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Arsenal must make this the norm, Spurs the exception

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Phil McNulty | 21:28 UK time, Sunday, 26 February 2012

At Emirates Stadium

Arsene Wenger’s stubborn resistance to the voice of the masses has been listed among his faults during Arsenal’s plunge into reduced circumstances this season.

Wenger has often appeared alone with his principles amid calls for changes in personnel, policy and even the manager himself in some cases as Arsenal’s stretch without a trophy extends to seven years.

Even those who argue against a change in Arsenal manager have voiced the view that the current Arsenal manager needs to change.

And yet that stubborn streak, that belief that what he is doing is right, was a compelling force for Arsenal’s good in a north London derby that took all logic and shook it until the bits dropped off.

Arsenal's players

Arsenal's players celebrate at the final whistle

If Wenger had a desire to pander as a populist, he would have bowed to the baying of the mob and substituted Theo Walcott to spare him the volume of criticism he was receiving from his own Arsenal fans as Spurs went 2-0 up in this magnificent exhibit for the Premier League.

Louis Saha’s deflected shot and Emmanuel Adebayor’s penalty, generously given by referee Mike Dean after Gareth Bale’s theatrical tumble in contact with Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, had elevated the frustration levels around Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal were not playing badly but it was the view of many of the paying public that Walcott was – and boy did they let him know it. The exclusion of the exciting Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain threw Walcott’s struggles into greater relief but Wenger stood by his original selection.

He admitted later that occasionally you do a player a favour and remove him in the face of such treatment but Wenger stayed true to his belief that Walcott offered a serious threat.

And so it proved during an Arsenal comeback that carried such force that Spurs buckled quite spectacularly, shipping five goals in 28 minutes and threatening to lose even more emphatically than they eventually did.

Walcott, on the receiving end of some fairly X-rated abuse from some Arsenal fans in the first 45 minutes, added the final two flourishes in swift succession to finish off a comeback fashioned around goals from Bacary Sagna, Robin van Persie and Tomas Rosicky.

It was such a transformation in fortunes that, when Walcott was replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain with nine minutes left, his name thundered around the stadium, accompanied by a standing ovation.
Fickle old football. And that fickle nature was scattered around like confetti with Walcott, Wenger and Spurs manager Harry Redknapp playing the central characters.

Seven days earlier, Spurs fans were united in ironic song at Stevenage as they pleaded “Arsene Wenger – We Want You To Stay” with Arsenal in desperate straits following a Champions League mauling at the hands of AC Milan and an FA Cup exit at Sunderland.

If Arsenal and Wenger were not quite on their knees going into this game they were certainly badly wounded. Rarely had Spurs looked so in command of north London’s football territory. And in Redknapp they had a manager who was almost assuming the role of “The People’s Choice” as the man most likely to succeed Fabio Capello as England coach.

Redknapp’s CV is no more dented by this loss than Arsenal’s problems have all disappeared as a result of 90 minutes – particularly a first half – that scrambled the senses of many observers.

At its conclusion Wenger announced: “Arsenal is more alive than anybody thought before this game.” There was certainly plenty of life on show in a performance that did not simply contain the attacking decoration that has been their trademark in the past – but also a character and resilience that saw them creating chances and applying pressure even when they were behind.

Arsenal’s season has contained some wild results such as an 8-2 defeat at Manchester United and a 5-3 win at Chelsea – add this to another madcap moment in this campaign. Wenger suddenly has his sights trained on fourth place once more but if this season has told us anything, it is that the evidence suggests Arsenal are the team that cannot be trusted completely.

There was so much to admire from the Gunners here. The fluid play, the support for Van Persie – although his most magical moment was all his own work, a precise finish that curled tantalisingly beyond Spurs keeper Brad Friedel to put Arsenal level just before half-time.

Fit-again Sagna gives balance and attacking threat as he scored once and was involved in creating one of Walcott’s goals, while Laurent Koscielny and Thomas Vermaelen persisted long enough to ensure any lingering Spurs threat was snuffed out.

And yet all praise for Arsenal comes with a giant note of caution attached. It does not suit their purposes to play like this against Spurs if they are to retreat back to the timid at Liverpool next week.

For Spurs, it is a not time to throw the baby out with the bathwater on the strength of one desperate afternoon. A fairly horrendous defeat cannot undo so much good work done this season. Once wounds have been tended, they still lie seven points ahead of Arsenal in third place.

If Redknapp was angry at Spurs’s capitulation, he saved it for the dressing room. In his post-match inquest he was measured and tried to put the performance into context while giving Arsenal their full credit.

There were points of concern for Redknapp, however, especially in the manner they threatened to collapse even before actually doing so. The pace of their play has been a high point all season but here Arsenal carried all the tempo and momentum, which Spurs were unable to contain.

In the face of Arsenal’s vibrant attacks, captain Ledley King looked to be struggling in his fight to keep playing despite being unable to train. He laboured throughout and Redknapp admitted to his struggles later.

Spurs faded badly as Arsenal thrived and Scott Parker’s sending off, while an irrelevance here, may have serious implications when he misses Manchester United’s visit to White Hart Lane next week.
The midfield battle was lost so decisively that Redknapp made alterations at half-time with the scores level. Sandro and Rafael van der Vaart replaced Saha and Niko Kranjcar but the horse had bolted.

The game was up long before the end, allowing Arsenal’s players and supporters to revel in the luxury of such a commanding lead in the closing stages, using the humiliation of their neighbours as a healing force on those recent wounds.

The trick for Wenger and Arsenal is to somehow make sure results and performances such as this are not isolated incidents. The task for Redknapp and Spurs is to make sure they are.


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  • Comment number 1.

    It's displays like this that make us Gunners even more frustrated when we lose to Milan 4 0... If only they showed there half the passion they showed today, we'd still have a chance.

  • Comment number 2.

    A good result for arsenal that should deflect the rightful criticism of the team for a few games. The real issue will be whether rvp signs a new deal and who is likely to be brought in during the summer.

    Full marks to arsenal today, but they are still anything but assured to participate in the champions league next year.

    Well they've driven eboue and arshavin away from the club. Walcotts two goals will surely disappoint the arsenal fans.

  • Comment number 3.

    I was pleased to see Arsenal win. Also think Harry is the wrong choice for England. not tactically astute but he is the flavour of the month and media choice.
    for all of Arsenal's woes this season, I think they are favourites for 4th spot. they can play some good stuff, but need to develop resilience and i think they will do well again soon.

    Congratulations LFC. did it the hard way Redmen but it was good to feel a cup victory after 6 long years.

