.

    What is it with 'mind games' and analysing quotes to death?

    The way you wrote it Phil one would've thought this was the last game of the season or a cup game.

    Finishing in the top 4 is just as important beaten the Arsenal.

  • Comment number 37.

    I am so angry about the BBC dragged to the level of the football fan.

  • Comment number 38.

    LOL @ SPurs....Even your own manager summed you up "Sunday Morning Defending"

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 40.

    Beyond The Pale

    I think you have some major issues in your life and you seem to use this blog to vent them. I think this is just a trivial football blog about the recent big game and where it leaves the teams. You claim that the dumb football public is paying for the lifestyle of debortuary the modern footballer has but you say you are a Liverpool fan, so are you too paying for them to have it?

    I think you are insulting the intelligence of the people reading this. You seem to assume they are all sheep following the latest trend and have no opinion of their own. This blog and others like it are set up to create debate. I admit the BBC can be very PC sensitive and I have had posts refused for what I though were just a few humorurs comments. Opinions are like backsides, we all have them but some stink (in my opinion).

    Just remember this is just a game. We pay for entertainment, should it be movies, concerts, fun parks or football. Sure some get very rich from it and maybe we envy the fact that low educated (not all however) footballers get paid massive amounts of money but that is the way of the world.

  • Comment number 41.

    Not related to the article, but I need to get this off my chest: every year, for many months, we do not have a Barclays Premier League table with all teams having played the same number of matches. This year, at the end of October, we have eight teams who have played one match less than the other 12. This is because four matches from the “second round” had to be postponed due to teams’ commitments in the Champions League and the Europa Cup. Sometimes it takes up to December or even the following year to play these matches.
    This gives the BPL, which has good claim to be the world’s top football league otherwise, an amateurish look. I find it strange that this situation doesn’t seem to bother anyone, whether it’s the clubs, fans or sports journalists.
    There is little one can do when matches have to be postponed due to weather conditions, or towards the latter part of the season with the Carling Cup final and FA Cup semi-finals. But we’re always starting on the wrong foot when this can be avoided. Why not play these matches upfront, that is, during the week between the Charity Shield and the first round of matches?

  • Comment number 42.

    "Tottenham are improving under Redknapp. They are perhaps not improving as fast as they think they are. Don't get me wrong - Spurs have a real chance of making the top five and Redknapp will no doubt make additions in January, but they are not as good a team as Arsenal and there is no shame in them admitting it.

    Better times lie ahead for Spurs under Redknapp. At this stage of the redevelopment, though, they are not better than Arsenal."
    All of the above is true and I have no complaints about the factual content of this article. I do, however, have a problem with what's been left unsaid, for example that Spurs are currently fourth in the table despite their deafeat and have a real chance of finishing there whether they make January signings or not.

    I'm annoyed by the consistent refusal on these pages to concede that the real failure of the season so far has not been Arsenal or Spurs but Liverpool, who do not have a divine right to a top-four spot. Arsenal meanwhile are looking every bit as strong as Utd and can overtake them after their game in hand - so much for Chelsea and United holding sway.

  • Comment number 43.

    BeyondThePale mate why you leaving so many comments, get a life. Also as a Liverpool fan why you want people to finish above them this season, no matter what is happening at our great club you should want them to finish as highly and strongly as ever, instead of hoping they fail just to prove your stupid little point

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    Redknap has got West ham and Southampton relegated and Portsmouth broke. I thionk spurs can expect the same. There no where near the standard of the gunners and never will be under Redknap, he will spend your money and leave, just like he has done all his career, I forget Bournemouth they had to be sold to the supporters.

  • Comment number 47.

    Redknap has got West ham and Southampton relegated and Portsmouth broke. I thionk spurs can expect the same.


    I'm pretty sure West Ham got relegated under Glenn Roeder...

  • Comment number 48.

    Any thoughts on Liverpool Mr. Mcnulty?

  • Comment number 49.

    He's not a gooner, and stop picking on him he's a scouse.

    PHIL YOU FINALLY WROTE ABOUT ARESENAL!!! Yay I'm so glad you've taken positive steps to expand your horizons in life. Good blog though.

  • Comment number 50.

    46. At 04:31am on 01 Nov 2009, reidy978 wrote:

    Redknap has got West ham and Southampton relegated and Portsmouth broke. I thionk spurs can expect the same. There no where near the standard of the gunners and never will be under Redknap, he will spend your money and leave, just like he has done all his career, I forget Bournemouth they had to be sold to the supporters.



    So Bornemouth are broke now because of his actions 20 years ago and not the intervening managers and backstage staff that have come and gone since then?

    West Ham were relegated after he'd left and they're broke because they decided to sell the company to some Icelandic bloke who lost all his money to the banks.

    Southampton had many years where they barely escaped relegation and the year they'd ran out of luck could have happened on anyone's watch. As it was he only wound up there because he had a falling out with Mandaric at Pompey

    And as for Portsmouth? Why wasn't the chairman or the directors vetoing his more expensive transfers and wages for players if it was crippling the club?

    Why not Bring up the ongoing saga with Carlos Tevez and the hammers while you're at it? It has nothing to do with Redknapp but that hasn't stopped you elsewhere.

  • Comment number 51.

