Spurs 2 Arsenal 1

So much has been made for the argument of the need of technology to assist the officials, and this week’s controversies at Goodison Park and Molineaux, will add to the argument. The controversy at White Hart Lane, will also add to the debate. In the build up to his opener, Rafael Van der Vaart handled the ball prior to scoring. Referee Mike Dean missed it, but his official had a clear view. Already on a yellow, the Holland midfielder then celebrated with his fans, which is another yellow card, but Dean conveniently forgot that rule. The Arsenal players and Arsene Wenger protested, but that was in vain, the goal stood. Aaron Ramsey levelled, but Kyle Walker’s second half long range effort deceived Wojciech Szczesny to give Spurs the most controversial of wins. Perhaps it is actually better officials that the game is crying out for and not technology that is needed at this level of the game.

Gervinho sitter

Wenger had once again elected to play Alex Song at the heart of the defence, with Francis Coquelin alongside Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta in a three man midfield. The strategy seemed to be working as Spurs were over run at times. Bacary Sagna had the measure of Gareth Bale with Kieran Gibbs also letting everyone know he was there. Szczesny was called on to to make three fine saves as Scott Parker and Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe threatened, but it was Gervinho who should have opened the scoring for the Gunners. Played in by Robin Van Persie, the Ivorian missed a sitter from close in to the obvious frustration of Wenger and the Arsenal fans. Theo Walcott had also seen a shot deflected inches wide from a deflection by Ledley King as the Gunners edged possession. From the resulting corner, only Benoit Assou-Ekotto stood between Ramsey netting to prevent Arsenal from taking the lead.

Dither

The game appeared to be heading for a goal less first half, but Van der Vaart struck five minutes before the break with a goal that should not have stood. Adebayor fed Van der Vaart, who handled with the inside of his arm and as Per Mertersacker and Sagna dithered, the ball was lashed into the bottom of the net. Six minutes after the re-start Ramsey’s first goal of the season deservedly drew Arsenal level.

Board intransigence

Van der Vaart’s feeble attempt at defending allowed Song forward. He cross and as Younes Kaboul’s header fell at the feet of the Wales captain, the ball was turned in the leveller at the near post. With their tails up, Arsenal went in search of a lead as Harry Redknapp sent on Sandro the plug his gaping midfield void. By now Sagna had been stretchered off with an ankle injury after a nasty landing, and even Arsenal fans sensed that Carl Jenkinson was going to be in for a torrid twenty or so minutes. Bale sensed as such too and began probing the new arrival. For all his strengths, Jenkinson is not ready for this level of football, but Wenger through his board’s intransigence has no alternative to offer.

Szczesny had up until that point added to his burgeoning reputation with some fine saves, and deservedly so. He went up in attack in the final minutes as Arsenal went in search of what would been a deserved equaliser, but to no avail. However the Poland stopper has to anticipate all eventualities in what will always be a congested defence. When Sandro’s cross fell to Walker from distance, his shot was missed by Szczesny for the winner that sends Arsenal to fifth from bottom of the Premiership and their fourth loss of the season.