Monday, February 27, 2012

P.L. 2004 2005 "The North London Derby" Tottenham Arsenal

13 November 2004
Whit Hart Lane,

Attendance: 36,095
Referee : S Bennett

  The pre-season of 2004-05 saw two popular long-serving Gunners move on to pastures new. Martin Keown said goodbye to Highbury for a second time when he joined Championship side Leicester City. The defender had left the Club once before, in 1986, as a rookie defender, going to Aston Villa and returning via Everton seven years later. A dyed-in-the-wool Arsenal man, he had served the Club with distinction in his second spell in north London, which ended with a star-studded testimonial in May and his third title medal. Midfielder Ray Parlour was also to leave, heading north to Middlesbrough after thirteen-and-a-half successful years at Arsenal. His wholehearted style and consistent performances had been a large factor in Arsenal's successes during his time at the club and his departure finally severed all links on the playing side with the George Graham era. 

The significant additions to the Invincibles squad were Robin van Persie and Mathieu Flamini, Rotterdam-born van Persie was the Dutch Young Player Of The Year in 2002. His talents on the pitch were not to be questioned, and Arsenal beat off the attentions of several other clubs-including Eredivisie rivals PSV Eindhoven to secure his signature in May. France Under-21 midfielder Mathieu Flamini was another highly regarded youngster and arrived from Marseilles with glowing reviews, as Wenger continued to reduce the average age of the squad. Other squad additions included Spaniard Manuel Almunia a brought in from Celta Vigo as cover for Jens Lehmann because Stuart Taylor's injury problems were leaving the goalkeeping backup in a precarious state at times, and 17-year-old Italian striker Arturo Lupoli from Parma. Francis Jeffers' spell at the Club ended with a move across London to Charlton Athletic on 10 August, but the player who was expected to leave Highbury that week was skipper Patrick Vieira. Real Madrid had courtec the France international for the fourth successive close season and on this occasion it had appeared they had done enough to lure him to the Spanish capital. Money - he and Arsenal would both maintain - was not a consideration and after pondering ne chance to become the latest Galactico long and hard, he delighted the Champions by deciding to stay. This is one of the few occasions in our sport when money has played no part.' said a relieved and delighted Arsene Wenger, who admitted that he had been resigned to losing his captain, the manager's second signing after he arrived in north London in 1996. 'We did not put any extra pressure on him. He just changed his mind." Popular Dutchman Giovanni Van Bronckhorst did finally make his loan move to Barcelona permanent, however, resignec to the fact he was fighting a losing battle to get into the starting line-up at Arsenal.

 The older Arsenal hands were back in the side for the tricky visit to Spurs, who had a new head coach in Dutchman Martin Jol, and the two sides served up an absolute cracker, The first 45 minutes ended with Thierry Henry neatly slotting home to cancel out Noureddine Naybet's 37th-minute volley - but the real fireworks came after the break. Lauren's penalty, after Noe Pamarot upended Ljungberg, and a sweeping Patrick Vieira finish put Arsenal 3-1 up on the hour, but within a minute Jermain Defoe's superb wriggle, run and shot kept Spurs inthe game. Ljungberg made it4-2 only for Ledley King to head another for Spurs, but Pires seemed to wrap things up with nine minutes to go when he tucked his shot under Paul Robinson from an acute angle. The home side pushed Arsenal all the way and Mali striker Frederic Kanoute set up a grandstand finish with two minutes left on the clock, sliding the ball home after Henry had needlessly conceded possession. The Gunners were mightily relieved to hear referee Steve Bennett blow for time at the end of a game of sloppy defending and breathtaking attacking from both sides. However, the win was papering over defensive cracks and when relegation contenders West Brom left Highbury with a point a week later - courtesy of a late equaliser from sub Robert Earnshaw - serious questions were being asked of the normally solid defence. Many fans had begun to rue the absence of the 'Invisible Wall' that Gilberto had provided before his injury.

Tottenham: Robinson, Pamarot, Naybet, King, Edman, Pedro Mendes (Davies 68), Brown (Kanoute 76), Carrick, Ziegler, Keane (Gardner 90), Defoe. Subs Not Used: Redknapp, Fulop.
Booked: Naybet, Ziegler, Brown.
Goals: Naybet 37, Defoe 61, King 74, Kanoute 88.
Arsenal: Lehmann, Lauren, Toure, Cygan, Cole, Ljungberg, Vieira, Fabregas, Reyes (Pires 68), Bergkamp (Van Persie 82), Henry. Subs Not Used: Flamini, Almunia, Hoyte.
Goals: Henry 45, Lauren 55 pen, Vieira 60, Ljungberg 69, Pires 81.

Codec H264, Mkv
Bitrate 1200
Sound 128 kbps
English Comments
Pass : thewildbunch22

Noureddine Naybet volleyed Spurs ahead before Thierry Henry levelled in first- half injury-time and Lauren's penalty put Arsenal ahead after 53 minutes. Patrick Vieira added a third on the hour, and even though Jermain Defoe's strike gave Spurs hope, Freddie Ljungberg restored the two-goal lead. Ledley King headed Spurs' third, and even after Robert Pires hit Arsenal's fifth, Freddie Kanoute was on target. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will have been happy with the victory, but he will question his team's defence after an astonishing game.  And for new Spurs head coach Martin Jol, in his first Premiership match since taking over from Jacques Santini, he saw his own side's frailties cruelly exposed. Wenger effectively restored his first-choice line-up after a young second-string beat Everton in the Carling Cup on Tuesday. But it was not an impressive opening 45 minutes from Arsenal's big guns as Spurs dominated territory and possession. Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann needed to be alert after four minutes to clutch Defoe's cross with Pedro Mendes lurking. Lehmann rescued more slack work by Arsenal's rearguard to deny Defoe again - but he was powerless to stop Spurs taking a deserved lead through Naybet after 36 minutes.