    Good blog. And to the guy that was talking about cash from champions league. Well it might have some truth but go take a look at how much spurs have given out to buy players over the past few years compared to arsenal! Spurs arent better than arsenal, its just a simple fact! And hopefully if we keep this up and sort out a few things as Phil says then we might just end up with the title!

  • Comment number 52.

    I'm sick of peoples' comments on these blogs. Seems we have a lot of wannabe journos out there. Why can't we make conclusions from one game? And Spurs have shipped 3 against man utd, arsenal&chelsea. So you're all saying that's top four quality???

  • Comment number 53.

    when you say spurs had the game under control for 42 minutes, the implication is that they were running the game which just wasnt true. They defended well like they set up to come and do regardless of harry's promise of attack attack attack. They tried to contain arsenal and succeeded for 42 minutes but football is 90 minutes and they could not keep it up. I also have a problem with the no defoe, no modric, no lenno = no spurs. Keane calimed they could match us pound for pound and on the evidence of the talent deputising for spurs, Crouch = 10 million pounds, Bentley = 16 million pounds, keane = approx 16 million pounds, i mean... we on the other hand had Van P = 2.5 Million albeit bought some years back, Bendtner, not sure we paid anything for him and only one player in the midfield and attack that we paid more thean 500k for, Arshavin. I think Harry should learn to shut up and try to improve his players the way arsene has done not claim arsene is not responsible for the players we've got

  • Comment number 54.

    Phil, anyone who read your blog without actually seeing the game would think there was a huge gulf in class between both teams.There wasn't.Arsenal got lucky in that Spurs switched off at a crucial point in the game. You seem very quick to discredit other teams while choosing to remain silent on the performance of Liverpool, the team you tipped for the title only a few months ago.

  • Comment number 55.

    And this highly anticipated game, the media having previous games plastered all over their websites and in print all week, was still behind the Portsmouth game on MOTD! Is it Lineker?

  • Comment number 56.

    why is it that when arsenal play less like they normally do, its a big deal. Last weekend, we drew at westham and it was like the end of the world, it was a terrible disaster etc. manu drew fortuitously at home against sunderland and... zilch. i actually beleive that all the doomsday predictions by the journalists about how wenger was a raving lunatic for not spending 29 million on a player that will get injured on the first day of the season and play a total of 14 minutes the entire season are in danger of falling apart and they just cant live with it so anytime we draw or lose, it is a catastrophe. When manu, chelsea or evemn liverpool lose then it was cos all their players and their dogs were injured. There's just no justice is there which is why we gunners are going to be smiling all the way at the end of the season watching you guys eat gunnerpie

  • Comment number 57.

    Arsenal fan here.

    #40, great comment, hope BeyondThePale has shut his trap now.

    Tottenham is a good team, but it needs to tweak a lot of things to challenge for a CL spot.

    White Hart Lane has to become a fortress-with all due respect, losing to teams like Stoke at home won't help.

    Moreover, defensive lapses have been suicidal for Spurs many times this season, dunno if it's because of injuries, or that's how the defenders are, coz King, Woodgate and Dawson are on the treatment table a lot, Corluka can be a little bit slow, Assou-Ekotto can suffer some suicidal lapses (see last week vs Stoke or yesterday's 1st & 3rd goals). Bale & Hutton sadly can't impress either 'Arry or me.

    Palacios is a good defensive MF on his day, unfortunately his mistake led to Cesc's goal. Huddlestone seems to focus more on passing the ball around, which is better than his tackling, which should improve for a guy as scary-looking a s him.

    But Spurs are a great team going forward, but they're better passing the ball and utilizing pace more than yesterday's one-dimensional route-one football. They have to get their offensive tactics right.

    As for Arsenal, great performance yesterday, although Diaby was so anon and Song started a bit sloppy but improved...I was so gutted for Bendtner who started so well only to pull his groin...he's one of my favourite players at Arsenal, and I'm not happy he'll be out for a while, according to Wenger that is.

    I pray to God that we avoid injuries at all costs, and that we keep more clean sheets and score aplenty. With some players coming back from injury, I'm optimistic of winning something this season, whatever it is.

  • Comment number 58.

    Had beyond the pale been out to drown his sorrows after the Liverpool defeat? World class ramblings.

    Fair Play to carragher for even considering the interview. As a utd fan it was sweet justice in a way as I feel the red card came a game too late....

  • Comment number 59.

    Spurs may not be anywhere near Arsenal, Chelsea or United but what about Liverpool.

    Now that anyone who's using common sense can see that Liverpool will indeed not win the title (it was obvious the moment Alonso left that they wouldn't contest the race) it gives a chance for Liverpool biased writers like yourself to take a step back and look at other sides.

    Sadly this is just a rather obvious and unnecessary article, maybe an attempt to vent your fustration at Liverpools performance by making fun of some other team.

    Will Liverpool qualify for the CL next season Phil? City aren't going away......

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    I actually thought Spurs held their own for 42 minutes yesterday, but without Lennon, Defoe and Modric looked pedestrian up front. Robbie Keane had a bad day all round.

    Ledley King typified the Spurs display. Fine until the goal (or goals!) and then poor.

    Let's hear from Spurs fans. Has yesterday forced you to readjust expectations, or were you always cautious anyway, despite the good start?

    And Arsenal supporters, when we spoke to Arsene Wenger afterwards he was supremely confident they can make a serious title challenge. Is he right to be so bullish?

