Arsenal played well in patches but those patches produced a brilliantly orchestrated move and a towering header from a super sub to clinch all the the three points and complete a double against Spurs. Credit should also go to Almunia for saving the penalty at a very crucial juncture in the match. So Arsenal will remain on top of the table during Xmas time and has put Man Utd in pressure to get all the three against a tough game against Everton.
Gunners had a very poor first half, in which they tested Robinson couple of times, once Eboue with a shot at goal and then Toure with a header. On the other end, Almunia was rarely tested for all the possession Spurs enjoyed. It was all the more disappointing because the Spurs team were playing with an under-strength side for this match.
Second half was a different deal altogether and Arsenal again played one of those good patches in this game. A very scintillating move, Fabregas gave the ball to Rosicky and ran ahead, Rosicky overcame two challenges and falling over, gave a deadly through ball to Fabregas, who held it on for Adebayor to run in from the left side and with complete knowledge of where his team mate is, back heeled it to him to complete a beautifully orchestrated move into goal.
Spurs got their act together and a lapse in concentration from Clichy found Keane inside the box, a back heel to Berbatov, who was silent till then, got his shot from an acute angle somehow past Almunia. Honestly I thought Almunia should have blocked it. He seems to be getting beaten from these angles at the near post (remember the Champions league final, winning goal). That is one area of improvement for him.
But Almunia was in his elements in effecting a save from the Robbie Keane penalty resuting from a Toure foul on Berbatov. Penalty saving is 5% skill and 95% luck. Both these were with Almunia as he blocked a later-hugely-dissapointed Keane shot. This was a morale shattering incident in the match for Spurs from which they never recovered.
At the other end, just as Fabregas was about to take a corner, in came Bendtner for Eboue who ran staright to the box and in that spirit made a jump (trust me I think he jumped over the crossbar height, though I dont have any evidence to prove this) and headed in a unstoppable ball past Robinson. Game over.
Here is another pic to suggest the height.
A very inspired performance from the Gunners and maybe Beckham’s presence in training in January will help this young team hone some free-kick taking skills.