Arsenal trail 1-0 at home to arch rivals
After half an hour Tottenham did double their lead. A glorious pass into the box from Luka Modric set up a foot race between Gareth Bale and Kieran Gibbs.
Both moving at break neck speed, it was Bale that got to the ball first and he toed it past the onrushing Szczesny.
Whether or not contact was made by either Gibbs or Szczesny is doubtful, but Bale went down and the ref awarded a penalty. After discussion with his assistant, the ref opted not to send Szczesny off and chose to not even book him. A strange decision, as if it was a foul then it certainly denied a goal scoring opportunity for Bale.
Arsenal’s fans were not happy when they saw Emmanuel Adebayor place the ball on the penalty spot. The African striker had made his name in England at the Gunners. The Arsenal fans had never forgiven him for leaving for the riches of Manchester City.
Any chances of reconciliation were truly destroyed when Adebayor celebrated a goal against Arsenal for City by running the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the Arsenal fans.
Added to the fact that in that same game he kicked Robin Van Persie in the face and he now played for arch rivals Tottenham, Adebayor was public enemy number one for Arsenal’s fans.
However the boos and jeers could not put him off. Adebayor coolly slotted his penalty beyond Szczesny’s dive and into the bottom corner.
Arsenal were 2-0 down at home to their arch rivals. The game was turning into a nightmare for Arsene Wenger.
Sagna sparks Gunners fight back
The Arsenal players could’ve felt sorry for themselves at the way the game had gone. They had been the better team but found themselves two goals down to a deflection and a seriously debatable penalty.
They showed great spirit though, and continued to pass the ball up the field and attack. A goal to get them back into the game was not far away and it came from an unlikely source.
The ball was played into Van Persie in the box and he turned smartly to hit the ball at goal with his right foot. Again he was denied as he saw his shot rebound off the post and away to the left wing.
The Dutchman lay on the ground for a moment ruing his bad luck but fortunately for Arsenal, his team mates got on with the game.
Gibbs collected the loose ball and laid it back to Arteta just inside the box. The Spaniard dinked an inviting cross into the middle and Sagna attacked it with great hunger to power his header past Friedel.
The full back followed his header into the goal, grabbed the ball and ran back to half way for Tottenham to restart play.
It really was game on again now.
Van the man
Arsenal’s players were truly fired up and feeding off the atmosphere in the Emirates which was bouncing again.
Tottenham couldn’t cope with the energy and desire of the Arsenal players and within moments the game was level.
A ball into the box was only half cleared by Assou-Ekotto and Van Persie got it under control on the edge of the box.
He twisted and turned to avoid a couple of Tottenham challenges before releasing an unstoppable curler into the top corner.
Brad Friedel dived but got nowhere near the ball as it went beyond him. It was sheer class from Van Persie and typical of the way he had been playing all season.
The half time whistle blew mercifully for Tottenham and the players went in to hear their manager’s views of an explosive first half of football.
Redknapp tries to change rhythm
The players came out for the second half with Tottenham making two substitutions. Harry Redknapp sent on Sandro and Van der Vaart in place of Kranjcar and Saha.
The thinking behind this was surely to add some steel to the Spurs midfield as although the scores were level Arsenal had completely dominated the play. Arsene Wenger sent out the same team and was no doubt hoping that half time hadn’t broken his sides’ rhythm. Game in balance going into second half – Read more