 Arsenal returned to winning ways on Saturday lunchtime in a North London derby that will surely go down in history. Arsène Wenger's side got the best of a nine-goal thriller at White Hart Lane that see-sawed all afternoon. It was enough to send them top, if only temporarily, but there was a certain relief to see them back to their fluent best. There was no sign of the goalfeast ahead in a lively but chanceless opening half-hour. Then Noureddine Naybet hooked in a free-kick from Michael Carrick in the 37th minute to give the home side the lead. However it was level at the break when, deep into injury time, Thierry Henry latched onto Lauren's angled pass, fooled his marker and coolly slotted home. The visitors had been controlled yet largely toothless until then but they more than made up for it in an incredible second half. Lauren put them ahead in the 55th minute after Noe Pamarot had fouled Freddie Ljungberg. Vieira set himself up to increase the advantage five minutes later. Jermain Defoe gave Tottenham a lifeline with a stunning strike seconds later but Ljungberg gave Arsenal a cushion once more. Ledley King's header put Arsenal under pressure again but substitute Robert Pires seemed to have sealed the victory. Frederic Kanoute's goal with three minutes left made for a frantic finale but the visitors held on. The victory sent them top to the Premiership but Chelsea would have the chance to regain the lead at Fulham a few hours later. However, for now, it is enough to just savour an Arsenal victory and especially one over their rivals and neighbours Wenger recalled his familiar line-up despite the Carling Cup heroics from his youngsters in midweek. The bench was full of the stars of that game plus Robert Pires whose place on the left-side of midfield was occupied by Jose Antonio Reyes. Dennis Bergkamp once again joined Henry up front. The injury list had lengthened by one after Tuesday night's game when Edu limped off with a broken toe. Gilberto (vertebrae), Sol Campbell (calf), Gael Clichy (ankle) and Jeremie Aliadiere (knee) were already ruled out. A crisp winter's morning greeted both sets of fans as they arrived for a noon kick-off. The atmosphere inside the ground was quite the opposite. These games are always massive occasions in the north of the capital. And this one started with typical vibrancy. Spurs had the better of a sparky opening. In the fourth minute Jermain Defoe crossed to the far post and Pedro Mendes' volley was saved by Jens Lehmann at the second attempt.   Arsenal began to find their rhythm after that but the next clear chance fell to the home side in the 18th minute. Defoe beat Pascal Cygan on the right-hand byline and aimed a low cross toward the near post.  The sprawling Lehmann thrust out a hand and deflected the ball against Lauren with Robbie Keane in close attendance. The resulting corner came to nothing.  As the half went on, Arsenal exerted more control. They pushed Tottenham back into their own half and started to probe for openings. However they could not test keeper Paul Robinson. You sensed that Arsenal had drawn much of Tottenham's sting and they were starting to work through the gears towards fluency. So when the opening goal came eight minutes from half time it was something of a surprise.  Carrick sent over a free-kick from the left and Toure's slip allowed Naybet to hook home his shot at the far post. A minute later it was nearly 2-0. Another free-kick from the opposite side was diverted goalwards by Vieira and Lehmann had to fully extend himself to tip over. Cygan nodded over the bar in the dying minutes and that seemed to be it for the first half. Henry had other ideas. The impetus that goal had given them carried on at the start of the second half. Arsenal should have been ahead within a minute when Ljungberg crossed low to the far post. The whole ground seemed to freeze expecting the referee's whistle but Reyes played on. However the ball got stuck under his feet and he could only prod a lame shot at Robinson. Two minutes later, the Spaniard sent a corner to the far post and Cygan slid a shot over the bar from close range.  The goal Arsenal were threatening arrived in the 55th minute. Ljungberg wriggled past Noe Pamarot in the area and the French defender hauled him down. Lauren struck home confidently from the spot. Five minutes later, Vieira, who had come out invigorated for the second half, stole the ball in midfield and strode forward. He had only Robinson to face and when the keeper chose to go right, the captain clipped his shot over him and into the net. It seemed to be 'game over' but Defoe's stunner hauled Spurs back into the game. He collected a throw-in on the left, turned and breezed past a couple of defenders before curling shot into the top corner. It was probably the best goal Arsenal have conceded this season. It was fast becoming goals galore and the next arrived in the 69th minute. Fabregas won the ball and exchanged passes with Henry before feeding Ljungberg, who prodded his shot under Robinson. Again, you thought it was all over. But again Tottenham responded when King nodded in a free-kick at the far post.  'Game on' once more. Well at least until Pires scuttled onto Henry's clever reverse pass and tucked his shot past Robinson at the near post. Kanoute slid home fourth with three minutes remaining but despite much bluster from the home side in the dying minutes Arsenal deserved to hold on.


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