    One point that should be cleared up. Harry Redknapp made it clear to us he never said Arsenal could not win the Premier League. He insisted he was asked who he thought would win it - he said Arsenal were contenders but that if he was a betting man his money would be on either Chelsea or Manchester United. Fair enough.

    Could not agree with his statement that there is no gap between the clubs. There is, but it is also the result of 13 years of managerial stability. There is a lesson there about the hasty disposal of managers, Martin Jol for example.

  • Comment number 62.

    Yes Phil, AW has all reasons and resources available to make a decent title challenge. Just avoid injuries, especially to key players.

    On the other hand, having Liverpool blogs every week would be a bit of a bore-there was a London derby which Phil HIMSELF was covering, so naturally he would blog on it. Of course ManU fans think he's escaping writing on 'Pool just bcoz they lost-it's as if the league revolves round the 'Pool slump and Benitez shambles' storyline, while there's lots beside.

    Open your eyes.

  • Comment number 63.

    Re 61 - why not address the many Liverpool tittle aspiration comments? Unwilling to admit you are badly wrong and now compounding the error?

  • Comment number 64.

    for so long I have waited for the flurry of praises that is well deserved of an Arsenal team.........sadly i guess today was not that day.
    When Arsenal win games its because other teams have had an off day, when Chelsea win or Manchester utd win games, they are the hallmarks of champions.
    I would concede that Arsenal has not won the title in a while and although this is not an excuse but they have received no encouragement to do so, while Man U and Chelsea receive all the encouragement especially when they have a loss of form. This players are human and i suspect like the rest of us read the rubbish that is thrown out there by you journalists.
    Now on the game - Those who say that Arsenal are no where without fabragas, van persie and Vermaelen, should watch the Carling cup match against Liverpool!!
    Every arsenal player has improved over the last season and I will be back to rub it in all your faces when a trophy makes its way to the Emirates this season, until then sadly i have to contend with this after every match.

  • Comment number 65.

    5 reasons why Arsenal are bigger and better than spurs:

    1. Arsene Wenger is a far better manager than Harry Redknapp

    2. Spurs dont have players in the mould of Rosicky, Fabregas, Nasri and Arshavin who are proven internationally. Defoe, lennon , keane (failed at inter milan and liverpool ) are over rated. Besides, any player will chose Arsenal over spurs on equal terms.

    3. Spurs do not have the history and mentality of a big team.

    4. Harry will continue to spend even when the team is playing well. He gets tired of his players easily and does not support them enough (Bent, Pavlyuchenko, Bentley etc)

    5. Arsenal's youth system is the best in the league. That means, for every Fabregas and Walcott leaving, There's a Wilshere and a Ramsey!

  • Comment number 66.

    Don't be fooled Spurs only held there own for 42 mins because Arsenal were considerably below par.

    Maybe if Spurs had been a little more positive they would have been able to take advantage of Arsenals lacklustre display, instead after producing one of their worst home displays of the season they went into the break 2-0 up.

    Obviously this relaxed Arsenal who improved netting another calamitous goal to make 3 before letting themselves down trying to be too clever when they could have easily added another couple.

    Spurs can't really be judged too much on this, Modric, Lennon and Defoe would have added a new dimension to their game.

    The truth is, they never had a chance of getting a result given the players that were missing and it's now fairly obvious that Chelsea, United and Arsenal are the leagues best sides.

  • Comment number 67.

    Phil, I am glad you have toned down your comments from the original hysterical nonsense. Tottenham were poor in midfield yesterday. Ledley had his first poor game in ages, just shows the class of the guy that it got so much notice. We are still missing a stable core in the centre of midfield. As for adjusting expectations, it is the media that talk people up so they can knock them down again. As Harry said, we will be there or there abouts.

  • Comment number 68.

    @ Phils comment 61:

    "Holding their own" for 42 minutes isnt enuff...Im sure Bayern Munich will remember that from 99.

    All i saw from a very poor Spurs side yesterday albeit Defoe/Lennon/Modric all out but then Arsenal where without Walcott/Rosicky/Nasri...Was a total by-pass of the midfield (im sure Tottenham gave up with Bentley) Gomes>>>>LB/RB>>>>>Hoof to Crouch...

    If thats plan B when players are injured then its not a good plan...

    Swiss Tony will spend again....Dead wood will go....Bentley/Pavalchenyko/HUddlestone/Bale/Hutton....And it just becomes a never ending circle of naff buys, over hype, and the usual "At least we have english players" comments that spurs fans drivel out year on year

  • Comment number 69.

    'I actually thought Spurs held their own for 42 minutes yesterday'

    Will someone explain to me what that means? I mean so what.
    Chelsea beat Bolton by 4, does that mean Bolton held their own for 86min. And I guess Blackburn held their own for 88min. Woopee.

    In the begining of the season Arsenal were accused of being too young and inexperienced, even though the same squad has been playing Champions League football for the past couple years. Until when are you too young?

    Then they said the midfield needs muscle. Really? So, they don't like Fabregas?

    Now they say, Well the other team (that just lost by 3) did well for 42 min and then slept. Really, Is it too much to say that they just couldn't keep up with Arsenal's pace and concentration on Total Football.

    Is it too much to say that Arsenal have grown as a team and have as much claim to win the whole thing as Chelsea and Man U. instead of saying that they may win it if the others don't!

