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Parker lifts Spurs as rivals Arsenal struggle

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Phil McNulty | 06:23 UK time, Monday, 3 October 2011

Harry Redknapp persuaded Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy to sacrifice his strict laws on simple football economics to give him the gift he wanted all summer by gambling on signing Scott Parker.

While Redknapp admits his pre-season was spoiled by the saga of Chelsea's interest in Luka Modric, he also spent time successfully convincing Levy that Parker was the man who could glue the parts of this gifted Spurs side together and return them to the Champions League.

Redknapp revealed it was not an easy task - but the early signs are that Levy, a tough negotiator and shrewd financial manager, may end up thanking his manager for getting him to take the punt on Parker.

In among the poison pouring from sections of both sets of supporters at White Hart Lane, a thrilling football match broke out and Parker's influence and midfield presence as Spurs beat Arsenal 2-1 was immense.

Redknapp explained how he had to work overtime to get Levy to sanction a deal to bring the 30-year-old, who was on a lucrative contract at West Ham United, to Spurs in a £5m deal.

"It wasn't an easy one for me to sign him," said Redknapp. "It wasn't an easy one for the football club but he was always the one I wanted from day one. It wasn't easy from the chairman's point of view to sign him - it was his age and length of contract. I understood the chairman's point of view but I always knew if we could get him he would do a fantastic job for us.

"I couldn't argue too much with the chairman's point of view either. If you look at the maths it was a difficult one because this was a four-year deal with no return at the end. But I said 'look - if he can take us forward and give us the chance to be up there then surely it's worth a gamble' and he backed me with that in the end."

Scott Parker was influential for Spurs in the win over Arsenal. Photo: Getty Images

Scott Parker was influential for Spurs in the win over Arsenal. Photo: Getty Images

There was a sub-plot when Redknapp was asked had he expected more competition for Parker because the elephant in the room at that moment was Arsenal, whose performance in defeat at White Hart Lane suggested the steel and application he provides would have been perfect for Arsene Wenger's side.

Parker was the workhorse of this Spurs team, tackling, covering and occasionally getting forward. He kept his side going when they suffered in the first half and revelled when Redknapp beefed up his midfield by introducing Sandro in the second half.

He certainly outshone Arsenal's £10m deadline day signing Mikel Arteta, who was neat and tidy in possession but only operated on the fringes of a high-tempo encounter. It should be said that Arteta was not alone in that particular flaw.

This was a double bonus for Spurs. They have signed a player who fits their needs perfectly - and may just be showing their fiercest rivals what they could have had if Wenger had been willing to take the same chance on Parker.

Parker has seemingly been linked with Spurs for an age, certainly from his emergence at Charlton. And now he has arrived with the appearance of a player determined to make up for lost time.

He missed the boat during his brief spell at Chelsea and flourished only occasionally at Newcastle United before becoming a hero in relegation at West Ham United. There have been doubts about his class at the highest level, but he has finally convinced Fabio Capello of his worth to England and now he has the perfect stage to provide a final flourish to his career.

Wenger had no particular cause to celebrate his 15th anniversary at Arsenal. His team showed patches of promise but familiar failings let them down.

Per Mertesacker still looks uncertain in the Premier League, ponderous in a defensive combination with Bacary Sagna for Rafael Van der Vaart's opening goal for Spurs - although Arsenal insisted a hand was involved in its creation.

Aaron Ramsey's equaliser early in the second half was what Arsenal merited at that stage, but their confidence is so fragile they seemed more intent on keeping what they had rather than going for the win, allowing Spurs to gain momentum.

This resulted in Kyle Walker's late winner from distance which Wojciech Szczesny, a top-class goalkeeper in the making, should have saved.

This morning, Wenger must accept what may be an unpalatable truth that Spurs are currently a stronger team and a stronger squad than Arsenal and Parker is part of that painful equation for a manager who has been used to domination in north London.

The pre-season predictions had these two sides battling it out for fourth place and a slot in the Champions League. On this evidence Spurs are ahead on all counts.

This was not a freak result. Spurs have recorded three wins and a draw in their last four league meetings with Arsenal. The balance has shifted and will take some redressing with Arsenal's squad in its current circumstances.

Sadly, there was an ugly side to the entertainment and this simply cannot be ignored. The behaviour of a section of both sets of fans brought shame to Spurs and Arsenal.

Arsenal fans were guilty of desperately tasteless chanting in the direction of their former striker Emmanuel Adebayor, loudly referencing the attack by gunmen on the Togo national team's coach in Angola last January.

Redknapp's description of the incidents as "disgusting" found no dissenters - but Spurs' fans were equally guilty with their despicable chanting in Wenger's direction.

This has been an unwelcome thread running throughout this season, highlighted also by incidents involving Leeds United and Manchester United at the recent Carling Cup tie.

It usually leads to a "they started it" defence or insistence that it is merely a tit-for-tat retaliation. The brutal truth is that it is a scar on football and all chants of this nature, by
any supporters, are worthy of the strongest condemnation.

Poor old Wenger's frustration even continued after the final whistle when he was involved in a faintly farcical spat with Spurs coach Clive Allen over his apparent refusal to shake his hand.

Sympathy surely has to be with Wenger when he correctly pointed out that he had shaken hands with Redknapp and his assistant Kevin Bond, asking: "How many people do I have to shake hands with? Is this a prescription?"

Wenger has been correctly criticised for not shaking hands with fellow managers before, but here he had a point. It would take quite some time to go through the formalities and satisfy the cast of thousands that passes as a manager's retinue these days and Allen is very much a peripheral figure.

As this sideshow was unfolding behind him, Parker made his way off high-fiving Spurs fans as he made his way down the tunnel. It may have taken Redknapp some time to get him to Spurs - but he is in the form that suggests the wait will be worthwhile.


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  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.

    It was a very entertaining game to watch. This derby has always been exciting and had a little bit of extra spice seeing as Adebayor was playing. I think credit has to go to Adebayor for his approach during the game!

