A ridiculous piece of behaviour by Emmanuel Eboue (sigh) ensured a 0-0 draw was all Arsenal could muster from a hugely disappointing North London derby at White Hart Lane.
I should begin by saying that I was really looking forward to yesterday’s game. Really looking forward to it. My new roommate – who goes by the name of SettaKeys on this blog – had brought with him Foxtel and a new HD television and I had invited four friends over in the hope of watching Arsenal give Tottenham the stuffing they deserved. But it never ensued and it’s all thanks to the stupidity of Eboue.
The starting team that Arsene Wenger put out was reasonably predictable, the only surprise being that Johan Djourou was again left on the bench alongside new signing Andrey Arshavin and fit-again Eduardo. Alex Song and Denilson took up the two central-midfield spots leaving Samir Nasri on the left and Eboue (sigh) on the right. Robin van Persie was restored to the starting side to partner Emmanuel Adebayor, leaving Nicklas Bendtner on the bench. It was a decent team if a little light in the centre of the park.
In truth it was Tottenham who started the sharper of the two sides. Robbie Keane may have been unlucky not to win a penalty after a clash with Gallas while Aaron Lennon twice got the better of Gael Clichy to fire shots at goal. Meanwhile Eboue (sigh) started like a hyperactive ferret, first firing a nice ball across the face of goal and then having a goal of his own chalked off. The manager might have been furious with the decision following the game but in my eyes Adebayor clearly tripped Jonathan Woodgate as he went to clear Eboue’s (sigh) ball and the goal was correctly ruled out.
After starting so brightly, Eboue (sigh) then resorted to his usual tricks. First he was booked after complaining endlessly to referee Mike Dean over a clear foul by Bacary Sagna. Then, after Luka Modric had a fine shot saved by Manuel Almunia and Adebayor almost capitalised on some dodgy defending by Vedran Corluka, Eboue (sigh) effectively ended any chance Arsenal had of winning the game by getting himself sent-off.
Watching the two or three-minute period surrounding Eboue’s (sigh) dismissal on TV was an absolute embarrassment for Arsenal supporters. From the moment he stood over the prone figure of Modric with his hands behind his back you could tell Eboue (sigh) had done something wrong. Funnily enough the referee booked Modric and for a split-second I thought Eboue (sigh) might have gotten away with whatever he did.
Alas, it was not to be as Eboue (sigh) then ridiculously patted the Croatian on the back about 40 times before receiving a second yellow-card and the subsequent red from the referee. Annie, my housemate, was cursing Mike Dean for his decision but I knew in my gut that Eboue (sigh) had done something. And sure enough, he had, replays showing that he had inexplicably kicked out a player who had done absolutely nothing to deserve it.
Make no mistake, Eboue’s actions were an absolute joke. After ironically putting in his best half-hour of the season Eboue (sigh) let down his teammates, the manager and every Arsenal fan around the world for absolutely no reason. I thought the booing of him was harsh and unfair during the win over Wigan but since that game he has not changed his attitude one little bit and everybody else has to pay for it. It was ridiculous and selfish beyond belief and it should be punished accordingly by the manager in whatever way he sees fit.
To make matters worse, moments before Eboue’s (sigh) brain explosion we lost Adebayor to what looked like an extremely painful hamstring tear. The manager brought on Bendtner and opted for a 4-3-2 formation in order to keep the Tottenham back-four on their toes, a tactic that allowed our boys to scrap their way to a half-time stalemate despite Almunia being forced into a couple of decent saves.
The second-half was a tense if ultimately frustrating affair for Arsenal. Tottenham carved out their best chances of the match early in the period as first Roman Pavlyuchenko then blockhead Robbie Keane wasted excellent chances. Up the other end van Persie fired a half-chance wide before Song wasted our best chance of the day, hooking just wide from a wicked corner by van Persie.
It should be noted here that despite failing to capitalise on our best chance of the match, Alex Song’s contribution to yesterday’s draw was extremely commendable. He scuttled around in characteristic style, positioning himself well and providing excellent cover for the defence. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again that as long as he has a decent, experienced partner to play the more attacking central role – neither Denilson nor Abou Diaby fit that description – he has the ability to be an excellent defensive midfielder.
Going back to the game and Keane flashed another chance wide before Bendtner almost had a cross deflected into the net by Michael Dawson. Meanwhile, Clichy had to be substituted after an awful head clash saw him lose a wheelbarrow-load of blood. Kieran Gibbs was subsequently brought on for his debut Premiership appearance as Arshavin and Eduardo say patiently on the pine.
The game petered out until very late on when both Arsenal and Tottenham had good chances to win it. Bendtner had a fine effort tipped over by Carlo Cudicini before Almunia saved a point for us with an heroic save. As Modric bared down on goal with seconds remaining the Spaniard through his body at the Croatian’s shot and deflected the shot into touch. It was a hugely important save given the context and a perfect end to an outstanding game by Arsenal’s best player on the day.
So 0-0 it ended, a score that couldn’t really be avoided after Eboue’s (sigh) sending-off. A lot of credit has to go to the likes of Gallas and the aforementioned Song for their performances in this game, as well as Almunia and van Persie. The former trio’s contribution could be measured by the fact that we did not concede and generally looked quite solid at the back. Van Persie again showed his quality, using the ball extremely well the few times we were able to get forward.
The injury to Adebayor is a blow, but given the presence of Arshavin and Eduardo on the bench and the inconsistent nature of the Togo striker’s recent performances, perhaps not as big a blow as it seems. Despite only scoring once in our last four games we certainly have the strike-power available to cope with the loss of Adebayor.
In short this was a game that was effectively ruined by the thoughtless actions of a player who has now, in my opinion, exceeded the number of chances he should be given by the club. A decent player he might be on his day, but Eboue’s (sigh) selfish and downright embarrassing attitude has run it’s course and I really wouldn’t mind to never see him play for the club again.
As such, I’m sincerely hoping we’ve seen the last of Emmanuel (sigh) Eboue.
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