  • Comment number 4.

    Congratulations on yet another redundant blog Phil. Keep it up. I especially love how I learnt absolutely nothing I didn't already know from the match report.

  • Comment number 5.

    I think a regulation should be brought in that premier ship or european champion league side's who have football surfaces like a potato patch should be deducted points or fined heavily. That's three games away for the gunners on a mad patch of a football pitch. thanks arsene for the emirates pitch where we can really appreciate how football should be played. Arsenal 5 spuds 2 How sweet that sounds :)

  • Comment number 6.

    You mention how Wenger is stubborn and sticks to his plan. He played Theo almost as a striker - almost 4-4-2. Theo plays well for England in that formation and today bangs two arguably hard finishes in the net. So based on this, is Wenger's view right? Why doesn't he play 4-4-2 more often? Arshavin has just gone out on loan after years of playing out of position - he's a great player, but Wenger didn't play to his strengths.

  • Comment number 7.

    Arsenal of 2004 doing what they do best, and a positive blog about them to follow.

    All as was predicted then!

  • Comment number 8.

    The defining moment of the game was Bale's blatant dive which won Tottenham's penalty.

    It was clear that this injustice further galvanised Arsenal and they played with more purpose, passion and belief, that I have seen from them all season.

    The rare inclusion of Benayoun added a a bit more guile to the midfield, and makes you wonder why he has not played more games this season.

    Arsenal today showed that they can finish in the top four, the big question is which Arsenal will turn up at Anfield.

  • Comment number 9.

    I predicted the Spurs collapse after the Stevenage horror show - and here we are.

    The defending was truly Sunday league.

  • Comment number 10.

    Agreed arsenal deserved the win (I'm a spurs fan) however the turning point of the game was szczezny not being sent off. Agreed bale probably maybe looked for the penalty but in that situation any player in the world is going to. The fact is that if that was a penalty, which was what was awarded, either szczezny or the defender (can't remember who) should have received a red card. That is the punishment awarded for the offence of which the penalty was given. Now with this, tottenham would deffinately capitalised on having the extra man. This, from the point of view of trying to chase the top 2, is inconceivable to me how the referee did not even award a yellow card, however it would have ruined the game which I thoroughly enjoyed and also would have given Arsene something else to moan about.

  • Comment number 11.

    I read an article in the Times that stated only two Arsenal players would get into the 'North London' XI at present (with Van de Vart somehow slotting in down the right wing), power had shifted and Arsenal would get overwhelmed by Spurs' pace, movement and agility. Whilst this journalist is clearly an utter moron, he is no different from the others that rode the white wave of praise that has showered over Spurs in recent weeks. Today was THE Arsenal, and Spurs couldn't live with it. To be fair, not many teams could have lived with it. In light of this battering, what would your 'North London' XI be? For me, it's very different from that of the stupid times journalist. Trying to be as fair and impartial as possible: Friedel, Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Assou-Ekotto, Parker, Wishere, Modric, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Van Persie, Bale. Power has shifted nowhere, this result will de-rail Spurs season. I wouldn't be surprised to see Wenger and AVB in Europe next year.

  • Comment number 12.

    Ok, silly mode off, it was really quite remarkable the way they fought back in front of their home crowd. Tottenham now only have home bragging rights, not quite the total dominance assured then. Then again, anyone predict Blackpool doing the double against Liverpool last season.

    Has to be seen as simply a total collapse by Tottenham, only this time it wasn't a draw. Bad loss, well done Arsenal, ManU and Chelsea and of course Liverpool, brilliant Cup final, roll on next week =]

    Must've been retro normal duty resumes week =]

  • Comment number 13.

    Sorry forgot well done Cardiff too! The Cup may as well had their name on it, painful as this may sound to some.

    Cup finals, always painful for the loser, bliss for the winner. Hopefully promotion awaits them, they deserve the big time.

  • Comment number 14.

    I'm sure Wenger can't believe his luck after this result.

    Arsenal looked dead and buried then the Spurs defence simply gifted them goals all over the place.

    Next week Spurs will lose to United and Arsenal will lose to Liverpool - so game on for third and fourth.

  • Comment number 15.

    Just as I exclusively revealed last month, Tottenham will be left to battle with Arsenal for the 4th spot.

    The best Spurs can hope for against United is a point, and they'll also drop points at Everton. Chelsea's next two games are certain 3-pointers against a couple of the pub teams, so by the time Chelsea host Spurs in a few weeks time, the most that will separate the two teams will be 3 points.

  • Comment number 16.

    No. 11 - what does Song have to do to make these lists? Never has Garth Crooks had him on his list. You as well. How was Scott Parker better than Song today or in most of the games? Song has been the quintessential DM this season...defends and creates chances. Sorry Song is wayyyyyy better than Parker - I am just baffled why he is always overlooked really.

    Having said that, what a win today. Form is temporary, class is permanent and the Gunners proved it today. That was a masterstroke by Wenger to play Rosicky and Benayoun. They played as if they were possessed! Wow. The gap is closing people. If we can get a result at Liverpool away and from Newcastle, Chelsea, and Manchester City all at home, it might be very interesting! That is then...this is now. 5-2. Let me savour it while it lasts. Mmmmmmm.

  • Comment number 17.

    The League Cup final just highlights how poor the EPL is. A top 6 side held by some Championship dross for 120 minutes. :shakesheadindisbelief:

    The one shining light in that match was the performance of José Enrique; a classy pro.

  • Comment number 18.

    This is why I love the premier league, and will always love Arsenal!! What an incredible performance, and I thought our midfield, specially Rosicky and Benayoun were outstanding. I'm even more ecstatic that we created so many chances today, which we haven't done recently at all (of course aided by some poor defending by Spurs). This is how we need to fight and give everything on the pitch, and even if we lose playing like the way we did today, I'll still be happy. It is this team spirit which was hugely lacking against both Milan and Sunderland. Though, let's not get carried away as 3rd spot is still way too far for us, but I'm over the moon at the moment since we beat one of the best Spurs team in recent times, with probably one of the weakest Arsenal's team ever!!

  • Comment number 19.

    'Arry's comment, commendably honest, said it all - that the Spurs players looked like they were "beaten" at half-time. Taking such a quick double-blow just sucked the belief out of them.

    The next three weeks or so will tell a bigger story, see how we get on against Liverpool next and Spurs dealing with Man Utd, Everton and Chelsea in short order.

  • Comment number 20.

    Hey Bale! (geddit?) get on the plane quick, it's Oscar night in Hollywood.

  • Comment number 21.

