Could the Tiny Totts end the following miserable sequence? 2-1 1-1 2-0 1-1 2-1 3-0 1-1 2-1 2-2 5-4 1-0 1-1 1-1 3-0 2-2 3-1 2-1 4-4 0-0.
We had Eduardo and Arshavin on the bench but I don't suppose anyone, including Arsene Wenger anticipated the appearance of either. Apart from these two we also had Diaby, Silvestre, Rosicky, Walcott and Fabregas unavailable. So the team that lined up at the Lane was fairly easy to predict and held no surprises for any regular students of Wengerism.
Spurs had the better of the first half but the first good chance fell to Eboue, who'd started the game well, as a neat combination with Robin saw Emmanuel fire one across the face of Cudicini's goal. Lennon with a shot wide followed by a decent run from Nasri. A Clichy cross was easy for their keeper. The game had an intense feel and a fast pace to it. '4-2 and you fecked it up' from the Totts was countered with 'going down, going down, going down'. Good play by Eboue but Mike Dean blew for a foul, seemingly by Adebayor before Eboue netted. Eboue was unimpressed with Dean.
Pavlynchenko blasted one over. A good run by Sagna down the right, where else would he be? A clash of heads between Sagna and Modric, Bacary won the ball but Spurs got the free kick. Eboue didn't like this, neither did Sagna but it was Eboue who talked himself into Dean's ever filling notebook for a yellow card. A dumb card to pick up. No yellow for Modric however when he dived in our box at the point Clichy put in a well timed tackle. A Spuds free kick saw Woodgate head wide. Lennon got inside Gael to let rip with a shot that went wide. A decent run from Kolo who's cross was cut out by their keeper. Modric's low shot saved well by Almunia. Palacios tries a belly flop as the Totts continued to press. Adebayor chases down the ball on a break but pulls up with a very obvious hamstring injury. Adebayor and Ashavin warm up but it is Nick who is the one comes on to replace Ade.
What happened next was Modric doing a minor foul on Ebooue and Ebooue doing a retaliatory flick 'a la Beckham' to trip him. Dean delayed his decision for dramatic effect. We got the free kick, but he eventually booked Modric for not a lot and what seemed like about four hours later booked Eboue. Two yellows equal a red and so Ebooue left the field of play on 37 minutes. Gross stupidity means that this time, unlike in most matches, we didn't get a better player on to replace him by way of substitution. And I bet Ebooue didn't even kick down their dressing room door. He'd played ok today but engaging his brain is clearly rarely ever part of his game plan. Last time the Totts beat us in the League we had a player sent off and ended up with just nine players on the pitch, was this an omen?
Clichy cleared, Clichy carded for fouling Lennon, Clichy cleared again. We were very much on the back foot but holding our end up as Clichy put in a great tackle on Lennon. Kolo cut out a one-two attempt on the edge of our box. Good shot by Palacios was tipped over by Almunia in the three minutes added time. Half time and we have 45 minutes to hold out for a point when we really need three.
Palacios hacks away in midfield. 32 Assou-Ekotto tries an elbow into Sagna's stomach, unseen by Dean. An iffy Tott free kick sees Pavlynchenko find about row R with his wretched attempt. Pavlynchenko then fires well wide with a woeful shot, no wonder he's not Arshavin's friend! Good move from the Arsenal as Nasri's cross is just a tad too far advanced of Robin. Song cut out well, Song grew in stature as the game progressed and did very well today. Bent on to replace the inept Pavlynchenko. A Corluka shot saved. Arsenal were still trying to play with a sort of 4-3-2 going on 4-4-1 formation and as the half progressed we came more and more into it with passing that was vastly superior to our first half efforts. Almunia took a deflected shot. Van Persie tripped but Dean played advantage. Please explain what the advantage was to have a player on the floor leaving just nine men to develop the play? Good chance for the Totts was missed when Keane headed over a tasty Lennon cross. Almunia down well at Modric's feet to win the ball in the next play.
A Clichy cross won us a rare corner and the low cross in saw Robin get a shot off, which went wide. Gallas cut out Lennon. Bendtner did really well and Nasri won us another corner, which Robin took. From the ball in Song was just wide with his stabbed shot, which might have been better if Palacios wasn't hanging onto to him and his shirt at the time. We were far calmer now in our possession and build up play and looked like we believed we could take them. Keane shot just wide with Manuel well beaten. With twenty to go the game was becoming more open and counter attacks were the norm. Corluka off and replaced by Chimbonda. Robin caught offside.
Song fouled Palacios but their free kick was well punched clear by Almunia. We may even have been gaining control but more probably that may have been wishful thinking on my part. Robin flattened Lennon and feared a card that would have seen him pick up a ban. Great closing down by Gallas. Taarabt hit our side netting with an angled shot. Almunia took another high ball. Kolo with a series of pinball clearances. Totts attack, Arsenal break. Taarabt came on for Lennon, which was a poor call by Harry as Clichy was about to go off. Great long ball out by Van Persie for Bendtner who does well and almost finds Nasri. Clichy down following a clash of heads with Bent, the terrace Totts chant 'Same old Arsenal always cheating' as blood gushed from Gael's head wound and down his face. The morons! Gibbs came on to replace Gael for what I believe was his league debut.
Gallas saw off Bent. Almunia wasted time with the classic keeper's goal kick amble across to the other side of his six-yard box (I'll go metric one day - I promise). Song in hard. Great pressure on the Totts goal but they eventually cleared and countered. Bendtner see Cudicini pull out a really decent save to tip over his blasted shot for a corner. Totts broke again and Almunia saved a one-on-one with Modric, who'd looked offside to me. Bent headed over. Taarabt shot wide.
Simplistically then Tottenham had far more chances in this match but couldn't find the net. The point was of more value to them than us, but the all important bragging rights remain with the Arsenal as we remain unbeaten against them for nineteen league games. 2-1 1-1 2-0 1-1 2-1 3-0 1-1 2-1 2-2 5-4 1-0 1-1 1-1 3-0 2-2 3-1 2-1 4-4 and 0-0 today. Two players injured and one suspended seems to me quite a high price for a point though.