Arsenal lucky against Spurs
Tottenham dominate but fail to claim victory
By James Dall. Last Updated: January 9, 2008 10:24pm
Walcott: A slice of luck
Theo Walcott's 79th minute goal denied Tottenham Hotspur victory as Arsenal claimed a 1-1 draw in a pulsating Carling Cup semi-final.
Spurs were extremely impressive in the first leg at the Emirates Stadium, and looked to be heading for a success when Jermaine Jenas handed them a first half lead.
But Walcott's fortunate strike denied Juande Ramos' side a first victory over their North London rivals in nine years.
Jenas opened the scoring eight minutes before the break following excellent work from the impressive strike partnership of Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane.
And everything appeared to be going to plan for Spurs, with Arsenal struggling to create against their organised opposition.
However, a pacey break saw Eduardo da Silva slide Walcott through and Lee Young-Pyo's challenge ricocheted off the teenager, leaving goalkeeper Radek Cerny with no chance.
Radek Cerny started in goal for Spurs - with Paul Robinson dropped to the bench - and he showed his quality when he produced a flying save at full stretch to keep out a close-range header from Nicklas Bendtner.
On 24 minutes, Dimitar Berbatov charged towards the Arsenal box and was sandwiched by Gilberto Silva and captain for the night Philippe Senderos, giving away a free-kick on the right side.
Jamie O'Hara struck his effort well, but the ball failed to bend inside the post and zipped wide.
After 32 minutes, Spurs were presented with a golden opportunity to take the lead.
Robbie Keane's determined run into the Arsenal box was checked by a fine saving tackle from Senderos.
The loose ball broke to Steed Malbranque, but from only 12 yards out the French midfielder inexplicably dragged his shot wide.
Polish keeper Lukasz Fabianski then had to be alert to deflect Berbatov's 20-yard drive away.
The Spurs fans, though, did not have to wait long for their goal.
Johan Djourou's poor defensive header was picked up by Berbatov, and the Bulgarian chipped a first-time ball through to Keane.
Played onside by a static Senderos, the Irishman raced forwards down the left and squared to Jenas, who made no mistake from just a few yards out, firing past an exposed Fabianski.
The visitors were good value for their lead and Wenger made two changes at the break.
Arsenal replaced Djourou with Sagna, and Van Persie - just back from injury - was given a break for goal-hungry Eduardo.
With Hoyte moved to centre-back, Arsenal looked a more cohesive unit and started the second half brightly enough.
Spurs, however, continued to press and a fumble by Fabianski from a corner went unpunished, before, on 54 minutes, Keane skipped away ahead of Senderos down the right, but dragged his shot wide from just outside the box.
As the hour mark passed, Arsenal were yet to find their usual passing rhythm.
However, as the game entered the final 15 minutes, Arsenal suddenly looked to have found another gear, particularly through Sagna on the overlap down the right.
And, out of nothing, the Gunners were level.
Eduardo's weighted pass sent Walcott in between the centre-backs. Lee Young-Pyo came across to the edge of the box, and slid in just as Walcott shaped to shoot.
The ball bounced back up off the striker's chest and rolled past the wrong-footed Cerny - leaving Walcott to revel in his celebrations right in front of the Spurs fans.
Arsenal had their tails up, and the Emirates sensed a winner.
However, it was Defoe, on for Keane, who could easily have put one in at the other end but he blazed over from Lennon's low cross at the far post.
|Arsenal||Team Statistics||Tottenham Hotspur|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|4||Shots on Target||5|
|3||Shots off Target||5|