By Drewza on 4 March 2013
Tottenham Hotspurs 2 – 1 Arsenal
Bale – 37’, Lennon – 39’, Mertesacker – 50’
Suicidal defending, as Tony Adams called it, donated Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon acres of space to run through Arsenal’s high-pressing lines and take an unassailable 2-goal lead at half time, over at White Hart Lane, as the hosts ran out 2-1 winners on North London derby night.
Watching Arsenal was like witnessing a bunch of Band Aid footballers, organised by Bob Geldof, do well paid volunteer work for Tottenham Hotspurs. It was baleful.
For 30 minutes our do-gooding lads had much of the play whilst they developed the Spuds from sacks of potatoes – as our Highbury man, Karl Marx might have said – into fully flourishing Champions League plants. Much of the Arsenal largesse came in the final third as Olivier Giroud (humming We Are The World passionately but out of tune) flung himself, like temptation, on the thankful, though largely unimpressed Spurs centre backs. (You can get up now, sweetie…)
Giroud had opportunities to be the hero but he preferred to play pantomime dame whose advances, he hammed to referee Mark Clattenburg, should have been rewarded not rebuffed. He had a header – off target – a series of misplaced runs, poor passes and misfires. Walcott was, you could see, irritated by Ollie’s Folies Bergère flailing.
Arsenal Aid eventually paid off when a routine through-pass breached our Per-shaped defensive line and put Bale on sides so that he could slip it past Szczesny. There were lamentations from Vermaelen but it was a clear goal. 1-0 to Spurs.
There had been warning signs in the first 20 minutes that Arsenal’s insistence on marshalling a high defensive line was risky. Walker had raced the length of the field early on. Bale had nearly been put through, one-as-to-one with Szczesny, but he couldn’t quite get a toe on the ball and it skipped on out for a goal kick. The Arsenal defence, keen to give Spurs every chance to secure a place in the top 4, was in no mood to heed amber lights. As if the Gareth goal was not a high enough toll, the execrable Great Scott Fitzgerald Parker (Or Gatsby as he is known in the dressing room) sliced another pass through the lines to let Aaron Lennon make a copycat goal two minutes later. We went into the tunnel at half time 2-0 down.
In a way that can only be described as very blerry Arsenal it was our defence that went into attack early in the 2nd half. Mertesacker, on the near post, got his head onto a corner kick and (with a slight ricochet off the bonce of Bale) its low trajectory eluded Lloris and sunk into the side netting on the far post. 2-1.
A minute later Monreal fired a very good shot at goal that veered off past the upright. And Jenkinson also had a good go too, though Lloris fell on it to snuff the threat.
Then Bale messed up a cross from Assou-Ekotto. Dembele was given a passport to travel…
On the hour, supposedly desperate at least to come away with a point, Wenger pulled off Jenkinson for Rosicky so that Aaron Ramsey could go to right back. Yes, that’s correct. One can only interpret that the generous Arsenal coach felt we hadn’t given Tottenham quite enough of an opportunity to hit us on the break. And so, an extra in the Spurs lineup was suddenly catapulted into the limelight… He had a name that sounded like Sigourney Weaver, except he didn’t look anything like her.
On 77’ Lukas Podolski finally came on. If we’d been playing football instead of trying to serenade Spurs with Do They Know It’s Christmas he might have started. But he didn’t. Instead, the best French coach in Britain was content to let Per Mertesacker, centre back, have a go at centre forward whilst Ramsey had a double-faux show pretending to play right back while he was actually playing right wing, a position he can’t play anyway. Suck on that, fans.
Afterwards, Wenger – looking like the remains of the day – said we were not efficient. That’s one way of putting it. Actually, to quote the rousing words of that charity single, We are the ones who make a better day… for everybody but ourselves.