Report: Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham
By Randy Osae
Arsenal dropped two points in as many minutes in what should not have been a quite dramatic eight-goal thriller had more character been shown.
Wenger’s men were comfortably two goals ahead on the 88th minute mark, and only an agonizing stunner – which came courtesy of Jenas and Lennon – could let a share of the spoils.
Changes made from Sunday’s visit to Upton Park were Denilson, Adebayor and Sagna all coming in for Song, Bendtner and Eboue respectively.
Tottenham looked opposite of their rock-bottom status in the early minutes, and enjoyed much of the ball on only their third welcome to the Emirates in the Premier League – also with a third manager.
David Bentley who had been warned already of boos every time he had the ball startled the Arsenal faithful in astonishing fashion when he stroke from 40 yards out – with not much of an aim in a random hit – after 13 minutes and beat a well offline Almunia. The Emirates Stadium had broken into two sections – cheerful Spurs fans and a stunned Arsenal crowd. Bentley had uttered the ultimate insult.
And when it all seemed like Spurs were poised for another revolutionary show under Redknapp, Mikael Silvestre leveled on 37 minutes with a glancing header past Gomes. An Arsenal surge began as usual, but unfortunately, the half was over soon.
But the Gunners did implement their momentum well after the restart. Less than a minute into the second half, William Gallas was available to head in Van Persie’s expertly curled free kick and Arsenal’s centre-backs had made the difference.
It was then a road to a rampant derby win when Adebayor poked in Nasri’s goal-bound chip to make it 3-1 after 64 minutes. Arsenal’s enjoyment of the scoreline cushion was very short-lived as Spurs responded immediately.
Almunia horribly punched back Tom Huddlestone’s long-range effort for Darren Bent to easily slot home the loose rebound.
Short moments after, Van Persie received a pass across the edge of the box from Adebayor and the Dutchman fiercely stroke with his right foot. Gomes was beaten of course, and 4-2 it was. Arsenal had yet again taught the old foe a cruel lesson. That’s when complacency started creeping in. First Wenger made a host of changes. Walcott, Van Persie and Nasri all paved way for Eboue, Diaby and Song.
Then defensive clumsiness was all over in Arsenal’s territory as Clichy slipped to allow Jenas free possession, and Spurs’ midfielder did not spare Almunia. Tottenham had now set up a potentially pulsating injury time.
And deep into it, Aaron Lennon tapped home Modric’s shot which had struck the post, and Arsenal had been beaten. 4-4 it ended, but it did not differ from a defeat at all.