    Even though Chelsea is doing so well now, could they really keep it together to the end of the season (a season full of international football), I mean Arsenal maybe young but the age things works at the other end of the spectrum too.

  • Comment number 70.

    I'm a Spurs fan and to be honest was somewhat apprehensive about the Arsenal reaction to Keane's comments. I do think however that we have the best chance in nigh on 20 years to finish in the top 4 this season. Harry has indeed spent a lot of money, but he's spent it wisely, bringing back Defoe, bringing in Crouch for something a bit different and getting rid of the poor players bought by past managers - Taarabt, Boateng etc.

    We are winning much more away from home, which for Tottenham is a big step up. We've always been strong at the Lane but are now picking up points when we are playing away. I don't think its a massive problem that we've lost to three of the top 4 this season - apart from those three we've only lost to one other team - Stoke - when on another day we'd have scored four or five if we'd had the rub of the green.

    Personally I think we will finish 4th below Man U, Chelsea and Arsenal (although I would be hard pressed to say in what order those three will be). When we get Defoe, Lennon and Modric back we will be a totally different proposition for teams, and I honestly think we would have won yesterday with those three.

    Credit to Arsenal though, they played well and as much as it pains me to say it, I think they are in with a shout for the title if they can keep it up.

  • Comment number 71.

    "Harry Redknapp made it clear to us he never said Arsenal could not win the Premier League. He insisted he was asked who he thought would win it - he said Arsenal were contenders"

    Now you've put your foot in it Phil. You (the media) twist everything any player or manager says, especially when it comes to "writing each other off". You all love it and it makes a great story.

    In fact the headline on the bbc website was "Harry says Arsenal can't win the Premier League". Indeed there was a similar story last year on this very site "Rio writes off Arsenal" when in fact, as Arsenal were about 15 points behind, he'd said it would be very hard for them to win the PL. Fair enough (as you now say without even a tongue in your cheek). Absolutely amazed you even commented on it.

    Anyway, let's be honest Spurs were just about holding their own. Barring a superb save from Gomes and some wayward shooting could have been 1-0 down at least before RVP scored.

    Yes, having Lennon, Modric and Defoe out was critical but that now just makes Robbie Keane look even more foolish as he was comparing squads. And his comment about being just a smidgen off Arsenal was also ill-advised. If one would care to look at the total points difference in the league between the two teams for say the last 5 (Arsenal's poor period) let alone the last 10 years.

    As to Arsenal's prospects I think most Gooners would agree cautious optimism is the way forward. No gloom and doom and no euphoria. Although I have to say, I do see it being one of us and Chelsea for the title. But Chelsea will take some pipping to that post.

    I don't like to finish on a negative but unfortunately I have to say Abou Diaby was absolutely atrocious for the first half. The groans were solely and squarely aimed at him, that much was obvious. He was abysmal. He has now had a long run in the time and failed to convince even his most ardent supporter. Personally I'd have Nasri, Rosicky, Denilson and even Ramsey ahead of him to play alongside Cesc and Song. Hopefully Arsene has now seen this and he is relegated even beyond the subs bench.

    Ok, I'll finish on a positive. The defence, including the much-maligned Almunia, was sensational yesterday. Absolutely terrific from Sagna and his dangerous crossing, Vermaelen and Gallas and their stalwart defending to Clichy and his compsoure and interceptions. Wouldn't rate any of them below a 9.

  • Comment number 72.

    Best quote all season from 'Arry, "...all three goals were scandalous, there wasn't a good goal amongst them."

    Actually the quote should read;

    "All three goals were scandalous, there wasn't a good goal amongst them.
    All three goals were scandalous, there wasn't a good goal amongst them.
    All three goals were scandalous, there wasn't a good goal amongst them."

    Nice that your match summary is an evaluation of the quality your opposition goals, all three of 'em.

  • Comment number 73.

    Bolton held their own yesterday for 44 minutes even better than the Spurs' 42 minutes.. What does that tell us?
    The fact is Arsenal underperformed yesterday. I can't remember when we misplaced so many passes like yesterday. Bendtner got injured. Rosicky was not playing, Nasri was not playing and Walcott was not playing. Walcott could have done really BIG damage to Spurs yesterday with his pace. Spurs should consider themselves lucky they escaped with 3-0. And this was only because we were too cautious because last week we threw away a 2-0 lead. We did not want that too happen again especially against Spurs and last year with the 4-4. That is why Wenger was furious ans his jacket went flying....

    Lucky Spurs

  • Comment number 74.

    #71 - Spot on about Diaby. I wasn't at the game, but I nearly had a heart attack every time he was given the ball in the first half. His indecisiveness makes him easy to tackle, despite his enormous size, and yet he never seems particularly eager to win the ball back. I would rather Eboue start ahead of him, and that's saying something.

    If all were fit, I personally would go for Nasri over Rosicky or Ramsey to take his place. Nasri has an incredible engine and puts in 100% every game, and though only a little bloke, he doesn't neglect his defensive duties to the same extent. I also think Bendtner is coming on quite well. Not to the extent he himself seems to believe, but he could be a decent workhorse for us with the capacity to score goals - not worthy of many starts but a possible choice for more physical encounters.


    Sagna Gallas Vermaelen Clichy

    Fabregas Nasri

    Rosicky Arshavin

  • Comment number 75.

