EPL: Day 12, Part 1 (Arsenal 2 – Tottenham 1)

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Football
November 8th, 2003 • 4:29 am

Luck had a large part to play in today’s game, which was not very impressive either from Tottenham or from Arsenal’s point of view. It was a typical derby match with most players doing their best to get their opponents booked, by exaggerating their falls and being generally obnoxious.

Tottenham were lucky to get in front so quickly, with a clearance by an Arsenal defender bouncing off another Arsenal player and the ball falling kindly for Anderton. Spurs didn’t create many chances beyond that, but should have been 2 or 3 goals ahead at half-time thanks to a couple of howlers by Lauren, who had an awful afternoon and — uncharacteristically — was substituted by Cygan early in the second half.

Arsenal were rather sloppy themselves for most of the game, and Lehmann did little to improve the team’s reputation, by getting too easily frustrated and being unable to contain himself. Campbell and Touré had a solid afternoon, however, and that’s probably what made the difference.

Eventually, luck went Arsenal’s way and their first goal was given even though Henry was arguably in an offside position when he started his run. To the credit of Robert Pires, he didn’t stop his own run and was there at the right time to collect the ball on the rebound and finish it.

The second goal was Ljunberg’s first this season and it was fully deserved, the Swede being one of Arsenal’s good contributors today. However, once again the ball took a big deflection that lobbed the keeper.

Arsenal was there fully content with keeping the ball for the last 15 minutes or so, and did very well in that respect, denying Tottenham any opportunities to get back into the game.

It was not an impressive performance by Arsenal, but it was their third game — and third victory — in 8 days, so fatigue must have played a role in this. The important thing is that they still got the needed three points and Manchester United is now under pressure to perform well at Anfield tomorrow, which they are perfectly capable of doing, of course. Still, for once I’ll try to be a Liverpool supporter — although I will really have to force myself if they are their usual boring selves.

The other interesting feature tomorrow is of course Chelsea vs. Newcastle. Newcastle is a likable, if inconsistent, team and it will be easy to be on their side against the London millionaires club.

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