By Tony Attwood
As you will know if you are a regular Untolder, Walter normally does a post match report, generally within about 15 seconds of the match ending.
But Walter is today becoming a TV star, being called upon to work for Belgium TV, so what with me not being at the game in the High Road I’ve got the job of doing the post match whatnot, for the first time. I doubt that I can get up to anything like Walter’s level of insight and expertise, but I might be able to pick up something or other.
In England the game is on BT Sprout, which is not promising. Also odd is that Arsenal.com put up the wrong team having Gibbs both on the beach and in the team. He turned out to be in the team. Giroud is clearly being saved for Hull so we have Danny playing number 9, with Ramsey, Ozil and Alexis behind him, and a defensive midfield of Elneny and Coquelin backing them up.
BT Sprout launched the afternoon endlessly chattering about how there never has been a north London derby that matters as much as this one, making utter tossers of themselves by having absolutely no knowledge of the final game of 1970/71 season. For that game no one could move across north London from about 9am as Arsenal needed to win to win the league. BT Sprout execs might care to read about the build up to the match and the game itself on the Arsenal History Society’s “Arsenal in the 70s” series, episode 3.
These days the ground on Tottenham High Road is very small, as befits a club that last won the league 55 years ago. But it has been hype hype hype… I mean I work in an advertising agency but really even I don’t to hype like this when writing adverts. BT Sprout ought to be reported to the Advertising Standars Authority.
In the old days they used to say you didn’t need the ball for the first half hour of a game against the Tiny Totts. These days it’s a bit less, particularly because of the terrible state of the Tiny pitch at the edges, just mud, mud and then some. Not that the all-Tiny match commentary team noticed.
But it started off really frenetic with the ball ping ponging up and down and around until on 15 minutes within the space of about 90 seconds the game changed. The crowd was quieter (no stamina in N15, that’s the problem). The game slowed down. So on 20 mins we get an Arsenal attack. But Ramsey is too relaxed and nearly lets the Tinies in. But it is now a different game.
It is more scrappy with the BT commentators calling it “very enjoyable” to try and cover the fact that with the Tinies free-flowing football is not an option.
However on 22 mins we find some open spaces for the first time and on 23 mins we hear Arsenal fans singing which is a surprise given how few seats we are given these days.
Desperation in the Sprout studio as this is not going as predicted so the commentary team declare on 24 mins that the Arsenal players are lazy.
25 min Brilliant save by Ooooospina. Card for Bellerin after ball had clearly gone out for throw in. 27min Lamela card for holding 29 min Coquelin card for handball – silly thing to do. Arsenal not got the passing but have taken the steam out of the Tinies. Alexis finding it very hard to get into the game against such a hearty bunch of roughs and playing on mud on the left side.
31 mins gone and it all sounds very quiet on TV, but commentators say there is more confidence in the Totti team as Ozil tries to score from inside his own half after a header by the Tiny keeper.
So now we have Arsenal getting the ball more but they can’t hold on to it long enough, with the Totties pressing quickly all the way. The tackle from behind is now being seen as ok by the ref who is starting to look out of his depth.
On 36min Gabriel starts revealing how much English he has learned through close ups of him shouting. Game is getting very scrappy. Crowd is getting very quiet.
And then, oh my oh my, Ramsey does another of those back flicks he has been practising without luck all season and scores a brilliant goal. Welbeck gets clear, Bellerin to Ramsey, Ramsey back flip. First back flip on target from Arsenal
40 minutes gone and it is a very quiet ground. Another great break Alexis and Ozil on their way but Alexis was off side. Crowd utterly quiet except for the Arsenal fans who are doing a magnificent job.
Elneny in particular is looking great, as we get a brilliant chance on 41 minutes and it is a close thing. Three on two and it looks like Wenger has a decent gameplan here. Chances coming Arsenal’s way, another chance for Welbeck but the header is too weak.
Elneny is indeed looking terrific – what a bargain for a few million quid. 43 minutes and the Ooooospina shout heard really clearly. Totty support is desperately quiet. Totties starting to throw the fouls away. Poor old BT commentators who have been talking up the Tinies don’t quite know what to make of it.
1 min added on time. Tottie players calling every throw in as their’s even when clearly kicking out – clutching at straws comes to mind.
Everything depends on how AFC prepare over the half time.
Arsenal kick off the second half with a very quiet ground. A litte “Cum on you Spuds” from the crowd, but it is very feeble. Ramsey doing a very solid bit of midfield clearing, and it is all Arsenal.