    Spurs start to the season is no fluke. They held their own in the first half and were unlucky to go in 2 down at halftime. The fitness of Modric will be critical to their season. Not quite a top four team yet....but very close.

    Can Arsenal win the title? Absolutely. They look the biggest threat to Chelsea at this stage.

  • Comment number 76.

    The only performance that was worse than the Spurs defence was Mark Clattenburgs, he seems to be getting a little bit of praise for his decision to allow the advantage to be played for Arsenals 3rd goal but lets be clear.

    David Bentley should of been taking an bath after 10 minutes.

    Deliberate handball and an real nasty challenge 4 mins later.

    The ref had a shocker.

  • Comment number 77.

    As an Arsenal fan, Chelsea is definitely the best team. But they slip up without reason. We were better and lost in Manchester both games. Fair enough. We are better than Man U, who were very very weak against a Blackburn team you should hammer at home (Arsenal 6-2, Chelsea 5-0, etc.) Man U lacks real quality. Rooney is not having a good period (that is what happens with hypes) and the team lacks last years backbone. Arsenal are creating goals every game. Could still break the 100 goal mark. It should have been 6 yesterday. Many of the goals we conceded this season were flukes, consolations or mistakes by keepers and Clichy (Man City) There is no systematic problem with our defense and yesterday showed it: Vermaelen was brilliant, so was Sagna, and the rest were more than adequate.

    I never hated Spurs like most Arsenal fans cause I am Dutch, and they have a very nice squad. But the remarks from Keane and Redknapp are idiotic, cause they are not even close to Arsenal. On current form Arsenal is the best in the land with Chelsea. Spurs can finish fourth of fifth this season and that would be great, though they spend a lot of money.
    Liverpool are poor. Against a terrible United they showed fight (and luck) and against Arsenal in midweek they were outclassed but grafted a few chances with hard work. They did not fight against Fulham and should start worrying about the Champions League, both for this year and next. Idiots like Alan Hansen, the Guardian, the BBC, Mark Lawrenson and basically everyone said they would win this year. That is just fooling yourself. The squad is thinner than that of Sunderland or West Ham, and the only players Liverpool have that would get in Arsenal of Chelsea's team on current form are Gerrard, Torres and Reina (neither teams need Johnson) That is just poor.

    Interesting battle for first and second, maybe with Man U as well but I think they will be third, and then a battle between City, Villa, Spurs, Liverpool for 4th. Sunderland will have a word to say about it as well if they keep playing like they do.

  • Comment number 78.


    I'd generally agree but would sub in Walcott for Rosicky. When he is in the team we have another dimension of searing pace down the right flank.

    So I'd line up as per your team but with Walcott in and Rosicky covering any of Cesc, Nasri, Walcott or Arshavin. Not to mention Bendtner, Eduardo, Ramsey, Wilshere, Eboue, Denilson, Merida and any of the all-conquering Youth team as midfield/attack back-up.

    Gibbs and Eboue, and even Traore, provide ample cover at full-back but CB is our weakness for able deputies. Senderos blows hot and cold although....whisper it (very) quietly, Silvestre was pretty good in the CC. Still, doesn't mean he could hold his own in the PL I guess.

  • Comment number 79.

    To pauljimmyn...I've not toned down my comments at all actually. I stand by all of them from yesterday - or at least I hope I have.

    I agree with the poster who commented on Bendtner. I thought he looked excellent until his unfortunate injury and it is sad he will now miss a month.

    Still unsure about Arsenal's goalkeeping strength. Never been convinced by Almunia. Is that fair, or do one of either Mannone or Fabianski got what it takes to establish themselves as first choice?

    On Spurs, I felt Robbie Keane looked off the pace yesterday. When all Harry Redknapp's attacking resources are available, who should he play? I'd be interested to hear the thoughts of Spurs fans on that one.

  • Comment number 80.

    "If this was not galling enough, Spurs then proved it was no fluke within seconds as Cesc Fabregas robbed Wilson Palacios from the kick-off and was almost given a guard of honour towards the goal to complete the formalities".

    What? He received the ball 50 yards from goal, beat 3 players and produced a composed finish. A guard of honour it was certainly not- once again the media this season take the shine of any arsenal performance by blaming the defence of the opposition.

    Arsenal probably could have had a lot more than they did, and eduardo certainly should have at least scored once, but 4 or 5 may have been harsh on Spurs because they did contain Arsenal for the first half, and werent completely out of the whole game. However, for a team challenging for the top 4, it did seem a bit like the rearguard action similar to Blackburn's display at Old Trafford a few hours later.

    Arsenal are definitely in with a shout for the title. A game in hand win (if it ever comes) will take them 2nd- the Stamford Bridge showdown for Man U and Chelsea next weeks and Arsenal vs Chelsea at the Emirates at the end of November are now massive games- by then we may see a better picture of how close the title race will be. Tottenham, yes they had 3 key players out, but so did Arsenal, not to the same extent, but that more highlights the squad depth of Arsenal rather than tottenham's "misfortune" (nice one robbie keane).

    Arsenal will keep doing what they are doing. Unfortunately I sense, so will the media.

  • Comment number 81.

