Arsenal-Spurs: Wenger's Foriegn Legion Scrape By

Steven KnaggsCorrespondent IDecember 23, 2007 plucky performance from Spurs proved insufficient as Arsenal escaped with a win after a lacklustre display at the Emirates.

The odds were stacked against Spurs from the beginning, as a string of injuries forced Juande Ramos to play a weakened side.

To their credit, Tottenham did have the classy Dimitar Berbatov accompanied by Robbie Keane up front.

Arsenal were once again without a single English player in their 16-man squad—something which seems to happen with alarming frequency.

The first half was unremarkable. Arsenal held the ball well but were met with a surprisingly solid Spurs defence. Jamie O'Hara was a late addition to the starting lineup, but repaid Ramos' faith with a sound performance early on.

The pace picked up after halftime, when Emmanuel Adebayor scored with a cool finish after fantastic through-ball from Cesc Fabregas on 48 minutes.

Spurs kept battling away, and were almost rewarded when Aaron Lennon found an unmarked Keane, whose shot banged off the crossbar. Keane promptly made up for missing the sitter with a deft centre for Berbatov to finish from close range on 66 minutes.

With the score at 1-1, Spurs looked to be on the cusp of a historic victory on 71 minutes when Berbatov was brought down inside the area. But Keane delivered one of the worst penalties of his career, making an easy save for Manuel Almunia.

Nicklas Bendtner was brought on in the 76th minute and promptly dispatched a header into the Spurs net with his first touch of the game to seal a 2-1 win for the Gooners.

For now at least, Arsenal sit on top of the Premiership. The title race looks to be a two-horse show between the Gunners and Manchester United, depending on how Chelsea cope with their current injury problems as they try to close a six-point gap.

As for Spurs—the loss is a disappointing one, but a resurgent defence and a realistic shot at the UEFA Cup could turn the season into a success.

Come on you Spurs!