In the past Tottenham may have fielded a full strength team were Arsenal would have put out their usual second string/youth team, but with Tottenham now in the Champions league and wanting to keep challenging for European Qualification both teams fielded teams that lacked key names, but did have have some of their excellent youth prospects on show along with some players back from injury getting in the minutes they need.
Tottenham won the Cup a few years ago but this season it doesn’t seem to be as much of a priority as it has been before so it will be interesting to how both teams fair.
Arsenal were in full control in the first half leaving Tottenham to rely on counter attacks. Spurs didnt capitalise on the two good chances they had. The first was wasted by Bentley, who made the run but instead of playing it to Pavlyuchenko or laying it off to the on coming Giovani Dos Santos he decided to shot from outside of the box but it wasnt on target. The second chance fell to Pavlyuchenko who’s shot was closer than Bentley hitting the side netter getting a cheer from some Tottenham fans who had thought it had gone in. Apart from those two chances the rest of the first half belonged to Arsenal and Wilshire was the player making everything happen. The opening goal came from when Wilshire ran round the back and when the ball was laid off to him he drilled in a great ball into the box where Lansbury had made the run and was first to it to score. But for all the possession, movement and great passing Arsenal didnt managed to get a second, but had a good chance when Wilshire put in Gibbs who ran in on goal but was called offside. it seemed harsh as it seemed level if not just behind the man. Gibbs was a threat down the left and both he and Eboue kept going forward. Wilshire was running the show and Spurs tried all they could to limit his time on the ball and conceded three quick fouls on him as well as many more throughout the first half to which Tottenham seemed penned in their own half and it was clear for Tottenham that changes were need in the second half, as it is no competition but more an Arsenal training match.
Harry Redknapp saw that changes had to be made and he made them bringing on Robbie Keane and Aaron Lennon for Giovani and Livermore, and it was an inspired switch as Robbie Keane beating the offside stayed calm and scored, But were the same Referee’s Assistant gave Gibbs offside when it seemed he was marginally behind the player this time he gave Keane the benefit of the doubt when it seemed that he was marginally in front of the defender. Maybe Fabinanski should have saved the shot as he got a hand to it, but he didn’t get a strong enough hand to it and spurs got back into the game 5 minutes in and with that goal it seemed to awaken the Spurs home crowd who were for most of the first half subdued leaving the Arsenal fans the louder voice. Koscielny made a great tackle preventing Lennon from having a chance to shoot, though it seemed Lennon hesitated when in the box to do anything when he had a chance. not long after that Arsenal were on the attack but Wilshire’s shot was blocked. During the attack Assou-Ekotto took a knock. Chamakh came on for Rosicky while Arshavin came on for Vela to which Chamakh almost made an instant reaction but the flicked header didn’t hit the target. Arsenal seemed to lack the killer instinct in front of goal and with Chamakh being brought on the chance of a goal seems more likely now than before for arsenal in the second half and soon Arsenal seemed to get back in control but Tottenham were much more in the game than before. Lennon’s pace on the left flank became a constant threat and seemed Tottenham’s best chance of getting some goals. Keane got the foul and Bentley took the freekick but Fabinaski caught it with ease and dispatched it for Arsenal to go on the attack but nothing came of it expect for more possession percentage for Arsenal as they seemed happy to show how well they can pass the ball around players rather than attack the goal. Arshavin showed some attacking attitude showing quick feet and trying to squeeze inbetween to players but couldn’t. From a freekick conceded by Lansbury Tottenham almost scored. A great ball in went over everyone and seemed to be going out but Keane ran on to it but at close ran only managed to hit the post, though there wasnt much more than that to aim for. And the game started to draw near to the end of 90 minutes it seemed as if Arsenal were losing concentration again as passing started to get misplaced and the great ball retention the first half had seen was not now being shown and started to get scrappy and seemed that Tottenham were more up for it and would fare better in extra time than Arsenal. Arsenal had a break when Palacios was dwelling ion the ball and Nasri laid it off for Denilson but his shot was way off target always curing away. Again it was Arsenal on the attack and when Chamakh received the ball and he looked for players around him to find none and waited but nothing much came from it but still Arsenal were on the attack when a shot was saved it jus was out of reach for Nasri to tap in. The last minutes of the game saw Tottenham on the attack again Lennon being the main threat but this time on the right, but still no goals. Then on the 90th minute Eboue was fouled and with the cross in from the freekick the Tottenham goalkeeper missed it and was headed down but the shot was blocked and cleared. The last 10 minutes of the game was end to end but didn’t see a goal with Arsenal seeing a lot of chances go wanting when the full-time whistle blew. Penalties could be on the cards.
Extra-Time First Half
The first minute of Extra-Time saw Bassong give away a penalty and Nasri stepped up to take the penalty he won to put Arsenal the lead and give Tottenham an up hill challenge to get back in this game. Arsenal wanted another goal and when Chamakh ran into the box he was brought down and again Nasri stepped up but this time went the other way to give Arsenal a two goal lead. Kranjcar was brought on for Sandro as Tottenham looked to get back in the game. Spurs had a great chance to get back in the game but Bentley only managed to hit the post when he was un-marked and probably should have made the keeper make a save. Arsenal almost made it four when Arshavin cut into the box and crossed it in for Chamakh it missed him and the two defenders. Just a touch would have seen that turn to be a goal. Gibbs picked up an injury and was replaced by Clicky. Andrei Arshavin did make it four when he was allowed to run into the box when he was put through quickly from a freekick and he let a shot go with his left foot and smashed it past the keeper. Tottenham seemed to back off him the whole way, tiredness maybe as Arshavin was the fresher man, but Tottenham already seemed defeated. With that goal many of the Spurs fans wanted to beat the rush and leave early as they too felt that the tie was over, but just before the end of the half Keane almost scored forcing Fabinaski to make the save before it was cleared.
Extra-Time Second Half.
With the majority of the Spurs fans gone the Arsenal fans were in full force and full voice as they cheered every pass as Arsenal passed it all over the pitch before a loss od concentration gave possession back to Tottenham, but as soon as Arsenal put two passes together the cheers started. With tiredness kicking in and the tie seeming over not much happened but Arshavin and a shot wide and Pavlyuchenko gave chase but his shot again was not on target. The match drew to a close and Arsenal ran out 4-1 winners and Arsenal fans will especially enjoy winning at White Hart Lane which was Arsenal’s biggest win at the Lane in 32 years.
Full-Time Tottenham 1 – Arsenal 4
Jack Wilshire and Samir Nasri ran things for Arsenal tonight but at 18 Wilshire showed the future for Arsenal is bright. He is showing his football maturity as he stayed calm throughout the match despite being fouled constantly. but he was unlucky not to get Man of the Match, but with Nasri winning the game with the two penalties along with his contribution over the whole game took it away from him. Henri Lansbury had a good game also, and in the next few years Arsenal fans will start to see the work that has gone on over the last 4-5 years with the youth system and with the experience the they get in these Carling Cup matches.