    Scott Parker had an excellent game but then so did all of Harry Redknapp's new recruits. Spurs have done well in the transfer market this past Summer - Adebayor has added quality upfront while Parkers energy has been incredible. Oddly I think the introduction of Brad Freidel has been Harry's best business.

    Sorry state for Arsenal though. What do they do now?

    On a side note I must congratulate Frank Lampard's performance against Bolton! Despite being a Utd fan Lampard is one of my favourites and it was good to see him turn in a great performance after the unfair comments made towards him lately.

  • Comment number 3.

    Good result for Tottenham - suggesting the often predicted but never realised 'power shift' in North London may actually come to fruition this season. Great atmosphere at the Lane as usual, though little banter from the Arsenal fans (again, as usual).

    Strange formation picked by Redknapp - van der Vaart does not have the tactical discipline to play as a right winger and was often caught out of position, particularly for the first 10 minutes of the second half. The introduction of Sandro - which I don't think was actually mentioned by the MOTD2 panel - changed the game. From then on Spurs looked very solid and Arsenal entirely unspectacular. By the end of the game van Persie cut a dejected forlorn figure for the Gooners.

    Very chuffed with Kyle Walker again. He looks like a real player and - on Sunday - was as dangerous as Bale. And might I suggest quicker than Bale, at least over a short distance? The boy really is lightening.

  • Comment number 4.

    Well-contested game. Arsenal are more shaky than usual but still caused Spurs a few problems yesterday.

    Parker was a shrewd buy, albeit one that should have been tied up in the first week of the window rather than the last. He will no doubt have been after a hefty wage as this is likely to be his last contract, but £5m is a bargain for the player of the year last season.

    Agree that Spurs haven't found a formation that includes VdV and leaves the team balanced. Although he took his goal well, they looked like a much better unit with Sandro breaking up the play in midfield. Some of the best performances last season relied on this model, hitting teams on the break.

    Adebayor had a relatively quiet game but clearly kept the Arsenal defence occupied. He also seems to have brought more out of Defoe who seems more energetic this term. Kaboul had a decent game and Ledley King was imperious once more, he's quite extraordinary.

    Something needs to be done about the chanting as it gets more vile every season. If people can be banned for racist chanting, I see no reason why they can't be banned for this too. Supporters should be encouraged to support their teams rather than pouring their energies into vitriolic and sick taunts. With kids at these games, it's sad that this kind of behaviour has become an accepted part of football's culture. It doesn't have to be this way and clubs have to take the lead in sanctioning offenders. I don't care how much people pay for tickets, it doesn't give them the right to behave in this way. This is damaging the game and it's time the idiots grew up

  • Comment number 5.

    As a Spurs fan I am delighted with the 3 points, but can anyone honestly see Harry Redknapp as the future England manager. Yesterdays win owed more to the skill of a couple of individuals than Spurs as a unit. They were out gunned in centre mid, and has gervinho and walcott been better, they would have been ripped to pieces down the flanks. Redknapp avoided having to make a big tactical decision by playing both Defoe and vdv, when sandro was the obvious choice. Spurs got lucky, they must play with both Parker and sandro. This will allow Bale, Modric, Adebayor and Defoe/VDV they freedom they need, and cut their defensive obligations. Well done Spurs but Harry must start thinking tactically.

  • Comment number 6.

    Scott Parker, exactly the type of player Arsenal should have bought. Not someone like Gervinho who can take on the world but couldn't hit a barn door

    Well done Wenger!!

  • Comment number 7.

    Parker was a very good signing, along with Adeybeyor and Friedel. When I saw the formation for yesterdays match I was quite worried, we needed Sandro to strengthen our midfield at the expense of VDV.
    When Walker scored I told my young son that we were extremely fortunate to be leading but after we bought on Sandro we had begun to run the game and by the end we were ahead on all the stats except possession which we had also got back to almost 50/50

  • Comment number 8.

    'Sympathy surely has to be with Wenger' a childish and, probably, biased comment, if someone offers to shake your hand it is simply polite to shake it, and very rude to refuse to, you can't argue with that given Wengars previous.

  • Comment number 9.

    Another disappointing result for arsenal but i thought that for large parts we controlled the match and dominated possession and there were signs that we are getting back to the attacking team we are famous for. I thought that mertesacker had his best game in an arsenal shirt and held the line very well and showed good poistional play with some tidy interceptions. When we get vermalen back our defence will be a more solid unit as i thought that gibbs also had a good game. The match really swung in arsenal's favour when sagna went off injured and i hope that his injury is not serious. The 1st goal for spurs shouldn't have been allowed because vdv clearly used his arm to control the ball, there is always something with arsenal, teams can never win fairly against us and there always has to be some injustice. The second goal was just a calamity of errors, the marking for the throw in was diabolical and then scezney should have saved walker's shot, but i am not going to blame scezney that much because he has been our best player all season and has kept us in games with some outstanding saves including yesterday when he saved from adebayor defoe and vdv, arsenal are getting back to their best slowly but surely.

  • Comment number 10.

    Entertaining derby for the unbiased to enjoy, the standard of football was poor from both sides but that was to be expected with so much emotion flowing on and off of the pitch.
    I thought Van der Vaart was very lucky to get away with using his arm to control the ball for the first goal and I thought Akoto let the atmosphere get to him when he drove Sangya into the hoardings, breaking the Frenchmans leg, but these games are full of borderline actions and I am sure that Akota is feeling pretty awful this morning now that the tension and pressure of the match atmosphere has subsided..

    As for the chanting, I am afraid that it comes with the mob mentality that managers crave from their home fans, it is not nice, but it happens at every top ground around Europe, it is just exaggerated at local derby's.

  • Comment number 11.

    This is getting very depressing from an Arsenal perspective. It's no good defending the fact that we had a lot of possession. We have done for many seasons but over the last couple we've failed to create a succession of chances.

    I can't agree with gooner8 stating that Mertesacker had a good game. For me he looks, slow, ponderous and clueless. We still need a quality centreback come the January transfer window. Wenger must go for Cahill and pay whatever.

    The return of Vermaelen will only paper over the cracks.

