Last night saw yet another enthralling North London derby, with a 3-3 draw ultimately being a fair result. Both teams threw caution to the wind, knowing only three points will do in helping them achieve their aspirations, in an eventful and entertaining game that promised so much and delivered with aplomb. But what did we learn about the two North London outfits?
The North London giants both play the most exciting football- The neutral had a treat last night; both teams were playing their brand of exciting attacking football. Arsenal played their ‘sexy’ passing game that was a joy to behold and Spurs lived up to their billing as ‘The Great Entertainers.’ Rarely, it seems do ‘big’ games live up to the anticipation, but last night was the exception. Every time Lennon or Walcott got the ball you felt as if something were about to happen, showing that it is great attacking football that makes the Premier League what it is and not good defending.
Arsenal need Jack Wilshere and Diaby is awful- Only 19 years old and already your team lacks something when you don’t play. Abou Diaby started instead of the England international and failed to show that spark, that tenacity that Wilshere has in the middle of the park. The Frenchman never stamped his authority on the game, didn’t dictate the play like his team-mate and made Peter Crouch look like an agile human being with his lack of composure on the ball.
The North London derby DOES matter to Arsenal- “We only care about the Chelsea game” is insults that in recent years everyone associated with Arsenal has directed at Spurs, last night proved otherwise. The electric atmosphere around White Hart Lane, the exciting game of football, the onslaught on each others’ goals, the animated Arsene Wenger, the hunger to nick all three points and the hatred for former Gunners captain William Gallas, showed that even if Arsenal find themselves three leagues below Tottenham sometime in the future, this derby will never lack passion.
Tottenham just don’t know when they are beaten- They did it to Arsenal in the first derby this season, at the Emirates, 2-0 down and ended up winning 3-2, stunning their fiercest rivals. Everyone was just waiting for the Lilywhites to do it again last night. The continual fight and motivation in the Spurs squad, evident through their remarkable tally of 22 points gained from losing positions in the league this year, is a credit to Harry Redknapp’s motivation and man management skills; it’s just surprising they didn’t overturn the 4-0 deficit against Real Madrid.
Gareth Bale is classic hyperbole- Last night pitted the PFA Player of the Year against a right back who had made the Premier League team of the season and it was Arsenal’s right back Bacary Sagna who prospered. Despite only playing 45 minutes, Bale was in the Frenchman’s ‘back pocket’ for the majority of the first half. Sagna coped easily with Bale’s acceleration and speed, showing that Bale after one outstanding performance at the San Siro against Inter Milan isn’t a consistently high performer like fellow Welshman and left winger Ryan Giggs.