    Judging by the performance of Liverpool (as a Liverpool fan!) I still feel that tottenham can break into the top 4, yes you may think that they don't have the right mentality and lack that finishing touch but the pose a bigger threat than liverpool. Without gerrard torres johnson aqualiani agger and reira Liverpool look a mid table side. I feel that if tottenham can just keep their confidence high and not let Stoke and arsenal get into their heads than they can get that 4 spot

    Saying that Liverpool seem to like playing catch up after making machester united having to play well on the second to last game, I feel that if Liverpool can form a confident side theirs no doubting they will challenge again for the PL.

  • Comment number 82.

    Slightly off topic, but im really not sure why any "football expert" thought the title would go to Liverpool. They have one really good striker and that's it, by all accounts Spurs have the much better strike force, and if they can evolve mentally, Liverpool may struggle to stay top 4. The warning signs were there for 'Pool last season, and the neccessary improvements weren't made. When Veronin is your next best option, how can you seriously be contenders? No excuses for Rafa either, Owen was there, waiting to be signed, and he would have been a bigger signing for Pool, than Man U.

  • Comment number 83.

    Also, anyone else annoyed by Gary Lineker's question on MOTD: Rooney, Drogba or Torres? Van Persie is at least as good as Rooney and on better form than Torres. Shearer actually has the brass neck to say Rooney, whilst Drogba for me has been the second best player of the season (behind Fabregas) It just shows being English is a plus on MOTD and Arsenal are alwys going to be underappreciated.

  • Comment number 84.

    Typical negative reporting. Arsenal outplayed a strong Spurs squad with two good goals at the end of the first half that, had one or both of them not gone in, may have seen a totally different complexion to the second half. Arsenal earned their victory, Spurs are still a decent side who will likely end up above Liverpool this season.

  • Comment number 85.

    Theres two big differences to two teams.

    One aims to win the PL title.

    One hopes to finish in the top 4.

    Arsenal and Tottenham both had injuries but only won team looked like they could cope well without them.

    Also it has to be said during the "42 mins of spurs holding their own" they did NOTHING. If playing for a draw for a spurs side is the objective then there is little to be proud of from Harry.

  • Comment number 86.


    I think Walcott's inclusion should be more dependent on whom we are playing. He certainly hasn't got Rosicky's guile, or ability to score from distance, but lightning pace is certainly something we should value. If we were, for example, playing Chelsea, I'd go for Rosicky, as they squeeze the play more and have fast full-backs. Against Liverpool I'd probably favour Walcott, as their defence is pretty sluggish.

    CB and GK are our only real worries, I would say, though an injury to Song would pose some interesting problems. The loss of Vermaelen could be catastrophic - I have zero faith in Senderos or Silvestre, and even yesterday, we saw flashes of Gallas's tendency to panic under pressure (whacking a clearance into Sagna for example).

    Phil - Almunia isn't good enough. But that's not to say we should drop him in favour of Fabianski OR Mannone, as he has experience over the two of them even though there isn't much between them in terms of ability. He also has a bulkier physique that (when his confidence is high) allows him to be (slightly) more convincing when coming for the ball. I would dearly love Wenger to sign a proven keeper in the January window, but there really aren't many top draw keepers around. Maybe Reina will become unsettled at Liverpool (tongue firmly in cheek)!

  • Comment number 87.

    hmmm Lennon would have made a difference if he had played, my memory serves me well that the last few years lennon has been at spurs he has played against arsenal and did they win?
    same argument for modric, he played in the 4-4 draw last season, same result spurs did not win, i guess the argument would be that if he did spurs would have drawn the game.
    as for jermain defoe how many goals has he scored against an arsenal side in his career?
    Tottenham has a chance in the return leg to prove that they are better than arsenal, at least this would be in their home ground, i remember last season with arsenal down to 10 men could still not register a win.

    Moving on....i guess its time to start building up to the carling club clash between arsenal and manchester city.
    The return of an arsenal squad to take out revenge for the humiliation the suffered at manchester city earlier this season, will lightening strike twice!!
    wow, i sound just like one of you lots!! really relishing the prospect!

  • Comment number 88.

    Phil, I know what you mean about the keepers. They are all about the same except that Mannone and Fabianski are younger and have the potential to get even better, yet Almunia when first choice has also had a great run of games in the past.

    What has struck me this season is the evolution of the Arseanl way of playing to a higher and exciting level. It is not so much about the formation, as under Wenger a solid formation has never been uppermost in his mind. It is more about the swapping of player's positions during the game. In the past the forwards would swap from the left to right flanks and vice versa throughtout the game.

    Two seasons ago Wenger flirted with the idea of doing the same with the midfield and Fabregas in particular was given more freedom and not coincidentally had his best season for scoring goals and some of them were beauties. The departure of Flamini in particular meant that Cesc had to become a more holding midfielder to cover the defence. The arrival of Arshavin in January saved Arsenal's season to give that midfield creativity.

    That the likes of Song and Diaby can now provide the midfield stability allows Fabregas and Arshavin to be the playmasters with Cesc given complete freedom to go wherever he wants. Almost the ultimate attacking midfield libero. In a sense it is evocative of the Dutch "carousel" that was unveiled in the 1974 World Cup except that the all the Arsenal players are exceptionally fit and run and run the whole match.

    Wenger is right to talk up his chances for silverware. What does become interesting that as the Arsenal way continues to evolve will the current crop of players still be as attractive to other clubs that continue to play plodding football or their coaches are not as open minded as Wenger. In other words could a Cesc play in a rigid 4-4-2 formation with less freedom? Would he want to?

