The Ding-Dong Derby

Challenge Spurs™ Series

Game 02 v (A) Arsenal
4-4 draw, 1 point
Total points: 6
Position: Still 20th
3 points from safety



With the Presidential elections almost upon the USA, Obama spent millions on a 30 minute television advert to make sure America understand why voting for him is the best choice. Tottenham also spent a few million this past week or so. Sacking their manager and replacing him. But we needed a little more than 30 minutes to get our message across. 90 (+4) minutes to be exact. And in that time we reminded everyone why the Premiership wouldn't be half as much fun if we were not in it. Because regardless of our over-exuberant fans and soap-opera antics, we always manage to be involved in top drawer 'match of the season' entertainment, and as much you (other) fans might hate us....deep down, you love to hate us.


The game at the Emirates was yet another classic that will be long remembered (you can already order it on DVD.........boycott the Spurs shop.....). Wenger can harp on about 'can't be scientifically proven', with regards to the Redknapp factor helping Spurs come-back from the dead, but arguably this would not have happened under Ramos. The players believe a little more in their abilities. They are playing for their manager and more importantly, playing for the fans. Its clichéd, but footballers are rather obvious creatures of habit.

I went spastic when Bentley scored. Outrageously stupendous effort from almost 40 yards out that had me screaming like a girl and punching the air like a demented boxer. It was a wonderful way for the game to explode into action. And also tinged with a sprinkle of irony, having had to listen to the likes of Walcott and Fabregas do all the pre-match mouthing off (Walcott telling everyone he would torment Spurs/Harry and Fabregas suggesting we would struggle against the Arsenal Ladies).

Look at me ma!

Obviously, it didn't last. A few days training on how to defend set-pieces appears to have been wasted on Heurelho 'Paul Robinson' Gomes. In comes the corner, out comes Gomes, in goes the goal. At least Jenas wasn't flattened by the keepers flapping limp fists. A gift for Silverste. 1-1 turned to 2-1 almost immediately into the second half.

Another free kick given away, another set piece, another goal and a double header for Arsenal with their captain fantastic heading it past Gomes. Looks like the training sessions will need to be a little more intense to resolve this reoccurring problem at the back. Our very decent first half was now looking like turning into a nightmare second.

At 3-1 it was game over. Or not. Bent was on-hand to stroke the ball home when Alumina failed to hold onto it when a shot bounced off him and into the path of the prolific Darren. 3-2, game on. Or not. Before we could think about a possible equaliser, Hutton imploded, passing the ball to nobody other than an Arsenal shirt rather than one of our own (they're the ones who wear white Alan!). Arsenal broke, passed and buried the ball in the back of the net. 4-2, game over, done and dusted.

Regardless of Arsenals possession (65%) during the course of the second half, it was gutting that two of their goals were gift-wrapped so deliciously. Hard pill to swallow. Their sitters, I have no problem with. If you miss, you miss. Doesn't matter if you have 50 shots on goal, if you fail to score them and lose 1-0 that's no criticism to the opposing team. And Arsenal have a habit of over-playing and failing to capitalise.

And thus, that's the Trouble with Arsenal. For all the glam-play and technically brilliant football they lack a killer touch when it matters most, which results in an overall choke. And like us, they also lack a true DM. And like us, they also lack a true captain - although I'm more confident that we have better candidates (King when he plays, Woodgate etc) than what Arsenal have on offer.

Wenger just couldn't wait any longer

Gallas, bless him, is an absolute melter of the highest order. Much prefers to cry and talk to himself than take this inexperienced Arsenal side who lack maturity, and guide them to controlling and bossing the final 10 minutes and cement three all important title challenging points and a nice win over their 'rivals'.

Coughy, cough cough.

Wenger does like his excuses about the age of his team, but if he knows they are inexperienced and wont buy players to help his squad out (therefore preferring them to grow into maturity together), then he shouldn't spend time using it as a reason for their failures. It no longer cuts the mustard. For every lose or draw, if it's because of these failings, then deal with it.

