Arsenal 5-2 Spurs: Le Sagna inspires stunning fight back
Tuesday, 28th Feb 2012 14:09
Six years ago lasagne ruined Spurs’ hope of cancelling St. Totteringham’s day and on Sunday our very own Le Sagna took centre stage with a thumping header to get us back in the game to help put North London superiority back in the balance for 2012.
Sagna’s interchange with Rosicky to give us the lead in the second half was of the highest quality and he proved how much we have missed fully fit full backs over the last few weeks. Sagna and Gibbs could not completely steady the ship however as Spurs cut through our defence with worrying ease in the first 35 minutes despite our dominance of possession.
They opened the scoring within the first five minutes when Saha found himself in acres of space on the edge of our area. His shot deflected off Thomas Vermaelen and looped painfully slowly over Wojciech Szczesny into the net. Confidence before the game was fragile and the mood around the Grove was now tense as our familiar defensive weaknesses had been exposed so early in the game
Despite our refreshingly purposeful attacking play after the goal, a combination of Brad Friedel’s athleticism and Theo Walcott’s alarming inability to pass or control the ball left us unable to find the equaliser and Spurs always looked dangerous on the break.
In the 34th minute Gareth Bale found himself charging through the middle of our defence and he out powered Kieran Gibbs to leave him with only Szczesny to beat. The Welshman knocked the ball past our ‘keeper before pulling off a perfect dive to fool Mike Dean into giving the penalty. It looked like a penalty from our position in the stadium and it would have been a clear cut decision had Bale stayed on his feet as Szczesny was flying out and would have clattered into him. However, the outrage at the dive may well have driven the team on as we pushed into fifth gear after Adebayor despatched the penalty to send us two goals down. We didn’t know it at the time but this was to be the beginning of the end of our tortuous fortnight.
Just minutes later and Theo made his first positive contribution of the match with a brilliant flick to give Robin van Persie a yard of space in the area, his right foot shot clattered against the woodwork but we were first to the rebound and the resulting clipped cross was attacked by a determined Sagna who powered his header into the corner of the net. It was an unusual goal to see The Arsenal score and was the result of sheer will power from Sagna which seemed to instigate a supercharged performance in the next half an hour of the match.
Before the second half was over we pressurised the creaking Spurs’ defence who could only clear to the edge of the area where Robin van Persie was waiting. He cut away from the defenders with a neat turn before unleashing a curling effort beyond the outstretched defender’s leg and around Friedel’s despairing dive. The American had been in top form but even he couldn’t stop this one and the best player in the league wheeled away in celebration. The Grove was rocking and didn’t want the half time whistle to go but as it turned out, a bewildered Harry Redknapp made another tactical mistake in the interval which only served to firmly put the wind in our sails as a lone Adebayor was to pose little threat to our defence in the second period.
We started the second half with more pace and purpose and Rosicky’s driving run and perfect touch to turn in Sagna’s cross was something we had forgotten the Czech international was capable of. This was his best performance in an Arsenal shirt.
We continued to chase and harry with Mikel Arteta visibly directing the front three to pressurise each Spurs defender in possession and we prevented them from building any meaningful attacks. One rare foray forward from Spurs was snuffed out easily and Robin van Persie broke down the left channel. He managed to hold the ball up before seeing the Walcott express flying down the right wing. Even Theo was bristling with confidence now and although his first touch from van Persie’s pass sent him wide he still managed to clip a brilliant finish over Friedel.
Victory was all but ours now and minutes later Song sent Theo clear with a perfect through ball that is fast becoming a trademark. Our number 14 got the ball out of his feet early and rifled the ball into the far corner before being bundled to the floor by his teammates.
The Grove could not believe it’s eyes but after hitting the lowest possible ebb, this Arsenal team proved that it does have character after all and Milan may even have felt a twinge of nerves after seeing 5 Arsenal goals scored in 28 minutes. If we can carry this momentum through until the end of the season then Champions League football, a new contract for RVP and the chance to invest our profits in the summer transfer market may be within reach despite a tumultuous season.
Photo: Action Images
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