    @ 17

    Thought Enrique has had a patchy run of form recently actually. A good player but got caught out for the first Cardiff goal. Not his best performance of the season!

    I see the British olympic diving team has been announced today, shame for Gareth Bale, no inclusion. He'll have to go back to playing football if he wants to be at the olympics! How he got that penalty is beyond me. Another shocking refereeing decision!

    Also, how bad is Walcott's first touch?! For both goals completely lucky that his first touch ran into his path! Decent finishes though. Will never be good enough to be Arsenal's main striker though and I think they need a signing to support Van Persie in the Summer. I think Arsenal will finish 5th

  • Comment number 22.

    @17, What did you expect? Liverpool is a team packed full of mediocre players, almost all of which are vastly over-priced. They won this trophy because of a blatant wrong decision in the Semi-Final, the penalty awarded against Micah Richards. Had the referee not given that pen, Man City would have gone on to beat Liverpool, then make mincemeat of Cardiff.

    Back to this blog. Very suprising result today, especially after Spurs went 2-0 up. I doubt very much that Arsenal will keep it up, there have been other times this season when they have finally played well (5-3 against Chelsea, for example), then gone on to play poorly in the next few weeks. For almost the entire of this season, they have been a one man team, and if RVP leaves in the summer then i'm afraid Arsenal will be out of CL contention for next season.

  • Comment number 23.

    #10 as neither Chesney or Gibbs actually fouled Bale, it is hard to understand why one of them should have got a red card - perhaps that is why you cant decide which one of them should have gone.

    Is "looked for a penalty" a euphemism by any chance, when the ball got away from him, Bale very clearly throws himself to the ground. He tries to hook his trailing leg around the keepers arm buut missed. Not a red in any case - the ball was going away from goal, and Bale would not have got to it, clear case for a yellow for simulation though.
    If that had been Eduardo, or any other non-British player the media would have started a feeding frenzy, but of course British players don't dive, they "look for a penalty".

    Spurs are still favourites for 3rd place, but there are some huge matches ahead. If Arsenal and Chelsea win and Spurs lose next weekend (and that is a big if), suddenly it starts to look like a 3 horse race for 3rd place, rather than a 2 way fight for 4th.

    At least Spurs fans can stop having wet dreams about the title race
    61 - Never Again.

  • Comment number 24.

    Smiles :)

    watch out Milan! you won't have a Boot Fair Pitch to help you out in the return leg
    and here is one Gooner who is confident we will progress to the next stage in the CL

    this was a dress rehearsal for the feat yet to be done

    Go you Gunners!

  • Comment number 25.

    21. At 22:46 26th Feb 2012, Liverpaul85 wrote:

    I see the British olympic diving team has been announced today, shame for Gareth Bale, no inclusion.

    Surely Scott ''did I just get shot by a sniper?'' Parker must have been included.

    After his theatrics following the infamous ''hair brush'' from Balotelli, and his embarrassing antics following an innocuous tap from the boot of Suárez, then I'd imagine he'd be a shoo-in for the diving squad.

  • Comment number 26.

    Spurs to beat UTd 3-0 and Arsenal hammered at Anfield, but still coming 4th

  • Comment number 27.

    #21 I am not sure that "luck" is the only possible explanation of why the ball went into Walcott's path after his first touch. I have been critical of him this season, mostly out of frustration. When he plays instinctively he looks very sharp, it is when he is expected to pick out a pass that he gets it wrong.

    As for 1st touch, have you watched Andy Carroll recently - if he is worth £35million, I hate to think what van Persie is worth

  • Comment number 28.

    Another English Cart Horse is shown red.

    as for Bale's theatrics need we say more.

  • Comment number 29.

    Remember the media outrage and international UEFA investigation and campaign that appeared after Eduardo's "dive"? He went down with much more contact than Bale had today. Bale clearly wasn't touched. What happened to the outrage? Not even mentioned. Bale's already been booked twice for diving. It's time for this to be retrospectively dealt with.

  • Comment number 30.

    Scott Parker does look as though he is getting shot by a sniper as per soul patch. It must be embarrassing. He should audition for the remake of platoon.

  • Comment number 31.

    Been to Arsenal a few times but could never understand the abuse they give their own showed it....

    It is the only club i have seen do it to their players , Eboue was a prime example....why?

  • Comment number 32.

    As a somewhat beleaguered Arsenal fan, I exchanged views with a colleague who's a Spurs fan on Friday. Feeling negative I said I reckon it wouldn't be more than 5.

    I'll be seeing said workmate tomorrow and I shall remind him that it was only 5, because I didn't think we'd get 6!

    I know, I'm not offering much with my comment, but precisely what has your blog done to inform?

  • Comment number 33.

    I guess THFC are no longer title contenders then.

  • Comment number 34.

    What a win for Arsenal.The only problem is they cant perform to anywhere near that sort of level on a consistent basis.They need a few more arial and physical players to combine with the already exceptional technical players at the club.

  • Comment number 35.

    @ 27

    I am confused why you brought Andy Carroll into a Arsenal blog but I will agree he isn't worth £35m. No player is! But thanks for bringing it up (for absolutely no reason whatsoever!)

    As for Walcott, watch the goals again. He has no control over the ball from his first touch. For both goals, he mis-controls with his first touch, the ball rebounds off his trailing leg and into his path. That is luck....not skill!

  • Comment number 36.

    I wonder if Bale will be stigmatised in the same way that Pires and Ronaldo were for diving? He certainly dives far more than the former yet because he's British and plays for a popular team very little is said about it? If an identical penalty got given against England this summer there would be outrage and indignation, it was a disgraceful dive and yet everybody involved in the media here make noises about "not much contact" and "soft penalty" without condemning it. Pundits and fans alike moaned about the unsporting conduct of Real Madrid's players last season against them but nothing is to be said now. Too many people, both in the media and otherwise, will sit on their high horse condemning Spanish football for the same thing whilst conveniently ignoring incidents like this.

    #10 That must be the most ridiculous argument I've ever seen. After somehow conning the referee into giving a penalty that never was, to make out Spurs were hard done by by not compounding this by making a second woeful decision is laughable. The fact that the referee and linesman failed to take any further action after lengthy consultation suggests they had absolutely no idea whether Gibbs or Szczesny had made the foul, and that it was just complete guesswork giving the penalty in the first place.

  • Comment number 37.

    Phil - I was at the game and while Walcott was getting abuse it was not nearly as bad as you are making out. Groans from the Arsenal fans are a completely fair way to represent our frustration at Theo. We know how talented he is but his display in the first half and the vast majority of this season has been poor and wasteful. Also, I do recall United fans launching into similar groans with Fletcher a few seasons ago.

