Stuttering Spurs

Stuttering Spurs
Fullback Kyle Walker (in white) letting Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey get the better of him.

ARSENAL 1

(Olivier Giroud 23)

TOTTENHAM 0

JUST 30 minutes before Gareth Bale's world-record transfer to Real Madrid was confirmed Monday morning (Singapore time), Andre Villas-Boas was forced to sit in front of the media and explain why his team and those expensive replacements had performed so poorly against Arsenal.

Tottenham, without their star man, were well beaten.

Their fans left the stadium crestfallen. They will be taunted now for months. It was hardly fair on the Spurs manager.

No club could expect to replace a player of Bale's calibre easily, let alone bed their replacements down so swiftly that they could lead their new team to a famous victory at the home of their rivals.

It will take time for his new signings to gel and there is no reason to doubt their quality.

But this was a flat performance indeed.

Tottenham started well and made a point of targeting Carl Jenkinson, a late replacement for the ailing Bacary Sagna.

Break the deadlock

Their midfield looked strong and it seemed only a matter of time before they would break the deadlock.

Instead it was Arsenal who scored first and, despite Villas-Boas' protestations to the contrary, Tottenham never found their stride.

In fact, had it not been for an exceptional performance from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, the scoreline could have been more embarrassing.

Even the introduction of Erik Lamela failed to spark Spurs into life.

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