    Scott Parker is quality and if Wenger hadn't lost his nous he would have been wearing a red shirt rather than white.

    Wenger has been saying since the Manc Utd debacle that the team is lacking confidence.....well, it is up to him to change this and put the mojo back into this team.

    It will seem like winning a title this season if he can somehow guide us into that coveted fourth spot but I for one am not at all confident.

  • Comment number 12.

    "This was not a freak result. Spurs have recorded three wins and a draw in their last four league meetings with Arsenal."

    Most pleasing line in a McNulty blog....ever

  • Comment number 13.

    Seems strange how little competition Spurs appeared to have for Parker's signature. Might have something to do with the crazy wages he was on at West Ham though.

    Parker completely ran the game, despite the numerical disadvantage Spurs had in the centre of the pitch. Once Sandro came on alongside the game became a complete non-contest, with Arsenal barely able to win the ball back, and Bale running riot on the left hand side.

    Interesting statistic here on the number of tackles won and lost by Tottenham and Arsenal respectively, which really highlights the problem Arsene Wenger faces.

  • Comment number 14.

    amazing how loosing couple of players affected arsenal and I dont think that this is the end of arsenal problems great win for spurs they really building something big

  • Comment number 15.

    Methinks Wenger needs to make one last handshake - with his chairman.

  • Comment number 16.

    Didn't watch the game, but I do tip spurs for 4th with United, City and Chelsea ahead of them. Compared to Arsenal and Liverpool, they have bought the best and have a better squad of players.

    Arsenal should be worried, 15th ( I think) in the table and things don't exactly look as though they are going to pick up. Wilshere's comeback date seems to be pushed back every month.
    As a side note, I find it quite interesting how alot of Arsenals players are very Injury prone..surely it can't be down to bad luck. Wilshere, Walcott and Cesc in my opinion were too overplayed when they were young and I think Wenger has to take some responsibility for their injuries....

  • Comment number 17.

    Agree with comment 8

    Only childish rock stars and people bearing a grudge ignore an outstretched hand, which one is Wenger?

  • Comment number 18.

    Enjoyed the match as a neautral - thought both teams looked quite shaky at times, but Arsenal's defence is simply a shambles. That's as much down to Wenger's tactics as the player's ability.

    Arsenal are achieving a point a game at the moment - that's a relegation trend.

  • Comment number 19.

    No gloom and doom here.

    Its lovely to see another one of Sky's precious clubs struggling.

    Liverpool in the last few years. Arsenal now.

    With luck, the Russian will withdraw his billions and Cheslea will be next to go...

  • Comment number 20.

    Nothing to do with a match I Just wanted to write something a bit later on The Man with the MIke 40 years at being John Motson a legend in his own lunchtime!

  • Comment number 21.

    Do you know why referees fail to do their job AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN and get away with it? It's because people in the media, like Phil McNulty, are so weak at telling the flat out truth when it comes to it.

    To claim that it was only Arsenal who were insisting van de vaart handballed is absolutely hilarious - it's a black and white issue: he intentionally handballed for the goal. Not only that, he then entered the crowd while celebrating.

    So, yeah. Arsenal lost, and didn't play brilliantly even though for much of the match they easily had the handle of Spurs. Then again, Spurs got a goal they never deserved, and had a player on the pitch who explicitly would have been sent off if the rules had been followed.

    The media, the referees, the FA, UEFA, and FIFA, should all be embarrassed: you ruin football for the fans.

  • Comment number 22.

    I wouldn't read too much into this result. Tottenham have got some decent results over the years against better Arsenal sides than this, so I don't think this match alone is an indicator of a ''shift in power''.

    Come the end of the season, Arsenal will still be challenging for a top 4 place with Spurs and Liverpool.

    The Premier League is so full of pub standard teams, that it would be hard for Arsenal not to amass enough wins and points to be in the running for 4th position in May.

  • Comment number 23.

    "Rafael Van der Vaart's opening goal for Spurs - although Arsenal insisted a hand was involved in its creation"

    Did you see the game? If so - assume you don't have an opinion on this? Or do we read that you believe it wasnt a handball and Arsenal are making this up?

    Arlombardi - very balanced comments - I agree.

    Very worried about Sagna being out for 3 months (is that Arsenal speak for a whole season?). Jenkinson is one for the future not one for now - if we play Walcott and Arshavin we will be exposed down both flanks and on set pieces - Arsenal will set a new record for goals conceded this season.

  • Comment number 24.

    I have definitely been surprised by Parker this year, I couldn't believe he got Player of the Year last year and i thought he was just another Darren Fletcher.

    He was excellent yesterday and well worth the gamble by Levy. Saying that Arsenal's defense is unbelievable at times. When they let the ball bounce and Bale came through and missed an easy one on one.....

    I haven't seen that sort of defending in Division 1 of the Manchester Amateur Sunday Football League!!

    As for the chanting, what is ironic is these are chants made up by Spurs fans.......

  • Comment number 25.

    Parker played very well. Not fancy, just simple and very industrious. It was nt the classic of recent years and Spurs deserved the win. Hand ball? Not sure really. Had it have been at the other end, i would say not. Benefit of the doubt perhaps?

    Chanting? Yes, some of it was less than edifying. Its modern society sadly. Stop wringing your hands and moralising. Ive been with hacks in the pub many times and the humour and so called wit is often far worse than those mindless chants by quite a few but by no means all Arsenal fans. The Spurs fans have a few choice ones of their own. Its just football crowds in an increasingly caustic society in this Country. Nobody bothers and i doubt Ade did either.

    The teams - Spurs have done well under Redknapp, but theyre not a tremendously good side, just better than Arsenal at the present. Most teams are. We have endeavour but little creativity. The truth is that at 1-1 had we have pressed hom the advantage and momentum that we had for 10 mins after the goal, i feel we would have won it. Instead they shrank back into their shell hoping to hold for a draw. Bad mistake. No confidence to have kept up the pressure. No drive from the middle men and all left to RVP to try and create his own chances and try and give movement where there was none otherwise. King was really good for Spurs and it all foundered on him.