    We will finish 5th for the simple reason that we are not good enough to finish higher. Yes it was a great day today, truly awesome. So was beating Chelsea at the Bridge. But we do not have the quality needed to get the necessary points against City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Stoke in our forthcoming fixtures.

    I heard somebody say today that whilst there have been no recognised trophies since 2005, there is the Emirates Stadium and all that has been built to ensure our standing in the future. And that in itself is our silverware! Very true I think.

    Arsene. Genius and the best football manager that has ever been involved in the game on these shores. We have overachieved since the day he arrived. And with a bit of luck hopefully we can overachieve our way to a trophy next season.

    Finally, 5 goals needed to overcome AC on Wednesday week. If we show some grit in midfield like today and get our finishing boots on we could be 2 nil up by half time and then Milan will be wobbling. Now that would be a comeback!

  • Comment number 38.

    As a long suffering Newcastle fan I had to put up with 'turning in circles' Parker for too long, how on earth he is in the reckoning for England's captaincy is beyond me. He is like Barry, alright in a good midfield but passed off the park against anything approaching decent opposition.

    Bale was shocking (again) with his diving antics, the defending was comical (Neville & Tyler pretending that it meant it is the best league in the world simply now because it is entraining to watch pub league defenders) and finally it is time to show Ledley the door, how laboured does the guy look when he is running?

    Redknapp is a decent manager but when he came up against Mourinho in the Champions League he got battered 5-0 and I fear he would similarly outclassed by Europe's top coaches at international level, he will be another Keegan, all the media pretend all England are missing is a tub-thumping manager who 'understands' the players and then claim he is tactically inept when the eventual flop at the big tournament occurs!!

  • Comment number 39.

    @ 36

    Well said old chap!! Completely agree with you on both points.

    I do however think that if they have given the penalty, one of Szceseny or gibbs should be sent off. Not saying it would be the right thing because the initial decision is wrong, but having given that, the ref should then send one of them off.

    But like you say, obviously the ref and linesman were completely guessing and had no idea what to do.

    sounds much like most of the refs these days.

    Bring back Paul Durkin!

  • Comment number 40.

    As for the game itself, obviously a great win for Arsenal. What happens from now on who knows, wouldn't be surprised if defeat at Anfield follows. Best case scenario is a top 4 finish, expectations of much-needed investment not fulfilled leading to a hammering at some point in early 2013 in Europe as well as a disappointing FA cup exit on the road, and a losing battle to finish in the top 4 above teams who spend tens of millions more than us every single year. Top 4 has to be contextualised as a great recovery but unless the board pull their heads out of the sand, and RvP decides to stay, Arsenal will be treading water at best whilst the board point to the balance sheet and the fans tear their hair out.

    As for Spurs, it will hurt their pride undoubtedly. Views of Redknapp may become slightly more grounded after his poor decision-making today, but ultimately it won't stop them finishing top 4 barring a capitulation. It should help bring people's views in line with reality though: they have performed very well this year and are where they are on merit, but have only been able to do so due to almost no injuries to key players, a lead striker they wouldn't be able to afford (no matter how much their fans try to belittle his contributions) and no Champions League commitments.

  • Comment number 41.

    #39 If Gibbs had fouled it should have been a red, if Szczesny probably a yellow due to where the touch took him. I'm going to stop short of a foolish comment that I'd rather see the referee follow through and produce a card, but it doesn't fill me with joy that Dean had no conviction in his decision. It was a minimum yellow for the offender, as we agree the fact that a 20-second chat led to no cards tells its own story!

    As for the 'diving' label, it is just really frustrating. Just about any fan would claim that Matty Holland is the most honest player to ever kick a ball, but I remember him putting in a huge dive to win a penalty a few years back which was ignored, yet many others (almost invariably foreigners) have been stigmatised due to one incident.

  • Comment number 42.

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

  • Comment number 43.

    @ 41

    You must realise by now that British players don't dive. They go down easily! the stigma of diving should definitely hang around a player even after just one incident. It is cheating. But then it is the same as claiming a throw-in that you know came off you. There is no difference.

    Bale is getting a bit of a reputation after his antics here and the recent game at Anfield. Its not good to see and it definitely needs to be stopped. The problem is that until professional players like Suarez, Bale, Drogba, Ronaldo, Busquests etc. all stop doing it, the referees can never be sure.

    All too often now we see a player go down after the smallest contact, that is diving as well. Just because there is some contact, doesn't mean its not a dive. Its a disgrace and needs to be stopped. The problem is that no one can stop it except the players themselves.

  • Comment number 44.

    Genuinely finding people saying arsenal will get hammered by liverpool next week hilarious. Cant believe how overated they are, if liverpool do thrash us next week it will soley be down to arsenal playing like they did at milan and nothin to do with liverpool. Theres a long list of teams that have gone to anfield this season and gone away with draws and that is because liverpool have players like henderson, downing and carroll who all had massive money paid for them so must be good? oh wait they are all struggling to break into a poor england team. sorry to have a rant on a topic completely irrelevant to this blog but liverpool are no force and they can win as many carling cups as they want but if they dont make cl, which they won't this season, they will never be a team that can attract players that actually are worth 35mil.......


    ps i can picture a draw at liverpool next week but wouldn't be surprised to see a narrow arsenal win

  • Comment number 45.

    Fantastic performance and to be honest we could have had more goals had brad freidel not made 2 superb saves. The factor that was most notable today was the pace which we played at both with and without the ball. I think that having gibbs and sagna gave us good balance on both sides and they were able to get forward and matched walker asso ekkotto and bale for pace. But when we got the ball there was a real urgency to move it forward quickly and rosicky's goal was a prime example of that starting from the left back position and 5 or 6 passes later and it's in the back of the net. We need to play at this pace in every game and what was also great was that we had midfield runners getting into the box and going beyond rvp. Also defensively when spurs had the ball we were right in their faces and didn't allow modric and parker to settle on the ball, almost in the way that barcelona press and win the ball back in dangerous areas and our midfield 3 were excellent. Also when you consider that gervinho and oxo didn't start it really was an outstanding performance and lets not forget how good a team spurs have been this season, they have very good players and they did threaten to break away on the counter attack with the pacey players that they have at their disposal. But yes more of the same arsenal next week as we have a massive game vs liverpool and spurs have ma utd at home, remember there is only 6 points difference.

  • Comment number 46.

