|DATE||Sunday 16th March 2014|
|VENUE||White Hart Lane|
Both sides are looking to bounce back after elimination from Europe
this week. In Arsenal's case literally and Tottenham's virtual
after a 1-3 home defeat by Benfica. What may be more telling
could be the injuries Spurs suffered in that match, which could see
a re-arranged side take the field against the Gooners.
With our defence almost more stretched by injuries than it had been by opponents of late, we are down to about the last two, so we will hope that they last the pace and are up to speed to stop Arsenal getting through to goal. The midfield will have to work hard to stop Arsenal enjoying the space and time to employ their passing game, so there may be a return for Dembele if he overcomes his calf problem. The way things have gone against the top four teams this season have proven difficult, especially when we have been reduced to chasing the game with ten men. I am hoping things might change for the better in that respect.
Szcseceny will start in goal and he has not had a happy time at White Hart Lane over the years, so let's hope that continues. The defence will line up with with Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Bacari Sagna and Nacho Monreal in place. Vermaelen has been out of favour for a while and when he came back against Everton, he was making mistakes, so the consistent German Mertesacker will partner Kosienlny, but both are susceptible to pace, so getting Lennon or Townsend in and around them might force a mistake.
Midfield is Arsenals' strongest area of the team, with a wealth of players filling in spots in these positions, but they have been hit by a number of injuries, which has tested the strength of their squad. Wiltshire, Walcott and Ramsey are all continuing in a long line of injury prone Arsenal players, so Cazorla, Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky will probably make up the engine room. Cazorla is primarily a creator, but has chipped in with useful goals, while Flamini tried to play the enforcer, albeit a cowardly one at that (as evidenced by his late tackle when playing against us for AC Milan in the Champions League). Rosicky is a player who seems to flit around the edge of games, but often reserves his best performances for us. His late runs will need to be watched. Also someone who needs to be watched is Arteta, who has a nasty side to his game, when a player gets past him, he tends to bring them down, like Ryan Giggs, as he is unable to keep up with them. While Kim Kallstrom is fit again after aback injury which ruled him out straight after singing on loan from Spartak Moscow, Wenger may not be willing to start him in a match like this.
Giroud is the main attacking threat having scored 12 of Arsenal's goals, with Cazorla on four the next highest scorer likely to play. Lukas Podolski and Yaya Sanogo are other options available to Wenger, who might choose to play Oxlade-Chamberlain up alongside Giroud as a physical presence to unsettle the Spurs defence. Strong on the ball, the young winger has been injured, but might have benefitted from the rest, as he apparently has been getting star man reviews for the Goons. Podolski is a more traditional centre-forward, but has had his critics at Highbury, while Sanogo is a lanky forward, who is just being introduced into the side, with striking options limited by the lack of signings in the last two transfer windows.
While we were well beaten in the end at Highbury, the mistakes made will need to be excised from our game if we are to challenge for a top four or better position, whether this season or in future. With a team likely to be ravaged by injury, it will be an even tougher task, even though the Gooners are missing players too, but perhaps the edge that Sherwood has put on the players about playing for their future might make it a bit more like an old-fashioned derby and there might be a point in it for us.
|PREDICTION||Tottenham Hotspur 1 Arsenal 1|
|Click here for more info on opponents - stats v thfc , an alternative history, etc.|
HOTSPUR TEAM NEWS :
Spurs will be missing Erik Lamela and Vlad Chiriches with back injuries, while Michael Dawson (hamstring) and Etienne Capoue (ankle) are both side-lined. There are fitness doubt over Kyle Walker (groin), Mousa Dembele (hamstring) and Emmanuel Adebayor (knee/ankle).
ARSENAL TEAM NEWS :
Midfielders Mezut Ozil (hamstring), Jack Wilshire (knee) and Aaron Ramsey (thigh) will be out of the match at White Hart Lane on Sunday, with Nicolas Bendtner being side-lined for a disciplinary matter. Also missing will be Theo Walcott (fingers and knee) and Abou Diaby (knee), while there will be late fitness tests for Kim Kallstrom, Yaya Sanogo, Thomas Rosicky, Kieran Gibbs and Nacho Monreal.
available on BBC radio, it can supposedly be heard
in these countries on these stations ...