A Tiny shot reaches row 15 and the commentators are doing excuses for the Tinies as they are the youngest team in the PL and have no experience of being this high up the league. Any minute now they will have the smallest ground, and the muddiest as if that excuses their performance. “Everyone expected Tottenham to run all over Arsenal…” they say but the truth is Sprout expected the Tinies to run all over Arsenal.
49 mins and Elneny again show great ability. The Tiny dirge is sung, but even for a dirge it is dull and prompts Ozil to come into the game a little more. Not every pass perfect but he’s getting going. The tinies try and attack but two Tottenham players are so off side they are practically in Wood Green.
The commentators start listing Tiny players who are being described as “not at their best” but…
54 mins Coquelin sent off – really his fault. Commentators slobbering with delight. Pathetic Tiny fans only come to life as a result. Where were they in the rest of the game? And as a result on 59 minutes Lamela gets a goal from a corner 1-1.
Two minutes on 61 Kane scores; the goal didn’t come as a result of Coquelin not being there, but the psychological impact on Totties of playing ten men has picked them up. But the development of Elneny has maybe shown Coquelin that he really needs to control himself. Untold has championed Coquelin’s cause since he was 17, but by now he should be able to stop the cards.
65 mins we are 2-1 down and the Ref gives card to Alexis for reasons that are not at all clear. He pushed Lamela after being pushed himself. Typically Lamela is not cautioned. Had he been he would have been off.
So now we’re holding on but psychologically the game has swung the Tinies way, apart from the fact that they have 9% more players than we do. As a result Tiny players are fouling at will and Dyer looks surprised at getting a yellow for putting his arms everywhere and anywhere.
73 minutes and Giroud coming on for Elneny – an interesting and indeed a blod change, if this works Wenger should be the hero – it could go horribly wrong. A view that we might as well have a bash and amazingly…
Alexis chooses this moment to stop messing about and score. I’m amazned beyond amazement. The whole Totty team is pushing out Bellerin to Alexis, he watches the ball throughout and doesn’t look up and its 2-2. First goal since mid October. Now everyone has to hold on.
76 mins, and Ground very quiet. Can we bring Elneny back on for Giroud? Tinies engaging in horrible fouls – Walker does one.. but suddenly Arsenal confident and Tinies look nervous. Dyer dreadful, dreadful foul on Giroud and ref fails to give yellow. Even Sprout commentators are amazed as this horrific bit of bias and ineptness by the ref which could completely turn the game. Exactly the sort of incident that makes me think that either the PL has inept refs or they are bent. One or the other.
80 mins and the teams are playing like it is equal numbers; Tinies looking uncertain. I’ve drunk too much red wine and don’t know if I can finish this off.
Dembele off Son on. Ref showing no sign of being aware of his cock up and then very close for Welbeck, but then comes off and Flamini comes on. That means the silly little chappie who said on Twatter that he will support Leicester if Flamini plays again will be leaving us. Ahhhh. Brilliant save by Ospina.
85 mins, it is still 2-2 but we are still a man down. Gibbs is playing centre forward. Ludicrous Tiny foul leads to a free kick just right of centre Alexis lines up with Ozil, Alexis on target, keeper saves with a punch out.
87 mins and this is getting worrying. Gabriel miskick almost leads to an own goal. Co-commentator in studio laughs his head off. Kane then shoots about 20 yards over the goal from 10 yards out, no laughter. Humour bias? I guess so.
Joel Campbell coming on for Ozil. Crowd is very quiet, and Arsenal attacking, looks very much like handball in the Tiny penalty area but the ref won’t give anything Arsenal’s way. There are four minutes added.
All Tiny pressure now and…
the picture is lost. BT Sprout puts up a message saying we are sorry. I have no TV to watch.
Try to find my portable radio. But it’s not there. Go to the radio in the sitting room that is permanently on Radio 4. How to re-tune?
BT sport comes back on but no commentary and no score and no indication of time. Have I missed a goal?
No, BT Sprout blame the local power supply, and apparently it is all over. Still trying to see if it was 2-2.
Yes it was.
God I need a drink but can’t as I’m going out this evening to a dance and need to sober up.
5 March 1892: After many clubs dropped out of the attempt to form a Southern League the remainder (but without Arsenal) moved towards forming The Southern Alliance, a league that lasted just one season.
5 March 1897: The Kentish Mercury reported that 54 people had applied for the job of Arsenal manager, showing that the fame of the first League club in the south had clearly grown.
- 5 March 1841: “The Queen of Naples looks like a grocer’s wife overcome with age. She has the irritated air of a benevolent curmudgeon. The Queen of Spain is good natured and friendly, but horribly common.” Stendhal on social life in Rome
- The insult of the day (for the aaa)
Thou has the most unsavoury similies (Henry IV Part 1)