    Doesn't matter what country a player is from, when someone dives like Bale has done numerous times now they should get a retrospective 1 game ban. That could have cost Arsenal the game and it is blatant cheating, how McNulty hasn't called him on it is bizarre. Let's not pretend this is a 'foreign' problem, too many British players have been doing it for too long (Owen, Gerrard, Rooney, Bale etc)

  • Comment number 47.

    As for people saying about my previous statement about Gibbs or szczezny being sent off, my point is not about bale diving, as spurs and Arsenal fans will obviously have their own views, but that if the penalty was awarded, which it was, a red card must be given. No matter if it is right or not, one of then should have walked due to the penalty being given.

  • Comment number 48.

    It seems asking Mr McNulty and for that matter any other journalist to expand on the discription of Gareth Bales "theatrical" penalty decision and actually say what he really means, is enough to get you moderated.

    Good old BBC...never let the truth get in the way of sweeping something under the carpet.......

  • Comment number 49.

    Rather painful to watch today for a spurs fan. It was a perfect combination of a team buckling and the other team taking full advantage. We deserved to lose badly. And the defence should take the blame.

    Assuming both were fit, I think it was a clear tactical error by Redknapp not to play Lennon and bemused as to why Dawson wasn't on. I think King is a phenomenol defender (as Thierry Henry attests, btw) but today, I agree, he did look laboured. I've seen him outstrip the fastest attacker, the freak that he is, but not today. Mistake to put him in. And Krankyar (sic) was of no use at all - we needed lennons pace. Midfield was overrun.

    No excuse for Bale diving. I think he did get clipped by the defender but that wasn't enough to take him down and I don't condone it one bit. Harry should tell him to stop that, period. No-one can deny he's world class but he risks ruining his reputation with such antics. Also annoying cause he could well have got to the ball and slotted in for a great goal.

    Bad day. But on the positive side; we are still 7 points clear in 3rd place and will make the champions league.

    The disgusting lack of respect Arsenal have shown us over the years (just compare redknapps magnanimous comments on arsenal and RVP after this match and you realise wenger would never have such class or decency towards us) makes it difficult to congratulate arsenal. So I'll just say best team on the day won.

  • Comment number 50.


    Wouldn't bank on a champions league spot yet (still wouldn'tt bet against it either) tough run of games for spurs now ( united at home, everton and chelsea away) could see you coming out of that run with maybe a 3 or 4 point lead over arsenal and chelsea max.
    how confident would you be then?

  • Comment number 51.


    How do you what Wenger has or has not said about Spurs, Redknapp etc over the years? Are you the Arsenal press officer? Do you have access to the unbroadcasted and unreported pre and post match tv, press and radio comments?

    No. Of course you dont.

    It is probably the only thing that you could take a swipe at today and how does Wenger either making a comment or not making a comment, pleasing or not to your ears, mean that Arsenal Football Club have shown no respect to Redknapp or Spurs?

    Plainly it doesnt.

  • Comment number 52.

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

  • Comment number 53.

    At 00:24 27th Feb 2012, enterminan wrote:


    Wouldn't bank on a champions league spot yet (still wouldn'tt bet against it either) tough run of games for spurs now ( united at home, everton and chelsea away) could see you coming out of that run with maybe a 3 or 4 point lead over arsenal and chelsea max.
    how confident would you be then?

    Very. a 3-4 point lead with a run of relatively easy fixtures ahead in the last 8-9 games is a situation any realistic Tottenham fan would have snapped up at the beginning of the season, and especially after playing the first 2 games.

    Theres no way to dress up todays game as anything other than a bad day at the office, but lets not get carried away and pretend that Spurs have somehow forgotten how to win games against the rest of the division.

  • Comment number 54.

    Well, it only took about 9 months... but finally I have witnessed Arsenal playing like Arsenal again!

    I hope this victory stays in the mind of all the players today because if we can just play with that spirit and character on a consistent basis we might actually be able to hold onto our best players in the future and not see them leave.

  • Comment number 55.

    And incidentally can I congratulate Liverpool on being slightly less bad at penalties than a championship side?

  • Comment number 56.


    Arsenal at Liverpool, a totally different game for them.

    Liverpool are slow when playing the ball through midfield, they invariably pass back or sideways due to the lack of options in front of them and when the strikers do get the ball, the attacking midfielders are slow to support. In theory it should allow Arsenal the same luxury as other teams visiting Anfield, a chance to get the defensive positions set. Knowing Arsenal, I wouldn't bank on it though.

    Up front Arsenal will definitely not meet a team as open as Spurs were today because for exactly the reasons Liverpool are limited up front, it makes them defensively strong because they are rarely too far forward and out of position.

  • Comment number 57.

    @17 & 25

    :shakes head for 5 mins:

  • Comment number 58.

    im not saying that spurs wont get a champions league spot but finding themselves back in a fight with chelsea and arsenal having been so comfortable for most the season could be the pressure that might find them wanting in these so called easy games, having been watching the premier league season (as i assume you have to) id say there arent as many easy games as there used to be. And hold on a second this isnt too far from the team last season dropping points against the 'lesser teams' who's to say that wont happen again. Or will they call on all there experience of finishing a premier league campaign strongly..... oh no wait......

  • Comment number 59.

    if both teams opt to break on the counter, could be a 1-1 game, boring. Liverpool are probably going to be better organised though, and Kuyt and Bellamy are 2 of the EPLs more dangerous players. Going for the likely choice 2-1 to Liverpool, RVP scoring. Then again, I made a prediction, so cue a 4-0 thrashing instead =]

    Anything but the 1-0 (free kick/penalty) win though.

  • Comment number 60.

    I think all Arsenal fans (myself included) must have feared the worst, 0-2 down and following the week we'd just had.

    Hugely impressed with the players' mental fortitude and refusal to give in. They mirrored the stubborness of the manager in continuing to play THEIR way, and on days like this, they must all feel truly vindicated.

    I'm not worrying too much about upcoming fixtures, just basking in the glow of reminding Totteringham of their rightful place in the North-London pecking order!

  • Comment number 61.

    Whoa ! Let’s not get too carried away. A pumped-up & hungry team gets a merited victory over Spurs but loads of cracks were papered over today - the obvious one is why they don’t put in a shift like this every week. Was it just because it was Spurs?

    They’ve sold one great player, Fabregas, and two good ones in Nasri & Clichy, and, yes, Wilshere has been missing all season but does that really explain how come Arsenal have become so much more ordinary this season? Another crack is that Wenger hates buying big money players, that’s never been part of his philosophy. His panic buying & barrel- scraping last August proves it with the bringing in of the very ordinary Arteta and the lumbering giraffe that is Mertesacker.