Arsenal 1 (1)
Sunday 16th March 2014 Kick off 16:00
White Hart Lane
Chadli (foul on Rosicky) 32
Sandro (foul on Rosicky) 47
Vertonghen (foul on Cazorla) 75
Rose (persistent fouling) 92
Soldado (foul on Vermaelan) 94
Sagna (foul on Rose) 21
Gibbs (foul on Townsend) 45
Flamini (foul on Eriksen) 79
|Crowd : 35,711||Weather : Warm, sunny|
|Referee : Mike Dean (Wirral)||Assistant Referees : Mr. J. Collin; Mr. M. McDonough|
|Fourth Official : Jon Moss||-|
|Arsenal kicked off and played towards the Paxton Road end in the first half.|
|Game time : - 90+5 minutes.|
|Tottenham Hotspur :||kit||Arsenal :||kit|
Gylfi SIGURDSSON 69)
10 Emmanuel ADEBAYOR
28 Kieran GIBBS
|Manager : Tim Sherwood||Manager : Arsene Wenger|
|Sponsor : Hewlett Packard||Shirt sponsor : Emirates|
|Kit Supplier : Under Armour||Kit Supplier : Nike|
Seventy four seconds was all it took to breach the Spurs back line and from then on all Arsenal had to do was pack their ranks with as many men they could to get in the way of Tottenham's even more frenzied attacks. While there was much pre-match talk of character and blood and guts, the bare facts still read 0-1 and another home defeat had a lot of Spurs fans I spoke to as saying it has been the worst home campaign that they could remember.
Taking to the field with only
Emanuel Adebayor up front, the Tottenham team packed the midfield,
to try and counter the numerical advantage that Arsenal might have
had there. However, it is not always numbers that win games.
Naughton retained his place in the team, Bentaleb started in
midfield alongside Sandro, with Paulinho missing out (along with
Lennon probably a result of poor performances on Thursday). Kaboul
stayed in the centre of defence partnering Vertonghen with Rose at
left back. Townsend and Chadli provided the width.
Giving Soldado ten minutes to salvage the game is not the idea of being able to play for his future and I am sure that if that is the intended future for him under Sherwood, Roberto would rather it be elsewhere. Spurs had been putting in the sort of service he might have thrived on earlier in the game, with low balls in to the six yard box the supply he has probably been craving. When he comes on, all that stops. It was left for a couple of deft play-offs and no opportunities to test the goalie.
Arsenal could have made it two when the ball dropped from a corner to Mertesacker, six yards out. Laying on the floor, he swung a boot at it and made a good connection, forcing Lloris to a marvellous reflex save and even better than that held the ball despite Koscielny kicking in on the hand.
You get the feeling that
Sours are not too far away (but thus has ever been the case), with
Arsenal's famous possession football absent today and they created
few chances, but took one of them and we didn't take one of ours.
However much Tim thinks we didn't deserve to lose, if you don't
defend well and have to play catch up, the need to maximise the
opportunities you create is paramount. The reliance on
throwing the ball long to a lone striker all the time was one that
would not pay off unless the midfielders got up to support him.
That didn't happen often enough. While it was not the
capitulation of other matched against top four teams, it was also
not well thought out enough to produce enough problems to test the
There were a number of good performances, with Naughton and Ade outstanding, while Eriksen and Kaboul did well and Lloris did all he could.
But in the end, it wasn't enough to get the three points we needed to keep in touch, however vain a task that appears now.
Stan Chun (with some apologies to Pete Stachio if some passages of this report appear familiar from last week)
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|What you thought|
|Other scores during this week :|
|Hull City||0||Manchester City||2||Saturday|
|Stoke City||3||West Ham United||1||Saturday|
|Swansea City||1||West Bromwich Albion||2||Saturday|
|12||West Ham United||29||8||7||14||32||38||31||-6|
|16||West Bromwich Albion||29||5||13||11||33||43||28||-10|
Position before match :
Position after match : 5th
Position after the weekend : 5th
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