Saturday, December 22, 2007

Arsenal vs. Tottenham: Match Review

Arsenal completed the double over arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur as they escaped from a nervy encounter with three points. The Gunners, who were heavy favorites to win the match despite Tottenham's recent resurgence, went a goal up just after halftime when Emmanuel Adebayor scored his tenth league goal of the season, but Dimitar Berbatov levelled in the 66th. Robbie Keane then saw a penalty fabulously saved by Manuel Almunia before substitute Nicklas Bendtner headed in with his first touch of the match to give Arsenal a 2-1 victory.

Arsenal: Manuel Almunia; Bacary Sagna, William Gallas, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy; Emmanuel Eboue, Cesc Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini, Alex Hleb, Tomas Rosicky; Emmanuel Adebayor

Tottenham: Paul Robinson; Young-Pyo Lee, Younes Kaboul, Pascal Chimbonda, Teemu Tainio; Kevin-Prince Boateng, Jamie O'Hara, Steed Malbranque, Aaron Lennon; Robbie Keane, Dimitar Berbatov

Arsenal rushed out of the gates, with Mathieu Flamini hooking a volley just off target in the second minute.

Spurs were trying their best to contain Arsenal and play on the break, but Kolo Toure still managed to get onto a Cesc Fabregas free kick, but the ball fell tamely to Paul Robinson.

Tottenham were playing their game well though, and chances were hard to come by for both sides.

Robinson finally made his first real save in the 33rd minute when Emmanuel Eboue took a shot at the England stopper's right goalpost.

The game began to liven up as half time approached with Almunia saving a free kick from Dimitar Berbatov and Kevin-Prince Boateng curling an effort just over the Spaniard's crossbar.

Toure once again got on the end of a Fabregas free kick just before half time, but Paul Robinson was equal to his effort again, and the half time whistle sounded with the teams level.

The second half was much more lively.

Cesc Fabregas' cheeky backheel met Emmanuel Adebayor in the penalty area only minutes after the second half started, and the tall Togo striker finished well, curling the ball past Robinson, putting him on top of the Premier League's scoring chart this season.

Robbie Keane volleyed into the crossbar after meeting a cross from Aaron Lennon in the 65th minute, as Tottenham looked to equalize.

The equalizer came only a minute later after Keane backheeled to Berbatov who finished neatly past Mathieu Flamini and Kolo Toure at the near post.

Berbatov was involved again when Kolo Toure brought the Bulgarian down in the penalty area. Keane stepped up, but Almunia dove the right way to brilliantly deny Tottenham a second goal.

Arsene Wenger then sent Nicklas Bendtner on for Emmanuel Eboue and Arsenal were immediately rewarded.

In the 74th minute Nicklas Bendtner rose unmarked in the box to head past Paul Robinson with his first touch in the game. There could be no better way to endear oneself to Arsenal fans than scoring the winner in the North London derby, and the 19 year-old Dane seems like he may have himself quite a future at the Emirates.

Bendtner nearly set up Adebayor for a third, but the striker was muscled off of the ball.

Adel Taraabt then had a penalty shout dismissed by referee Rob Styles who blew the final whistle soon after.