Spoils shared in wonky derby

Tottenham 3-3 Arsenal

Ok, Ok, let’s get it out the way first: I know we let a two goal lead slip for the umpteenth time and I know we ended up drawing our fifth league game in six. And I am well aware that we continue to be deficient in the match-winning department. As for the t-word – well it stands for third, doesn’t it?

But you know what – it was some match. Not one for the faint-hearted partisan fan, perhaps, but a proper humdinger of a football match all the same. Did either side deserve to lose?

There was the usual welter of misery on Twitter last night but I’m with @arse2mouse in feeling far more positive about things than I’m feeling negative.

Why? Well in the first half, the Arsenal that I can barely recall finally made a belated reappearance. We looked menacing pretty much every time we went forward, we attacked with pace, we snapped into tackles and we scored three lovely, well-worked goals. To see us play like that was just a joy. We all know we’re capable of it, but it’s just not been happening. Why it hasn’t – well that’s been covered in acres of webprint here and elsewhere. I just wanted to see it back, and it was back.

As for the three goals conceded, well you can pick holes in Arsenal for a couple of them – this is Arsenal we are talking about, after all – but let’s be fair, both of their goals from open play were excellent finishes. Szczesny’s penalty was hardly Eboue-esque – he made a snap decision to come out to rescue a dangerous situation and got the timing wrong. Also worth noting is how we defended for our lives at other times – Szczesny made a couple of excellent saves. It was frustrating, as ever, but to my mind hardly the Collaps-o-Arsenal we have seen elsewhere this season.

van Persie scored a goal that may have been onside – the infuriating roof support that ruins the camera view at the Spuds ground makes it hard to say with certainty – but they are the kinds of decisions that go one way or the other week in, week out.

So I could dwell on the inability to close yet another game down, or on the one point from six we have taken against the Spuds, having had two-goal leads in both matches. We are many of us pretty sure where the surgery – in the form of new players and new approaches – is required but to dwell on the negatives is no good for the soul. So I’m not going to. I’m done with that for now.

Besides, as James Lawton says in the Independent this morning:

“There are times when there is simply nothing more to say about the sweet agonies of Arsenal.”


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Adrian L

    Well said. It was a brilliant game of football that if it had been in Sept/Oct would have had us full of optimism for the coming season. As it is, people are dwelling on the draw as 2 dropped points rather than the return of the real Arsenal. What concerns me is why we can’t play like that, with pace and drive and balls-out determination against the likes of Sunderland or Blackburn (of course, those teams didn’t try to attack us like Spurs did either). But still. We need to find a way. Sweet agony indeed.

  2. East Lower

    Lord knows why we can’t do it every week – probably as you say, the way Spurs came at us made it easier than it was, say, against Liverpool.

    The clearance prior to the Huddlestone goal was a bit weak, but the finish excellent. Spuds’s first goal was just a good goal. Both teams played their part in a cracking match.

    I expect the same flowing football at Bolton on Sunday…

  3. Jeff

    It was a fun match to watch.

  4. Anonymous

    It’s a measure of how much our expectations and standards have lowered that gooners can be so positive (almost triumphalist) because we FINALLY saw the players come out and play like the talented, professional footballers they are – amazed that they FINALLY came out and played with the determination and urgency they’re PAID to do. Like it’s a victory after a string of ponderous, pathetic, gutless displays that handed the title to a staggeringly pathetic, mediocre Man United side.

    That’s how our expectations have lowered. Not too long ago winning at WHL was seen as routine-a draw was rightly considered a defeat. Now we’re so incredibly happy to see the players go there and lose a 2 goal lead because they FINALLY played well after a pathetic string of crap performances. Big whoop.

  5. Jeff

    Sandrahn – That is way negative, but right on the point in a lot of ways. Arsenal are not in top form.

  6. Anonymous

    I’m amazed that some of you found that fun to watch. I found it fun until just before half-time. After their 2nd goal it was sheer & absolute torture because quite simply I knew we would not win. I’m lost for words that theRE are Gooners today who can see the positives. So we played well going forward ? Who gives a rats ass frankly. We had to win that game. We showed all the same failings we’ve shown year after year that Arsene simply refuses to address.
    You either simply don’t care very much at all & Arsenal are just a very minor interest for you (which I’ve nothing against, every club in the world has those who live & breathe it & those who don’t, that’s life) or your stoicism is frankly beyond anything I will ever be capable of. If so, hats off to you, sincerely.

    This was the best chance for years to win the league. And honestly, Arsene’s last chance cos to win it cos next year (given MU,Chelsea & Citeh will all spend big & be considerably stronger) will require a quite monumental improvement which I’m afraid we’re just not capable of. Not to mention that our captain, one of the greatest players we’ve ever had will be gone too. I’ll be amazed if we’re better than 4th if he stays on.
    It’s the end of an era. It didn’t have to be like this either; the greatest manager in our history brought down by his own pigheadedness. Heartbreaking, horrific stuff. Probably my lowest ebb in 30 years following the club.
    I can honestly say I did not sleep a wink last night going over & over it. Which probably doesn’t help my mood today to be fair !!

    One last thing….you don’t have to go that far really to pick holes in their goals. Diaby’s disinterest in doing anything to stop Van Der Vaart shooting was nothing short of disgraceful. How this guy is still at our club after 5 & a half years of doing basically f-all is beyond me…..

  7. Jeff

    PDDD – You sound well and truly fed up.

  8. Jeff

    There’s good stuff to build on for next season – namely Wilshere and Wocheck.

  9. Adam Elder

    Great game for the neutral, but why we still can’t manage a match I have no idea. If it’s down to youth, then why do we insist on offloading any player with experience?

    I admire your positivity Rotor, and I agree that we played great at times, our attack looked lively and Cesc was up for it, but we threw away two goals, two points, and any chance at a real trophy (we still have Wenger’s imaginary ones pretty well wrapped up), and were hanging onto the sides of the lifeboat at times in the second half.

    Overall though, with hindsight, I consider it a minor miracle we’re even challenging for the title this year. I think a lot of fans (myself included) had low expectations going into this season. I haven’t felt bullish on an Arsenal squad since the 07-08 version. Every season thereafter has felt like Groundhog Day — at times, with just as much comedy.

  10. Anonymous

    Great Review…I agree with you completely…every team goes through a period in their history when they dont win trophies and in thisd ay and age it is extremely difficult to win consistently with the amount of money teams like Chelsea an Man city keep spending..

    while I am dissapointed that we will not win anything this year, Im still happy that we can compete with the big spenders…

    for me the only really sad moment in the season was the carling cup final..that was unforgiveable…but I still love Arsene Wenger and the lads…

  11. narrowingthefield_dosage

    Exciting match to watch but at 3-1 up you couldn’t help but feel Arsenal would struggle to hold on. Plenty in their team to build on for next term though, Namely one Jack Wiltshire.

  12. Anonymous

    Fed up, furious, depressed…..I cancelled my Sky subscription this morning. I’m done with football for the season. I simply cannot face any more of this team breaking my heart & ruining my weekends !

  13. Jeff

    And now a big shake-up – Diaby is out injured!

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