    But still, he didn’t sell 10 players - it just looks like it. The squad remains threadbare & Wenger‘s public confidence in it is touching. Perhaps he thinks Ramsay is the new Fabregas. Well, IMO, he’s wrong there - Wales captain or not he’s pretty ordinary week in, week out. Does he still think Walcott is God’s gift to attacking play? The lad has had so many games now that everyone can see he is not going to make it really big and pace alone counts for little without the nous to use the ball effectively. 2 excellent finishes today but neither due to great ball control. Persevering with Arshavin was also a costly mistake - he did look OK early on then he got his tax bill and gave up in disgust. I’m actually delighted he has been moved out. You might as well start with only 10 rather than play the lazy Russian - he simply undid all the good work of the rest of the team by constantly giving the ball away cheaply and his total inability to tackle back. What he did to the poor lad Jenkinson at OT was nothing short of treason. Chamakh? Who? Djourou? The lad is seriously short on skill & comical in his addiction to giving away penalties. Song was a sturdy and willing workhorse last year with a great midfield around him but has been cruelly exposed this campaign - he gets caught in possession so often ‘cos he has no-one out there helping him. At least Wenger got lucky with his keeper - Czesny is a rock compared to Fabianski & Almunia.

    You can only conclude that Arsenal are 4th right now only because of Van Persie’s miraculous scoring but how long can he keep that up ? And will he stick with Arsenal next year ? Will he want to bust a gut with a mid-table side when there will be plenty of big money offers on the table ? They call Wenger “The Professor”. Well, one more of his lectures on the ‘spirit’ and ‘character’ and ‘quality’ of his team and I for one will fall over laughing. Great shame - Arsenal are a well-run and financially sound club with a great stadium and whose football used to delight the purists. All these are good attributes and not to be ignored but if you actually want to compete and win things in this money-poisoned circus called football, Wenger & the Board will have to pursue different strategies. Man U, Man C & Chelsea have all the cash - Arsenal seemingly will never go down that route.

    So they need to be smarter & more flexible, especially on the pitch. What works well on a lush Emirates pitch in August, mostly does not up in the frozen North in winter. Wenger stubbornly thinks it should - end of. No sign of him changing his mind (especially after today!) but finally he will have to inject something new whether it be a Plan B for different situations, something simple like a shot on goal occasionally instead of 20 passes along the midfield. I do think he should stop fining his players a week’s wages for shooting from outside the box! At the very least, cultivate some physical strength and more robust players to grind out a result against the likes of Sunderland or Stoke when the fancy stuff isn’t working. Barcelona are the great example - they are lovely to watch AND as tough as old boots without the ball - they come at you like tigers to win the ball back. Arsenal generally come at you like feathers and mostly fall over in the process. Think on, Professor, and think well . . .

  • Comment number 62.

    Don't agree with most of what you say, clearly your like alot of football fans and assume that you have a wide and expansive knowledge of everyting that goes on in football. Personally i feel l wenger does a fantastic job trying to compete with chelsea, man city,liverpool and man united. Granted we have had a cash injection from nasri and fabregas sale but i think we need to come to terms that regarding wages we will never compete with the megabucks that these other clubs can offer. Having 50 million is one this but to tempt a big player from a big club you have to offer big wages. You may think just offer a 150 thousand pound contract to get one player in isn't going to make arsenal bust but then what happens when you renew contracts and sign new players they will all want money relative to this megabucks contract and suddenly arsenal aren't so finacncially viable after all. The fact is that until we have an owner like sheik mansour or obramovich (Which sadly i feel most clubs will) we cant offer this money.

  • Comment number 63.

    61. You are too harsh on Wenger for Mertesacker.

    A lot of legends surround Mertesacker such as this one:


    On a more serious note...

    Look at Crouch with Stoke. Making a lumbering Giraffe who was somehow used for his footballing skills when really, what you really need is a back post 6 foot cricket bat to push the ball where it belongs. The back of the net.

    As a premier league neutral... I support Birmingham City... I find it pretty funny where Newcastle, Liverpool and Norwich City are at the moment.

    1. Newcastle really aren't that good, how the hell are they there?

    2. Liverpool really aren't that good either, LOL CARDIFF and even Cardiff should have won today. Seen their second goal, where Kuyt looks as if he is slipping over while shooting? I mean seriously... Liverpool were awful and deserve to be in Wigan's position at the moment.

    3. Norwich City. Everyone is giving them plaudits for their football when really all I see a Wolverhampton Wanderers style football in them in reverse fashion. To explain this further, I'll need another paragraph.


    Wolves are that fighting spirit team. That team you know that is going to give 100% of their fighting spirit to lose 3 - 2 to Manchester United/City and then the next week, lose 3 - 0 to West Brom or something. Yet Norwich seem to learn from their mistakes unlike Wolves. They have mastered the art of giving 100% fighting spirit and still winning against the nobodies (Villa, West Brom, Wigan... ETC). How is that even possible? My theory is simple, that will require another paragraph...

    It is the 'First Premier League Season Syndrome' (FPLSS for short). That season when that 'high feeling' of getting into the premier league lasts all season. It doesn't happen with many teams and it sometimes happens with my own team: Birmingham City. It's that ability to stay up the first season and then the club seems to have some sort of 'existential' issue. 'What can I achieve in the Premier League?' 'This is pointless if we don't have any chance of getting into Europe.' This sort of mentality seems to creep in and they most likely get relegated the following season after they have finished mid-table the season before.

    In fact... Newcastle are on a slippery slope themselves. This high position they have will likely mask the problems they face and next season when tactics are refined, they could well face a relegation scrap if results aren't as great as imagined due to this season's good league position.

  • Comment number 64.

    szczezny not being sent off. Agreed bale probably maybe looked for the penalty but in that situation any player in the world is going to. The fact is that if that was a penalty, which was what was awarded, either szczezny or the defender (can't remember who) should have received a red card.

    How about a turning point being Spurs given a penalty which wasn`t a penalty and Bale not being given a red card?

    It is difficult to decide who `should` be given a red card when a foul isn`t even committed.

    Bale is a good player but I am becomming disgusted by his diving, he had a pretty clear one against Liverpool recently too.

    Last time I checked there have been plenty of fouls in the area resulting in penalties where red cards are not given, far more than where they are.

    Spurs got turned over, with several difficult results to come, count count your chickens yet, your could still finish outside the top 4. This time last year Arsenal were flying and look how we turned out....

  • Comment number 65.


    Most would not see success, in any way other than a club winning trophies. But as in any other business, money has to be a factor and Arsenal would undoubtably be considered a major success on that alone.