Everyone can see Arsenal have a weakness in their captain.

And Spurs, may not be able to prove scientifically if it was down to the Harry Redknapp factor that we did what we did next, but you can say with much confidence that we did it because the players are alive again. Smiling, spirited and believing. Not by much, but enough to restore some pride on a night of high drama.

We pushed forward, this time with a little luck of our own, Jenas taking the ball that was left behind by the Arsenal defender (Clichy) who fell over it. He run with it, he run a little more, looked up and beautifully curled the ball for 4-3. 89 minutes on the clock. Surely not?

Many Spurs fans had already left, probably thinking about avoiding the gloating and smugness of the home supporters who tend to came alive at the final whistle of games. And many Arsenal fans had also left for home, cocksure they had all 3 points and the next morning bragging rights, wanting to get those emails in nice and early.

Nobody, not one single person expected anything than 0 points for Spurs, and a win for Arsenal. Four minutes into injury time? Don't be stupid. It can't surely happen now. Is it in the Sky Sports contract?

Enter the Modric. The little, magical, Croatian (great first half, not so hot second - but suddenly showing his value playing behind the lone striker) picked the ball up and smacked the most sweetest of shots that cracked the post, came out and onto the lickle feet of Lennon who slid the ball home. The Spurs fans left in the away section lost their minds and voices whilst Arsenal fans held their heads in their hands, utterly utterly despondent.

Such is football. Its the most beautiful and the most cruel of things. I went spastic again. We all did, right? Harry did. Wenger disappeared into that abyss that resembles a man with serious constipation issue.

Then came the final whistle. And from the depths of defeat and despair - we had a point. 4 in 2 games. The Glory days are back (sic).

For anyone asking why the fans and players celebrated like this was a victory, well, technically it was. Avoiding defeat in such a manner is victory, because for the opposing fans it feels like a loss. And Arsenal did lose 2 points and possibly an avalanche of self-belief in the process (cue Gallas having a word with himself). In their eyes, they self-destructed by failing to hold onto a 2 goal advantage. Their fans angry and unbelieving.

And as for us, FUCKING YES, GET IN! Although I can do without the likes of 'glory hunter' Jaime Redknapp celebrating like he's one of us.

"My teeth are just as great as my hair"

Spurs players having a crack at goal? Yes, I know, it's an amazing sight to behold. All we did in in the game was finish our chances (to paraphrase a classic comment made on the BBC's live report of the evenings Prem games). Gareth Bale (subbed) still hasn't tasted defeat. Pav still looks like he is worth little more than half his transfer fee, but I'll still give him time to settle. Bentley has to remember this was one game - all our players have to keep this in mind - because results won't fall into our laps without more improvement. In other words, don't let it go to your heads lads.

Did anyone expect a point there? I didn't. Not really, deep down, if I'm honest. They are in the top 4. We are bottom and on form the worst in the Prem. But obviously we aint as bad as our form suggests, thanks to that old tradition of replacing your manager which sees the same set of players suddenly regain self-respect and respect for the badge on their shirts.

Arsenal are the better footballing side, but at the very end of the day, ifs and buts (which so many times are used as excuses by Spurs fans) have to be ignored. Arsenal didn't finish us off. We didn't stop plucking away. I'll take that. And I'll take more of it. If we can't beat the Top 4, let's at least make sure we share the points.

In conclusion, great fucking game that was and although 'celebrating' a draw is not anything to tattoo on your back (or release on DVD.....you stupid fucking marketing merchandise jobsworth), its still something I don't have a problem smiling about. Mainly because the feeling I had at 4-2 down - regardless of the fact that we never expected to go there and win - was still a horrible dark feeling. To take the joy away from the Arsenal fans and leave them in absolute misery and pocket that happiness is a bloody good day at the office.