    Clive Allen ? A never been. One season wonder in 1987 ish isnt he? An ignorant one too. As you say why should AW shake with him? I doubt he even knows who he is or what he does there. Im sure i dont what his job there is either.

  • Comment number 26.

    #19~ UH? Skys precious club Arsenal are not... What you on??
    #8~ Toally agree that it is totally ignorant from Wenger, I am embarrased when he does this, no excuse at all not to shake hands - Sort it out Wenger!!
    #11~ Again, I agree, Not to have bought Cahill and Parker is inexcusable and also Joey Barton who was FREE!!! Time for Wenger to go now. Thanks for all you have done Wenger but time for new blood.

  • Comment number 27.

    Funny how quickly spuds have forgiven modric - a player they started calling rat boy when he said he wanted to leave, as he still does.

  • Comment number 28.

    A fairly evenly matched contest but once again Arsenal do not have the mental strength to have a real go and get something. The players who showed some guts and flair? Sagna (he will be a real loss), Song, Mr S in goal (albeit at fault for the winner), Coquelin. The big fat zeros? Ramsey, Gervinho and, I'm sorry to say El Capitan van P (a player of his experience and guile should do better). The rest? Take them or leave them really. Also, Mr Wenger, why weren't Frimpong and Park used as substitutes? - they may have shown a bit of bite. Arshavin? Perlease!!

  • Comment number 29.

    It was a derby, and maybe because of what happened with Rodwell the refs were under a bit of pressure not to send anyone off. I think the hand ball was a 50-50, a bit like Fabiano's goal in the world cup. But that was just a decision, sometimes they get away with it and sometimes they don't, thats just football. Arsenal in some ways was the better footballing side yesterday and i think Wenger could take alot from this game, as it will be a valuable experience for his new side. But lets not forget Gervinhio missed a sitter, and i agree with Hoddle that Spurs had more intent and attacks on goal, so probably were the worthy winners. If Arsenal need to work on something, its most definitely their defense and if Spurs were on top form they could have punished Arsenal alot more. So putting decisions aside which i know from Arsenal fans must be a hard pill to swallow Spurs deserved just about the win.

  • Comment number 30.

    Why don't people go in and start their own chants instead of sitting silently on their hands and waiting to get onto the internet afterwards to make their feelings known?

  • Comment number 31.

    If Arsenal Don't buy big in January, I genuinely think we will finish below mid table this year. Who will we be able to attract to join us then?? It will take years to get back into the top four if we drop out of it this season as it will create a series of events that will be very difficult to break. We can't go on about the VdV handball, the fact is we did not create enough good chances to convert and win the game. Very worrying times. The arrogance in Wenger during the summer and then late panic has cost us very dearly

  • Comment number 32.

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

  • Comment number 33.

    In a way I'm SLIGHTLY glad VdV did not get sent off for running in the crowd. Obviously, he should have under the rules and refs do need to be consistent- this is a must. But in my opinion, the rule - aswell as a yellow for taking your shirt off is the stupidest in the game. Abolish it and get soime goal line technology in. It is logical.

  • Comment number 34.

    Arsenal are quickly becoming the club that everybody wants to play next.

  • Comment number 35.

    I still don't understand why Wenger goes with the 4-3-3. It worked well when fabregas, nasri, et all ran the midfield and they had decent cover at the back. Right now, Van Persie is getting far too isolated, and the wingers are not helping out in the defence. The result is that the fullbacks are being horrible exposed. Gibbs is average at best, and Jenkinson, well, lets just say is definitely not ready for top tier football. Bale, Assou-Ekoto and Walker ran laps around both of them, and you always knew a goal was coming from the flanks (although it was Walker cutting in, still...)
    I still don't understand why AW doesn't try out a traditional 4-4-2, if just to give RVP some more free space. Does he lack confidence in his central midfield players? Doesn't he have the strikers for the job? God knows...........
    Oh yeah, Parker was majestic. Not for his skills or play, but just for his commitment. The way that he was slightly limping towards the end, yet managed to run like hell to dispossess RVP when he had room for a shot summed up what he brings to a side - a 100% commitment. Arsenal seemed to have missed a trick opting for arteta over him. Right now, teams like stoke, liverpool, newcastle, even QPR look more stable and steady and able to get the result than Arsenal. If Wilshere doesn't live up to the hype..................

  • Comment number 36.

    #28~ I agree, can't argue with anything you say really, I too was disappointed Park and Frimpong didn't come on, Rosicky and Arshavin are the ones we should have cashed in on in the summer if we could, Arshavin is a waste of space.

  • Comment number 37.

    vdv's celebration fitted the atmosphere after the goal perfectly, i am proud of the passion he showed, he was simply reacting the way every spurs fan in the ground did. it was mental :D if the arsenal players showed that passion then perhaps they might have done better...

  • Comment number 38.

    #32~ You are having a laugh - Songs about Paedophiles are as equally sick or are you not a parent?? No, didn't think so. All sick chanting should be outlawed, I won't ever take my kids to a match as a result

  • Comment number 39.

    It's hilarious how Arsenal fans are complaining that van der Vaart didn't get a letter-of-the-law second yellow card, yet were outraged when Robin van Persie correctly received a letter-of-the-law second yellow for his act of petulance against Barcelona.

    I love the hypocrisy!

  • Comment number 40.

    T Ross - are you wenger in disguise?

    It's really sad to see arsenal supporters being such incredibly bad losers, but given Wenger's example, I suppose it's no surprise.

    Also, the comments regarding the first goal, according to MOTD, only one Arsenal player appealed for hand ball at the time, and I didn't see anyone else appealing, strange then that after the beeb site stated that 'Arsenal' appealed en mass, everyone seems to think they did.


  • Comment number 41.

    I'm sure journalists are squeaky clean and never say anything offensive about people they don't agree with, dislike or hate

  • Comment number 42.

    #39~ I would hardly call RvP's shot 2 seconds after a whistle he didn't hear 'an act of petulance...?!?' ;OI rollseyes...

  • Comment number 43.