  • Comment number 89.

    Well writen Phil. During the build up to this game anybody would of thought that Spurs have actually done something special to back up their claim. A Milk Cup and a relegation battle for most part of last season then all of a sudden they think their in a position to overtake a team who the y have never beaten in the League and who's club has been run by the same Manager who's seen 7 of theirs walk through a swinging door.

    They whipped up a media frezy and the comments from Robbie kean were very unprofessional and very disrespect and Arry, Robbie and the rest of their Merry deluded men got just what they deserved.
    A good beating from an Arsenal team who have been finishing Top 4 consistanly while rebuilding.

    Spurs got caught up in their own hype and when it came to the day the whole world sussed it out that Spurs can TALK THE TALK BUT CAN'T WALK THE WALK.

  • Comment number 90.


    Yes, good points. Vermaelen for me is the form CB in the league. Personally I'd push Song back into CB and bring in Denilson at DM, but definitely not ideal.

    It's a shame we aren't using the CC to test Ayling and Bartley, our two young CBs, rather than reassuing ourselves that Senderos and Silvestre are two average performers, prone to lapses in concentration.

    Almunia is the best of an average bunch and I'd agree, would prefer a top quality keeper in there, not sure who though. Akinfeev's name is one that crops up but don't know too much about him. From closer to home, the reserve keeper at Villa is getting good reviews....?

    Does anyone know when the ACON starts? Is it after the Jan transfer window opens? I could see a surprise signing if we lose Song to this tournament, someone to cover CB and DM. Very unlikely but I wonder if Arsene would bring in Vieira til the end of the season as cover then move him into a coaching role. I'd like to see Eastmond, Coquelin, Frimpong or another young protege come into the squad but probably too early for them.

  • Comment number 91.

    Talk about Lennon and aaaaaallllllll the other excuses.
    An Arsenal first choice 11 would rip spurs to peices.
    Just count yourselves lucky Eduardo was off colour or it would of been 6 or 7.

    Anyway, i thought Spurs had greater depth?

  • Comment number 92.

    To Gooner231...a fine run by Fabregas for the goal but aided by some of the worst defending you will ever see at any sort of professional level of the game. Straight from the kick-off?

    I asked Redknapp whether any team he had ever managed had conceded a goal in that manner and he told me they hadn't. Wenger reckoned Fabregas took advantage of the fact that Spurs were in "shock" after Van Persie's goal.

    Call me negative - which I assume you will - but they major contributory factor to the goal was defending, notwithstanding the outstanding ability of Fabregas.

    And as examples of my "negative" slant on Arsenal I give you: "Arsenal were not fluent, but Wenger is right to insist they can have genuine title ambitions in what is fast becoming a maverick Premier League season when it comes to results. Chelsea and Manchester United hold sway, but Arsenal are in the mix - make no mistake.

    "Wenger was also missing some gifted attacking talent such as Theo Walcott, Tomas Rosicky and with Samir Nasri on the bench as he makes his way back to full fitness.

    "And the jewel in Arsenal's crown is Fabregas, the grand manipulator of football matches, a master dictator of tempo and the man that makes it all happen.

    "Asked if there were many who could make matches march to his own beat like Fabregas, a smiling Wenger said: "No. That's why he plays for Arsenal. The first time we saw him play at 16 he had those certain things you cannot teach players."

    "Fabregas still has "those certain things" - and has added much more besides."

    Not sure what is negative about that. And I still say Arsenal were not at their most fluent - and more significantly Wenger also said it.

  • Comment number 93.

    squirrel1913, not to mention the small fact about Arsenal winning the Premier League Title in their back yard.

  • Comment number 94.

    " Everybody can have an opinion, but what is important is what happens on the pitch. "

    Spot on as per usual Aresene.

    As a gooner these are the sort of words I like to read.

    I think RK was a tad overawed when asked to give an informed and interlectual reply as to the gulf between the two sides.

    " And Arsenal supporters, when we spoke to Arsene Wenger afterwards he was supremely confident they can make a serious title challenge. Is he right to be so bullish? "

    Most certainly he is. To sit in third spot and banging in the goals, these are not just 1-0 wins, they are playing with flair and perhaps at long last belief. Agreed, they also are sorta shipping a few, due to mommentary lapse's of reason, but then so have the chavs. As for the GK position, well, as the saying goes, you work with what you have, we have three decent keepers i do not envisage any moves to tinker with this position, I do however see the defence still needs to be beefed up a il and this will no doubt happen in Jan.

    Arsenal's Title chances are right on course but there is a long long way to go.

    makes a change to read a blog about Arsenal as well, with the odd manc and scouse chipping in of course for even they must be sick of reading the same recyled words on the woes of both teams.

    Rock On Arsenal.

    Shine on Arsene Wenger.

  • Comment number 95.

    Such a predictable result.

  • Comment number 96.

    I was at the game, and it wasnt really a feeling of turning on the arsenal team before half time, it was more the creeping in of the simple errors like passing to a player in a white shirt which will frustrate any supporter. I fely the atmosphere was much more like what it should be every week, plenty of noise, lots of excitement, a little less of the "library" feel about things.

