Arsenal 1-0 Tottenham
Another very satisfying win against a much-improved Spuds team, I have to say, and three points that keep us in a good position to bag the runners-up slot. Apparently, it’s the first time we’ve done the double over our pals in N17 since 1989. You learn a new thing every day.
As the teams were about to come out, I swear I heard the roar of ‘Champio-nes’ coming from somewhere near the North Bank. I’m convinced it was being piped in through the PA system, which you have to laugh about. Perhaps it was a last throw of the music piper’s dice. It made me titter anyway. Of course, we are still the champions, though we are hanging off the abyss by our fingertips.
I thought we were excellent last night, full of pace and movement, and at times the inexperienced back line of our visitors was creaking like a barn door in the wind, especially down the flank occupied by Reyes, Pires and Cole. I mentioned before the game that Reyes owed us a big game (to be fair, I’ve been saying that for weeks), and finally, it arrived – despite missing two sitters, the young Spaniard scored one (a rasper it was too), and made a general nuisance of himself. When he’s put through the middle, he’s unstoppably fast, and last night, especially after he had scored, he was every bit the £10m+ striker.
Many teams are aware that by letting us ping passes through the middle to our jet-heeled strikers, they are asking for trouble, which is why they tend to pack the midfield. Spuds didn’t fancy this approach, thankfully, as a win was crucial to them too, so it was a nice open game.
Following the match, Wenger twittered on about the improved form of Jose as being something to do with the weather. “It might be a climate problem,” said the boss. “Seville and Bolton in the winter is a big difference.” Poor excuse really, but either way, let’s hope he can put in a performance like that next time out.
Everywhere else there were plenty of big performances, but the one criticism you could level at us – a common one this season – is that we wasted a hatful of chances. This made for a nervy finish in which we could have conceded an undeserved equaliser. That said, had that game happened earlier in the season, we may well have ended up drawing it. Our new-found defensive resilience helped us keep our heads and earn our seventh league 1-0 of the season. We’ve now only let one league goal in since 26 February.
Anyway, it sets up a grandstand league finish. Clearly, Bolton, Charlton and Newcastle will beat Chelski, and it’ll all go down to the wire.
And I’m a Dutchman.