    #39 - RvP's yellow card at Barcelona was not a yellow card, don't know how you could think otherwise.

    As for VDV's goal, the handball stuff is an excuse and I don't believe he should have been sent off. We (Arsenal) did not lose the game because of the referee but simply because in so many areas of the pitch we were outclassed.

    Arsenal keep proving time and time again that posession football means nothing. Defensively we are a shambles. There are no killer balls from midfield like we had in the Fab/Nasri era and up front we have only 1 proven striker in RvP who will find it difficult to score if the midfield are being bossed about by physical yet determined Scott Parker.

    From what I saw of the game, Arsenal didn't deserve to win which they rightfully didn't

  • Comment number 44.

    #38~ no i'm not having a laugh, and the fact is wenger is not a paedophile. Adebayor actually got shot at and had someone die in his arms. paedophilia is horrible but,in fact, the chant, 'sit down you paedophile' is condemning paedophilia not condoning it so your argument doesn't really work... and then your kids are missing out on the greatest experience that they can have, which is going to a football game, it is your choice though of course.

  • Comment number 45.

    #42, neither's celebrating with the crowd. It's ridiculous that players get booked for that

  • Comment number 46.

    Is it any wonder that Arsenal's confidence is fragile. The team is holding it's own and has had some good chances. They then go a goal behind after a clear handball, although Phil McNulty seems to suggest that only the Arsenal team thought so - of course they insisted it should have been given as a handball, and no-one would expect the Spurs team to go rushing to the ref to point out the error of his ways. If this had been spotted by the referee it would have been a second yellow and a sending off. Earlier in the season, Liverpool scored a goal that was clearly offside, as did Blackburn. Arsenal went on to lose both games. There were a multitude of similar decisions towards the end of last season. These decision may well balance up over several seasons, but for a team low on confidence that does not help. And to cap it all the team end up with anotherplayer with a broken leg.

  • Comment number 47.

    42. At 09:50 3rd Oct 2011, Only One Tony Adams wrote:
    #39~ I would hardly call RvP's shot 2 seconds after a whistle he didn't hear 'an act of petulance...?!?' ;OI rollseyes...

    Of course it was. On a night when he was starved of any serious chances, he suddenly gets pulled up when he's got a clear run at goal, prompting him to petulantly lash the ball in the vague direction of the goal.

    That, my friend, is a yellow card offence. He was a very silly boy.

  • Comment number 48.

    43. At 09:53 3rd Oct 2011, Roguedfr wrote:

    Kicking the ball away after whistle goes is a yellow card offence; it is either time-wasting or dissent - in van Persie's case it appeared to be the latter.

    Van der Vaart should technically have received a second yellow as well, but I'm just highly amused at how quickly Arsenal fans have changed their tune in wanting the letter-of-the-law to be applied.

  • Comment number 49.

    Only one TA ......

    Sick chanting has been around across many decades in football. Only now do the media and coaches mention it. It was far worse in the 70s. Its trendy to condemn it now, yet it all occurs for about 10 mins within 90 mins inside a stadium and then its done with. There are far more offensive goings on in this Country's society that never get a mention by the press. Agree with you. I wouldnt take kids to football either, but not solely due to such chants.

    Agree with you as well in that our team at the prsesnt looks decidedly destined to finish mid table. No body has mentioned Walcott starngely. His worst stinker ever yesterday in my view and hes had a few of them. If we want to raise some cash, maybe his sale would do it. English so the price would be insultingly high for what he is, but theres always a Liverpool somewhere et al daft enough to pay top dollar for dismal english mediocrity.

  • Comment number 50.

    #38~ look at it this way, if your mates ribbing you about something, which is worse, calling you a paedo or saying you should be dead?

  • Comment number 51.

    Good blog, gotta agree with the comments about Parker's showing yesterday and how much of a bargain he's been, he was certainly my man of the match. He's been a player I've long been wanting at Spurs - the drive, determination, leadership and concentration are things we've been missing in central midfield for a long time (Jenas and Hudd in particular lack these things).

    Pleasing thing for me was that we got the win but in my view didn't actually play that well. I echo number 2's comments as I felt the formation picked was wrong - 2 up front and VDV, and it took too long to change it and bring Sandro on. But for me I didn't think Adebayor or Modric had great games, yet we still won. Pleasing.

  • Comment number 52.

    #47~ No it wasn't. Watch it again. I am pretty sure it's not just Arsenal fans that know it was genuine.

    #45~ no you're right it isn't, it is stupid the same as taking your shirt off shouldn't be a yellow card.

  • Comment number 53.

    T Ross -

    Oh dear

  • Comment number 54.

    The people who sing offensive personal chants against players and managers are, quite simply, cowards.

    Would one of these people, on his own, say these things to Adebayor's face? Of course not. They sing these chants en masse from the comfort and safety of the stands, full in the knowledge that there is no chance of their target exacting any retribution.

  • Comment number 55.

    The acquisition of Scott Parker, in my view, was integral for Tottenham to harbour ambitions of rejoining the 'top table' and qualifying for the Champions League. Every successful side needs a player who thrives on breaking up the opposition play, being disciplined and doing the simple things well. Wilson Palacios had brief success and although Tom Huddlestone is an accomplished player, he doesn't fit into this role either. The irony of it is, I maintain that Parker is completely the sort of character that Arsene Wenger should have chased in the summer and I wonder whether their stuttering start would have been so prevalent if they had his experience and ability marshalling a talented but young midfield?

  • Comment number 56.


    I think this is just about right!

    Arsenal still are a big threat, never as much as they used to be and need to string together at least 8 wins in their next 10 prem games. If this was another season we could almost put our house on them winning the next few fixtures, Man City and Chelsea will be tough games as i can see both of them being on a bit of role (which they already are). But the others games should be for a club like arsenal standard wins. If Arsenal come out of these games with any less than 20 points then it will be a time to really start to panick and maybe not even a sniff at Europa League. I still have my doubts about Liverpool this season, maybe they need a good season and can realistically finish 5th and then have a decent Europa year and deepen the squad, but would Suarez stay if not playing champions league football next year?