    Spurs appear to have a lot of depth in their squad, but it is a bit premature to be saying that they match arsenal, the fact that even if their defence did have a bad day was an excuse, the fact that despite a few good tackles from the boys at the back, the arsenal goal wasn't that threatened. The meagre 5 shots on target from spurs, that were mostly straight at the keeper just simply enough to claim a top 4 foothold.

  • Comment number 97.

    "Could not agree with his statement that there is no gap between the clubs. There is, but it is also the result of 13 years of managerial stability. There is a lesson there about the hasty disposal of managers, Martin Jol for example."

    Man Utd were torn apart last week. So by Phil's logic Man Utd are a second rate team and Vidic the most over rated defender.

    Does Phil need reminding where Spurs are currently in the league?

    Bad day at the office. Harry will forget about it and move on after learning from mistakes.

  • Comment number 98.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 99.

    Two points.

    Firstly, Why isn't there more confusion in the Arsenal defence when Mannone plays. Surely, the cries of 'Man on!' would be distracting.

    Secondly, A victory against any of the top four in the last two seasons isn't as rare as it once was and isn't necessarily an indication of how a season goes and is more often down to discipline, organisation and tactics.

    Thirdly, there is definitely a pack forming behind the top four with Man City, Spurs and Villa leading the way. Spurs and Villa need to look to emulate the Arsenal way and in Harry Redknapp and Martin O'Neil they've got managers who have proven they can build teams. Man City will likely follow the Chelsea route. Mark Hughes, as good as he is, may be destined to be their Claudio Ranieri and to get to the next level they will need to bring in another manager. Key to these three teams improving is silverware and Europe. They need to win something this season or next or qualify for the Champions League to stop star players moving on and to cement the potential shown.

    There has never been a better chance for domestic success than this current season. That fourth Champions league spot looks more achievable than ever at the moment. At Liverpool's expense ironically.

  • Comment number 100.

    Robbie Keane...

    What are you on about? Saying your bench (Tottenham's) is stronger than Arsenal's bench?

    Yes, Arsenal are missing 3-4 key injuries at this momment. But if you were to bring all theinjuries back from Arsenal and Tottenham then you will find Arsenal's becnh will be much stronger.

    Look at who is in the treatment room at the momment.

    - Nasri isn't fully fit, but has made a brilliant recovery.
    - Walcott is crrently injured, clearly a key player within the Arsenal
    - Rosicky too! That is 3 key attacking midfielders with flair, and they
    on their day can come up with anything to give Arsenal the 3 points.
    - And Bendtner just gone out. He isnt consistent, isn't anything
    magical, but does have a strikers instinct towards goal.

    Robbie didn't consider that did he?

    Well Robbie, I will repect that Modric, Defo and Lennon are all out. But lets be honest Lennon... doesn't perform "Outstadingly" week in-week out does he? Defo I will admitt, quality. Give ya 15-20 goals no problem. Modric is superb. But then they wouldn't get in the Arsenal's starting line up.

    As Andy Gray mentioned before the North London Dery kicked off at the Emirates. All of Arsenal's team have experience of the Champion'sLeague. And they also know wat it takes to finish in the top four with the last 10 season's roughly theyhave been in and amongst top 4 or higher.

    Harry, and Robbie are just covering for their own actions. Harry said all the 3 goals Arsenal scored Tottenham gifted to us.
    - But infact take this into account; Arsenal wouldn't have scored those goals if tottenham's sloppy defence put them on a plate for Robin. Van Persie's 2 and Fabregas would they? So it is their own fault for 2 of the goals.

    1st Goal... Lack of concentration from a poor Tottenham defence. Their own fault,give crdit to r.v.p for putting the chance way; Still Gomes could have prevented it couldn't he. See his save, it was a comfortable height for Gomes to save. He fumbeled it in over the line. Tottenham's fault, (for harry) don't blame Arsenal's fukeyness for out-classing Tottenham yesterday lunchtime. It was your own fault.

    2nd Goal... Again poor, poor, poor from Palacios. Giving the ball away with-in seconds after the kick-off. Fabregas nicked it, got past the sliding Palacios. Walkd past ledley King, who is over-rated and passes it into the net. Poo from Tottenham's point of view.

    3rd and Final Goal... Poor from Bassong or King which-ever. Colliding with Gomes, lack of co-operation of who was going to take over the ball. This is a schoolboy's error. Gifted it perfectly for r.v.p to pass into an empty net.

    I think Chelsea will seal top-spot this season.

    I also think it will b tight, between Arsenal and Man. Utd going for 2nd place, maybe just Arsenal edging it by the way they have started he season.

    Then probably Man. Utd as i was explaining.

    Liverpool will be lucky to get 4th, with Torres and Gerrard injury prone.
    - Tottenham look the real deal this season, could even get betetr than the scoucers and tke their th spot.

    Man City won't be fat behind.

    Tottenham and Liverpool will have a massive fight between them over who will get that 4th spot this season...

    And this season has been so open for years. o it is harder to predict the key points of the rest of this long season.

    Verdict... Harry, and Robbie stop moaning, Arsenal out-classed you in the second half.

    If you keep up. You will take Liverpool. I don't believe Liverpool have the strength in depth this season since losing Xabi Alonso, and with Torres and Gerrard always being injured.

    Spurs... consider yourself with a chance for 4th. But stop moaning; Arsenal know how to win these type of games.


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