Bad Week For Arsenal As Gareth Bale and Spurs Beat Inter While Gunners Fall

Hamlet AbayaCorrespondent INovember 5, 2010

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02:  Gareth Bale of Spurs applauds the fans following his team's 3-1 victory during the UEFA Champions League Group A match between Tottenham Hotspur and Inter Milan at White Hart Lane on November 2, 2010 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Football was never meant to be played on paper.  In fact, deciding a winner and a score before the match is actually played is one of the biggest mistakes that players, coaches, and writers can do. 

That's why so many people fall flat on their face when their predictions of easy wins and record scoring turns awry. 

Sometimes, even the surest win doesn't materialize.

Unfortunately for Arsene Wenger and his charges, Wednesday night was just one of those nights. 

And much to the chagrin of Gooners everywhere, so was Tuesday night, when Inter Milan were inexplicably outplayed by an energized Spurs side coming out to show their ability after a controversial loss against Manchester United during the weekend. 


Inter Milan—Tottenham

The midweek games started off with a bang for British clubs, with Spurs hammering Inter 3-1 at White Hart Lane and surprising everyone but the most die hard Spurs fans in and around North London. 

The brilliant Rafael Van der Vaart was again instrumental, timing his run exquisitely and picking up the ball and scoring from an equally exquisite pass from the impressive Luca Modric. 

Van der Vaart would later be substituted with a recurrence of his hamstring injury, but he had made a difference in the 45 minutes he played. 

So far this season, Van der Vaart has proven to be an inspired signing, scoring goals for funsix goals in 10 appearances, to be exactand showing the world what a bargain he was at £8 million from Real Madrid.

But the performance of the night came from rising star Gareth Bale, who had previously scored a hat trick in a losing effort against Inter Milan at the San Siro. 

Not only did he have two assistsone to the feet of towering Peter Crouch and another to the equally tall Roman Pavlyuchenkobut he was completely outplaying arguably the best Right Back in the world in Maicon. 

Time and again he would run at the Brazilian Back and beat him for pace, terrorizing the left side of Inter Milan's defense with his pace, and precision, sending in cross after cross and generally giving the Nerazzurri a torrid time. 

In fact, if not for some astute decision by the linesman to correctly flag the ball as out of play, Bale could have had a hat trick of assists, as Crouch scored after the linesman had waved play off.

So badly outplayed were the blue team from Milan that they looked a shadow of the tightly drilled side that Jose Mourinho led to the Champions League trophy last season. 

Football can be a fickle game and for one special night for Spurs fans everywhere, the champions of Europe succumbed to the long-suffering laughingstocks of North London and British football. 


Shakhtar Donetsk—Arsenal

But the week just kept getting worse as an under-strength and under-motivated Arsenal side fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Eduardo's Shakhtar Donetsk team. 

Having seen Shakhtar thrashed at the Emirates a couple of weeks ago, the average spectator must have envisioned more of the same in this fixture, especially after Theo Walcott scored a beauty of a goal in the 10th minute of the game, showing everyone that his pace is still electric and that his finishing is much improved now.

But unlike their last game against each other, Shakhtar refused to lay down against their more heralded opponents, showing plenty of fight and spirit as they fought back being a goal down.

They tightened up their defense and focused their efforts on attacking at full blast, sending wave after wave of inspired offense at a relatively inexperienced Arsenal side not used to seeing this much attacking against them.

It didn't take them long to draw level, as Jádson sent in a free kick that was headed into Fabianski's goal by Chygrynskyy and then Craig Eastmond.  By the end of the first half, Shakhtar were ahead, courtesy of former Arsenal marksman Eduardo. 

A mistake by Clichy gifted Darijo Srna the ball and the Croatian duly fed his compatriot Eduardo, who tapped the ball in from close range. 

The classy Brazilian-born player again refused to celebrate after having scored against his former team, but his goal proved to be a decisive one.

Although the second half was thoroughly dominated by the Gunners, Shakhtar deserved their win on this night, defending strongly with plenty of discipline and urgency. 

There are many reasons why Arsenal lost, including injuries, travel, a tough game against West Ham during the weekend.  But the biggest reason was their inexperience and their own hubris. 

On a night when they were supposed to run over their opponents, the Arsenal players showed how much they underestimated their opponents, being too complacent after scoring a relatively easy goal early, and then losing their composure later against a well-drilled defensive side. 

Wenger summed it up best, saying "We have learned the lesson that at this level you cannot lose focus at any moment and that is why we were punished.  But we are still in a strong position in the group."

This may have been a bad midweek for Arsenal, but with a fixture against Newcastle looming, the players need to get their focus back and make sure they don't repeat the same mistake from midweek against a seemingly easy Barclays Premier League matchup during the weekend. 

Like Shaktar Donetsk, Newcastle was also thrashed recently in the Carling Cup and are surely looking for revenge. 


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