    Spurs for me are the ones to me that could and should grab 4th, they have a a talented squad that are used to each other and can push even the best teams in Europe on their day let alone the teams in the Prem. i Can even see Mn U finishing 3rd.

  • Comment number 57.

    Its funny that people were talking about Parker being a gamble. For a player who is 30 years old, he is actually in the prime of his career. So how can a 5 milllion pound deal be called a gamble, especially in the crazy world of transfer fees that we live in at the moment.

    I'm a West Ham fan and have seen first hand how well he has played over the last few years and has improved so much as he has got older.

    He would have been perfect for Arsenal's midfield and cannot for the life of me understand why Wenger would not have moved for him. Tottenham, after all, were not desperate for cover in that area with Huddlestone, Palacios and sandro all with the ability to do that job.

  • Comment number 58.

    "They were out gunned in centre mid, and has gervinho and walcott been better, they would have been ripped to pieces down the flanks."

    This is the most hilarious thing I've read here on this comments page. What game were you watching?!? Arteta was fairly useless, Ramsey shone for a while but that was for about 15 mins & Coquelin was half decent at best. Walcott was anonymous. I cannot remember either Walker or BAE ever being overly stretched in 1 on 1 situations and any space granted to your wide men was purely down to VDV being out of position so not exactly hard to exploit the space he left!

    As for being "outgunned" - Parker and Modric ran rings around you for large spells of the game. The only space Arteta and Ramsey ever gained was when Spurs mistakenly decided to sit back and invite Arsenal upon them which eventually led to your goal.

  • Comment number 59.

    52. At 10:01 3rd Oct 2011, Only One Tony Adams wrote:

    I've watched it about 100 times (it gets more amusing on repeat viewing) and he clearly lashes the ball out of anger. If it had been Bendtner taking the shot, then I would have assumed it was a genuine shot at goal, but van Persie clearly wasn't taking a shot.

    Regardless of whether you or I or anyone else agrees that kicking the ball away, running into the crowd or taking your shirt off should be yellow card offences, they are in the laws, and the referees should always apply the laws of the game equally, evenly and consistently.

  • Comment number 60.

    #57~ I agree, until you said the name of Tom 'I can't run or tackle' Huddlestone... just thought I'd point out that Huddlestone does not play anything like the role of parker... otherwise, good point

  • Comment number 61.

    I don't think it was a case of Spurs being so good yesterday as Arsenal being so poor

    Sczenezy and Van persie are the only players who haven't been sleepwalking through this entire season. None of their signings look up to anything, far from being the tall, imperiosu figure in defence Mertesacker has looked a liability. Gervinho's buildup play is lovely but his final touch is atrocious, Arteta tries hard but is clearly a poor replacement for Fabregas. I wasn't at all happy when we gave them Benayoun but after what I've seen from him this season we made exactgly the right call

    'Arry looks to have poulled off another coup with Scott parker and I really can't believe no other club registered any substantial interest at that price. He would have been an excellent fit at Arsenal

  • Comment number 62.


    I'm not going to argue with what you said. It's a rough time to be a Gunner, but whatever.

    I will, however, take very strong issue with this: "although Arsenal insisted a hand was involved in its creation." I'm sorry, but if you saw the match you wouldn't even have needed the help of a replay (which CLEARLY showed the use of VDV's arm) to tell that was a handball, a red card, and potential game changer.

    Could we have won against 10 men? Probably. Deservedly? Possibly. Whatever. My point is, if Hellen Keller could see a handball, maybe you could muster the guts to call it what it was.

    Like I said, I'm not going to argue with what you wrote. This game illustrated perfectly why we should've signed Parker.

  • Comment number 63.

    So while various 'fans' debate which is worse, calling someone a paedophile or wishing someone is dead, the rest of us are left to wonder why it is that the 'greatest fans' in the world keep getting ignored when Fifa decides to hand out world cups.

    Munich chants, Togo tragedy chants, Paedophile chants, Coin and bottle throwing (this week alone) and a general level of hatred that is prevailant throughout the money obssesed, morally bankrupt farce that is English football.

  • Comment number 64.

    Terry and Lampard

    Most Gunners fans agree re Parker. The trouble is, the Clubs bank balance priority mentality cant wear such a 'plan' as recruiting such players is. Hes a rapidly depreciating asset and thus not worth commiting money too. Its sound sense in business and commerce, but in football it isnt always the right approach. Not sure he ll play that well every week for Spurs either.

    Benayoun - Quite why we bothered with him is a mystery to me.

    Mertersacker actually played quite well yesterday. Maybe TV coverage didnt show his best work.

    Arteta was just too deep to be effective.

    Agree on Gervinho. Not made my mnd up on him just yet.

  • Comment number 65.

    Spurs have Arsenal's number at the moment, they have the team to beat the gunners but they don't have the team/squad to finish above them in the league quite yet. I fully expect Spurs to finish 6th with Arsenal 5th and Liverpool 4th this time around.

  • Comment number 66.

    #50~ Don't really fancy either thanks...! I do agree though that it is all out of order.

    #49~ I am not naive and have been around the block a few times. I have actually followed Millwall home and away for 3 seasons with a couple of my relatives back in the day and was a season ticket holder for many years at Highbury, so i am under no illussions on what goes on inside and outside grounds. The big thing about taking kids to football is cost nowadays...!!!!
    Regards Theo Walcott, I have to cave in and agree. I have been ssooooo desperate for him to succeed as he has for so long been our sole English hope, but he has used up all his get out of jail free cards now. I think we all need to pin our hopes on Alex O'Chamberlain now....!

  • Comment number 67.

    @63 JamTay1

    I agree English fans are definately not 'the best in the world' (imo ze germans are) But Russia are not exactly saints.....and I don't think Qatar have any!!!

  • Comment number 68.

    59.At 10:06 3rd Oct 2011, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:


    im neither a arsenal or spurs fan just so you dont accuse me of being biased.

    The goal was handball and he should of been booked for his celebration (as patheitc as the rule is he should of gone. Otherwise there will be players who have been sent off in the past for the same reason questioning why they were sent off but not him).

