Spurs correspondent James joined farlieonfootie to report on a wild and wooly North London derby. Although James was near despondent at the end of the game's first half, his theatrics and ebullient joy could not be contained in the second half, resulting in a rather annoying one-game ban from the Emirates press box. Herewith our thoughts, as they actually occurred:
The game's first goal, off the foot of Samir Nasri, is absolutely crazy. Assou-Ekoto was victimized like a 98 pound weakling in the state penitentiary, which must be a worrying development for Spurs fans with more than 80 minutes left in the game. How in the world did Sammy Nasri get the ball to go sideways and then make a left turn into the goal from such a tight angle? That's just ridiculous, which brings us to our next topic.
Have you seen Flappyhandski's pink goal jersey and socks? It's not a good look. While James lays the blame on Nike, "the great Satan of sports marketing," I prefer to think of Fabianski as a missing member of Everton's away squad. Either way, it's a little scary.
What's up with Marouane Chamakh and the faux-turtleneck look? James beleives that Chamakh looks as if he's dressed to take a stroll down a Parisian boulevard, but is looking for his missing poodle. In the US, we call that piece of clothing a dickey. I'll just leave it at that.
Arsenal's second goal isn't half bad, either. I've made a lot of fun of Chamakh in this column to date, but his finish on the ball in from Arshavin was pretty dang good. Too bad he's dressed so funny.
When Arsenal have the ball in the first half, the midfield is totally uncontested, and Fabregas is being allowed to run riot. As soon as the Gunners get the ball, Spurs run back to their 18 yard box and begin playing defense with a bunker-like mentality. Uncle Harry needs to inspire his troops, who are showing very little ambition to this point in the match.
Spurs offense in the game's first half has been reduced to wild shots, often from long distance. With both Modric and Van der Vaart having off days to this point, Bale and Pavlyuchenko acting as if they have amnesia and aren't quite sure where they're supposed to be (or even why they're out there), and the British Flamingo sitting sadly on the bench, Spurs look about as threatening as Gentle Ben.
Cesc Fabregas has been guilty of some bad challenges this year, including the one on Jenas in the second half. Aresenal have been increasingly "stuck in" this year, led by their Captain. It's the new, steelier Arsenal, but I'm not sure I approve, or even buy it. Maybe Arsenal, with their effete, French air, feel the need to be tough guys in order to compete, but to me it's slightly ridiculous for a team with Arshavin (the elf) and Chamakh (the poodle) to suddenly begin acting like a bunch of thugs.
Another great finish on the third goal. What is it about this game? Although Gareth Bale was one-on-one, he had a lot of work to do between the fine first touch and the side foot finish. It's Bale's first real threat of the game and he buried it. Well done. James is overflowing with relief.
James and I are thinking about starting a new reality television show later this season. It's going to be called "Diving with the Stars," and the first season will feature a no-holds-barred competition between Chamakh, Nani, Ronaldo and Betty White, and feature twists, spins, jumps and whines. May the best diver win.
Who's the bigger wimp, Chamakh or Fabregas? Was it Fabregas raising Chamakh's arm to block the ball in the box on Spurs' free kick, or the other way around? Either way, a clear hand ball for me, and 2-all on the scoreline after VdV easily slots it home. James can't contain himself he's so happy.
It's a nail biter at the end, as first Koscielny and then VdV miss good chances in front of goal to win the game. It's wonderful, though, when Kaboul finally heads the ball winner off a swerving Van der Vaart free kick, Spurs gaining their first away victory at Arsenal since 1993, and their first victory against any "Big 4" side in 68 games. James is elated, and unfortunately, ejected.
Both James and I loved seeing Le Professor slam his water bottle to the floor near game's end, as shown below. Sacre Bleu! Do you think he was a little upset that Arsenal coughed up a 2-nil lead, and lost at home for the second game in a row?You bet he is, but James is not. Full time: Spurs 3 - Gunners 2, and farlieonfootie inspired on November 22.