    For decades they have adopted the same approach and although not considered as successful as the Liverpool's and Utd's of this world they have in fact had more periods of success [winning trophies] than either of them.

    Now whether Arsenal can be successful again by winning trophies, is open to debate because football has changed, clubs cannot achieve more than the ocassional trophy without spending big.

  • Comment number 66.

    At 00:12 27th Feb 2012, Ray said: The disgusting lack of respect Arsenal have shown us over the years (just compare redknapps magnanimous comments on arsenal and RVP after this match and you realise wenger would never have such class or decency towards us) makes it difficult to congratulate arsenal. So I'll just say best team on the day won.

    Your points are well made. As an arsenal fan, I can now see your point. Wenger recently kept saying "I don't have to explain to you". But no need to take it personal. He is kind of graceless towards any opponents in defeat. I still rate him as a manager, but I have lost a lot of respect to him over the years.

  • Comment number 67.

    I disagree Phil. I think Arsene shed his stubbornness for this game and included Benayoun in the start up ahead of Ramsey(selfish) and Gervinho(excessive dribbling and losing the ball). Benayoun along with Rocisky provide the work-rate and pressure the opposing mid field. That was what did the trick today.

  • Comment number 68.

    @ sinspaw:"It's displays like this that make us Gunners even more frustrated when we lose to Milan 4 0... If only they showed there half the passion they showed today, we'd still have a chance."

    Agree 110%. can't say more or less.

  • Comment number 69.

    The disgrace in yesterday's match is in the media's attitude towards Gareth Bale [or Bile], pun intended. Phil McNulty blames the ref for being "generous". Others, including ESPN say "minimum contact" plus a hosts of euphemistic coinages. It was not long ago that the BBC and other media were trumpeting moralistic values with the Suarez - Evra affair. Was that wrong? Not totally except they refused to drum down on on Ferguson for his selfish comments. Is being evasive with Gareth Bale wrong? Absolutely.

  • Comment number 70.

    I have no horse in this race just an unbiased observer. The key feature in this win for Arsenal was imho Rosicky who has often looked lightweight , not in this game. I think Redknapp got his team selection all wrong and handed Arsenal the game with the substitutions again the wrong one's. Although out of position I didn't see that Krancjar was that bad and the substitution of Saha was odd, especially if King was struggling.

    Other observations, while Modric is a talent he struggles to be a genuine central midfielder especially when they need to defend. And if this reduces the calls for Redknapp to be England manager, good, because albeit the man is a genius at taking clubs in a mess and leading them to better days, his limited experience and record of success at European level and his tendency to pick stand by, then suddenly discard players or not consider them bothers me greatly. A fantastic club manager- I just don't see him as International Manager.

  • Comment number 71.

    The highlight of yesterday was Messers Scholes and Giggs at Carrow Road. Scholes providing a classy first before Utd virtually put their feet up not expecting Norwich to score. When Norwich did have the audacity to score it was hilarious. Suddendly it was Pearl Harbour in the Norwich area until Giggsy showed his class to bag the 3 points. Quality!!

    Other than that we had the scousers yet again winning a cup undeservedly and yet again on penalties. Finally reaquainted with Michael Mouse! That's it for another 6 years folks.

    Don't panic, I'm referring to Liverpool's trophy haul not my hilarious contributions to these blogs.

    Had ye worried there .....didn't I??

  • Comment number 72.

    Speechless but with smiles on my face.

  • Comment number 73.

    Arsenal were excellent but we all know the performance will mean nothing if they can't win next week. Too inconsistent.

    On a different subject, I thought Liverpool and Dalglish got lucky yesterday. Seemed like they underestimated Cardiff. Dalglish's team selection was pretty random - he probably thought it was going to be a walk in the park. Poor.

  • Comment number 74.

    And let's not even get started on Downing getting man of the match.

  • Comment number 75.

    Errrr. Arsenal had a lot of good fortune in this match, maybe to balance off some other instances where they have been unlucky. But it's just like Arsenal (coach, players and fans) to deicde they've turned a page, matured, hit form, make your pick of sensationalist superlatives for a return to form.

    The reality is, they have only one good player who is having his only injury-free season. The rest is really mediocre. That is why Arsenal are 7 points behind Tottenham. The game and result especially flattered Theo. He is not good enough for England and I hope he doesn't get picked. The board really have to give Arsene money to spend in the summer and make sure the message [that they will] gets to RVP as soon as possible.

    As a Man. United supporter I am personally worried that we have to look to a 37 year old and a 38 year old for game winning goals. What's going on?

  • Comment number 76.


    Downing has not been brilliant this season, but he was yesterday - have to agree he was MOTM.

    Not sure how you can suggest the team selection was random - there was only one change from the previous match.

    Don't accept we underestimated Cardiff either - they deserve alot of credit for putting in a fantastic show.

    Of course there will be a lot of bitter fans out there today, after all Man United, Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea are going to end up with no trophies this season :o))

  • Comment number 77.

    @76 Why should the fans of 3 of the teams you mentioned be btter? Their teams will all end up higher up the table than Liverpool, will play Champions League football next year and strengthen their squads with the proeeds from that.

    You were fortunate to survive vs a spirited Reading side. But I guess this is the new-age Liverpool supporter, hard to be graceful.

  • Comment number 78.

    Two words for the Gooners castjgating Bale:
    'Pires' and 'Eboue'.
    Two of the best divers ever to 'grace' the Premier League.

  • Comment number 79.

    An awful lot of fuss about very little. Arsenal played something like,Spurs had a bad day. Arsene isn't an idiot,Harry is not infallable. Been some mad 'derby' scorelines all year right across the country.They don't all get commented on as much of course.I wonder why that is? Since Fabio's exit the case for Harry has diminished a little whilst the case for Roy Hodgson has probably gained a little ground.This weekend did nothing to alter that course. HR hasn't got too much right since confessing he can barely write and opens bank accounts in the name of his pets whilst RH has barely got anything wrong during the same spell and increasingly looks the safer option to many people who reside outside of London. We shall see.

  • Comment number 80.

    Arsenal shdnt be taken by this shockin result thats if you didnt watch the they need(board n wenger) to jet in more skilled but expriencd player that means we should be ready to spend in buyin n payin...i guess thats what some board members meant by "MODERN FOOTBALL"...anyway big up for wenger's gamble of lettin theo stay on...i had tha defines a good manager the special said...nicholas bengo makerere university kampala UG.

  • Comment number 81.


    Thanks for your insight, but Liverpool weren't playing Reading :o)

    Cardiff however were a spirited side and it made for a classic cup final.

