Saturday, April 22, 2006

Arsenal Forced To Kiss Little Sister; Tottenham Extend Streaks

Arsenal 1-1 Tottenham (Henry, 84)

Controversy, excitement, the two managers yelling at each other nose to nose like Earl Weaver and a home plate umpire, and a red card - everything you would expect from such a rivalry game. Oh, and Tottenham continued their impressive streaks:

Have not won in their last 12 13 matches at Highbury.

Have not beaten Arsenal in the last 15 16 North London Derbies.

So the penultimate match at Highbury saw the two teams share the points as they say. Wenger rested his key midfielder Fabregas as well as his best player Henry to try to keep them fresh for their massive Champions League match on Tuesday. His thinking was let's try to win it without these two, but if it is still tied after an hour then I'll bring them on and try to win it in the last half hour (and then they will only have played 30 minutes which will still bode well for Tuesday). And that is basically how it went.

I hope your calculations are correct, Professor.

Tottenham had the better of it for the first hour, and just as Henry was waiting to come on they scored a 'controversial' opening goal. 'Controversial' because in the buildup to their goal 2 Arsenal players were down injured, and traditional sportsmanship says that when an opposing player is down hurt, you kick the ball out of play, then after the player is attended to, the other team gives possession of the ball back to you. This did not happen, and the result was a Tottenham goal. To be fair to Spurs, I don't think thier transgression was too egregious. For one, the two Arsenal players ran into each other; they were not injured because of a challenge by a Tottenham player. Also, the time between the players going down injured and the goal was about 10 seconds - it wasn't like they played on for a minute, and thirdly, the injured players were behind the play, so it wasn't visually obvious to the attacking Spurs players that they were offside. At least leprechaun Robbie Keane didn't celebrate his goal with his stupid-ass
"Rolling Wanker Thunder" goal celebration - first time I remember that happening.

Shit's about to change up in here, son.

So 0-1 down as Henry & Fabregas came on, and the match changed immediately. The last 30 minutes were all Arsenal; one way traffic for sure. And of course Henry provided a moment of magic scoring a beautiful equalizer with only six minutes remaining. Arsenal had a few more chances, and Edgar Davids was sent off for his 7th 2nd bad challenge (yellow card + yellow card = red card), but even with a man advantage Arsenal just couldn't find the winning goal.

Titi beats Robinson, pulls Arsenal level,
and rescues chances of finishing 4th

Is there anything he can't do?

So where does that leave things you ask?

Tottenham: 36 played, 62 points
Arsenal: 35 played, 58 points

Remaining fixtures:

Tottenham: vs. Bolton, at West Ham
Arsenal: at Sunderland, at Manchester City, vs. Wigan

The long & the short of it is this: if Spurs win their 2 remaining matches then they cannot be beaten for 4th. If they "drop points" then Arsenal still have a great chance to beat them. Arsenal's game in hand is away to Sunderland, the worst team in the history of the Premiership, so assuming the full 3 points that would leave a 1 point gap. Were Spurs to drop points then Arsenal could take 4th by winning their remaining 2 games against good but not great teams.

Of course there is always the ultimate Nelson scenario where Spurs finish 4th but are replaced in next year's Champions League by Arsenal should The Gunners win this year's Champions League.

So there it is.

Oh, and speaking of Nelson: "Ha Ha!"

Happy Saturday.


Anonymous said...

I'm not going to argue with Le Boss, but, damn, we better win on Tuesday.

About the only problem I have with Wenger is that he doesn't seem to understand the importance of momentum. I'm more inclined to think that you just ride the horses you've got until they can't go any further. Look at Kolo, that cat's not resting, because AW would never chance it. He should feel the same way about Henry, at the very least.

First things first, let's hope that 'Boro win tomorrow, because West Ham Utd won't play a single regular to close out the season against Sp*rs if they have the FA Cup Final on deck the next weekend.

Kanu said...


If, err, when we go through on Tuesday then Arsene will be hailed as a genius for resting CF15 & TH14.

As far as momentum, I partially agree with you, but on the other hand when you just ride the same horses then at some point they slow down and are just too tired to compete. I prefer our current position to him riding the same horses against Portsmouth last week and Spurs today and us going to Spain on Tuesday tired and 0-1, 1-1, or 1-2. I trust Le Boss and support whatever he thinks is best - he has a bit of a track record.

Agree 100% about Boro/West Ham - was thinking of that as I woke up from my nap, but you beat me to it.