    Arsenal had most of the play and looked the better team and with better finishing would of be run away with the game.

    Oh and i find it amusing that you find arsenal amusing especially as you follow a team that is allowed to swan dive at every oppourtunity to try and get the opposition booked, if the refs used the letter of the law barca wouldnt finish a game with 11 men

  • Comment number 69.

    Was hoping to read from you when your favorite team Man United drew 3-3 in the ECL and when they struggled against Norwich City to finally win 2-0 in the dying minutes but I guess you were out of town. If I may ask Phil, do you sometimes write about games you did not watch?. And this is why '... Rafael Van der Vaart's opening goal for Spurs - although Arsenal insisted a hand was involved in its creation'. If you watched the game and the many replays of the incidence, a hand was involved weather Arsenal insist or not. It happens in football and in spite of it Arsenal fought to brilliantly equalize. Sagna is out for 3 months now. I have been wondering what on earth was Ekoto trying to achieve!! Sagna is already up in the air and Ekoto's joining him up there was not going to achieve anything other than push him off the field, he was never going to get the ball. If it wasn't for Ekoto's unnecessary push, Sagna would not have fallen let alone fall awkwardly!!

  • Comment number 70.

    Dont you think that was the problem with Walcott? Pinning hopes on him, as the greatest thing that ever happened to English football and all, before he could prove himself consistently? AOC might end up going the same way........Oh and sole English hope? What happened to Wilshere?

  • Comment number 71.

    On the subject of Parker, reading Redknapp's comments, and referencing comments made about Arsenal in recent weeks (years?) and David Bonds blog on Friday, it seems that some people can't see the difference between cost and value.

    Parker cost £5m and let's say he's on £60,000 a week. So, that's an annual cost of £4,370,000 out of Arsenal's post development profits of £20m. Instead, he bought Oxlade-Chamberlain who is extremely unlikely to solve 'today's' problems, and that assumes he can solve 'tomorrow's' problems.

    Increasingly, Wenger is looking like is judgement is suspect to say the least. His decisions may well cost them a champions league spot and that might have long term consequences that any value in Oxlade-Chamberlain won't be great enough to solve.

  • Comment number 72.

    #63~ Have you never been to a game abroad? It's not just English fans that chant vile bilge.
    #64~ Every day at the moment I am still confused why Wenger did not buy Cahill in the summer as well as Parker and Barton. I too am unconvinced with Gervinho but my initial thought is negative, I think he is going to be another player who flatters to deceive unfortunately. Arteta is a good acquisition however like you said he is too deep and is never going to live up to Fabregas' standard.

  • Comment number 73.

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

  • Comment number 74.

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

  • Comment number 75.

    Much is made of Arsenal's defence failings and nobody can deny they are the evidence.

    However, despite this frailty they could have been as much as 7 points better off with more competent/fairer refereeing.

    There were three legitimate claims for a penalty against Newcastle, one of which led to the sending off of Gervinho for a powder puff waft at Barton who escaped with a yellow despite having raised his hands in grabbing Gervinho's shirt and hauling him to his feet. 2 points lost in draw.

    Stonewall penalty dismissed against Liverpool followed by two Liverpool offside goals. 3 points lost.

    Against Blackburn the second goal was an own goal following a free kick for a non foul and the third was offside and Arsenal were denied a blatant penalty in the dying seconds. Honest refereeing could have seen Arsenal winning 4-2 instead of losing 4-3. At least 2 points lost.

    Against Spurs the first goal was hand ball and I'm sure that had he not been on a yellow the scorer would have got one for going to the crowd in celebration. 2 more points gone.

    Naturally Glen Hoddle could not see any element of handball in the goal despite the fact that it was blatantly obvious that the ball would not have been controlled without the use of the arm. Amazingly, when the question of a possible red was raised he didn't even see the yellow card offence as a foul.

    Naturally many of you will see this as a whinge. However, a journalist investigating such "whingeing" spent much of the summer watching hours of videos involving contentious decisions. He found that out around 850 incidents, that 530 were resolved correctly. He further found that if the remainder had been correcly resolved and if resulting penalties had been scored Arsenal would have finished second last year and MC would have finished fourth. Firthermore birmingham and West Ham would not have been relegated.

    Yes, we've started badly, and yes the defence is dodgy. However, with Vermalen due back and Bacary Sagna out for three months, things should improve. All we need is some even handed refereeing and we'll be back in buisness.

  • Comment number 76.

    #70~ I meant for years before he was our sole English hope. I don't think that pinning our hopes on him is the problem with Walcott no, I have come to the conclusion that he is actually parp, and not good enough.

  • Comment number 77.

    ive watched it many times now and i would say it was not a handball by Van Der Vaart yesterday. Very close yes but ultimately fair. Id hope arsenal fans would stop using this as an excuse..Im still waiting for Henry's goal against united at highbury in 03 to be disallowed for being 10 yards offside...Now that was a shameful decision!

  • Comment number 78.

    #75~ Nobody wants Arsenal success more than me, but football is all about 'what ifs'. no amount of these can paper over our cracks at the moment. We are a pale shadow of teams that have been and gone over the last 15 years under Wenger and even the most stubborn and staunch fans can't really argue with that.

  • Comment number 79.

    #69 - Football is a game of opinions and we are all biased to some degree but Assou-Ekotto clearly headed the ball (hence the throw-in given to Arsenal) and I'm sure you would expect your players to show the same committment?

    Hugely unfortunate for Sagna but to blame Ekotto is a bit harsh, this is a big derby game and is full of full blooded challenges which is right and proper. I didn't hear anyone else from Wenger to the pundits criticising the challenge.

  • Comment number 80.

    #77~ What about Carroll's 'SAVE' against Spurs that was about 3 yards inside the goal!!!???

  • Comment number 81.

    ~76. Hmm.....Do you think he can be decent alongside RVP (I don't....)??? For all the cahill, barton, even parker talk, i think arsenal actually lack one more striker.....RVP with a partner up front might help them at least out score their opponents....