    Bring on the cup double!

  • Comment number 82.


  • Comment number 83.

    Oh, did I just hear Spurs' bubble burst?

  • Comment number 84.

    @ 77 ofc I meant Cardiff where is my cuppa :)

  • Comment number 85.

    @4. So what pearls of wisdom were you expecting an hour after the game?

  • Comment number 86.

    31. At 23:03 26th Feb 2012, norville2 wrote:
    Been to Arsenal a few times but could never understand the abuse they give their own showed it....
    It is the only club i have seen do it to their players , Eboue was a prime example....why?

    I totally agree, I was disgusted by the Eboue incident, yes he was having a shocker, but the main thing he was guilty of was trying too hard. I can understand the frustration about Theo, at times he looks like a superb player, but other times he is wasteful, however as an Arsenal fan at a game I will get behind whoever is wearing the shirt, whether it is an Arsenal legend like Bergkamp or Henry, a youngster making his debut, or a player who is probably not good enough.
    Sadly we still have a few fans who turn up to be entertained rather than to cheer on the team.

  • Comment number 87.

    Redknapp for England? what a joke! When you see the state he left Portsmouth and Southampton in, sandwiched between trips to Monaco, the prospect of him taking charge of England, is akin to Del Boy taking charge of the Treasury.

  • Comment number 88.

    It wasn't the way we carved spurs open that made me happy, but the work rate we showed was excellent.

    Too many times this season we've gone down without a fight and there's been no spirit. But today the whole team harassed and closed down spurs like their lives depended on it. We didn't give spurs a moments peace on the ball.

    If we display this type of commitment every game then win lose or draw we can't fault the team

  • Comment number 89.

    It was entertainment 100% and a great performance for Van Persie.

    Who were the real winners? Arsenal, Wenger, Kroenke or Manchester United? All four parties have valid reasons to feel winners out of this match.

    Spurs need to make sure they don't lose to United next weekend because their safety net from 4th and 5th position might look gone away by next Sunday. For all his good work recently, Assou Ekotto was caught out of position too many times yesterday.

    On a day where at Carrow Road two old maestros, of a combined day 3/4 of a century, saved the day for United, you have to wonder about Modric, Bale and their combined estimated value of £100m+.

    This result leaves the run-in looking mouthwatering.

  • Comment number 90.

    AAAAwwwww! Its amazing how so many fans of other clubs on here are belittling Liverpools win yesterday.....I seem to remember Arsenal with a packed wembley busting a gut to win it last year....thats aside from utd et al all happy to win it in the past........Trophies are Trophies....Granted we'd all like to win the champions league but im saying after all the financial trouble LFC have had the Carling cup is a major step in the right direction, and a brilliant day out at wembley is what all fans want at the end of the season no matter what some say, ah well.......Liverpool have a few European cups knocking around to last them a few years yet whether they reach 4th or not.......Unlike some clubs i could mention.......

  • Comment number 91.

    Expect to see more of the above excellent defending if Harry is in charge of the England set up. Out of the English contingent, Roy Hodgson would have to be the best bet, however Harry does appear to be the media darling.

    Congrats to Liverpool fans if they see winning the league cup after 100m+ investment as an achievement! No doubt "next year will be the year" after Kenny has said this is the first of many. All in all a pretty dodgy game, steven gerrard's cousin misses the last penalty, gerrard doesn't get sent off or even booked for a blatant forearm smash on the icelandic lad (can't spell his name). No booking for caragher for a blatant foul or time wasting. Fair to say Cardiff had no chance to win that game.

  • Comment number 92.

    Great game wasn't it. That performance sums Walcott up for me though. So frustrating that someone who can pop up with two cracking finishes (with a poor touch or two still) seems to be so clueless most of the time! I don't see why people are saying that this proves that Redknapp shouldn't/couldn't manage England to any great affect based on 1 game. Surely that means that the best manager in the league would also fail after his teams thrashing earlier in the season.

  • Comment number 93.


    I think it's what's called progress.

    As for decisions - what of the two footed horror lunge on Bellamy by Kiss? Overall I think the ref did pretty well however.

    I'd just like to take a moment to lol at the Spurs defence yesterday.

    It's pretty hard to get worse than Arsenal's - but achieve it they did.

  • Comment number 94.

    @90 Bog Trotter

    "the Carling cup is a major step in the right direction..."

    Well, we've all been here before haven't we? Houllier won a cup treble and look what happened then.

    This Liverpool side is pretty poor, no question. All of their big money signings are either 1) overrated i.e. Suarez, or 2) just plain useless i.e. Carroll, Downing, Henderson, et. al. Need to add some serious quality in the summer if they are serious about challenging for major honours.

  • Comment number 95.

    It was hilarious seeing Liverpool players running past Reina to celebrate with the posts after the shootout!

  • Comment number 96.

    Rosicky is getting lauded and acclaimed for a performance against a top 4 EPL side, but only a couple of weeks ago he was made to look like a pub player by Nocerino and Emanuelson.

    In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he's still suffering from vertigo after being twisted and turned so often by the rampant Milan midfield.

  • Comment number 97.

    93.At 08:47 27th Feb 2012, dogeared wrote:

    At least kiss got booked. How caragher didn't get booked for
    a) A blatant foul on miller (I think) who was leading a break
    b) For the subsequent timewasting by holding on the ball as if it was a grenade

    If a league cup for 100m is "progress" then I shudder to think what Liverpool would need to invest to win the league, or the CL. £200m, £300m??
    Suarez showed he still refuses to score in England, Henderson & Carroll show they just refuse to play (but liverpool fans will say they will play better next year). And Downing showed he can be MOTM when playing against Championship quality defence that decided not to get tight and afford him all the time he wanted to cross.

    Agree on Spurs, they have an awful defence. I will be disappointed if utd don't get 3 points next weekend.

    Arsenal won't get 4th.

  • Comment number 98.

    Good old beeb, sitting on the fence.

    For theatrical tumble, read BLATANT DIVE. Bale is the only Premiership player with more than one booking for Simulation.

    Glossed over again by the media.

  • Comment number 99.

    rather than theatrical tumble-put dive or in the words of a certain K Dalglish as Eduardo went over the hand of the Celtic goalkeeper-he cheated
    Listening to the game was hard enough but when commentators are too frightened to call its as it is-it gets harder

  • Comment number 100.

    96.At 08:59 27th Feb 2012, The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa wrote:

    Bonjourno Patches!

    What are your thoughts on arteta? Pub player or sizzling spanish pro?


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