Posted by: Paul | November 20, 2010

Elation

At half time in today’s north London derby, I began drafting todays post in my head. It was entitled ‘Contrition’. Heading into the dressing room at 2-0 down, Spurs had been comprehensively outplayed. Arsenal, while a bit fortunate in both their goals thanks to horrible mistakes from Assou-Ekotto, Gomes and Kaboul, were running rings round us. We looked rocked after the first goal, had no answer to their flowing one-touch passing and barely made it out of our own half.

What followed after the break was a win which was as unlikely as it was brilliant. My family were round for lunch, and we subjected Ali and my poor Mum to the entire game, us Spurs fans in dour silence for 45 minutes with very glum faces. At half time I piped up, chipper as usual: “Well, the game we pulled back to 4-4 looked lost, maybe we can do something.” It seemed like a vain hope at the time.

But then, man of the moment Gareth Bale scored an outstanding goal on the run from open play, picking up a pass from Van der Vaart and cooly slotting into the bottom right corner. We perked up instantly and didn’t have to wait long for the equaliser, Fabregas conceding an inexplicable penalty, raising his arm to deflect a free kick. Our other major current force, Van der Vaart, sent Fabianski the wrong way and pulled us level. When Kaboul scored our winner, we leapt off the sofas with joy, at which point Adam started to cry. I hope it doesn’t mean he’s an Arsenal fan! By the looks of things, some of the Gooners crowd had done the same…

‘Lucky’, said Alison. But I think it’s quite the opposite. At 2-0 down we were well beaten, and it takes a team with enormous strength of character to come back from that scoreline and win the second half 3-0 to take all three points. You really don’t see it happening very often, especially for teams away from home – bear in mind this is the first time we’ve beaten Arsenal away for 17 years.

It’s great to finally end that hoodoo, but the reality of our situation is it was a game we simply had to win in order to stay in touch with the leading pack. If other results go our way, it could turn out to be a very important weekend for us indeed. And with Defoe back on the pitch and proving influential, and Dawson returning to full training this week a month ahead of schedule, it was the right result at the right time to push us forward. Bring on the next Champions League game!

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