  • Comment number 82.

    #71~ Very well put and valid point - Wenger's obsession with not signing 30 yr olds has cost us dear over the last 7 yrs and I include in this existing players who left because they were not offered new deals (Gallas anyone?? my god how we could have done with him since he left!!) Gilberto Silva etc

  • Comment number 83.

    "No gloom and doom here.

    Its lovely to see another one of Sky's precious clubs struggling.

    Liverpool in the last few years. Arsenal now.

    With luck, the Russian will withdraw his billions and Cheslea will be next to go..."

    And I bet your club just hands back the television money they're given do they? We all get equal amounts in the Prem from TV rights for Prem games. Maybe if you're team were good enough to get in europe you'd pick up extra revenue for those games. Hypocrite

  • Comment number 84.

    Is there any better comedy on tv than Arsenal's defending?...hahahahaha...

  • Comment number 85.

    #81~ We do yes, but Park hasn't had a chance yet and the defence definately has to be a priority

  • Comment number 86.

    Firstly regarding VDV opening goal from all the views the sky cameras gave you couldnt be 100% certain he handled the ball so cant disallow it unless you got a muppet official like the 1 that disallowed a perfectly good goal for Wolves on Saturday.

    I feel Arry is right to voice his disgust @ the chanting aimed at Adebayor but also feel he needs to condemn our fans for our part in this chanting as that has been mentioned in previous posts we made these vile chants up so we're not completely innocent.

    Also I dont recall actually hearing Luka say he wants to leave his agent has done alot of talking for him but as we all know agents aren't interested in their clients career just how much money they can make for themselves in any deals.

  • Comment number 87.

    #84~ Only one, and that's Fergie on the training pitch in his tracksuit trying to still look young

  • Comment number 88.

    '84 fergie_time

    Yes, Ferguson making unprofessional comments about referee's in order to cover up an deficiencies in his team, and his general paranoia, often raises quite a chuckle. I don't think we've witnessed it yet this season but we're only a few games in so it's early days.

  • Comment number 89.

    I thought it was a pretty good game yesterday. A great advert for the EPL - easily the best league in the world.

    VDVs 'handball'? I think replays are inconclusive.
    However, if it was handball I dont think it would have warranted a 2 nd yellow.
    It wasn't exactly an 'Henry' for France versus the RofI was it?

    The 2 nd yellow should have been given for going into the crowd.

    'arry's got himself a pretty decent squad of players now to pick from.
    They should be pushing for a top 4 finish.

    As for Arsenal, his fully fit first choice back 4 is-
    Sagna, Vermaelen, Matersaker, Gibbs.

    Compare those to-
    Dixon, Adams, Keown, Winterburn.
    Lauren, Campbell, Toure, Cole.

    Current choice are not good enough I'm afraid.

  • Comment number 90.

    #88~ everything gone his way so far that's why, you wait till they lose/drop points than all the excuses will come out!!

  • Comment number 91.

    75...what you have said is that if every decision went for arsenal, you would have more points...Do you not think the same applies for every team?! I have actually read much of that report from the journalist you mention via a link on facebook. The guy who wrote that really has wasted his life! Many of the decisions are highly debatable and are down to personal interpretation..Also, it is impossible to say what would have happened if decisions were different because the butterfly effect of changing history means that all potential outcomes are possible. The 'small' decisions are just as important as the 'big' decisions as these constantly effect the short term future of each match. Each team has decisions go for and against with it! Yes, you can be unlucky in individual games but to go through a whole season and blame the position of a team based on poor refereeing is smacking of desperation.
    Right now, Arsenal have the weakest team they have had under the management of Wenger and have been on a gradual downward curve since they won the league in 2004 despite reaching the 06 champs league final. Wenger has been in full control this whole team and overseen every change at the club...stop blaming the referees and start blaming the only man in control...Wenger!

  • Comment number 92.

    It was a good game and Arsenal beaten by a good side, don't think losing this game means "crisis" or "panic" they played a team on their level and were edged out. Enjoyable game and nice and clean! Think they will be fighting for the same league spot come end of season.

  • Comment number 93.

    The reason that Wenger didn't sign him is simple - he's English and over 25 that disqualifies him on 2 counts for ever playing for Arsenal whilst AW is in charge. I'm not being flippant either. That's why Arsenal fans can forget about signing Cahill or Jagialka either. Wenger can't come to terms with the fact that to win the EPL, you need some British players - Man U and Chelsea have dominated the past 7 years with their fair share of brits. Wenger finds it hard to accept that his shall we say, "multi-national" approach doesn't bring home the bacon. We can now include Man City and SPurs as being far superior to Arsenal in every sense other than having a lovely new ground. And guess what, they also have a healthy dose of British players. Time for Wenger to face up to his short-comings.....or move upstairs (whatever that means).

  • Comment number 94.

    #89~ Vermaelen is, he is a massive loss as when he is fit he is one of the best players around

  • Comment number 95.

    I would 8-2 be Only One Tony Adams right now...sounding bitter...

  • Comment number 96.

    #93~ well said that man

  • Comment number 97.

    #95~ I have had better mornings ha ha

  • Comment number 98.

    #97 Only One Tony Adams

    Though they are an increasingly distant memory I would imagine..... ;-)

  • Comment number 99.

    only one tony 80.. i bring up that incident because no one has ever brought it up! post match, all the attention was about arsenal blaming solskjaer for receiving an elbow in the face from sol campbell...the goal that never was has been done to death now.

  • Comment number 100.

    The problem with Arsenal at the moment is Aaron Ramsey. If Arsenal continue picking him , they will continue losing games. He is slow in his thoughts and on his feet. Bar the goal, he was the worst player on the pitch by far. He continued giving the ball away endlessly and in dangerous positions.
    Surely Andre Santos is miles ahead of Aaron Ramsey.
    A donkey can't be any slower than Ramsey who is a good championship player at best and not a top 10 Premier league player.
    If Wenger starts playing the more experienced Andre Santos ahead of Ramsey , Arsenal's luck will start to change.


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