Arsenal should concentrate on the FA Cup after 4-4 farce against Spurs

It was 7.55   when we walked into the Upper Tier.

“Myles, I’m so up for this one !” said my friend Geoff.

The players were just coming on to the pitch on the halfway line below us. The lights were very bright, the grass luminous green, the atmosphere buzzing with anticipation.  I was about to experience  my first North London derby as a punter.

Spurs flooded midfield and had Pavlyuchenko up front on his own. Bent was on the bench. Silvestre and Gallas started.

Arsenal weren\’t smart enough to mix up their game against a 4-5-1.They just tried to play their pretty passing in the first half and didn\’t have the nous to test Spurs out with some longer balls.

Then David Bentley scored a surreal goal with a speculative lob from 43 yards. Almunia was only three yards off his line but he  panicked, got an arm to it as it went in.

Everyone was gobsmacked and  I said : “Nayim from the halfway line.”

Van Persie found space quite well and moved the ball onto his left foot in his usual laborious manner. He had three assists and a goal.

Silvestre headed in just before half-time, Gallas headed in just after, it went to 3-1 and 3-2 and 4-2 and two thirds of the Spurs fans in the corner section left the stadium.

The PA announcer said that the Piccadilly Line had been suspended. That meant that I would walk up to Finsbury Park.

Then Clichy made a mistake and Jenas cruised forward and slotted with a very sweet left foot shot that curled into the top corner. But the way Jenas ran back, it was a consolation. His body language didn\’t say : Come on, we can get something here!

Spurs had been hammered but the score was 4-3 and there was a groan when the fourth officials board said : 4 minutes of added time.

Then Modric was given acres of space and his shot came back off the post and  Aaron Lennon  knocked in the rebound for 4-4.

The 250 remaining Spurs fans were jumping around like maniacs in the corner. Punching the air, hugging each other, kissing each other, waving their arms, pogoing up and down, falling over the seats.

Fabregas was anonymous. Adebayor and Almunia were shocking. Both are clowns who have improved a lot. Walcott did some tremendous things in the first half.

Sagna and Clichy were very good, until Clichy\’s late error, Song dimly put himself in a position where Clichy could not use him and then Clichy fell over while fiddling with the ball. Can\’t concentrate after 85 minutes.
Nasri was OK, promised more than he delivered. A useful player who will contribute more next year.

Bottom line, the balance of the team is wrong. Buy a proper keeper, a proper centreback, a ball-winning midfielder !!!

The bench is weak. He has nobody on the bench he can bring on to lock up game when he\’s winning 4-2 with ten minutes to go. They don\’t know how to hold onto a lead. Last season they didn\’t know how to hold onto a lead. Next season they won\’t know how to hold onto a lead. The season after that, Arsene Wenger still won\’t be teaching defence because he still won\’t believe in it.

As French novelist Stendhal once noted, genius is nine parts obstinacy.

Wenger’s substitutions were as bad as they have ever been, which is saying plenty.

Why take off Walcott   who was having one of his best ever games? That allowed the Spurs defence to move forward ten yards. Why bring on the clueless Eboue, and then Song, who always takes time to pick up the rhythm of the game? If you really want to score goals five and six, why not bring on Carlos Vela to score them? Adebayor\’s having his worst game of 2008, not winning one header against Corluka and Woodgate, but you leave him on for the whole game? Bendter would have held the ball up better.

Wenger\’s substitutions have been a joke for 12 years. Lens v Arsenal was the first  blunder. As long as I live, I will never see more kamikaze substitutions in a football match than I saw last night. But our timid, tame, feeble, craven mainstream media won\’t mention that.

The team needed Flamini out there to close people down. I’ve never, never, never believed that Almunia or Adebayor were good enough to play for Arsenal, although both have improved a lot. Wenger tried to get £30 million for Ade last summer and turned down £19m.

He should start listening to people. He should go and win the FA Cup, a trophy that this team IS capable of winning. Go and win six games and give us the FA Cup and stop talking about the league, the league, the league.

Outside after the game, a mounted policewoman announced that, “The Piccadilly Line is now working again, after a person under the train”

Somebody said,” It was a Spurs fan. At 4-2 down, he ran out and threw himself under the train.”

I got home at 11.20pm and Jan and Caroline had gone to bed. Michael was not home yet. I watched the end of Match of the Day and saw highlights of two sensible games. Man United beat West Ham 2-0 and the way Berbatov creates Ronaldo\’s second goal reminds me of Pele. Chelsea won 3-0 at Hull. Sensible games with sensible results. Liverpool 1 Portsmouth 0

This morning Jan and I woke up at 7.30 a.m.
“Good match,” she said.
“If you say so.”
“Wenger was very angry.”
“He should be angry with himself,” I said.

Saw Michael briefly before he went out to work at 8.15. He watched the game in a pub in Soho and said, “It was full of Spurs fans. They come out of the woodwork for the North London derby. Won’t see them again for the rest of the season.”

I was wrong yesterday to say : Arsenal will beat Spurs but it won\’t be a classic. Arsenal didn\’t win. I know a classic when I see one, like that 3-1 win at White Hart Lane.

What a ridiculous, ridiculous night. My first North London derby as a punter should have been fun. Arsenal were winning 4-2 with ten minutes to go. The whole thing was just impossibly stupid. But I wasn\’t hugely disappointed or furious.

As I said earlier this week, Arsenal have no season. They only have the next match

VERDICT : This farcical 4-4 proved everything I\’ve been saying on ANR for two years and everything I wrote in the  three new chapters  of The Professor.