You’ve got got to love this game, haven’t you? (Unless you’re a Gunner this morning I suppose!) But this was a classic North London derby. Not only that, this was one of the classic Premier League matches. You think of those Liverpool v Newcastle 4 – 4 draws many years ago, this is up there too. It had just about everything including a contender for Goal of The Season.
But it was Aaron Lennon’s injury-time equaliser that capped a stunning fightback from Harry Redknapp’s new Spurs. That Goal of The Season contender was scored by ex Arsenal player David Bentley. It was a brilliant early volley from, according to the reports I’ve read this morning, 39 yards. Although I’ve just seen Match Of The Day measure it at 43 yards. How ever far out it was, it put Spurs ahead, but they couldn’t hold on until half time. Mikael Silvestre, scoring his first goal for his new club, headed Arsenal level on 37 minutes.
Then with only seconds gone in the second half, Spurs gave away a stupid free-kick, and William Gallas put Arsenal in front with another header from a set play, and both Arsenal’s centre backs had scored in the same game. Don’t see that too often. Adebayor bundled home third for Arsenal mid way through the second half and it looked like curtains for Spurs.
Well, not sure what Redknapp has done but in the space of a few days, this looks a completely different Spurs side. (Apart from the goalie!) They weren’t going to lie down and within a couple of minutes, the Spurs sub Darren Bent, had pulled a goal back. Harry must have thought they had a chance to level it then but before he could do anything about it, Spurs gave the ball away easily and before the Spurs can could get their voices warmed up Arsenal were suddenly 4 – 2 ahead and the game was all but over.
Well no, not exactly. Although many Arsenal fans did think the game was done and dusted and off they trotted for the exits knowing they had another 3 points in the bag, the bragging rights over their poor Spurs rivals for a few more months and they were looking forward to the morning so they could take the mickey out of them. Well they should know by now that football is a funny old game. It’s never over till it’s over. And someone, perhaps Harry, told that to the Spurs players.
With 90 minutes on the clock it was still 4 – 2 to Arsenal. Then Jermaine Jenas picked up the ball after a slip by Clichy and ran at the Arsenal defence. Without a pass on, he took his chance and brilliantly curled the ball into the far corner of the net past a helpless Alumnia . Hmmm, 4 – 3, what a great game that’s been. Hold on, not over yet as with almost the last kick of the game Modric let fly with a a beautifully struck shot. Again Alumnia was totally beaten but it looked like Arsenal’s luck was in as the shot rattled against the post and rebounded back into play. For a split second you could feel the differing emotions between the two sets of fans. But before anyone could take a deep breath, Aaron Lennon had stayed alert and followed the shot in and before anyone else could react, he poked the rebound back past Almunia into the Arsenal goal. Cue hysterical scenes of joy at one end and total disbelief from the remaining Arsenal fans at the other.
It was a fitting climax to a pulsating Premier League game of the highest order. Games like this are why the Premier League is so popular around the globe, why it has billions poured into it, and why football can be such a great game, great entertainment.
Yes, this ended as a draw, a point for each side, but you can bet your bottom dollar that this feels like a win for Spurs and a defeat for Arsenal. The body language and the reaction of both sets of players and fans at the finally whistle, (which I hoped would never blow) told a very different story to the final score line of this amazing match. Make sure you get to see this game if you haven’t already, and don’t forget Bentley’s goal, truly brilliant!
Elsewhere on this 10th round of games in the Premier League, Liverpool remained three points clear at the top of the League thanks to a penalty by Steven Gerrard and a 1-0 win over Portsmouth whilst Chelsea burst the Hull City bubble and cruised to a 3-0 win at the KC Stadium. (Why do I always think of fast food fried chicken when I hear the name of that stadium?) Anyway, Chelsea’s first goal was scored by Lampard. On most days it would have been Goal of The Day by far, a beautiful chip over the goalie. But nothing was going to top Bentley’s strike.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a couple of goals in the first half at Old Trafford as Manchester United continued West Ham’s slide down the table. The second goal a result of a pure piece of brilliance by Berbatov on the by line. After the game Alex Ferguson stated that his players seemed to be enjoying themselves too much in the second half, and I don’t think he meant it in a good way. Utd should have won this by a lot more then 2 – 0.
Aston Villa hung on to edge out Balckburn in a five-goal thriller at Villa Park Villa are now up into 5th. Hull were the big loser on the night, they were they only one of the top teams to lose. No worries though, it’s only Man Utd away in their next game!
Meanwhile fellow promoted side Stoke climbed out of the bottom three with a narrow but deserved 1 – 0 victory over Sunderland. However Wigan have now plummeted into the relegation area after a fourth successive defeat. Steve Bruce must be pulling his hair out, his team hardly put up a fight against Fulham, two goals from Andy Johnson being good enough.
Middlesbrough scored eight the last time Manchester City visited the Riverside, but that was never going to happen again, so they had to settle for two on this occasion beating a truly inconsistent City. Mark Hughes will be following his ex team mate Bruce, and pulling his hair out too. Are City capable of going on a 2 game winnig streak?
Meanwhile at the Reebok Bolton and Everton played out waht can only be described as a poor game. But there was some excitment as Everton left it late to sneak victory with another header from from new signing Fellaini in the 90th minute. The result puts Bolton second from bottom just 2 points in front of the rejuvenated Spurs.